While scrolling up and down of your social networks page, knowingly or unknowingly you have come across influencer marketing in one form or another. Through their posted content influencers are posting about what they eat, wear, use makeup, and much more. From the traditional image posts to newer in trend Instagram stories, from long videos to blogs influencers are getting sponsored to post about brands, products, or services on their social media accounts.
Anyone can be an influencer. If you have followers then you influence them. In general, the influencers post about brands, products, or services because they love to use them. They may be looking for a sponsored deal in the future but when they are posting about these products or services not necessarily they are getting paid. Even if they are getting one like on their posts they are generating engagement.
Though influencer marketing has been very popular lately it has been around for as long as 15 years now. However, bringing authenticity to all of their posts is a factor that has been a struggle always. The influencers who sound genuine and authentic while posting about brands, products or services, reap many rewards. When people find authentic appeal in the endorsed products through positive reviews and recommendations, they trust the influencers and this creates a fan base and empowers the influencers to affect their purchasing decisions.
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is a digital marketing method used by businesses to get their products or services promoted using reviews and recommendations via endorsements from influencers on the internet. Influencer marketing has undergone a lot of changes since its inception 15 years ago. At that time social media apps like Facebook and Twitter had just come into existence and were not yet the well-known names of today. Even apps like Instagram did not come into existence for 4 more years. Influencers then were primarily bloggers who shared their daily experiences online that were linked to products or services.
Influencer marketing has not changed much It has slowly adapted to the current scenario and this has always been a continuous change. Though they are still sharing stories about their experiences with products and services they are using regularly, the methods of posting and the appeal they have generated are changing. Today many people have made a career in being an influencer and earn their livelihood by sponsorships from brands. This contrast gives an idea about the growth of the industry where any income if at all was considered to be side income but today is considered to be a full-time engagement.
Today’s influencers have a host of options to choose from when it comes to the choice of social media platform and media type. They have the power to choose their type of content as per the social media platform it is intended for. The influencers who like video platforms use YouTube, TikTok, Instagram stories, etc. The ones who prefer blogging or other forms of written content use the blogging websites or Facebook, and the ones who want a bit of everything use Instagram. Even with the new platforms, the influencers find a way to create promotional content as well.
Some data-driven facts
9 out of 10 brands use some kind of influencer marketing. Explore your options for influencer marketing if you want to be in the competitive market. Whatever industry you are in, you will find at least one influencer who will fit your purpose. Smaller influencers are effective as well in their ways. It’s your choice for your type of campaign.
Influencers with a smaller number of followers around 1000-5000 enjoy a higher level of engagement in their posts. You might be compelled to think that influencers with a higher following (ranging in tens of thousands or millions) might have a higher reach but their engagement rate hovers around 3.5%. At the same time influencers with a lesser no of followers have an engagement rate on their posts that amount to about 8.6%.
You can generate a media value ROI of more than $10 for every $1 spent on the campaign. While looking to grow brand awareness, sales, or other metrics you need to take advantage and reap benefits from your influencer marketing campaign. The media value this generates is more than other marketing tactics. The approach should be strategical to do it correctly. This mostly works if you have hired an influencer marketing agency and been offered a suitable influencer.
Ecommerce stores are the trend in purchasing currently. Keeping that in mind Ecommerce stores are picking up influencer marketing and using it to increase their popularity. So, what are the ways influencer marketing is being used by e-commerce stores? Here are some.
The promotion of an online store is probably the most obvious way e-commerce businesses are using influencer marketing. As influencers are talking about your online store it becomes very easy for them to leave a link to your store on their content. This makes sure that the potential buyers are not lost along the way. This is way easier than asking audiences to go to a certain page and simply asking them to follow the link provided.
Promote and share UGC (User Generated Content)
Sharing user-generated content and promoting them as influencers are also used by many e-commerce stores. People trust other people or fellow consumers more than celebrities and brands. You can always create a creative hashtag and ask the users to post content on your products or services and top it up with an influencer to bring them to your online store. This will make the influencer's posts more genuine and also give them less to worry about the quality of your product.
Use Influencer testimonials
Every brand needs testimonials on their website but in some cases, customers don’t come back and leave a review to share their experience. While working with influencers you can share their story and testimonial. When you use their testimonials on your site or on a particular product they have reviewed it adds to the social proof for your potential customers and they feel more confident about your product.
Offer promotional discounts
Offering a discount through an influencer's content is a very effective way to increase sales and ROI on your campaign. Creating a discount code for an influencer will let you exactly track their contributions and conversions. In addition, many people will want to benefit from that offer by purchasing at a reduced price. And let’s be honest, while customers are looking for a product available on multiple online stores the most sales are clocked by the ones offering the lowest prices.
Collaborating with micro-influencers is the way to go for e-commerce brands. A small following with a high engagement rate will make you spend less per influencer and allow you to use multiple influencers. You may think that using influencers with large followings is the way forward but that is not the case especially when you are looking to increase sales. Using a strategy to rely on connections that have been built with smaller followings that are highly engaged are more successful in this regard.
Now once that is understood, you might be thinking about how to build an influencer marketing strategy. Let’s get into that part. As you build a strategy you can make sure your approach is methodical and thorough. You will be aware of what you want from your campaign and how to measure it to see the progress.
1. Document your goals and KPI’s
Goals define the strategy. As you are planning to start an influencer marketing campaign you need to identify and set appropriate goals. Sales are obvious however there are many more goals that can be achieved. Some ideas? Certainly!
Build brand awareness
As you work with influencers your brand’s name gets highlighted in front of thousands of people and expands its reach to people who had not heard about it before. When you use influencers the people know about your brand from people they trust.
Attract target audiences
Your brand has a reach but it does not reach the entire fan base. Influencers work hard to create a fan base in their niche and when your industry matches and the influencer likes your product or service then their recommendations will open newer doors for you to venture into newer markets.
A well-strategized campaign can get you more customers and leads. You can also design a nurturing campaign for the influencer’s followers to know your brand better. You could also direct them to your online store for them to start making purchases.
2. Understand influencer marketing
While beginning to work with influencers you will get time to understand influencer marketing and influencers as a whole. You will know the types of influencers be it micro, macro, or mega. In this understanding, you might develop a feeling that you will avoid celebrities or mega influencers as they may have a huge following and reach but a low engagement rate, and high prices for collaboration or vise versa, depending on your campaign goals.
You will understand how influencers endorse businesses and understand how to pitch your brand. This will make you better informed of the scenario and let you create an impression on the influencer and the audience.
3. Connecting with influencers
You will be more confident in connecting with influencers once you get the hang of it. You will be able to explore the ways and means to find influencers and understand the process well. You will develop a watchful eye on your competitors and discover who they are working with. Again on the other hand you will be able to connect well with your influencer and make the partnership a long-lasting one.
Influencer marketing is here to stay and will grow more in the coming years. Businesses operating on Ecommerce ideals will be able to benefit greatly from this, irrespective of their goals. Influencers will help you grow your following, increase sales and raise brand awareness. Start early and become the leader.