What is Influencer Marketing and why do brands need to include this?
How often do you find yourself scrolling through Instagram and see a sponsored post from someone you follow?
It is no surprise that many of our social media feeds today are filled with influencers. And even if you don’t happen to follow them, chances are you either saw it through paid advertisement or your favourite brands have worked with one.
It’s bizarre to think that more than a decade ago, the term ‘influencers’ wasn’t a part of the vocabulary for companies and marketing teams. Now, influencer marketing has become an important element of any brand, social media, and content creation strategy.
What started as a $1.7 billion market in 2016 has now become a massive $13.8 billion industry, and those are numbers expected to continue rising.
So why has influencer marketing proven to be so effective in building brand awareness and driving marketing campaigns? And more importantly, how can it help your business grow?
To get started, let’s take a closer look at the different types of influencer marketing.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Defined as a marketing strategy where a brand collaborates with an influencer to promote the brand’s service or product, influencer marketing is a form of high-quality referral or ambassadorship. In China, influencers are referred to as KOLs, an acronym for Key Opinion Leader — which is a fitting description of their role on digital platforms.
Typically, influencers have an audience — or “following” — with a distinct niche or topic. This can range from more general themes such as food to fashion to lifestyle; or it can be as specific as Korean skincare, Vancouver parenting resources, or video game reviews, for example.
Currently, Instagram is the most popular social media platform for influencer marketing campaigns due to its history of having a higher interaction rate than other platforms.
However, data has shown that TikTok is quickly catching up. It boasts an average engagement rate of 18% with micro-influencers, which is notably higher than Instagram’s 3.86% average.
Since influencers are broken down into several groups based on their number of followers, it is important to understand which type may be suitable for your brand’s objectives.
The main types of influencers are:
- Nano-influencers (1K to 10K followers)
- Micro-influencers (10K to 100K followers)
- Macro-influencers (100K to 1M followers)
- Mega or celebrity influencers (1M+ followers)
While there are pros and cons for each group — including costs, reach, and actual engagement with their audience — micro-influencers are expected to grow the most in 2022 and beyond.
With this in mind, how can you effectively use influencer marketing for your brand’s social media outreach and overall marketing strategies?
5 Reasons Why Companies Use Influencer Marketing
1. Higher engagement rate
Celebrities with a massive follower base may help you reach a wider audience, but it does not necessarily translate to higher engagement. In social media speak, engagement translates to follows, likes, comments, and shares — which are very important to reaching new audiences while connecting with current ones.
To drive engagement, consider working with nano- and micro-influencers who are more likely to have a stronger impact per impression. That’s because their followers find value in their content, which in turn develops a stronger trust when they provide recommendations or endorsements.
For example, jewelry brand Nominal stated they were able to quickly grow to a seven-figure-business with the help of influencer marketing. They started off by gifting influencers free jewelry, and if the influencers liked their products, they would share them on social media.
Instagram’s algorithm also favours accounts that post more frequently — basically, the more you post, the greater your overall reach. Since influencers tend to engage with their followers on a more regular basis, they can build a stronger relationship.
2. Reach target audience
With such a variety of content across Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and all the social media platforms available, audiences are everywhere — and are inundated with options on what to watch, read, or scroll. This can make it difficult for brands to get their content to relevant audiences.
By working with influencers, brands are able to effectively reach their specific target consumers. If the campaign is for a sports-related product, consider using an athletic influencer. If the brand wants to reach more dog owners, focus on influencers who review pet products.
This allows companies to spend less marketing budget on testing and finding their audience, or wasting resources reaching a wide general audience of whom many won’t even be interested in the brand.
It is crucial, then, to conduct research about potential influencers. What type of niche do they focus on? Who is their audience? Does their content align with the brand’s goals and objectives? What past campaigns and initiatives have they done?
3. More authentic and transparent
With the amount of ads on social media, consumers have become smarter at identifying marketing gimmicks and are more conscious about which brands to spend their money on.
According to Morning Consult’s study, 88% of respondents cited authenticity as the most important trait to help them decide whether to follow an influencer on social media.
Brands need to be transparent to gain consumer’s trust. This is where influencers can help.
Since influencers have already built a community that trusts their expertise and knowledge, brands can leverage that relationship. The hard work of building that connection has already been done — and that’s one of the key values that influencers provide.
As well, influencers tend to portray a more authentic voice online, making them more relatable to the everyday consumer.
4. More affordable
How much influencers earn per post varies based on different factors, including their follower count, popularity, and level of influence.
But generally, the cost ranges for the following
- USD$10 to $1,000 per post – 1,000 to 10,000 followers
- USD$1,000 to $5,000 per post – 10,000 to followers
- USD$5,000 to $10,000 per post – 100,000 to followers
It is not unheard of for big name brands who work with celebrity influencers to pay up to $1.5 million for a post, but those are extreme campaigns for companies with large marketing budgets.
For the most part, businesses work with micro-influencers who have a reasonable following, as they are often the ones who can drive the most engagement.
In particular, nano- and micro-influencers can be beneficial for smaller companies to minimize costs on advertising, while widening the brand’s reach. Marketing agencies have developed relationships with influencers, and have a better understanding of their capabilities as well.
Two rule of thumbs to keep in mind when considering influencer costs:
1. Be sure to set expectations prior to finalizing an agreement with an influencer — paying more does not necessarily mean higher conversions.
2. You get what you pay for — don’t be surprised when an influencer who charges $100 does not get you the same results as an influencer (with the same follower count) charging $500, but who understands their audience and value.
5. Generate quality content
In addition to posting on their own accounts, influencers can provide quality content for the brand’s social media platform as well. Brands constantly need social media content to keep audiences engaged and to maintain relevance — so utilizing an influencer’s post as user-generated content adds to a brand’s existing content strategy.
In fact, this goes both ways. The influencer should also be able to give value to their audience by posting about your brand. Good collaborations are a win-win.
Ensure that key messaging, type of content, and things to include or avoid are clearly communicated prior to engaging with an influencer. Make sure that it’s also on brand. Typically, brands or marketing agencies are able to review posts and content prior to it going live — so any edits and revisions can be made.
Developing a good relationship with influencers can go a long way for a brand. It opens up opportunities for potential future partnerships and it improves overall brand image.
That said, influencer marketing can be extremely effective when done with these insights in mind. And having a marketing agency like Sageus Strategy + Digital to guide you through the process can help ensure that objectives are reached.
As a one-stop firm, we journey with you to identify your brand’s needs, and build and implement a strategy tailored to your objectives — including a strong and impactful influencer marketing campaign.
With more than two decades of combined experiences working alongside global brands and organizations, Sageus Strategy + Digital focuses on getting to know your business, and help you connect with your audience.
Headquartered in Canada, and committed to making a global, cross-cultural, sustainable impact — we’re your one-stop firm for cultivation and growth, in all areas of branding and marketing.
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