Influencer Marketing: The Ultimate Guide
Influencer marketing is a hot trend in recent years and a new philosophy in promotion. Many companies are convinced that this is one of the best ways to increase the level of trust in the brand and its recognition, which is undeniably proved by the statistics – thanks to recommendations from experts, leaders and celebrities, the business grows faster and sales increase. In this article, let’s take a closer look at what influencer marketing is and why a business needs it.
What is influencer marketing
Influencer marketing ( English influencer marketing ) – promoting products and services through the recommendations of influential people.
Influencer marketing usually means advertising through bloggers on social networks, but any person whose opinion is trusted and ready to listen can be an influencer. Specifically, Forbes suggests categorizing influencers into 6 types:
- outstanding industry figures;
- influential personal brands.
In general, even a regular forum visitor can be an opinion leader, if he is known and respected for his competence and advice. These influencers are called influencers. They don’t have to be famous bloggers or experts, but they should influence the opinion of other people by their actions and comments.
The main principle of influencer marketing is native and unobtrusive advertising served as a friendly recommendation from a famous person. This type of advertising has existed for a very long time, but it began to develop actively only after the level of information noise in the world reached critical levels and people simply stopped paying attention to billboards, banners on the Internet and advertising from TV.
You know for sure the most famous influencer in the world – Santa Claus from Coca-Cola ads, who began to appear in it since 1928. Of course, today everything has changed, but the basics are still the same – use a famous person who is trusted to show that you can be trusted.
Every day we are surrounded by a huge amount of advertising. There is so much of it that we simply ignore it. In such conditions, brands have to constantly find and try new ways to promote, one of which is influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing does not communicate advertising messages from the brand itself, but from celebrities who are influencers for your target audience.
When an influencer talks about your product, he tells stories and raises issues that are relevant to his audience of readers. From the lips of a real person who has tried the product, information sounds more believable than direct advertising. At the same time, there is usually a close, almost friendly contact between the influencer and the audience, which makes advertising a piece of advice that you want to follow.
This native approach to advertising differentiates influencer marketing from traditional advertising methods. Praising yourself is easy, but in practice it is no longer effective. Much more feedback now comes from a normal Influencer post.
Goals and objectives
Collaboration with influencers is often viewed as an image tool. However, this channel can effectively solve many business problems. Influencers are contacted when needed:
- increase awareness;
- increase audience trust and loyalty;
- increase sales;
- demonstrate the product in action;
- answer consumer questions;
- work through objections and negative associations with the product.
Naturally, all this is possible only if the work with influencers is properly structured. For a campaign to be effective, you need to solve the following tasks:
- find the right bloggers and check them for cheats;
- create a promotion strategy;
- set aside a budget for working with influencers;
- constantly monitor social trends.
Thus, influencer marketing is a complex solution for any business and allows you to cope with various tasks. We need to tell about a new product, increase traffic and reach, replace “burnt out” traffic sources – we need influencers.
Formats and Tools
Influencer marketing is very flexible. There are many formats and tools for influencing your audience. The choice depends on the location and the goals set.
- Review. The influencer shows the product and shares his impressions of using it. The format can be any: post, story, video, live broadcast.
- Integration. This is a more native ad format in which the blogger casually mentions your product while telling his story.
- Contests. Media personality to conduct a contest where he raffles the product provided by the advertiser. This is a good way to draw attention to any new product of the company.
- Ad insert (pre-roll) . Usually this format is used in video and looks like a 10-15 second video before the video.
- Special project. The advertiser brands and sponsors the blogger’s content. For example, a blogger becomes the driver of an advertised taxi for one day and shows his work from the inside.
- Event lighting. Influencers are invited to various brand events – new store openings, exhibitions, conferences, fan meetings. Bloggers cover the event and advertise it at the same time.
- Ambassador. The company collaborates with bloggers on a regular basis and, one might say, makes him the face of its brand on social media.
Each format has its own priority functions. For example, reviews and testimonials help increase sales, and special projects and ambassadors increase brand awareness and reputation among the audience.
We should also highlight the correct choice of the platform. For example, influencer marketing on Instagram works well for brands with a strong visual component – the beauty industry, tourism, fashion. If you are looking for gamers, you should check out Twitch or YouTube gaming channels.
Most marketers refer to influencer marketing as a cost-effective channel. The traffic generated by integrating the brand into the influencer’s content is better than other ad campaigns.
To assess the effectiveness of cooperation, they use data on the engagement and reach of a post in social networks, sales statistics, changes in activity on brand pages, the number of clicks, clicks, registrations, and so on.
Influencer marketing especially outperforms traditional advertising methods if:
- a young unknown brand is being promoted;
- need to sell complex products;
- Intimate matters are raised.
How can influencer marketing help your business?
Influencers can be used effectively for businesses of any format. It suits both local small companies and large international brands with an extensive product line. It is only important to choose the right concept and promotion strategy.
Overall, there are 5 reasons why you should incorporate influencer marketing into your business promotion strategy:
- Brand presence on social media. Influencers can help you communicate your brand to social media users. The attention of thousands and millions of people to whom you can turn is riveted to them.
- Word of mouth effect. For example, if you are placing a promotional post with an influencer. Thousands of people like, comment and share it, and this again increases your reach and engagement.
- Active traffic. These visitors are already motivated and interested in buying.
- Fast and effective feedback. Through social media, you can get quick feedback from users, which will help you understand the general reaction of the audience and get specific feedback.
- Long-term advertising. Posts remain in the influencer’s profile for a long time. Even after a while, they continue to gain more and more views and likes, attracting more and more potential customers.
This approach to advertising guarantees the inflow of a new active audience, even when the usual traffic sources have already worked out, helps to increase reach and solve image problems.
The whole concept of Influencer marketing is based on two behavioral factors:
- Trust in an expert. About 92% of all consumers actively read forums, use social networks and trust the recommendations of other Internet users.
- Desire to be like an idol. When a well-known personality in the media circles says that she uses certain products, many also want to get the products of this brand at their disposal in order to become like their idol.
Influencer marketing is especially effective for businesses with a wide geography. It is good to sell products of ad hoc demand through influencers, whose pages are easy to subscribe to – food delivery, games, mobile applications. But in general, this solution is suitable for any business.
One of the main benefits of influencer marketing is the absence of fraud. If it does appear, then it will not be difficult to track the markups. Social media and dedicated services offer advertisers detailed profile and post analytics.
How to Implement Influencer Marketing
Now that it is clear that your business needs influencer marketing, you need to figure out how to implement it. Let’s consider step by step each step on the way to this:
- Decide on goals. First, you need to determine what effect you want to get from cooperation – generating leads and sales, creating unique content, increasing traffic, increasing your presence on social networks. Next, select 2-3 KPIs by which you will track performance.
- Define your target audience. Create a portrait of your ideal client: gender, age, hobbies, place of work and residence. This will give you a clear idea of what audience to look for.
- Selecting and checking influencers. In influencer marketing, one of the most important steps is finding a suitable blogger and checking him for cheating. The trendHERO service will help you here, which contains an extensive database of influencers, as well as provides detailed statistics on accounts, including metrics that allow you to identify cheats.
- Chat with an influencer. It is recommended that you write a letter with a clear proposal, as well as prepare materials that will help the influencer become familiar with your brand and its products. It is best to write a full-fledged brief, where all the details of cooperation are written down – the number of posts and their format, publication time, amount of remuneration, and so on.
- Create content. Authorship content works best in influencer marketing, so a sponsored post must be co-authored with an influencer. He knows the preferences of his audience of followers better than others and has long learned to do what they like.
- Track and measure results. Use the KPIs you defined early on to track the effectiveness of your collaboration. Correct any mistakes and adjustments if necessary.
Be prepared for the fact that difficulties may arise on the way – bloggers may refuse to cooperate, missed deadlines, conversion may be lower than expected due to various shortcomings.
What doesn’t work in influencer marketing
A lot of brands, discovering influencer marketing, expect lightning sales, but in the end they only waste time and budget. Here are just a few examples of things that definitely won’t work:
- Direct unmasked advertising. Head-on advertising is detrimental to influencer marketing. Not only does it not work, but it can harm both the blogger’s reputation and the brand.
- Inappropriate content. You need to cooperate only with those bloggers who give access to your target audience. An opinion leader can have a million subscribers, but what good is it if most of them are girls from Moscow, and you are looking for buyers from Kazan.
- Placing posts where competitors have already advertised. Repeated advertising of the same products, but from different brands, looks inorganic, raises doubts and distrust.
- Image mismatch. Imagine how strange an advertisement for a vegan restaurant will look between photos with burgers, or posing in a fur coat made of natural fur. The blogger must support the brand philosophy.
In influencer marketing, sometimes a product mentioned by accident can bring unexpectedly high conversions, while detailed “grilling” of all the product’s benefits will only, on the contrary, cause rejection by the audience.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Done right, influencer marketing can be a powerful promotion tool that can help a brand better understand its audience. There are a number of other benefits as well:
- Accessibility. High-quality advertising to the target audience was previously available mainly to large brands. Influence marketing is available to everyone, including small brands and private professionals.
- High level of trust. The level of trust in content by influencers is 63-65% higher than in traditional advertising.
- High efficiency. On average, every dollar spent on collaboration with influencers is converted into 6.5 dollars in profit. We found that 40% more customers were making a referral purchase.
- Constant growth of attention. The number of TV viewers decreases by 9.5% annually. People go to social networks, from where they find out all the news that interests them.
- Demand. About 74% of all users turn to social networks in search of recommendations.
This is an effective tool with many possibilities, but it also has negative points:
- Among the huge number of influencers, it is difficult to choose those who would ideally fit the business objectives.
- Difficult to predict the result. There is practically no information for forecasting. The result is influenced by everything the influencer does and says.
- The cost of advertising from opinion leaders can reach colossal values. Bloggers-millionaires and celebrities can demand several thousand dollars for one publication, which is not affordable for small and medium-sized businesses.
Tips on how to use influencer marketing
Influence marketing is still a new promotion mechanism, and when implementing it, you still have to rely on intuition in many ways. Perhaps the following tips can help you avoid common mistakes:
- The number of subscribers is not the main thing. One of the latest trends in influencer marketing is working with micro-influencers. These are mainly small bloggers (up to 10k subscribers) who have a small but very involved audience.
- See analytics. Many influencers are guilty of cheating. Be sure to thoroughly analyze your account before collaborating.
- Analyze cases. These are practical examples of solving various business problems that will help you master the methods of working with influencers.
- Increase your reach. It is necessary not only to light up, but also to be remembered. Collaborate with multiple bloggers, experiment, get creative.
Marketing is influencing the future of advertising. With the right approach, he is able to sell any goods and services. There is no place for standard advertising schemes, but there is an opportunity to experiment, create completely new and unique promotion methods.