Use Influencer Marketing to Boost Your Brand [Our Guide]
Social media has revolutionized the way brands market their business. Competition is fierce, and companies are always fighting to attract prospective target audiences and convert them into loyal customers. To boost brand awareness and gain new customers, many brands are now collaborating with influencers.
Many believed influencer marketing to be merely a trend at first, but it has proven its worth over the last few years and has become an important part of many brands’ marketing strategies. Experts predict that it will be a $15 million industry by 2022, with influencers playing a bigger part than ever before helping brands connect with their audience.
Influencer marketing has completely transformed the way brands interact with their customers, and in fact, it is changing the marketing landscape altogether. In this guide, we discuss influencer marketing basics, and how making even a minor investment could boost your brand.
What Is Influencer Marketing – And Why Should You Use It?
Influencer marketing is a type of social media marketing in which an individual who is considered an expert in the niche – and has built up a substantial following on social media channels – helps market a product or service. At a fundamental level, it’s a form of collaboration whereby a brand partners with an influential person to promote something.
Originally, influencer marketing was linked to celebrity endorsements only. However, in today’s digital era, social content creators with niche audiences may offer more value to brands. The main appeal of influencer marketing is trust among consumers. People, especially young audiences, trust social influencers over celebrities because they find them more authentic and less forced.
Consumers are well aware that celebrities are paid for brand endorsements and, therefore, don’t necessarily trust what they have to say. Although influencers are also usually paid to advertise for companies, they usually only work with brands that they genuinely believe in – promoting products and services that they actually use and enjoy.
Influencers also interact with followers in a much more personalized manner, responding to comments, questions, and giving followers an intimate look into their lives. They build a strong rapport with their audience, who perceive them as experts in their respective niches and regard their recommendations highly.
Collaborating with influencers to create content gives brands access to a large, engaged audience and is highly effective in building credibility. Followers are very likely to be influenced by recommendations made by social influencers. The key is to partner with influencers that align with your brand image and values.
How to Find the Right Influencer
Instagram alone reportedly boasts over 500,000 active influencers. This means there is an abundance of opportunities for influencer collaborations, but it also means that finding the right influencer can be a challenge.
The influencer you choose to partner with will have a significant effect on the outcome of your campaign. Here are a few helpful tips for finding and connecting with the right influencer:
- Partner with an influencer in your niche: The influencer’s audience must align with your target market. After all, you want to reach people that are genuinely interested in what you have to offer.
- Look beyond follower count: More important than having a large following is to have engaged followers. It’s no good if an influencer has 1 million followers who aren’t interested in what they have to say. On the contrary, it’s better for an influencer to have a smaller but highly engaged following. This means you need to look at likes and comments in relation to the number of followers.
- Brand alignment: Look for an influencer who produces content with a look and feel that complements your own. This person should have a consistent look, feel, tone, and values.
- Relatability: How influencers interact with their followers determines their relatability. You want to partner with someone that engages with their audience in a relatable way that aligns with your brand’s messaging.
Once you have found an influencer that you would like to collaborate with, it’s time to reach out to them and discuss if they would be interested in working with you. A direct message or email (if you can find an email address) is a good place to start. Be sure to personalize your message and provide as much information as possible about your brand and goals.
Best Types of Influencer Marketing Campaigns
There are numerous ways that brands can create effective influencer marketing campaigns. Generally, though, campaigns will fall into one of the below categories.
Sponsored posts are the most popular type of influencer marketing campaigns. It involves sponsoring an influencer to create promotional content on your behalf. Typically, you will provide the influencer with a campaign brief that outlines certain guidelines, instructions, and requirements. Depending on the agreement, the final content is usually a photo, video, blog post, or perhaps even a combination.
Product reviews are also a popular type of brand-influencer partnership and can be very effective. Basically, brands give their product or services to influencers for free in exchange for a review. Often, the influencer will record an unboxing video, taking their audience on the journey of trying out a new product for the first time. They may even try the product on camera too, and then review their experience on their social media channels.
Competitions and Giveaways
Everyone loves a giveaway. Giveaway campaigns are great because they can be mutually beneficial to your brand, your influencers, and their followers. It’s a very simple strategy whereby a brand offers a free product or service for the influencer to giveaway to their followers. Generally, the influencer will ask their audience to do a few simple things, such as like a post, comment on a post, tag a friend, or answer some questions in a contest in order to enter. It’s a surefire way to improve brand awareness and may help increase your following.
Affiliate Marketing/Discount Codes
Affiliate marketing is a practice in which a brand shares affiliate codes with influencers so that they earn money each time a person that they refer through their funnel purchases from your brand. Basically, the influencer receives a commission on all sales generated as a result of their content and influence. In most cases, the affiliate code will be linked to a discount, giving customers that use the code access to a reduced price.
Social Media Takeovers
Allowing an influencer take over your social media account for a set amount of time is an excellent way to enhance brand exposure and offer interesting content to your audience. Influencers can create fun “behind-the-scenes” posts, videos, or stories, or give the audience an exciting look at the “day-in-the-life-of” to keep them interested and engaged. Social media takeovers are great for promoting events and work well when influencers incorporate question-and-answer sessions, sharing selfies, and interactive features contests.
There are numerous ways to work with influencers, five of which we’ve covered here. The best campaign type for your audience will depend on your goals, your pitch, and the relationship you have with your influencer(s). Typically, brands will incorporate several of these campaigns into their marketing strategy for optimal results. However, your budget obviously plays a huge part too.
Benefits of Influencer Marketing
The biggest draw of influencer marketing is that the audience is already there. You simply need to develop a mutually beneficial relationship with the influencer to ensure both parties are offering value to the audience.
Here are a few of the main benefits of influencer marketing:
- Improves brand recognition: An entirely new audience becomes aware of your brand because influencers are introducing you to their followers. The influencer will tell them more about your brand, your story, who you are, and what you offer.
- Builds credibility: Influencers have already established relationships, trust, and credibility with their followers. Since they are already trusted by their audience and are vouching for your brand, they get their audience to trust you.
- More leads and conversions: When influencers promote your brand, they’re giving an endorsement. This leads more prospects to your website and gives you the opportunity to turn these leads into sales.
- Create better content: Influencers create content for a living, and in many cases, will be better at creating content for your brand than you are. Plus, it can help fill in the gaps of your own content schedule.
Influencer marketing is an excellent way to promote and grow your business online. By partnering with like-minded people who share your thoughts and values, your brand will be exposed to a whole new audience that could potentially become customers. Since influencers already have a large following at their disposal, it’s easier for brands to tap into their audience by going through the influencer whose opinion and feedback is highly regarded.
From boosting brand awareness, driving website traffic, and reaching your target audience, influencers have the power to drive your brand forward.