Influencer marketing is an essential component of digital marketing for business growth.
It is estimated that the market size for influential marketing will grow to $24.1 billion by the end of 2025. The phenomenal rise of influencer marketing will continue for the next decade.
There are influencers for a wide range of fields like
Influencer marketing is the future of advertising because of the high ROI. According to some studies, influencer marketing produces 11 times more ROI than banner ads. At LSS, we have a team of digital marketing experts who will care for your growth marketing needs. In confluence with our digital marketers, we have built this complete guide for influencer marketing. This guide aims to help you understand the various aspects of influencer marketing and help you build an effective influencer marketing strategy.
What Is Influencer Marketing?
Let us start with gaining an understanding of what influencer marketing is. Influencer marketing is a type of marketing in which influencers with a large social following promote a brand to their followers. Influencers are often seen as trustworthy sources of information by their followers. In the recent era, influencer marketing has emerged as one of the better growth strategies in marketing.
How To Create An Influencer Marketing Strategy
Want to create an effective influencer and marketing strategy? Here are the steps to do so
Decide The Platform
The first step toward building an effective influencer marketing strategy is to identify the correct influencer marketing platform to target for your brand. An ideal platform is one where your brand already has some kind of presence.
In case you are not sure, use social listening tools. These tools will help you identify on which platforms are your intended users talking about your brand or your industry in general. Once the platform is selected, the next step is to identify influencers.
Your industry also matters in platform selection. If you have a visual product like beauty products or luxury cars, you should go for Instagram and YouTube. Twitch is the ideal platform for video games. Similarly, Linkedin is the platform for high-tech products with a niche audience like CTOs.
Finalize The Budget
Select the reach that your ideal influencer should have. Do you want to reach out to influencers who have millions of followers? Or will micro-influencers do a better job for your brand? Choosing the reach of the influencers is important because it will help you determine the right budget for your influence marketing campaign. Remember, the higher the influencer’s reach, the more is the price you have to pay to avail of their services.
While preparing the budget, ensure that you also consider the time and effort spent on contacting the influencers, planning, executing and reviewing your influencer marketing strategy. If you need to hire many influencers to handle your brand’s marketing, then you should consider hiring an influencer marketing agency. The agency will do the heavy lifting while you relax and focus on your core product. Influencer marketing agencies have the relevant expertise that will help you achieve a better ROI.
Zero-In On The Goals Of Influencer Marketing Strategy
The most common goals of going with influencer marketing are
- Increase brand awareness
- Increase sales
Ideally, you should not set such broad goals. It is often more effective to align your influencer marketing strategy with your brand’s needs.
Set goals like
- Increase customer base amongst the young generation
- Get more new users
- Improve your branding by getting influencers to talk about your brand
Influencers allow your brand to reach a very targeted set of custom rs. Additionally, the influencers are seen to be more trustworthy by their audiences. This is why influencer marketing tends to have a better ROI than most marketing strategies.
Understand that to achieve your influencer marketing goals; you will need to focus on your message. A conversational tone and a personal narrative often help you differentiate your brands from the competition.
Never interfere with the influencer’s work. Understand that they have built their loyal base of followers by posting something unique. Hence just let them know about your targets and let them decide the best way to reach out to your audience.
Once you have decided on the platform, the budget and the goals of your influencer marketing strategy, the next step is to identify the types of influences you want to reach.
Ask the following questions to finalize whether a particular influencer is appropriate for your brand or not.
Are the influencers already posting something about your service or product type?
For instance, if you are in a food business, you will require an influencer who already posts about food.
Is the influencer account a legit one?
There are thousands of fake social media accounts, and you must contact only the legit influencers. Scroll through their feed and click on some of their posts to identify whether they are legit accounts or not. Normally spam-like comments and a poor engagement ratio are signs of a fraudulent account.
See whether these influencers have a portfolio of their work. Consider using tools like Twitter analytics to identify potential influencers that fit your brand.
Once you have finalized the kind of influencers you want to reach, the next step is to determine how you will reach out to these influencers. Reach out to micro-influencers directly by messaging them in private. More established influencers will have a business inquiry section on their social media profiles.
Continuously Monitor Your Influencer Marketing Strategy
Continuously monitoring your influencer marketing campaign is necessary. There are a few effective ways of measuring the success of your campaign.
For instance, you can use a hashtag like #<your brand name>. This will help you track what your influencers are doing. Some tools will let you see the social media chatter surrounding specific hashtags.
You can even give out affiliate codes or tracking links to see how much revenue is generated through influencers.
Why is Influencer Marketing a Good Option for Advertisers?
There are many reasons why influencer marketing is a better option for advertisers. We have discussed the major ones below.
Influencers Know Their Customer Better
One of the major benefits of influencer marketing is that it allows your brand to connect with the influencer’s audience on a deeper level. As a marketer, you will understand the importance of knowing your customer. The influencers will have good knowledge of their audience. This gives your brand an advantage because you can easily connect with its user base.
Influencers Can Start A Conversation Easily
Social media influencers can easily start conversations around your brand. The main goal of influencer marketing is to make your users aware of your brand and build a strong social media presence. Influencers have a remarkable ability to start a conversation regarding your brand. This is one of the major reasons you should go with influencer marketing.
Influencers Help You Get New Users
Sometimes you, as a marketer, do not know from where you can get a new audience. Influencers can help your brand reach out to new audiences. This is because an influencer campaign often becomes viral and attracts an audience base that is usually not your intended target.
Influencers Provide Brand Credibility
Influencers are often seen as trustworthy people by their followers. By collaborating with influencers, your brand can achieve better brand credibility.
Influencers Are Often Cost-Effective
While traditional advertising is expensive, influencers are often cost-effective. Also, traditional advertising does not work because nowadays, people spend more time on their mobile screens than on television. You could also opt for micro or nano influencers if your budget does not allow you to go for celebrity influencers.
Influencers provide you with good content
Understand that content distribution is an essential part of content marketing. You will need a consistent flow of engaging content to succeed in online marketing.
Let’s face it; it is not simple to continuously produce fresh and engaging content. Sometimes you will be out of ideas and feel stuck. This is the time when an influencer marketing campaign can help you fill the gaps in your content schedule. Influencers are experts in their particular niche; it is not difficult for them to consistently produce engaging and quality content. You can sign content co-creation deals with influencers to gain a consistent stream of engaging content for your brand.
Why Is Influencer Marketing A Good Option For Consumers?
Influencer marketing often proves to be a very good option for users also. Here are a few reasons for it.
Consumers trust influencers because they often provide authentic information. The authenticity of the influencers is established with time and experience in the minds of consumers. When consumers buy a product recommended by the influencer, their experience with the product adds authenticity to the influencer’s content.
It is often seen that influencers themselves use the products first and give honest reviews about the product. The influencers who are successful are authentic and give out genuine information. Wrong information and sales tactics do not work in the influencer world. By buying products recommended by influencers, consumers can be sure that the influencers have at least tested these products themselves.
Influencers enjoy a very transparent relationship with their followers. The influencers not only talk about the products they endorse but also share their life with their followers. By doing so, the influencers reduce the gap between themselves and their consumers. The personalization levels that the consumers experience with these influencers are hard to emulate in mass-market advertising like radio and TV. It is easy for the audience to connect with the influencers as they see these influencers as people experiencing the same problem. Moreover, it is easy for the audience to connect with the influencers because they are your regular people, not celebrities. In effect, influencer marketing is akin to word-of-mouth marketing; the scale is much bigger.
The Future of Influencer Marketing
The following are some emerging trends in influencer marketing that promise to impact the field.
Influencer networks will rise to prominence in the future. This is because brands have realized that the future of influencer marketing is collective. Hence, instead of relying on individuals, marketers will begin to group influencers based on their associations with these influencers.
Associating with the right people is important in influencer marketing. Your brand’s reputation grows based on the reputation of the influencer that you associate with. Similarly, the influencer’s reputation also grows according to the brands they associate with. Each influence power centre is linked with each other because many overlap.
You might need to group seemingly unrelated influencers to sell your product. Take the example of a brand selling sunscreen lotion. The first audience group that comes to mind is the fashion and beauty niche. However, sunscreen is also applied by people who do outdoor sports. This is why it is a good idea to reach out to influencers in the travel and sports niche.
Those influencers who possess the power to transfer ideas between different interconnected user groups will prove useful for your brand.
You might need to invest more time and effort in evaluating influencers from a network perspective. You can use a platform like Fourstarzz media in your influencer research. The platform provides detailed information about various social media influencers. It also includes social media profiles of influencers and a list of the most notable followers for each influencer. This way, you can assess the reach and potential of various social media influencers.
More emphasis on images and audio-visual content
More and more developing nations worldwide now have access to high-speed internet. The costs of owning a smartphone are also declining. These factors are contributing to the rise of audio-visual content. Let’s face it; humans are audio-visual beings. We like to hear and see something instead of reading about it. The phenomenal rise of short video platforms like Instagram and TikTok proves this fact.
We believe that in the future, we will see more and more image, audio and video influencers instead of influencers who write articles about stuff.
As a marketer, you need to have a two-prong strategy. You should have a healthy mix of audio and video influencers and bloggers who write content.
Rise of Micro-Influencers
Understand that the success of your influencer and marketing campaign does not rely on the number of followers a particular influencer has. Instead, the depth of connections of these influencers is more important. This is because it has been observed that many influencers buy fake followers. For such influencers, the engagement rate is low, and you won’t get any benefit from partnering with these influencers.
Micro-influencers are those influencers who have a small number of followers. The small number of followers does not impede their ability to connect with their audience. On the contrary, as these micro-influencers have a small number of followers, they can maintain personal bonds with their target audience. This is why the social posts of these micro-influencers attract more engagement.
Another benefit that you get with micro-influencers is their cost-effectiveness. Unlike more popular influencers who have a huge following on social media platforms, micro-influencers do not charge that much. Experts believe that micro-influencers will rule the influencer market in the future. Brands like Coca-Cola have already started exploring the micro-influencer strategy. Coca-Cola partnered with a micro-influencer by the name of Yannick Merck. The micro-influencer shares photos on social media where the influencer is holding a coke or wearing a sweater or jacket with the Coke logo.
In-House Influencer Programs
As the clout of influencer marketing grows, brands realize it is important to have in-house influencer programs. The demand for in-house influencer programs arises because brands must build long-term associations with influencers. This is very difficult with independent influencers. This is because the influencers might switch over to competitor brands in case they pay more money.
That’s why brands realize that influencer marketing’s future lies in developing robust in-house influencer programs.
Macy’s in-house influencer marketing program is one of the best influencer marketing examples. Macy’s is a company that focuses heavily on building an effective in-house influencer program. The Macy’s style crew has turned around 300 of its employees into influencers.
For Macy’s, this is not only an influencer marketing exercise but also an HR exercise. This is because influencer marketing helps Macy’s provide some motivation to its employees. The employees not only make some money but can also gain some recognition amongst their friends and families. As a part of the influencer marketing program, Macy’s employees receive a commission for every sale made through their efforts. Apart from this, the employees also get free access to the store’s products.
In-house influencers bring a sense of reliability that is difficult for independent influencers to match. This is why more and more brands today are looking forward to recruiting more in-house influencers. There are a host of influencer marketing startups that can help you build an effective in-house influencer marketing program.
Stricter Advertising rules
Influencer marketing got a bad reputation as some influencers reverted to unethical means to promote their products. The Federal Trade Commission in the United States sent official warning letters to such influencers. The authorities worldwide are taking note of the unfair trade practices adopted by certain influencers. The FTC has also issued guidelines regarding influencer marketing to protect the interest of consumers. According to these guidelines, influencers must disclose their relationships with brands. For instance, if an influencer receives a product for free, the influencer has to inform the audience of this fact. They also need to disclose if they are doing a paid product review. These FTC guidelines have led to influencers using #paid and #sponsored on their social media posts.
The regulatory process of making more transparent policies regarding influencer marketing has already started. Hence we believe that in the future, we will see more strict advertising regulations regarding influencer marketing.
CGI influencers have entered the influencer marketing industry and are changing how brands view collaborations. Cgi influencers are fast becoming one of the hottest influencer marketing trends. For those of you who are unaware of CGI influencers, these are software programs that look like real human beings created with artificial intelligence and computer-generated imagery.
CGI influencers are built in the virtual world, and programmers and designers work to create every scene from a CGI influencer’s life. You can even find certain CGI influencers posing at exotic locations.
A lot of brands have already started collaborating with these CGI influencers. For instance, Lil Miquela is a popular CGI influencer that has already got brand partnerships with luxury brands like Prada, Calvin Klein and diesel.
Shudu is another such CGI influencer that has been featured in Vogue and Cosmopolitan magazines.
The popularity of CGI influencers is because these influencers allow brands to control how their products are advertised completely. The CGI influencers help brands minimize the unpredictability that comes with human social media influencers.
Don’t be surprised if, in the future, you find that your favourite human social media influencer has got a digital avatar.
How LSS can help you with your influencer marketing
Lean summits is an organization that understands influencer marketing. LSS is an efficient growth marketing firm that has helped countless clients achieve explosive growth. In case you have doubts about what is growth marketing? Why your business needs it, our experts will also help you understand growth marketing and its benefits.
We have digital marketing experts with the required expertise in running influencer marketing campaigns for a diverse set of brands. They ensure to study your market dynamics and the influencer’s audience first to connect your brand with the influencer’s audience. We will help you build and perfect your influencer marketing strategy, which will boost your ROI. Contact LSS and leave the rest to us.