Before the internet and social media largely affected advertising and marketing, celebrities were paid to endorse a product, service, or campaign. Now, influencers make this type of marketing much more accessible. An influencer — aka someone who has a large following on social media — can work with a company to promote a product or service to their audience. Think of influencers as the new-and-improved version of celebrity endorsements.
When done well, influencer marketing can benefit most brands, especially when it comes to growing their brand awareness, tapping into new audiences, and driving traffic. That’s because influencers already have an established audience of followers who enjoy and engage with their content. By choosing an influencer who shares the same audience as your company, he or she can naturally market what you’re selling to people who may already be interested.
Interested in working with an influencer, but not sure if it’s right for your brand? Read on.
Influencers use social proof and word of mouth
Why does influencer marketing work now compared to those celebrity endorsements of years past? Almost 90% of marketers find that the ROI on influencer marketing is comparable or better than other marketing channels. An influencer’s followers already trust that person’s opinion, or they’re inspired by that person’s brand. Influencer marketing uses word of mouth and social proof to build brand awareness — proven to be two of the most effective ways to market.
Let’s say someone follows a fashion and lifestyle blogger on Instagram because she admires their home decor, style, and makeup. If this blogger posts about how much they love their new skin cream because it’s great for sensitive skin, our follower might find herself agreeing. Now she’s interested in that skin cream, partially because other followers are too. That influencer is relatable and builds trust by revealing parts of their life on social media. Their followers admire them and aspire to be like them. When they sign off on a product or service they seem to love, their followers will listen.
And, if your brand created that skin cream, everything’s coming up roses for you. See how this works?
Decide if influencer marketing makes sense for your brand
Think influencer marketing could give your brand a boost? Here’s how you should decide if partnering with an influencer is worth it.
Consider your target audience
- Who is your audience?
- What social media platforms does your audience use?
- What brands are they following on those channels?
- How much time are they spending on social media?
These are all important questions that will help you decide if influencer marketing will work on your audience. For example, if you sell a product or service targeted at younger consumers who spend a lot of time on Instagram, there’s a good chance influencer marketing will work well. On the other hand, if your consumers are older and prefer more traditional advertising like commercials or print ads, an influencer may not have the reach you want within that demographic.
Consider your product or service
Similarly, consider whether your product or service makes sense for brand advocacy. Can an influencer naturally market your product or service to their followers? Instagram is a popular social media channel for influencers because it’s heavily visual. For example, a fitness and lifestyle blogger can easily become an influencer for an activewear brand or company that makes high-quality water bottles. Those are tangible products that are easy to market in photos. Consumer goods companies make more sense for influencer marketing compared to services like a real estate agency, veterinarian office, or daycare center.
Figure out what you want in a partnership
Once you’ve decided that your company and your audience will benefit from influencer marketing, it’s time to set some goals for the partnership. Ask yourself these questions to get the most out of an agreement with your influencer.
What do you want your influencer(s) to promote?
Before jumping into a partnership, decide on what you want to achieve through influencer marketing. You may want to increase brand awareness and word of mouth online. Maybe you want to boost your company’s social media presence by linking up with influencers. Increasing sales and conversion rates are also common goals for influencer partnerships, as well as promoting new campaigns, events, or product launches.
Decide what your goal is and which part of your business (product? service? sale?) an influencer will be promoting.
What is your brand’s “personality?”
- What is your brand’s aesthetic?
- What tone do you use to speak to your audience?
- What are you trying to communicate?
- Does your audience see your brand as inspirational, relatable, trustworthy, trendy, funny, or controversial?
In order to find the right influencers to partner with, you have to understand your own brand and your goals first. From there, work to find an influencer who aligns with that. You wouldn’t choose an older male influencer to promote makeup and a brand more aligned with 20-something women, right? You get the idea.
What kind of budget do you have for the partnership?
Unfortunately, influencer marketing is generally not free. If it is, it’s probably not someone who has much of a following. But there are “tiers” of influencers.
f you have a small budget and limited resources, you may be better off working with a micro-influencer. A micro-influencer has a smaller following of about 2,000 to 50,000. The exact number varies based on who you ask, but that isn’t what matters most. What matters is that micro-influencers typically have the chance to engage regularly with their audience. Their actual reach may be smaller, but they’re able to develop more personal relationships with their followers.
If you have a larger budget, there’s certainly nothing wrong with partnering with a macro influencer (50,000 to 1 million followers), a mega influencer (over 1 million followers) or even a celebrity influencer! You’re able to reach many more people in your target audience that way. Plus, you may have more opportunities to be creative with the content the influencer creates for your brand. For example, an influencer may dedicate a full-length YouTube video or several Instagram Stories to your company, rather than one photo on Instagram.
Look for influencers in your industry
Now that you have your goals, brand, audience, and resources figured out, you can start looking for the right influencers. One way to do this is to check out what your competition or similar brands are doing. Who are they working with to promote their products or services? Does it seem to be working based on their engagement level and feedback? You can also look for influencers who have a similar audience to yours.
For example, if your company creates and sells cruelty-free, natural beauty products, find beauty influencers who test new brands, create makeup tutorials, or prioritize organic and ethically produced items. Those followers and your target audience are sure to overlap in some way.
Expand your reach through influencer marketing
The reality is: given the right promotions and a strong focus on partnership, influencers can take your brand to the next level. Influencer marketing is a great way to connect with your target audience naturally and meet your business goals. Just be sure to understand your brand, your audience, your industry, and what you want out of an influencer partnership.
That way, your partnership has a better chance of bringing in results that you want. And if you want help managing the influencer/brand partnership, V9 is happy to help.