An introduction to influencer marketing
Influencer marketing involves using influencers to promote products, create a buzz around brands and encourage followers and virtual friends to move through the marketing funnel. In years gone by, influencers were celebrities, but the landscape has evolved as social media channels have diversified and developed. Today, influencers often establish a name and generate followers through the content they create and share online.
Influencer marketing carries a lot of weight in the modern consumer market. Statistics suggest that 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations, while 86% of women use social networks for buying advice. Over 70% of teens trust influencers more than conventional celebrities.
As the power and reach of influencer marketing continue to grow, there are opportunities for businesses and brands to benefit from joining forces and working with influencers, but success is not guaranteed. To reap the rewards, it is crucial to have a targeted strategy in place. In this guide, we’ll examine how to put a strategy that maximizes your chances of achieving key objectives together.
Reasons to utilize influencer marketing
There are several benefits of utilizing influencer marketing. In this article, we will focus on four principal aspects:
- Raising and generating awareness
- Promoting and facilitating engagement
- Stimulating share of voice
- Driving traffic
Raising and generating awareness
Raising and generating awareness is all about impressions. The number of impressions is the number of times content is displayed or delivered to a feed. One person could have several impressions for the same post. Reach and impressions are not the same metric. Reach is defined by the number of unique views and it gives you an idea of how many people have seen the post, rather than how many times it has been seen. On social media, where sharing is commonplace, impressions can mount up very quickly in comparison to reach. Impressions are metrics, which can be seen by the publisher of the content. In many cases, for example, when using Facebook and Twitter, you will be able to access a unique impression number, which tells you exactly how many times the post has been viewed versus how many different people have actually seen it. This data is incredibly useful when analyzing the impact of social influencer marketing in comparison with other digital marketing methods, as you can figure out the CPM (cost per impression). The lower the figure, the better. Once you have this information, you can ascertain whether your campaigns are cost-effective by comparing numbers against other techniques.
Promoting and facilitating engagement
One of the most significant benefits of effective influencer marketing is encouraging and facilitating engagement between brands and their customers. Figures show that 90% of shoppers buy from brands they follow on social media and 61% of consumers view engagement as the top priority when deciding which brands to follow. As a business owner or a marketer, you can measure engagement with posts and brand mentions without obtaining data directly from the influencers. Once a post goes up, you can observe the reaction, analyzing the number of likes, shares and comments and using social media listening tools to follow specific hashtags and evaluate their influence. Measuring engagement is beneficial not only to see how well individual posts or influencers perform, but also for gathering information for future posts. If a specific influencer or type of post, for example, a live story or a video clip, generates more interest and engagement than others, you can adjust and modify campaigns in line with demand and consumer preferences.
Stimulating share of voice
Stimulating share of voice is associated with hiring or working with influencers to encourage the use of specific brands, branded products or branded hashtags. In 2019, 93% of marketers used influencer marketing and 80% of consumers bought an item as a result of influencer recommendations. Statistics suggest that buying intent on Twitter increases more than five-fold when consumers are exposed to influencer tweets in comparison with brand posts.
The aim of every marketing post should be to encourage the viewer or reader to take the next step. The goal may be to purchase a product, make a call, sign up for email updates or buy a subscription, for example. Driving traffic is a means of creating more leads and increasing the quality of leads. You can use influencer posts and adverts to encourage social media users to look at other posts on your feeds or check out your website, diverting them to property that you own. This is beneficial because it maximizes the chances of gaining a customer, but it also provides you with valuable data linked to cost per click (CPC). Once you have the figures, you can measure the efficacy and ROI against other methods.
Building an influencer marketing strategy
Influencer marketing has the potential to catapult businesses and brands into the limelight, but some campaigns are much more successful than others. Here are some steps to take to design and implement an effective strategy.
The most important step to take when planning a new influencer marketing strategy is to define your objective and outline the primary goals. Think about what you want to achieve from working with influencers and how your targets align with your overall business objectives. This point will shape every other aspect of the campaign, from the influencers you choose to the types of posts and the channels you utilize. Your campaigns should always be relevant to your brand and your target customer. The content you share, whether it is promoted by influencers or not, should resonate with your audience.
Work with the right influencers
The number of social influencers is growing by the day, so how do you go about choosing the right people to work with? There are resources and tools you can use, including social media listening and influencer identification software, but it’s also hugely beneficial to undertake research and look at what different influencers are doing and the brands and products they are promoting. You want to select influencers who have the ability to engage and connect with your ideal buyer and showcase your brand in the best possible light. Take your time to conduct research, to get to know individuals and to think about how they will connect with your brand and your client and follower base.
Understand how to handle influencer marketing on social media
On the surface, influencer marketing may seem like a relatively simple concept, but there are complexities. As a business owner, it’s wise to focus on the finer details and to be aware of how this form of marketing works. There are tools, features and resources you can take advantage of to enhance your campaigns and make the most of influencer marketing.
One important tool to be aware of is the branded content feature on Facebook and Instagram. This tool enables influencers to identify posts as branded content. Branded content opens doors for marketers and business executives, providing access to useful data and analytics, including impressions and traffic, without the need to reach out to influencers directly and enabling brands to build trust and confidence by championing transparency. Almost 75% of people trust social media to guide them when making purchasing decisions. With branded content, it is also possible to view videos and completion rates, to add tagged posts into paid campaigns and to capitalize on targeting techniques while ensuring that followers and viewers know that they are looking at an ad. According to statistics from Bloglovin, over 60% of women will not engage with sponsored or paid posts if they don’t look or feel genuine.
Regulations and rules
The success of influencer marketing depends heavily on the response and reaction of the user when viewing social content. Authenticity is critical for building and maintaining strong relationships and encouraging engagement. There are rules and regulations in place to protect consumers. The Federal Trade Commission has produced guidelines to help companies ensure that they are fully compliant. Brands are required to disclose information to make sure that social media users can identify adverts and paid posts and promotions. Disclosures should be included in the main post. Clarity and transparency are crucial. To view the regulations in detail, click here.
If you use Twitter, it’s helpful to understand and make use of ad manager tools, including the option to whitelist accounts. Whitelisting is a means of granting permission for brands to access pages or accounts. When managed properly, whitelisting enables brands to create and pay for social media ads on behalf of the influencer and gain control of whitelisted posts. In order for whitelisting to be approved, the influencer must give permission to a representative of the social network.
Monitor progress and measure impact
Technology affords us access to an array of priceless data. If you have campaigns up and running, track progress continually, make use of analytics and tools that capture data and focus on metrics that are linked to your primary objectives. You can use data to compare influencer marketing with other techniques, to see how effective different types of content are, to see which influencers are most popular with your audience and to gauge appetite and demand for specific types of sponsored or paid content.
The popularity of influencer marketing
The popularity of influencer marketing has sky-rocketed in recent years and it has become an increasingly potent marketing technique for brands across several sectors. Over 60% of marketers plan to increase spending on influencer marketing in the next 12 months. Reviews and recommendations carry more weight than ever before, and 91% of millennials trust online reviews as much as suggestions from family and friends. Influencer marketing can help brands reach out to and engage with customers and trigger an urge to buy, sign up or connect online. Influencer marketing has overtaken print media, with a sharp uptake mirroring a steady decline in print advertising. As social media continues to grow and evolve, with over 3 billion global users, influencer marketing is expected to dominate for years to come.
Examples and case studies
Many of us are aware of influencer campaigns from following brands on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and viewing adverts on our feeds and timelines. The success of influencer campaigns is not always guaranteed and some have a much greater impact than others. Here are some examples of campaigns that made a positive difference:
Fiji Water’s Bodyworewhat campaign
Many people are familiar with the water brand, Fiji Water, but its chosen influencer on the Bodyworewhat campaign was probably not quite so well-known. For this campaign, Fiji Water joined forces with fashion influencer, Danielle Bernstein, the creator of the We Wore What blog. The aim was to champion health and wellbeing, encouraging followers to get involved with workout videos posted by Danielle, to get in shape and stay hydrated.
Sperry’s micro-influencer campaign
Sperry, the well-known American boat shoe brand, launched a micro-influencer campaign in 2016/2017, which has gathered pace since. Recruiting more than 100 influencers who were already fans of the brand on Instagram, Sperry invited the shoe lovers to develop content to encourage others to follow suit and buy their own pair of Sperry boat shoes. This is an excellent example of using customers as influencers and it shows that you don’t have to recruit social media stars with millions of followers or established celebrities to promote branded products effectively.
Influencer marketing is increasingly commonplace, with the majority of marketers now utilizing campaigns to generate traffic, increase engagement, raise brand awareness and boost sales. To capitalize on the growing popularity of influencer marketing, it is beneficial for businesses to have a watertight strategy. From choosing the right influencers and undertaking research to identify effective ways to create and share posts to selecting different channels and networks, finding helpful tools and resources and understanding the rules and regulations, building an effective strategy will supercharge the chances of success.
Need help with building your influencer marketing strategy?
If your business is new to influencer marketing, or your campaigns have achieved limited success so far, Pivotal New Media is here to help. We have experience in designing and running targeted influencer campaigns and our expert team understands how to harness the power and reach of this innovative marketing technique to achieve incredible results. Don’t hesitate to get in touch today to find out more.