The Ultimate Guide to Influencer Marketing:
Part 1: The basics of influencer marketing?
The impact of influencer marketing on consumer behavior in recent times is there for all to see, and many have jumped on the bandwagon to get a cut of that sweet, sweet engagement. Such is the popularity of influencer marketing from both sides of the coin that brands have leaped at every opportunity to place themselves in the eye line of hundreds of thousands and sometimes even millions of followers. But the social media landscape changes rapidly and often, making marketers look silly when they’re too late to hop on trends. When done right, there can be beautiful synergy between brands and influencers, and when the relationship is well thought through, and there’s alignment in values, it can generate revenue, leads, engagement, and awareness. And it’s this explosive potential that will see the influencer marketing industry grow to around $22 billion by 2025.
During the lockdown years, brands were struck suddenly by the realization that they would need to tailor their marketing efforts to an entirely new audience and defaulted on going big on partnerships with influencers, some more successfully than others. Influencer marketing companies began to spring up all over the place, and the demand for collaborations with those of social media fame snowballed. With everyone at home, the penny had dropped for many brands that the internet offered real and present opportunities to engage people where they were spending most of their time. With pressure mounting on businesses to open new avenues to their customers, they quickly pivoted to eCommerce offerings, knowing full well we wouldn’t be making any brick-and-mortar purchases for a while. And thus, the lore and history of influencer marketing were born. So let’s start with setting up some guidelines for the whats and the whys and get stuck into how this approach can help you boost the metrics that matter.
What’s influencer marketing?
While you may have heard plenty about the many benefits of influencer marketing, many people are still fuzzy on its exact details. So, let’s take a look at a working definition for the term. Influencer marketing is a partnership between a social media influencer and a brand whereby products and services are mentioned or promoted across the influencer’s channels. In exchange, they receive payment in currency, or they are provided with free products as payment for promoting them.
A social media influencer is someone who has built a vast online following on either one or many social media platforms within a specific niche such as travel, beauty, fitness, etc. Their audiences tend to be highly loyal and trust their opinions, making partnerships with relevant brands a fantastic opportunity to showcase their products. By leveraging this trust, brands can strategically market themselves in a space that allows them to speak directly to their target audience through an influencer that knows exactly what they’re interested in and how to go about ‘selling’ them. Instagram influencer marketing is an excellent example of how this partnership can flourish, given its visual nature and the variety of ways that products can be talked about or shown to the audience. The arrival of Instagram shopping has made this an even more viable option for brands hoping to piggyback on the popularity of their chosen influencer. In fact, as much as 80% of brands involved with influencer marketing do so on Instagram.
5 Examples of Social Media Influencer Campaigns
There are a whole host of strategies to deploy when you partner with a social media influencer, and choosing the one that’s right for you will depend on how much exposure you’re looking to gain. It’s also important to note the platforms your influencer has the largest reach. It’s no good exploring Twitter influencer marketing if your customers are predominantly Facebook users, so make sure you know where they spend their time before making any commitments. Here are some of the campaigns you’ll likely be considering before making your choice:
- Influencer Reviews
This is probably one of the popular campaigns, and it’s a fairly straightforward arrangement as well. Brands will provide the influencer with a free product or service and review it across their social media channels. With 82% of consumers now trusting the opinions they see from their favorite influencers, it’s easy to see why it has become synch a viable option for brands.
- Sponsored or Branded Content
Another classic approach is to identify an influencer whose audience is reflective of your consumer base and get in touch with them to start creating blogs, videos, and posts that make your brand the star of the show. Providing your influencer with a summary of what you’d like to see will give them some direction regarding what kind of content you require and how you’re being presented to their audience.
- Competitions, Giveaways & Exclusive Offers
Let’s face it. People love free stuff. And further to that point, they love a bargain too. Teaming up with influencers to give away products and services is a surefire means of working your way into the hearts and minds of any audience. Make sure it’s easy enough for them to enter, and they will like, share, and comment in greater numbers to get their hands on your products.
- Influencer-Led Takeovers
No, this doesn’t mean you’ll employ an influencer as your new CEO. It simply means they’ll be operating from your account rather than theirs. Social media influencer marketing is all about trust and alignment with the brand, so if you’re uncomfortable handing over the keys to your accounts, perhaps they aren’t the person you’ve been looking for. But this kind of strategy has a lot of value, and creatively, the potential here is immense. Again, you’ll need to establish the guidelines of what you’d like to see from them during these takeovers and set clear engagement goals.
- Long-term Collaboration
Partnering with an influencer for an extended period and allowing them to act as an ambassador for your brand may seem like risky business. However, it’s actually a strategy that brands have used since the dawn of traditional advertising. This continued partnership keeps your brand in the spotlight, allows you to build credibility, and can even prevent churn in your marketing and sales funnels.
We Can Help You Find Your Perfect Collaborator
As a full-service agency, we explore every corner of the marketing world to give you the best chance of success, and this includes seeking out influencers that we believe can elevate your brand. Not only that, but we can also help you create campaigns and strategies that embody your vision as well as your long and short-term goals. Talk to us about how we can put you front and center of an audience that already loves what you’re doing, even if they haven’t heard of you yet.