This is the content I signed up for” is the latest line on everybody’s lips or rather fingertips lately. For the uncool folks, it’s basically a way of expressing satisfaction for great content provided online and most of the time, content posted by “influencers”. With the boom of social media as we’ve discussed in our Social Media Marketing Essentials – Tips For Solid Online Brand Presence article, the introduction of influencers has become the ultimate go-to for digital marketing strategies lately.

I mean recently we saw Woolworths beautifully hopping on the opportunity of a trending topic that had gained massive momentum on Twitter this week. A group of young men on what was their normal day, bought Woolworths-branded water & then took a video of themselves drinking the water – prompting them to change their accents after a sip (owing to Woolworths stellar reputation of luxury). They posted the video and it did numbers online & incited the #WoolworthsWaterChallenge where South Africans started taking part, posting their own attempts of accents.

 

The students who sparked this trend then revealed on a morning radio show on Wednesday that Woolworths told them their water stock had instantly sold out in their several stores after the video went viral.  The retail giant, of course, has reached out and an influencer campaign may be in the works – which I must admit was a pretty quick AND smooth move on their part.

 

They continued and leveraged on the trend, of course.

 

 

 

 

Oh, the brilliance.  Need I go on and convince you why your brand may need to jump on the influencer marketing bandwagon soon? Let’s hop on.

Before we get started on how you can also have a slice of the sought-after cake, let’s take a look at the basic definition of influencer marketing and why it’s the head of modern-day content-driven marketing campaigns.

 

What is influencer marketing?

So, influencer marketing is simply the process of partnering up with influencers to promote a brand and its products & services.  These are individuals who have influence over a large group of followers on social media and they can range from celebrities to bloggers, industry analysts, vloggers, public figures, and really any individual that has several thousand to million followers on their social platforms.

Today, 81% of consumers regularly buy products after seeing them on social media.

Collective Bias conducted a study that has revealed that 60% of in-store shoppers are influenced by social media & that 70% of millennials make purchasing decisions based on what’s recommended by their peers. Click To Tweet

 

Influencer Marketing Stats

 

One of the main reasons brands favour this method of advertising now is that it allows them direct access to an influencer’s engaged community. In such a community, this individual is a voice of trust, authority and comfort & is able to sway views and decisions. Influencer marketing is seen as a much more effective way of impacting specific audiences who are more likely to respond and provide ROI set.

Within this sphere of marketing, the idea of “micro influencers” then emerged after brands chose to scale down from regular influencers and opted to work with influencers who may not have had a huge follower count but exercised solid influence over audiences. Micro influencers are at times considered the more trusted influencers because they produce higher engagement rates consisting of likes, comments and shares.

 

 

 

How will Influencer Marketing Benefit my Brand?

Influencer marketing is authentic, trustworthy and purchase driven. When done correctly, it’s the easiest and sometimes cheapest way of increasing brand awareness and driving sales.

A successful influencer marketing campaign can fulfil your business in several ways including:

  • Drive Traffic – The backlinks from an influencer’s social media account and/or blog can drive traffic back to your business and online platforms.
  • Improved SEO – The increase in traffic can boost your SEO. Additionally, a lot of influencers have websites that have high domain authority and having any links from them point to your own website does major good. Going forward, you can also leverage and plan your SEO strategy around an influencer’s high DA website.
  • Increased brand awareness – As mentioned earlier, consumers have trust placed in influencers. This level of trust will then be associated with your brand, solidifying awareness of your messaging and image.
  • Boosted brand reputation – A personal recommendation from a trusted source is a powerful way of shaping how consumers see your brand. This will elevate your reputation when done right.
  • Expanded reach – Influencers have a major, existing base of audiences. Being in a relationship with individuals who have influence in the base appropriate to your niche can assist you to connect with a wide array of people.
  • User-generated content – Influencers know the kind of content that consumers actually value and are able to create & curate it. With this advantage, you can repurpose the user-generated content influencers produce and use it across your channels over time during your own campaigns.
  • Driven sales – Influencer marketing is a very affordable way of increasing conversions. Consumers are very receptive to recommendations made by influencers and will definitely be led to buy products or services based on influencer endorsements.
  • Driven engagement – Partnering up with influencers helps you increase user engagement metrics across all your brand’s social media platforms.

 

How Can I Get Started on Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing generally has one goal and that is to establish relationships with influential individuals who can sway and impact your buyers’ final purchasing decisions. In order for this to happen, the foundation begins by understanding your brand’s target demographics. This will help you in identifying and selecting an influencer whose core audience aligns with who your own consumers are.

Let’s break that down into basic steps to follow when activating your influencer marketing campaign.

  1. Identify your target demographic.
  2. Find the right influencer to reach the target audience identified.
  3. Work with your influencer(s) and build a narrative that serves your brand and theirs. Create content which your influencer will be able to curate in an authentic manner that will resonate with their audience.
  4. Keep in mind that influencer marketing may take time to yield results. Take this period to still woo potential customers and convince them that you’ll be worthy of their attention and money.

 

How Do I Choose my Influencers?

The questions to ask when selecting your influencer are the following:

  • Are they an expert in the industry?
  • What type of consumers do they reach?
  • Do they write or post about content related to what your brand offers?
  • How many followers do they have?
  • How engaged are they with their followers? Meaning how many likes, shares or comments does their posts generate?
  • Does their aesthetic or style fit your brand?
  • Do they already work with brands?
  • Do they require payment or are they willing to partner in exchange for complimentary benefits, products and/or services?

These will help guide your search and hone your results down to the appropriate influencer for your business. If you need help with this, there are a lot of tools and platforms that assist in helping you choose influencers. For example, give Webfluential a look. They offer influencer software and influencer marketing agency services that your business could make use of.

 

What are the Different Types of Influencer Marketing?

When deciding on a strategy for your overall campaign, there are several options to pick from. Here’s what to consider:

  • Content sharing – This where an influencer shares brand-approved content on their own platforms.
  • Takeover campaigns – An influencer takes over your brand’s social media account(s) for a certain period of time and uses it as their own channel to cross-promote.
  • Interviews/Q&A’s – An exclusive interview is conducted by an influencer to your brand and that interview is then cross-promoted on different accounts.
  • Reviews – An influencer reviews a product or services on their own platforms and supports what your business offers.
  • Branded hashtags – An influencer here agrees to share content along with a caption that includes a pre-established hashtag. This is one of the most common forms of influencer marketing and when done right, it could trend and yield results such as the #WoolworthsWaterChallenge did – even though that wasn’t an intended influencer campaign at first.
  • Video series – With this type of influencer marketing, an influencer shares a video that entails of the products or service experience at hand.
  • Livestreaming – An influencer here livestreams their experience with your brand’s product or service at a designated time and place.

 

 

How do I Measure the ROI of Influencer Marketing?

An effective influencer marketing campaign is one that should align with your overall marketing strategy and any set measurable goals and KPIs. Granted, it’s challenging measuring the success of this type of marketing. However, aside from sales, leads and a bottom-line revenue, here are other metrics to consider.

  • Growth in followers
  • Growth in users/subscribers
  • Traffic increases
  • Social media momentum (likes, mentions, shares, comments)
  • Increased engagement

Tips for making ROI easier to track and measure

  • Create a hashtag for your influencer that regular users can also use.
  • Create customized, trackable links using bitl.y or UTM codes so you can see how much traffic an influencer is driving.
  • Create a unique landing page that will be an entry point and that will isolate inbound traffic & attribute it to the influencer’s posts.
  • Monitor tacking parameters beyond traditional social media measures (likes/shares) which don’t always translate to conversions. For example, you can always track comments and hashtags.
  • Create personalized promotional codes for each influencer you work with.

 

Wrapping Up

The topic of influencer marketing is an elaborate one that needs to be explored greatly. Over the next few months, we will uncover the methods to explore, tips to apply and mistakes to avoid concerning this method of advertising. In the meantime, let’s get started with these basics!

 

 

References

Cole, J. (2019). Influencer Marketing – A Definitive Guide for 2019. [online] Available at: https://thoughtcatalog.com/james-cole/2018/09/influencer-marketing/ [Accessed 15 March 2019]