One of the newest hot trends in digital marketing is influencer marketing. There’s evidence of large ROIs in specific industries when influencer marketing is done the right way.
It’s not just a tool for larger corporations. As more social influencers crop up and start growing their audiences, you can work with them at that early stage for affordable and smaller scale influencer marketing.
What Is Influencer Marketing
Let’s start with what exactly influencer marketing is. It looks very similar to the celebrity endorsements found in TV ads, in the sense that you give a person money to promote your product.
A big difference is how influencers interact with their following. A celebrity ad is just there for anybody to see during commercial breaks, but an influencer interacts and knows exactly who their followers are. They can see their followers’ likes, comments, and even profiles on social media.
It isn’t just a group of fans they attract, it’s a community they’ve built around them. Influencer marketing is all about tapping into that community and marketing a product or brand to them.
Is Influencer Marketing Right For You?
Not every marketing tactic fits with every business, so the first step is to determine if your business would be a good fit for influencer marketing. B2B marketing, for example, might have a harder time finding influencers or making as big of an impact as they want.
Not to say that’s impossible; there are people on platforms like LinkedIn who have built networks around themselves they could recommend products to, but it might have less of an impact than other tactics.
A big part of finding success in influencer marketing is how your target market uses social media. If they aren’t on social media, don’t follow any influencers, or only use it rarely for the sole reason of communication, it might not be a great fit.
Additionally, some industries do much better with influencers than others. One company found that industries with some of the biggest ROIs from influencer marketing include: “tourism and travel,” “bath, body, and beauty,” and “retailer and apparel.” In their same study though, one major category that didn’t perform well was “electronics” with about 50% of ROI.
Picking The Right Influencer
Having the right influencers is essential to a successful campaign. There are three main factors to consider when choosing an influencer.
First, you have to look at their followers. You want to get your product/brand in front of your target market. Pick influencers who have built a following that matches your target market. It might not be a match for match, but get as close as you can. That way, you’re being seen by people most likely to become customers.
Are their followers all in a local area, or spread across the world? There are a lot of benefits to focusing on a local audience, especially if you are a global business. But a widespread audience is more useful if you are looking to spread your brand to new markets.
It’s also important to recognize what type of platform an influencer focuses on, and the benefits each format brings. A platform like Instagram relies heavily on visual media, less on text, while YouTube uses videos to entertain followers.
Next, make sure your branding and the brand of your influencers are compatible. It wouldn’t make sense for a influencer known for her fashion to start promoting a line of handguns. Your branding doesn’t have to line up perfectly with what they do, but they do need to be related. Doing so makes the appearance of your product natural and effective.
Great examples of this include Old Navy teaming up with a lifestyle and comedic content creator, Naked Juice, using a beauty lifestyle influencer, and a whisky company producing a video with Nick Offerman, whose persona is that of a rugged man.
Finally, how expensive will the influencer be and how often will your product be featured? Some might charge by how many followers they have, how often they feature the product, or simply a flat rate for a single post. If you are starting out, go for influencers with lower costs so you can test out what types of returns you’ll get.
Working With Your Influencer For Maximum Benefit
So you’ve picked an influencer to work with. The next step is deciding how to best combine your product with their services. You want the appearance of your product to be as natural as possible.
A good tip is to have your influencers familiarize themselves with your product. If they become a fan of it themselves, that passion will easily translate to their audiences. They’ll also come up with ideas on how to best fit it into their content.
Work with your influencers and heavily consider their suggestions. You might think you know what’s best, but the influencers interact with their community on a daily, if not hourly, basis. Work together to come up with a strategy that not only gets you more brand awareness, but leads to more sales.
Finding Data and Producing Results
Data is essential to effective marketing, and influencer marketing is no different. The trick comes from gathering social media data surrounding your influencers (likes, comments, shares, views) and seeing if there are any relations between them and your sales data. Finding trends can lead to improvements on your future campaigns and give a good indication of your ROI.
If you want to offer discounts to their followers, be sure to have a tool to set up to capture that data. This can be useful for tracking how successful your campaign is but could have negative effects, as it might seem more like an advertisement than a recommendation.
What are your thoughts on influencer marketing? Are you planning on running a campaign this year? Have you ever purchased a product thanks to an influencer? Let us know in the comments below.
Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the views of the author, and not necessarily the views of Caphyon, its staff, or its partners.