You may have heard the term influencer marketing before. Perhaps you’re familiar with it or perhaps you’re not. Today, we’re breaking down what exactly influencer marketing is, how it works, the pros and cons, and how you can take advantage of this popular marketing tool for your business!
Let’s start with the basics…
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is when brands leverage established social media personalities with large, engaged followings to promote products/services. This acts as a sort of virtual “word of mouth” marketing where the influencers’ followers like them and trust them, so they take their recommendation more seriously than a regular advertisement. This type of marketing was once only used with celebrities, but with social media (especially Instagram) anyone can build a following and become an influencer.
Does it work?
According to research, influencer marketing delivers an 11X higher ROI than traditional paid media. Most demographics, but specifically millennials, have started to distrust traditional advertising. People want brands to be more authentic and relatable. Consumers value the opinions of their close circle when making purchasing decisions. Social media influencers are part of this circle and their opinions and recommendations can carry a lot of weight. More and more brands are starting to prioritize content marketing and influencer marketing in their strategies.
This type of advertising tends to work better on the younger demographic, although there has been a bit of backlash due to some unethical behavior by some influencers. Also, it’s important to find influencers who would actually use your product or service.You probably don’t want to work with someone who is willing to post about every single product they are offered.
What is the future of influencer marketing?
While this can be a great strategy for your business, there has been some growing backlash against influencer marketing. Most of this is due to unethical behavior by some really big influencers and brands. This has led to a shift in smaller influencers or ”micro” influencers being seen as more trustworthy by the public than big celebrity accounts. This can lead to higher engagement at a lower cost for brands.
The future of influencer marketing is also leading to the rise in user-generated content. As a business, this can be a great opportunity to use social media posts that your own paying customers are posting. Those making purchasing decisions are much more likely to trust a peer’s review than someone being paid to offer a review. If you see a post that you would like to share, be sure to comment or message the person first to ask for permission to post it!
Now that you’re familiar with influencer marketing, can your business benefit from it?
How to use influencer marketing for your business
- Know your ideal customer: You cannot find influencers to appeal to your ideal customers if you don’t know who your ideal customer is. Knowing your target audience can make it easier to find influencers to work with.
- Find influencers and figure out how much to pay them: There are plenty of companies that exist now to connect brands to influencers. If you are a small business just starting out with this type of advertising, consider reaching out directly to micro-influencers and making offers. Micro-influencers may be more willing to accept products and services in exchange for posts than bigger influencers.
- Don’t just look at follower counts: Because of how lucrative influencer marketing can be, unfortunately some influencers buy fake followers to boost their numbers. It’s important that you focus on engaged audiences as well as follower counts. A “sweet spot” for influencer follower counts with engaged audiences is thought to be from 10K to 100K.
- Determine what kind of campaigns you would like to do or have the budget for:
- Discount codes/affiliate links
- Free products in exchange for posts (may work for micro-influencers)
- Paid posts (IG, FB, blog posts, YouTube video) — can be a one time post or a longer campaign
- Have a damage control plan: Sometimes influencers do or say things that cause negative press. Their audience may even stop supporting them. It’s important to have a plan in place to address any fallout if this happens. This is also why it’s important to do research on the influencer(s) you would like to work with beforehand!
- Don’t get frustrated if a campaign doesn’t work. Like all marketing and advertising, there can be some trial and error to figure out what works and doesn’t work.
- Have a clear call to action. Are you selling a product? Trying to get people to your shop or restaurant? Make sure it’s clear what you want the audience to do from the post.
- Allow some degree of creative control to the influencer. Photos and captions that are “too advertisement-y” or “sales-y” aren’t usually well received by audiences. The reason they follow the influencer is because they resonate with that person – don’t take out their personality, but do be sure to work with influencers who fit your brand and mission! (If the influencer fits, then their followers/fans are likely your target demographics!)
- Follow the law: The Federal Trade Commission is starting to crack down on influencer marketing to make it more transparent. Make sure that your influencer knows to disclose that this is a paid relationship. This often why you will see #ad or #sponsored on influencer’s posts.
- User-generated content (UGC): Encourage your customers to post about your business and tag you in the posts or create a unique hashtag that customers can use. This is a great way to curate more authentic content to promote your business.
Hopefully you now know a little bit more about influencer marketing and how it can help your business. AGC can help you create and implement a digital marketing strategy, which might include using influencers!