Influencer Marketing: Everything that You Need to Know
Marketing strategies always require to be creative and newer forms of tactics to be effective in the scenario. We all know that with the change of time, the way marketing of products or services is done also changes. We cannot even imagine following the marketing strategies that were used maybe a hundred years ago, like advertisements through radio or something like that. The reason behind it is that it’s simply not effective.
Now creative minds in the business world constantly kept looking for new ideas to advertise products and that’s how we got to know about influencer marketing, digital marketing, video marketing and so many types of these. Of course the technological revolution has contributed a lot in the perspective and also it’s not really necessary to elaborate that, without implementing these, it’s going to be almost impossible to stay and survive in the competitive business world.
Who Are Influencers:
Before jumping into what influencer marketing really means, first let’s have a look at the issue of who are these influencers and what are their capabilities. Basically influencers are people who are not necessarily considered to be celebrities, mostly in an online setting, by themselves and by others as well, but still they have some special features.
The first thing is, they possess a certain type of power, and the purchasing decisions of lots of people can be affected by that power and also by the authority, knowledge, relationship and position that they hold or have with the audience.
About the audience, yes, these influencers always have an audience, a following in a distinct niche in other words. That’s not all, they regularly engage with this audience and remain active in communication with them. Of course, the size of the audience is not going to be the same in every case, but one common thing is that this audience is really interested in a particular influencer and would highly like to get suggestions regarding various issues, lifestyles and much other stuff.
We have to keep in mind the fact that there are always reasons for which an influencer can actually be an influencer, having an audience with him/her. The audience just don’t follow them for no reason, rather they highly care about the opinions the influencer makes.
While doing marketing in affiliation with influencers, we cannot just foist rules and business practices onto them, because we have to keep in mind that they can just walk away from us, the marketers, taking their followers with them as well.
What is Influencer Marketing:
Now that we know who are the influencers, let’s get back to what influencer marketing really is. So, to put it in a very simple way, it’s actually nothing but collaborating with an influencer, mostly an online one, who will be assisting to market a product or service of a particular brand or company.
As it has already been mentioned, an influencer will always have an audience, comprising hundreds of thousands of people, if not millions. But what is really interesting here is the fact that, in spite of having an specific type of reputation, they might not really seem to be like celebrities, rather, they might appear just as a normal human being.
But, remember that, this influencer, who might be a photographer or a chef, an instagram model or a well-read cybersecurity blogger, or a respected marketing executive on linkedIn, he/she is an influential person. That’s because, his/her audience always depends on this influencer’s opinions or statements regarding a particular issue.
Statistical View Focussing on the Importance of Influencer Marketing:
The recent trend that has been started regarding the influencer marketing stuff, is not something to be surprised at because the surveys and data collected from many sources show it very clearly how important influencer marketing really is, considering the ongoing trends and competitiveness prevailing in the current business world.
For example, 80% marketers reported that they think influencer marketing is really effective, while 89% said that they believe this type of marketing works just as well, if not better, than the other marketing channels. Also, 71% marketers think that the customers and traffic that they get from influencer marketing is better than the other sources, based on quality factors.
Not only do marketers think influencer marketing as a significant aspect, the customers are also really into influencer marketing. For instance, 49% customers today depend on the recommendation of the influencers for their purchase decisions, and 60% reported that they have already been influenced by some influencers while shopping on-store in one way or the other.
Here’s another thing, in the last three years, the Google search for influencer marketing increased up to 1500%. Researches show that influencer marketing strategies, that are focused on either branding or engagement, generate 8x return on investments. Do keep in mind that, there are top three goals of influencer marketing, increasing the brand awareness (85%), reaching out to new audiences (71%), and finally generating new sales and conversions (64%).
Creating an Influencer Marketing Strategy:
While trying to implement this influencer marketing in our own business, we must create our own strategy so that it works out ultimately as a beneficial thing, otherwise, without having a certain type of plan, we might not be able to effectively utilize it.
Determining Campaign Goals:
So the first step is to create definite goals for the influencer marketing strategies, so that we can measure the success of our various campaigns. While doing this, we must stick to thinking about our objectives in terms of SMART goals. There are basically three factors to keep in mind, reach, relevance and resonance.
Reach is all about if we are being able to deliver our product or service to our targeted customers through the assistance of the influencer. As it improves the brand awareness as well as product reputation, it’s a significant factor.
Relevance is basically the extent to which the potential or existing customers will feel connected to your product due to particular activities done by the influencer. It helps to figure out how to increase brand loyalty. For example, when a person sees that the influencer he/she follows uses a product for skin care, chances are there that the person himself/herself might start feeling interested or a strong connection to use the product as well.
Finally, resonance is the ability to drive the people belonging to the audience of an influencer, to undertake a specific action, with the help of the influencer’s content, it’s all about the memorability and impact. Resonance will help to increase the number of your customers and followers of your product, drive more traffic to your website and boost conversations to a great extent if done properly.
Defining the Campaign Audience:
It doesn’t matter which type of influencer we are working with, ultimately the target audience of ours are going to be basically the same. Of course different influencers will connect to the audience by following different ways, but our business’s buyer persona and overall marketing goals are not going to be changed.
So before we start communicating with the influencer, at first we have to get to know our ultimate target, who are our customers. We have to conduct thorough research done by our marketing team, to develop and learn about the buyer persona correctly. The reason why we should do it properly is because, it will contribute to identify the exact features of our customers, and only after knowing that, we will be able to take a decision about what kind of influencer might be best suitable to be effective to influence them to buy our products and also what kind of content presented by the influencers might feel most appealing to them.
Setting the Budget and Choosing the Influencer Type:
There are different types of influencers out there, like micro influencer, celebrity influencer, blog influencer, social media influencer, KOL. Now which type of these is going to be the best for your business depends on the fact that in which stage your business is. For example, if it’s a start-up that you’ve just started with a low budget, you might want not to spend a lot of money after influencer marketing and choose to work with a micro influencer in the scenario.
Choosing the Influencer and Reviewing His/Her Work:
So till now, we know which type of influencer we are going to work with. Now the time has come to choose the right type of influencer to serve the ultimate purpose. While trying to search for the influencer who is going to be the best, we have to consider some factors.
For example, analyze the fact that if the lifestyle and personality image the influencer has really gone along with our own brand image or not. Also, we have to ask some questions to ourselves, like, if the influencer previously worked with any of our competitors or not, who are the influencer’s existing followers, the target audience of ours, if they are active on the same channel as the influencer or not, is the budget actually fits into work with that influencer, what are the expectations that the influencer has from us etc. while trying to find the answers to these questions, it’s pretty much sure that finally the right type of influencer will be found by us.
Developing the Campaign Messaging For Your Influencer:
After choosing the influencer, now it’s time to sit with the marketing team and finalize what is the message going to be like that we will try to be sheared by the influencer, or what kind of content the influencer should or should not publish.
So that the influencer can remain on-brand of ours with the content, we have to provide him/her with our brand guideline, which will be including various stuff like brand voice, tag lines, and the types of languages that should be avoided and so on. No matter how many times the influencer posts about our product or service, we cannot forget that, after all, it’s our own brand that is being represented so we must ensure that it is being done rightfully and to help the influencer do do, we have to make it sure that he/she has all the necessary tools.
Finalizing Campaign Expectations with Our Influencer:
We have to make an overview of all the expectations that we have from the influencer to be able to successfully advertise our product, and also the expectations that the influencer might have from us. We cannot forget the fact that the influencer could’ve worked with other businesses previously and so might have his/her own ways to do stuff.
As some general points that we might want to put some focus on could be like, how are we going to pay or reward the influencer, how long are we planning to work with him/her, what is going to be the mode of communication between us and the influencer, are there any other terms of contract necessary for our particular business to review?
Rewarding Our Influencers:
Influencers are not going to work for free, of course, so we must pay them for the effort they are going to put. While discussing it with them, decide which type of mode would be convenient for them, whether it’s money, swag (clothing, accessories, product samples), access to discount codes or coupons or any other way.
Measuring the Campaign Results:
After we are done with all this stuff, now we have to start measuring the results or the outcomes and determine if they are actually satisfying our expectations or not. To do so, there are lots of metrics out there to help us out. For example, we have to keep an eye on the engagement that the audience is having with the influencer and the product,
We have to see how much reach our product or service is receiving from people through the influencer. Also, don’t forget to learn about the resonance, the level of completing an action, like buying the product or using the service, done by people, after they have been engaged with the influencer while advertising the product or service.
There are some other important metrics like brand awareness, clicks, conversions, return on investments, follower counts etc. All these merics will help us to figure out that if we are really on the track of achieving our business goal.
There has been a constant rise in word-of-mouth marketing and social proof. With that, influencer marketing has also been on the focus, making the marketers interested in making an investment in this particular type of marketing. There is no denying the fact that influencer marketing is absolutely effective to improve our reach among potential customers.