If I was a betting woman, I would say this isn't the first time you've heard about influencer marketing. In the e-commerce boom we've seen over the last year or so, "influencer marketing" has been seen in more ways than one! More and more agencies are pushing brands to utilize this new strategy to their advantage (and the influencer, too!) to gather more traffic to their brand or message.
Quick summary: What is Influencer Marketing?
I won't spend too long explaining influencer marketing because the premise is quite simple: you pay an influencer either in money or products to sponsor your product in a set number of posts and/or campaign with them for a certain amount of time. The idea around influencer marketing is that you get more eyeballs on your product by utilizing an audience already built up by someone else and the influencer potentially gains from your audience as well while also getting some sweet new product.
Why is there such a boom in influencer marketing lately?
I'll give you an example!
Let's say a salesperson comes knocking on your door to sell you these great new shoes they developed. They give you the whole sales pitch and demonstration by going through all its awesome features.
You're impressed...but this guy was hired by the company to advertise! Of course, he would say these are the best sneakers ever!
You tell the guy that you like the product but you need to think about it. (In the sales world, "let me think about it" 9/10 times means no.) You go about your day, doing research on your own about sneakers.
The next day your friend comes by and you notice her new sneakers! She tells you all about them and how she has been using them for months and adores them! She raves on and on about how great they are and how awesome the customer service is when they helped her get her size after she ordered the wrong one online. See, you trust your best friend! You see that she loves these shoes so the probability that you will too is very likely! You go ahead and order yourself a pair.
This is influencer marketing in a nutshell. People trust people they already are familiar with and like. Brands can talk all the sales pitches they want but people are becoming numb to it! (Understandably so!) Influencer marketing is centered around utilizing that "friend" and giving their honest opinion about a product to bring sales to the brand!
Does influencer marketing work as well as people say it does?
110%, yes! Based on several statistics, influencer marketing has an 89% ROI (return on investment) which means that you get a substantial gain from the money you spent on that influencer! Those kinds of numbers cannot be ignored in the marketing world, especially in the social media age where so many campaigns and strategies go completely unnoticed by most people.
Influencer marketing works! How do I know who to reach out to?
There are several studies out now that show "micro-influencers" are performing better from a ROI% perspective rather than influencers with millions of followers like, for example, Kim Kardashian.
Micro-influencers are generally categorized as accounts with under 25,000 followers. They tend to be more engaged with their audience and vice versa. They are in that "sweet spot", so to speak, with their reach and engagement numbers. We are learning that, as social media marketers, it's smarter to invest in a smaller influencer and grow with them rather than shell out the big bucks with a more popular one.
When looking for a brand influencer you must have a solid social media strategy to begin with! You need a strong brand identity so you know exactly the type of person to look for! Just like a brand, influencers generally have a target audience or niche they specialize in so finding these like-minded people is key!
Without going into too much detail (it's a whole separate article!), it's important to have a solid strategy and goals set in mind before even starting to reach out to influencers! As with anything, you need a plan! It's not a smart idea to just go out and start spamming influencers hoping one will reply without a well-thought-out strategy.
The trends are telling us to expect to see influencer marketing grow as an industry through the coming years! Even though it's already a $7.7B industry (really!!!) it's still climbing as more and more digital marketers catch on and strategize with influencers to make campaigns that work!