Influencers are people that have the ability to influence consumer’s choices. The basic definition of influencer marketing is a celebrity endorsement, placed into a current, content-driven marketing campaign. Obviously, I don’t need to define the word “marketing”, but the concept of an “influencer” can, at first, seem unclear. In short, influencers are people with concentrated, personal brands who have trusted, passionate audiences. Influencers don’t have to be big celebrities. They can be simply ordinary people, like you and me, that have managed to accumulate a group of loyal followers on social media. “Influencer marketing” is the process of identifying, researching, and engaging the influencers who can create high-impact conversations about your brand with your potential customers.
The Influencer marketing Industry is projected to grow to $13.8B this year according to Influencer Marketing Hub. This number was formulated based on a survey that summarized that a majority of marketers plan to increase their influencer marketing budgets in the next year. The success that marketers have had with this type of advertising is real. If the right people are selected, the return on an influencer campaign can be substantial. Influencers themselves are popular because potential consumers view them as relatable, approachable, transparent, and authentic. Unlike traditional forms of advertising, consumers are more likely to trust influencers that they engage with on an everyday basis. They have already been convinced that the influencer is more relevant to them and better understands their needs.
There are several categories of influencers and they are normally based on the number of followers the influencer has on social media channels.
- Nano-influencers with 1K to 10K followers
- Micro-influencers with 10K to 50K followers
- Mid-tier influencers with 50K to 500K followers
- Macro-influencers with 500K to 1 million followers
- Mega-influencers with more than a million followers
Micro-influencers, especially those with less than 25,000 followers, seem to be providing the highest engagement rates and the highest returns. These influencers are getting the attention of businesses looking to advertise, because they have a more engaged following. By focusing on the smaller, micro-influencers, brands are able to extend their influencer marketing budgets while still utilizing influencers that are strongly connected to their audiences. With the added number of brands looking to get into the Influencer Marketing game, I believe that it is this category of influencers that is going to experience the highest rate of growth in the coming year.
When selecting influencers for a campaign, find people who match the brand. Influencer marketing only works if the influencer’s personality aligns with your brand. The product they are touting needs to be something they would use themselves, and more importantly, that their followers would use. If you try to pair up auto parts with a make-up artist influencer just because they have a huge following, I’m going to assume you won’t have much luck selling your auto parts. Advertisers should focus more on the engagement an influencer receives rather than on how many followers they have. The rate of engagement is a far greater indication of how many people will truly be impacted by your marketing efforts. Influencers know their own audience exceedingly more than any brand can ever expect to. Ask them for their suggestions on what type of content and products will best get the attention of their followers.
A good influencer will purposely build and position their own brand to be trusted by their audience. While most marketing strategies take time to build brand awareness, an influencer is already there. They maintain that level of awareness with their audience through regular social engagement, consistently conveying authentic information in their area of expertise.
Influencer marketing offers the opportunity to blend marketing, PR, digital marketing, and social media through meaningful and personal communications. The return on investment for influencer marketing can vary greatly from brand to brand and influencer to influencer. There is no “one size fits all” performance indicator that can be used. The amount of traffic and sales are easy enough to measure, but the brand awareness that can come from this form of marketing, like most brand awareness, is difficult to attribute to specific numbers.
Formulating and delivering a successful influencer campaign is hard work, a serious amount of research and contains several key steps. I’ll cover this later in another article, but no one should bypass these steps. However, when thoroughly investigated, plotted and executed correctly, no matter your company’s size, a solid influencer campaign will certainly benefit your brand.