Influencers are credible people who have followers on social media channels. Because of their following, 93% of marketers have resorted to influencer marketing as a part of their marketing strategy.
Let’s address why influencer marketing needs to be a part of your marketing mix and how to build an influencer marketing strategy.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing involves the promotion of a product or brand by someone who is perceived to be an expert or a person with a large following. Influencers can be celebrities, bloggers, athletes, or thought leaders.
Based on the number of followers, here are the 5 types of influencers:
- Celebrities: 1 million+ followers
- Macro-influencers: 100K+ followers
- Industry experts: 10K+ followers
- Micro-influencers: 1,000+ followers
- Nano-influencers: < 1000 followers
Depending on the budget, goal, and type of campaign, marketers can choose different influencers to promote their brand through ads, giveaways, contests, and endorsements.
Benefits of Influencer Marketing
1. Improves brand awareness
Source: Top Rank
Influencer marketing has become a popular way to market products and services. Your brand can get the word out and reach target audiences. Influencers come with a built-in audience that values their recommendations. Since brands are seeing the value of integrating influencer marketing into their marketing mix, the industry saw a projected growth of $16.7 billion in 2022.
2. Builds audience trust
Because influencers already have your target market’s attention, partnering with them to mention your product is an effective way to build audience trust and, eventually, an industry-leading reputation. Audience trust grows when brands and influencers have a long-term partnership, instead of a one-off collaboration.
3. Increases ROI
Earlier, Nike struck a lifetime deal with professional soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo, wherein they will pay him $24 million annually. It is an absolute bargain for the brand considering the returns they enjoy with this collaboration. In only one year (2016), Ronaldo generated a revenue of $474 million for the brand.
By partnering up with top-tier influencers, brands can expand their awareness, increase their conversions, and improve their bottom line.
4. Boosts SEO efforts
If you’re from a small business, it is tough to compete with the large companies because they have big budgets to advertise their offerings. However, by partnering with an influencer, you can positively impact your SEO in the following ways:
- Helps you get a better quality of link profiles, (e.g backlinks from high authority domains)
- Increases your social media following and eventually your web traffic
- Assists in shareable, quality content
5. Complements content strategy
By collaborating with an influencer, you can create a high-quality content calendar that resonates with your audience.
It also creates a win-win-win situation. Your business gets higher reach and sales, the influencer gets another client on their portfolio, and your audience benefits from a trusted recommendation.
How to Build an Influencer Marketing Strategy
1. Determine campaign goals
Are you looking to boost brand awareness, get more traffic, or increase conversions? To answer this question, you need to determine your campaign’s ‘SMART’ objectives — Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
While analyzing these parameters, try to focus on the influencer’s reach, their relevance to your audience, and how they can impact your target audience.
For example, Salesforce partnered with supermodel Karlie Kloss to spread awareness about their joint mission of creating an inclusive future in technology.
2. Define target audience
Without a clear target audience, it becomes challenging to estimate the success of a campaign. To define your target audience, create an ideal buyer persona for your business by getting to know the following:
- Demographics: age, gender, race, location, occupation, and income
- Psychographics: goals, values, interests, desires, behaviors, pain points, and lifestyle choices
3. Shortlist influencers that align with your brand’s values
If you want to build customer relationships that will bring repeat business, you want to focus on finding influencers with a similar goal. These influencers are usually more interested in providing value to their audience, building a long-term relationship with a brand, and less concerned with making a quick profit.
4. Study influencer engagement
The key to a winning influencer marketing campaign is knowing the influencer’s engagement rate. Simply having a high follower count doesn’t mean they have high engagement rates.
Some metrics you can consider to gauge influencer engagement rates are:
- Reposts or retweets
- Reach and impressions
- View count
- Social sentiment and share of voices
As a rule of thumb, avoid partnering with influencers who have wavering engagement. Here’s a formula you can apply:
Total engagement rate = (total engagement ÷ total follower count posts) x 100
Here, total engagement refers to the sum of all the metrics, such as shares and comments.
5. Discuss campaign requirements
It’s a good idea to discuss the campaign details, such as the goal of the campaign, the length of the campaign, and the type of posts and frequency.
You can provide the influencer with your brand guidelines and any “must-haves” or “nice-to-have” elements in the final content. After discussing the campaign requirements, draft a contract for both parties to sign.
6. Analyze progress
During the campaign, avoid focusing on only vanity metrics. Instead, try to consider these factors too:
- Web traffic
- Referral traffic
- Use of coupon codes
- UTM codes used via affiliate links
- Qualified leads
- Increase in brand awareness
- Campaign engagement
Finally, be prepared to have a dedicated team member to respond to queries on the influencer’s post. You want to provide your audience with a valuable and memorable experience.
Enrich Your Marketing Mix With Influencer Marketing
There is always room for improvement in your current marketing mix. Influencer marketing can be that missing element in your current strategy. By building meaningful relationships with influencers, you can leverage their reputation within your niche.
About the Author
Sanketee Kher (MA, I/O Psychology) is a freelance content writer.
She specializes in writing for B2B SaaS and MarTech companies looking to incorporate personality into their brands. She also writes about HR topics for leading job boards in India and the U.S.When she isn’t crafting content for her clients, you can find her indulging in other creative pursuits. You can connect with Sanketee on LinkedIn and Twitter.