Brands are betting big on influencer marketing. In 2016 alone, close to 90 percent marketers employed influencer marketing in some way. Furthermore, almost 95 percent of these marketers cited that influencer marketing actually works. Influencer marketing has been around for some time, and given its promise as a marketing strategy, it isn't going anywhere. If you are contemplating including influencer marketing in your marketing strategy, here is a lowdown on the basics of it.
What Is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is word-of-mouth marketing in the internet age. Marketers reach out to online influencers to promote their products or services. For instance, a ladies' handbag manufacturer will collaborate with popular fashion bloggers on Instagram for sponsored posts.
How to Incorporate Influencer Marketing in Your Marketing Mix
Facebook and Instagram are the most popular social networks for influencer marketing, followed by blogging. Your goal with influencer marketing is perhaps the most important factor when deciding on the influencers to reach out to, and likewise, the preferred platform. Broadly speaking, influencer marketing goals can be broken down into:
- Driving brand awareness
- Driving engagement
- Driving sales
The type of product or service you have will also impact the decision of the platform and the influencers. For instance, if you are a fashion brand looking for more brand awareness, Instagram is probably your best bet. However, if you are a company manufacturing music tech gear, such as synthesizers, collaborating with YouTubers for product reviews would be a better strategy.
Bigger Is Not Always Better
It is a myth that you need to reach out to influencers with a reach of 100,000 or more for influencer marketing to work. Engagement rates on Instagram are inversely proportional to follower count. For a follower count between 1,000 and 10,000, the engagement rate is 8 percent, and it dwindles to 1.6 percent for a follower count of 10 million+.
If you don't have the budget for a social media celebrity, reaching out to micro-influencers could be a viable strategy. In fact, the latter is advised if you are just starting out with influencer marketing. It gives you an opportunity to test the waters and identify the kind of influencers that will work for your brand.
Sending Influencers physical product or registering them to have a full-experience with a service may not be best with a large group. Making sure to find the right type of Influencer – whether that is one person or small group of individuals – will have a better impact.
The Legalities of Influencer Marketing
According to new guidelines issued by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), brands and influencers need to clearly identify sponsored content. There are no clear guidelines, though, on how this identification should be adhered to. #ad and #sp (for sponsored) are two popular hashtags used by influencers and brands for sponsored content.
However, consumers are divided over sponsored content. For instance, almost 50 percent people are distrustful of sponsored content that is clearly marked as such. However, teens in some European countries are starting to show favorable response to sponsored content.
The Cost of Influencer Marketing
The cost of influencer marketing varies according to the platform and the influencers engaged. For a sponsored post on a blog with up to 50,000 impressions a month, you can expect to shell out somewhere around $200 a post. When engaging YouTubers with 100,000 subscribers, a sponsored video can set you back by around $1,000.
Using YouTube can be expensive, but having the right Influencer engage with the right kind of product or service can really pay off!
Digital marketing agencies are your best bet to engage influencers. Agencies have negotiated contracts with several influencers across industries, which does away with the hassle of negotiating terms with influencers on your own. Researching your industry and identifying key influencers and micro-influencers is crucial, though. It helps you make important strategic decisions about your marketing budget and the agency to engage, among other things.