What is influencer marketing and how to use it
Influencer marketing is a phenomenon that blew up social media back in 2017. Brands rushed en masse to build partnerships with bloggers and incorporate influencer ads into the company’s overall marketing strategy. What is influencer marketing, why is it so popular, and how can you use this tool wisely to build trust with your target audience? Let’s figure it out together!
What is influencer marketing
Influencer marketing is a form of social media marketing that includes recommendations and product placement from influencers. Simply put, the influencer must natively advertise the brand’s product in order to attract the attention of the audience and establish two-way communication between the company and the users.
Influencers are not just bloggers with a million subscribers. For example, Forbes magazine identifies six types of influencers :
- industry experts;
- outstanding personal brands;
The main feature of influencer marketing is the delivery of ads in an unobtrusive format. The opinion leader advises the followers of a product or service, “packing” the message into a life story or recommendation “from the heart”.
Yes, yes, users trust their favorite bloggers much more than direct advertising with open calls to buy something. According to statistics, up to 92% prefer to make a choice based on information received from the mouth of an influencer.
How it works
94% of marketers use influencer marketing as its ROI is 11x higher than traditional marketing.
And here are 3 reasons why you should include working with influencers in your company’s strategy:
- bloggers generate “tasty” and useful content that might interest users;
- advertising from influencers is more likely to help you get to the desired target audience;
- if you have really cool products then bloggers may want to partner with the brand on a barter basis, so it’s also beneficial.
There are different ways of working with bloggers:
- advertising in stories and posts;
- seeding branded content on social media;
- content development by an influencer.
The scheme of interaction with opinion leaders looks like this:
- preparation of a detailed brief (definition of target audience, marketing goals, and so on);
- search for bloggers whose values are consistent with your brand concept;
- writing TOR;
- preliminary verification of materials;
- tracking results.
A more detailed plan of interaction with influencers can be found in the following sections.
Reasons for popularity
In 2021, 66% of brands plan to increase their influencer marketing budgets. Why does everyone like him so much? The numbers will tell you:
- 40% of consumers believe blogger ads provide a visual way to see how a product is used.
- 35% of those surveyed said influencer marketing makes finding products much easier;
- for promotional codes, promotions and special offers 30% of content is watched by influencers;
- 22% of respondents referred to the competence of bloggers;
- 16% of consumers said they were more credible with sponsored posts on influencer pages than direct ads.
Who is it for
Influencer marketing is an effective tool that will bring results in almost any niche, but we advise you to treat it as an experimental channel and not spend your entire budget on influencers.
Influencer marketing is best suitable :
- companies with a wide geography of target audience and sales (for example, online stores, financial services);
- Internet services (food delivery, cashback, mobile applications, etc.);
- profile businesses, whose audience follows fast-track channels (beauty salons, car services, fitness products);
- to large brands to maintain loyalty and create an image (banks, FMCG, fast food chains).
Formats and Tools
Below are the most common formats for working with influencers :
- Product Overview . Everything here is as simple as possible: you send your product to the influencer, and he reviews it. Share experiences, talk about use cases, and subtly nudge followers to buy.
- Product placement . The blogger casually demonstrates your product in the frame. Such advertising is often used in the accounts of celebrities and top influencers and works to increase brand awareness and increase the status of the product.
- Surprises . Do you like surprises? Let me tell you a secret: bloggers love them too. If the opinion leader likes your gift, he will definitely tell about it in a story or a post. And from the heart, not for a fee. Believe me, such advertising looks much more organic and sincere than a paid publication.
- Gibeah . Giveaway is a contest or giveaway that is held in social networks. In order to receive the coveted prize, the participant must fulfill a number of requirements: subscribe to the specified accounts, like the photo, or, for example, use a certain hashtag. What is the role of the influencer in this action? He attracts audiences with announcements on his page. Advantages of the format: increased attention to the brand’s social networks, increased subscribers, increased sales, etc.
- Helpful Hints . Experts often use the advice format sponsored by the brand. For example, Anna Levadnaya, pediatrician and neonatologist, collaborates with Pampers to publish tips on potty training.
- Events . A great format that takes bloggers out of social media. The brand organizes an event (opening a store, restaurant or presentation of a new product) and invites an influencer to it in order to increase its reach and draw attention to the event.
- Ambassador . The blogger in this case becomes the face of the brand, and his reputation leaves an imprint on the company’s image. Ambassador implies long-term cooperation: an influencer constantly advertises the brand, takes part in events, conducts joint live broadcasts, etc. The main condition is that for the duration of the contract, the opinion leader should not promote related products.
- Special Projects . The blogger’s content is branded by the advertiser, or the advertiser pays the blogger for production costs.
Effective strategies in influencer marketing
Here are 5 effective strategies for working with bloggers:
- Blog about company products or services. The author creates content consisting of advertising posts, tips and brand news. Suitable for: new companies that have just entered the market, creating an interested audience, introducing new products or services, generating advertising content containing links to the company’s website, key phrases and words.
- Storytelling . The blogger writes interesting, “catchy” advertising posts in the essay genre. For example, he tells a touching story about how your company helped him deal with a problem he hadn’t been able to solve for years. This allows you to establish trusting relationships with the target audience, as well as unobtrusively inform customers about the products.
- Contests . The main task of the influencer is to inform the followers about the sweepstakes that the company conducts. It will help you attract potential customers and create an “entertaining” atmosphere.
- Specials . Bloggers inform subscribers about discounts, seasonal sales and company promotions.
- Learning Posts. Influencers generate posts that describe and showcase a brand’s products (often such posts contain tutorial videos). Suitable for: instructing potential customers and promoting products.
How to organize an advertising campaign
Decide on the goals of your advertising campaign
First, it is worth determining what goal you are pursuing:
- work on brand awareness;
- increase sales;
- build trust with the audience;
- increase engagement;
- advertise a new product;
- increase the number of subscribers.
The further choice of influencers will depend on the tasks set.
You need to find agents of influence in your industry. For example, if your brand specializes in beauty products, it is better to rely on beauty bloggers, professional hairdressers or ordinary girls who are interested in the company’s products and have a fairly active audience.
Remember, a good influencer is always:
- interacts with their followers;
- publishes content regularly;
- writes in a style that matches the tone of your brand’s communication;
- is good at engaging followers.
Identify your ideal influencer
The first thing to do is to request statistics from bloggers. Taking our word for it is not a good idea, so if you want to get a quality audience, not bots, it is better to double-check the information using the trendHERO platform.
Also analyze the content of the influencer. See if the influencer has brought up controversial topics on his blog.
An abundance of advertising is also a bad sign. Firstly, you run the risk of getting lost under the rubble of such posts, and secondly, the trust of subscribers to such a blogger is often at the baseboard level, which means that you can not expect good results from integration.
Draw up a detailed TOR, in which you clearly indicate how you would like to present the product, but not advertise it “head-on”. Describe the position of the product in the frame, the main theses and wording. But at the same time, you should not overly limit the influencer, since he knows his audience better and, therefore, will be able to come up with engagement mechanics in his corporate style.
Also discuss the amount of remuneration and do not be lazy to conclude an agreement. In the future, this document will protect you from unfounded claims from the blogger.
How to measure campaign performance
The main metrics for assessing the effectiveness of influencer marketing:
- Reach . How many potential customers have learned about your product.
- Referral traffic . How many people came to the site after advertising from a content blogger (for this, use utm tags to track the results per channel).
- Cost per click . Helps estimate the total cost of collaboration when working with multiple influencers.
- Subscription growth . Has the number of followers increased after the ad integration.
- Engagement . The number of likes, brand mentions, comments, requests to Direct, and so on.
- ROI (Return on Investment) . Return on investment ratio.
- Brand awareness . The level of awareness of potential consumers about the company.
Advantages and disadvantages of a marketing influencer
The popularity of influencer marketing is only growing every year. Why? Here are some objective reasons :
- Advertising as a friendly recommendation . Active users of social networks have developed “banner blindness” for a long time. They do not want to notice pop-up ads and intrusive targeting that flickers in the feed every now and then. This is where influencers come to the rescue, who know how to beautifully disguise an advertising post under the guise of storytelling.
- Sales growth. If advertising through large celebrities works to promote the brand and form the image, then small influencers can bring real sales and leads to the company, as users increasingly began to rely on the expert opinion of bloggers “from the people”. According to the research, 40% of surveyed users made a purchase decision after seeing a recommendation in an influencer’s account.
- Possibility to interact with loyal target audience . Each influencer has his own audience, the trust of which he earned with sweat, blood and high-quality content. They listen to his advice, which means that users firmly believe that their favorite blogger will certainly not advise bad ones.
- Bloggers help with content creation . Influencers constantly interact with followers. Consequently, they probably know what users will definitely “enter” and what will fly by, so bloggers can easily tell which offer to offer and what should be the main focus.
Now on to the disadvantages . A recent study found that most FMCG brands have had bad experiences with influencers:
- 1/4 of all large FMCG companies lost $ 100-250 thousand during influencer campaigns;
- almost 70% of brands doubted whether the influencer had fueled subscribers;
- 24% of companies “tarnished” their reputation by choosing the wrong blogger (which is only Regina Todorenko, whose statement about the victims of the home led to the termination of contracts with L’Oreal, Pampers and PepsiCo).
The minuses of cooperation with bloggers can also include:
- Inability to predict results . This is in the event that you did not bother to discuss everything in advance. Alas, without a clear TK – expect trouble. Format of presentation, location of goods in the frame, text, marks, forbidden words, try to stipulate on the shore.
- Difficult to find “your” blogger . Yes, there are a lot of influencers now, but there are only a few good ones. Either the statistics will be tweaked in their favor (you can check the indicators and make sure if the blogger is winding up bots, you can use the trendHERO service), then the price will be broken, then the price will be rude.
Examples of advertising campaigns
Here are some of the highlights of the past few years of influencer marketing:
- Financial services firm American Express has teamed up with influencers to post fabulous journeys to places like Bali, Indonesia and France for their #AmexAmbAmbassador campaign. The main goal of this integration is to demonstrate that with American Express, travel can go smoothly and without hassle.
- The dating app Bumble teamed up with DJ Marshmello to host a competition in 2018, the winner of which was given the opportunity to travel to Los Angeles and star in a new video of the star. By the way, the campaign has collected over half a million likes on Marshmello’s account.
- To promote the new BMW 1 Series sedan, the brand purchased viral hashtag challenge ads from major influencers Falco Punch, Sky & Tami and PatroX. The bloggers, in partnership with the company, developed a special dance, the video of which was uploaded with the hashtag # THE1Challenge.
- Off The Beaten Track is a young footwear brand for travel and active lifestyle. The founders of the company took a non-standard path, so they bought ads not from insta-celebrities, but from a multitude of micro-influencers, who eventually brought OTBT 44% of all net profit from online sales. Isn’t it cool?
Instead of standard totals, we have prepared some useful tips :
- when choosing a blogger with whom you plan to cooperate, pay attention to the main topic of his public (for example, if an opinion leader has actively advertised swimwear and underwear before that, you should not trust him to promote a bookstore, since it is clearly not your target audience who dwells here) ;
- always draw up a contract so that neither you nor the influencer have any complaints;
- double-check the statistics (the trendHERO service will help to cope with this point);
- explore the blogger’s experience in advertising related products;
- don’t throw away your entire budget on celebrities, it’s better to distribute it among smaller bloggers;
- carefully prepare for your advertising campaign.
And remember that influencer marketing is not a panacea! There is no need to shift all responsibility for the result onto the shoulders of the blogger, because a lot also depends on you. Good luck!