The concept of influencer marketing has been around since Roman gladiators were influencing purchasing behavior. Influencer marketing entered the modern marketer’s rhetoric within the last decade and was added to the English dictionary in 2019.
In its most basic definition, influencer marketing is a type of marketing that uses a person of influence to promote a product or service for a brand on their social media to their following. How is this effective? Influencer marketing works because of the trust factor that audiences have built with an influencer. Recommendations from an influencer function like a friend telling you about a new product they tried and liked.
Standing out on social media was easier several years ago when the platforms were less saturated, but getting onto something like the Instagram Explore page and standing out poised you for success as an influencer. This could jumpstart an influencer career. After just a few successful partnerships, the accessibility for turning into a social media influencer and making it your career was significantly higher.
However, times change and what was a cool way to be noticed, or sell a product 5 years ago on social media doesn’t have the same effect it does today. We are seeing younger people start their careers as influencers with just a smartphone. No $5000 camera. No Hollywood-level editing bay. No expensive software. Just a person telling a more authentic story with a camera they always have on them.
Influencer Marketing Value
Instagram and TikTok are common places for influencers marketing strategies to take place, but there are so many opportunities for this network to expand. In 2022, influencer marketing is projected to be a 16.4 billion dollar industry, a change of almost 70% in 2 years. Each social network has its own set of demographics that aid in diversifying effective influencer marketing campaigns.
Mediakix, an influencer marketing agency asked marketers at the end of 2018 what their feelings on influencers were for the new year.
48% found that ROI was better or much better from influencer marketing compared to other channels. Not only that, but influencer marketing delivers 11x higher return on investment.
How to Create an Influencer Marketing Strategy
Like any of your marketing efforts, it takes very intentional targeting and planning. It wouldn’t be overly strategic to send a seemingly endless amount of free products out to people who may have a following.
1. Finding Influencers and What to Pay Them
As you would expect, research is the first step for finding who might be successful for your campaign. Think about your platforms and where you want to focus. You can always branch out further to platforms later. You’ll want to keep in mind platforms that your brand already has a presence on.
During your initial research phase, look into the type of influencers you’re interested in working with. Are you going for Kim Kardashian-level mega-celebrities with monstrous followings? Or maybe you’re interested in working with microinfluencers with somewhere in the 1500-2000 followers area. Maybe even in between at the 5,000-10,000 follower range. These decisions will determine what kind of budget you will be working with.
Compensation at each of these tiers varies highly. Be sure to research standard rates for each level. Microinfluencers tend to be independent, but some work through an agency. Celebrities typically need higher levels of compensation and work with agencies.
Influencers in 2021 were being compensated at a rate of between $2-$25/1000 followers per post, depending on the social channel.
2. Set a Budget
Now that you have a loose idea of what to pay influencers, you need to set a budget. Don’t forget to factor in time for planning, executing, and reviewing your influencer program. Influencer marketing is not nearly as set it and forget it as an automated ad campaign. It will be important to monitor and follow up with your influencers.
Ultimately, influencers are people. They often have several brand deals going at once. Follow up with them and cultivate a relationship with them. This will help business moving forward for both parties. Learn from your experiences as you go.
If you need a wider pool of influencers to work with or, you are a smaller agency, consider hiring an influencer specific agency that focuses exclusively on influencer marketing.
3. Goals and Message
Most common use cases for influencer marketing are to increase brand awareness and sales. Instead of casting a wide net at these two targets, consider focusing more heavily on your needs. Maybe you want to target a younger demographic, or into a new user group, or maybe you just want to have an influencer talk about your brand values.
Your message is as important as your end goal. While you don’t want to inhibit the influencer’s creativity and individuality, you don’t want them to focus on something not related to your brand or active campaign with them. Determine how you want to structure your campaign and it’s messaging so you can keep it consistent.
4. Refining Your Strategy and Tracking
Okay, so you have hired the influencer for your campaign and their posts are live. Now what? Have dates where you’ll check on the campaign progress. Even if this campaign is ongoing, you should have dates that you will periodically check on throughout.
How have you done? Did you achieve your goals? If you didn’t the first time, hope is not lost. These are processes that take time like all of your other marketing efforts. If you are aiming for more sales through your campaign, use affiliate codes or tracking links for an easy way to see how much is coming directly from influencers. We also recommend utilizing campaign specific hashtags so you can keep track on each platform.
Influencers are going to continue to grow in the digital marketing space. We are seeing shifts to more genuine, creator specific messaging as consumers are after clear, genuine connection in the storytelling. This landscape is changing daily, and we expect to see more regulation surrounding this as well.
Even so, influencer marketing still offers opportunity to reach a more specific audience base through your chosen influencer. Will you employ influencer marketing in your next marketing campaign?