These days influencer marketing is one of the most preferred ways for brands to introduce a new product to their targeted market. Influencers are here to rule the advertising market, and it can be easily seen every time you open your Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube.
Did you know?
Influencer marketing accounts for 38% of the marketers who plan to spend between 10 and 20% of their digital marketing budget on it.
But how exactly can a small or medium-sized business tap into influencer marketing? We are here to walk you through the whole process of understanding influencer marketing, finding the right influencers, and taking steps to collaborate with them.
Let’s look at the nitty-gritty of how to work with influencers and discover why influencer marketing sometimes fails, and you can avoid that with your business.
Digging Deep Into Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is a social media marketing strategy that leverages content creators or social media influencers to reach target audiences, increase sales, and create hype around their product or brand.
For instance, Ray-Ban and Meta joined forces, creating the Ray-Ban Meta sunglasses – a fusion of style and innovation. These shades are more than eyewear; they’re a game-changer for Gen Z.
Ray-Ban collaborated with various social media influencers to showcase these sunglasses, reaching a wider audience and connecting with the younger generation. It’s not just about the shades; it’s a whole new vibe in the influencer space.
Influencers possess a superpower when it comes to grabbing the attention of masses. Having created content regularly, they know exactly what works for their audiences the best. From makeup brands like Rare Beauty and Maybelline to tech giants like Google, Apple, and Sony, everyone has collaborated with macro and micro-influencers to create hype around their new products and increase sales.
To connect with mass audience perspectives, who will ultimately buy the products and have a significant impact on the success of that product. It’s about becoming synonymous with your product or service, similar to when someone says just “Google” it instead of saying “search it on the web”.
What Are Influencers?
An influencer is a person who, due to their popularity, authority, knowledge, and connection to their audience, has the ability to “influence” the decisions of their audiences. They are “self made” stars who worked hard to build their audience for years.
The rise of influencers goes beyond mere online presence- it is about fostering strong relationships with the audience. Influencers, the real game-changers, are not just the ones who became overnight sensations with one or two viral videos. It is also those who worked hard for years with passion to build their online community.
Types of Influencers
Influencers are most of the time known based on the niche they work in and the size of their audience. Influencers can be divided into four groups based on audience size. These are mega-influencers, macro-influencers, micro-influencers, and nano-influencers.
- Mega Influencers: With an average following of over a million users, mega-influencers are the highest-ranking type of social media influencers. They frequently cater to a varied audience on several subjects, and most of them will have a presence on multiple social media platforms.
- Macro Influencers: The range of followers for a macro-influencer is often between 100,000 to one million. In situations where you wish to reach a broad audience while targeting a specific consumer segment, a macro-influencer may prove to be more beneficial than a mega-influencer.
- Micro-Influencers: These comprise regular people who become well-known figures among their target audience due to their dedication towards a specific skill or niche. Even with an audience base of between 10,000 and 100,000 followers, they retain a comparable level of “relatability” or “authenticity.”
Impact of Influencer Marketing on Brands
With traditional social media marketing, a company can establish its identity on any platform it chooses and track the growth over time. But here’s a little hiccup in this strategy- some brand enthusiasts might not have the follower fanfare needed to make a real impact. That’s where the influencers come into the play.
- Influencer marketing taps into niche audiences, ensuring the right people see a brand’s message or product.
- Influencers, being active and well-known in their community, offer direct access to the target audience.
- Collaborating with influencers grants businesses access to the extensive niche followings these creators have built.
- Brands leverage influencer endorsements to reach new audiences, as audiences trust influencers more than random online ads or endorsements of mega stars.
How to Work With Influencers?
Influencer marketing rides high on the popularity charts for brands, big or small due to its seeming low risk and big profit. With some research and planning, influencer marketing can work for just about every brand.
Let us go over detailed steps on how to work with influencers in this section so you can avoid any mishaps and benefit from the campaign.
Step 1: Identify Your Target Audience
Establish objectives or targets that you can monitor and report on, and consider how your influencer marketing strategy will fit into your overall social media marketing plan.
Define the Brand Persona
Have a clear understanding of your brand’s values, objectives, and image before you start searching for influencers. Your brand values are the North Star guiding your marketing ship.
It should be consistent throughout all your channels and touchpoints, as they serve as the fundamental guidelines for your decisions and activities.
Understand the Target Demographic
Pinpoint your target audience by gathering intel from marketing research, social media, emails, and more. Get an overview of your client base so you know who to target.
Once you have this information, look for influencers who post content that is of interest to your target audience or clients.
Align the Brand With the Influencer With the Most Impact
There’s one unsaid rule to this: thoroughly learning about the influencers before reaching out to them. You can find and evaluate influencers using several tools and resources, considering factors like their audience, reach, engagement, niche, and content.
Tip: For macro-influencers, the content creation process takes longer, from photography to content strategy. When it comes time to strike a deal with your macro-influencer, you might be paying for the entire process.
Instead of five macro-influencers you could assemble a squad of twenty micro-influencers at the same time and cost!
Step 2: Select The Right Influencer
Next comes trust- it is the secret sauce for a stable influencer partnership. Your audience must respect and trust the influencer you decide to work with. The results you get probably won’t have a noticeable effect on your company without trust. Engagement is the best indicator of a potential influencer’s credibility.
Here’s how to check this credibility.
Analyze the Engagement Rate and Followers
You can examine an influencer’s followers and engagement level with them to determine which influencer suits your brand. Typically, these analytics are accessible for every social media post. You must know that an influencer’s large following does not always translate into a better engagement rate.
Resonance Is the Key
The influencer marketing game is all about the potential buzz an influencer can stir up in a crowd that matters to your business. A massive following is nada if they’re not into what you’re offering. On the flip side, niche influencers may have a devoted and active fan base.
Right Niche and Platforms
Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok are like the Avengers of social media – each with its own superpowers. For instance, YouTube and TikTok only support videos, while Instagram and Facebook support all types of content.
Pick and mix based on your target crew and goals and blend these platforms.
Likewise, you can examine influencer content thoroughly and determine the successful pieces for every platform. Put your thoughts on paper regarding why you believe some paid content works better than others, and then use that knowledge in your campaign.
Tip: Engagement rates often spill the tea on an influencer’s content quality. Advertisers love it because it’s the crystal ball for predicting if a campaign will hit the bullseye. Especially handy for companies that work with the micro-influencers, making campaign success evaluation a precision art.
Step 3: Set Effective Influencer Relationships
Now, big questions persist- how to work with influencers and approach the shortlisted ones? Unexpectedly, sending a potential influencer a direct message or mail isn’t going to work. Here’s how to connect with them:
Here’s the hack: To reach those micro-influencers, slide into the DMs of their manager or the company backing them. Thanks to the rise in influencer marketing, there are various artist management companies that now represent influencers as well. You can easily get that information from the bio of the said influencer.
Negotiate Terms and Compensation
Strong ties between brands and influencers might end abruptly in the absence of a long-term agreement. Going through the full influencer recruitment process only to lose out on what could have been a fruitful, long-term influencer relationship is frustrating for you and your team.
Be transparent about your expectations from the beginning itself. Let there be clear communication between you and the influencer, along with a tight contract.
Clear Communication and Expectations
Influencers find it annoying when brands do not communicate properly and then frustrate when the expectations don’t meet up. Contacting sponsored content creators before, during, and following the campaign is the simplest method to prevent this.
Maintain Long-Term Partnerships
Maintaining communication with them is essential to demonstrating your concern for them as people, not simply as business associates. Sending them notes, gifts, or invitations on their victories and anniversaries might help you do this. Just because the campaign is over does not mean you cannot establish a good professional relationship with them.
Let’s take an example of Divoom Official. For example, in 2022, studywithrifa received a gift from Divoom, a consumer electronics firm that makes wireless Bluetooth speakers that fit in your pocket. This is an example of how influencer gifting works.
Tip: Keep it crystal clear- Transparent communication is the golden ticket. When everyone’s on the same page, future collaborations become a breeze, and everyone’s a winner.
Step 4: Curate Effective Marketing Campaigns
Instagram has a huge potential for advertising. You can connect with at least 996 million people on Instagram Stories, and you can interact with at least 1.32 billion users through the main feed. However, a social media influencer putting in effort into developing their brand would not accept an offer that jeopardizes their credibility.
It is best to provide guidelines or ideas about what you need but to let content creators handle the actual work of creating the content.
Offer Creative Liberty
Remember that there’s a reason you’re paying for the specialized knowledge. With their brands and content, influencers have managed to gather a loyal fan base that will now start working for you.
Use Diversified Platforms
These days, there are many options, and the majority of influencers use many channels. Expand your influencer marketing across additional channels; don’t keep it limited to one influencer or platform.
You will reach the most qualified potential customers and increase brand awareness by diversifying.
Create Evergreen Content
Creating timeless content is crucial to keep your brand always fresh and ready for any shifts in your business. Evergreen content stays forever relevant and stylish, making your brand look updated and advanced.
Leverage the Success of Micro-Influencers
Working with micro-influencers provides brands with an inexpensive means of establishing genuine connections with specialized audiences. Micro-influencers often engage highly niched audiences while having fewer followers.
Tip: Begin with a single sponsored post. Give the influencer instructions on what to publish on social media in the form of a picture or video and a caption. To make the message seem genuine, don’t impose too many stylistic constraints at the same time.
The Influence Of Micro-Influencers
The relevance of micro-influencers couples with affordability and higher engagement rates, positioning them as a strategic choice for brands. Brands appreciate the longevity of collaborations, leveraging the vocal advocacy of micro-influencers. Their impact extends to local markets, as region-specific content in local languages builds hyper-local engagement.
Did you know? 73% of customers are more inclined to act on a recommendation from an ordinary person, while 82% of consumers are highly likely to follow a recommendation from a micro-influencer?
For successful collaborations, brands should analyze engagement rates, involve influencers in campaign brainstorming, and create mutually beneficial partnerships.
Overcoming The Common Challenges
Influencer marketing is the superhero of today’s marketing game, delivering knockout results- No doubt about it! Brands are cashing in big time on this marketing miracle. But, here’s the twist – the more we ride the influencer wave, the more its effectiveness soaks into the marketing scene.
Here are some common pitfalls that might occur during your campaign and their solutions.
Ineffective Marketing Execution by Influencers
The situation presents a significant risk for businesses using influencer marketing on social media. Influencers sometimes struggle to produce content that appeals to their target audience and frequently make mistakes in how they provide it. This issue can be resolved by open conversation and understanding between the parties.
Reduced Interaction With Sponsored Content
Social media influencers may not always accurately portray the campaigns as they climb the success ladder. Sponsored content from influencers typically fails to achieve the desired level of engagement because it misrepresents the brand. Selecting the ideal influencer for your needs is the only way to guarantee seamless content creation.
Monitoring and Assessing Vanity Metrics
Vanity Metrics for businesses refer to the top-line figures such as clicks, downloads, raw page views, share of voice, and registered users. But ultimately, sales and profits are what counts most for a company. The efficacy of a campaign and areas for development can be ascertained by precisely monitoring and evaluating the influencer marketing strategy’s performance.
Maintain Short-Term Contracts
Media buys account for over two-thirds of all influencer marketing, and they often last only one or two weeks. The good news is that many consumer brands use media buys because they usually work.
Rather than being viewed as a long-term plan that can increase brand affinity and exposure, it is perceived as a tool. Influencer marketing has little benefit when done alone.
Work with influencers to develop a deep connection with your customers rather than using them to promote a product or service. Marketing is more about drawing people to you than it is about hammering home a point. Building relationships and collaborating closely with influencers is the “secret sauce.” It is a classic example of better success rates among the brands that work with micro-influencers.
Influencers are here to stay, but the landscape and practices of influencer marketing have evolved rapidly in the last five years, and they may look different in the next five. Brands must acknowledge shifts in the market and modify their strategy as new platforms appear. It necessitates an versatile influencer marketing strategy that welcomes trial and error.
With the well-established creator economy, people can now profit from their passions, and businesses have access to unparalleled opportunities to engage with potential clients. Since influencer marketing fosters genuine connections and fosters corporate growth, it will become a crucial strategy in the increasingly digital and interconnected world. You need to recognize the potential of the creative economy and maintain flexibility to thrive in the ever-changing marketing landscape.