Influencer marketing is a hot topic in social media marketing right now. The industry is expected to hit $10bn by 2020 and has surpassed print marketing.
But what exactly is influencer marketing?
What is influencer marketing?
It’s also possible to think of influencer marketing as an extension of celebrity endorsements. For decades brands have been paying celebrities to endorse their products; from Nike’s partnership with Michael Jordan since 1984 to Kim Kardashian with, well… just about everyone.
In its simplest form, influencer marketing is word of mouth marketing. People hear about your brand, product or service from people they trust.
In truth, influencer marketing is a blend of the two and really took off with the rise of – what we now call – macro-influencers.
As the internet became more accessible and the possibilities of uploading visual content became mainstream, content creators and bloggers became minor celebrities. Think Zoella, Jenna Marbles and co.
Fast forward to 2019 and we have three categories of influencer; macro-influencers, micro-influencers and nano-influencers.
Macro-influencers have 60k+ followers or subscribers. Micros tend to have between 15k and 50k followers or subscribers, while the nanos have between 1k – 15k.
With the rise of influencers, an increasing number of brands are turning to them as part of their marketing activity. In fact, 57% of companies now use influencers as part of their marketing mix while 21% are planning to add this to their strategy in the coming year.
So, should you consider influencer marketing and is it right for your brand?
What are your goals?
One of the first things to consider when deciding whether influencer marketing is right for your brand is your marketing goals.
Each company and each campaign will have different goals. Some will want to drive sales, while others will want to increase brand awareness.
It’s important to think about this before deciding to invest in influencer marketing.
If you’re goal is to increase newsletter subscriptions, then influencer marketing probably isn’t right for you.
If you want to increase awareness of your brand or product with a new or already established audience, then influencer marketing could be an effective avenue to explore.
Remember, every campaign and every company is different. Just because influencer marketing is all the rage at the moment, if it doesn’t help your business or marketing goals, don’t do it.
Which platform is right for you?
With more and more platforms becoming available to content creators, there isn’t a one stop shop for your influencer marketing.
Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and even newcomers like TokTok are rife with their own influencers.
You have to consider each platform and which fits better with your business or product.
For example, if you’re selling a product or experience that is quite visual and can be sold/attract attention with an image, then Instagram is probably a good fit for you.
But if you’re a niche business that wouldn’t really fit into that lifestyle type of imagery, then Instagram probably isn’t for you. Maybe you need a more in-depth promotion and your product or service needs more explaining or demonstrating.
If so, YouTube is probably the platform for you. There are channels for even the most niche of sectors, like the Hydraulic Press Channel which has over 2million subscribers.
So consider your business and product and choose a platform that is right for you. It may be tempting to execute influencer campaigns on Instagram, but don’t force a square peg into a round hole.
What is your budget?
Influencer aren’t always expensive, especially when you consider the potential return on investment.
It’s all about choosing the right influencer for you.
If you’ve got a relatively small budget, you should probably avoid the macro-influencers. They’re used to working with global brands so unless you have the budget to compete (or you’re a cause you know they’ll relate to) stay clear.
The micro and nano-influencers are the way to go for most businesses and their fees are a lot more reasonable than their macro-counterparts.
Definitely consider your budget and know how much you want to spend. Some influencers will accept free or gifted products, which is the preferable option for businesses.
If you’ve got a very small budget, influencer marketing at scale may not be for you. You’ll want to execute as part of a wider campaign, with social ads running at the same time as your influencer activity.
If all you can afford is a one-off sponsored post with an influencer, influencer marketing may not be for you.
Influencer marketing is a powerful form of word-of-mouth marketing. Consumers both idolise and trust the influencers they follow, meaning an endorsement from them can be hugely beneficial.
It’s important to point out that influencer marketing isn’t the right fit every single time. Consider your goals and budgets and think about which marketing activity will help you achieve the best return on investment.