A few years ago, it would have been impossible to think that a blogger with tens of thousands of followers on social media could make a decent living from blogging. But now, we are in the digital marketing era, and just about everything is possible with hard work and dedication. That's how influencer marketing has come into existence. Influencer marketing has grown to become the mainstay of most content marketing strategies for brands.
What is Influencer Marketing?
In simple words, "Influencer marketing" or "influencer advertising" is a strategy used by advertisers to reach out to potential customers through influencers – people who have influence over their target audience. This form of digital marketing is beneficial for marketers since it is an effective way of reaching out to potential customers directly without having to go through the hassle of developing a new brand, marketing plan, etc. It also helps in saving money that would be otherwise spent on traditional online advertising like pay-per-click.
How Brands Benefit From Influencer Marketing?
Brands can take advantage of the power of influencers to reach out to their potential customers in a non-intrusive manner.
When it comes to spreading the word about a product/service, consumers trust recommendations from online experts more than they do brand advertisements. This is because, unlike brands, these experts have credibility and authenticity which make them trustworthy sources to the consumers.
As a result, influencer marketing has grown to become one of the most effective forms of digital marketing and beating out traditional online advertising. According to statistics by eMarketer, approximately 33.6% jump in ad spend in US in Influencer Marketing.
Since customers trust recommendations from experts, brands benefit from influencer marketing in numerous ways:
1. Generate New Leads
One of the main reasons why leading brands use influencers for marketing is because they are great at generating new leads. Most people who follow an influencer already share similar interests with the expert so if a brand reaches out to them using the expert; then it's natural that they will want to know more about the product/service.
2. Create a Positive Image
When an influencer recommends a brand, it gives consumers the feeling of trust and comfort since the expert is someone whom they genuinely respect and look up to so their recommendations carry a lot of value. Adding credibility to your products can help to build a positive image and help you reach out to a larger audience.
3. Get access to New Audience
If you are trying to promote a certain product, then it is always a good idea to talk about it on social media because that's where most of your potential customers would be spending their time. If an influencer is able to reach out to a new audience and gather their interest, then it would be possible for you to get in touch with them and convert that potential customer into a loyal buyer.
4. Increase Engagement
According to the latest research by Influencer Marketing Hub, 50.7% of brands working with Influencers run e-commerce stores.
Since customers trust recommendations from experts, influencers are able to gather a lot more engagement as compared to traditional ads, which do not have any authenticity associated with it.
5. Create Sponsored Content
One of the most popular methods of using influencer marketing is through creating sponsored content on various social media platforms. For example, many fashion brands run campaigns where they ask influencers to wear and share their products on social media with an attractive caption.
6. Build Brand Awareness
Influencer marketing has become the easiest way for most leading brands to spread their message to a wide audience without having to spend too much money on traditional advertising.
Influencing Customers With Social Media
As mentioned above, most of your potential customers are spending their time on various social media channels. This is why it is important to advertise your products/services on these platforms as well. Most people would prefer reading through reviews and recommendations by experts instead of going through a brand's advertisements so if you manage to get the attention of potential customers by creating a positive image over social media; you can be sure that they will buy your products.
People Trust People
Another reason why brands want to work with influencers is because of the added visibility that they get when working on social media. Whenever an influencer shares something, it becomes immediately visible on their followers' news feeds without having to pay for ads so this makes their marketing campaigns less like and more efficient. According to research conducted by eMarketer, 69.7% of the US marketer will use some form of Influencer Marketing this year, and it's expected to grow 72.5% in 2022. This is why investing in influencer marketing is so crucial for all businesses - the return on investment (ROI) can be extremely high.
Types of influencers
There are many ways to classify an influencer. For example, you can choose them based on their reputation and popularity or you may look for those who have been getting a lot of clicks in the past few months. Whatever method you choose, make sure that they are suitable for your campaign and don't try to work with influencers just because they are popular.
It is also important to consider the type of influencers you want to work with and how they can help your business achieve its goals. Working with an "influencer" who doesn't have a big audience will not be much of beneficial for your brand than working with someone who has several thousands of followers on social media. In some cases, you may need to work with various types of influencers so that you get more exposure and engagement.
Here's a list of the most popular types of influencers who are currently working with brands on social media:
Who are Nano-influencers?
The word "Nano" has been used for describing influencers who have a small number of followers as compared to other kinds of influencers. Google defines the nano-influencer in its glossary as A digital celebrity with between 100 and 10,000 followers online. They are usually very influential within their niche and can work with brands on a more personal level.
Most Nano-influencers don't charge their advertisers anything, and instead, they make money from social media by using affiliate links (similar to bloggers) or through barter deals wherein they accept products or services from the brand. While it is true that you can get better deals if influencers have thousands of followers but working with nano-influencers can bring in a new group of customers.
Working with micro-influencers is similar to working with nano-influencers, but they tend to have a greater number of followers on social media, and sometimes, they also make money from advertisements. If you don't have enough budget to work with micro-influencers, then nano influencer marketing can be an option to go for.
Who are micro-influencers?
Micro-influencers are not different from nano influencers, but they are considered the "holy grail" of Influencer Marketing. According to some studies, posts shared by a micro-influencer can drive up to four times more engagement and ten times more conversions than those created by celebrities. The term "micro" can be used to describe those who have between 10,000 and 100,000 followers on social media.
Micro-influencers usually charge brands a fixed amount for marketing campaigns in order to maintain their reputations. According to the research conducted by The Media Lab, micro-influencers in UAE typically charge between AED 1,000 to AED 30,000 for a post.
Who are macro-influencers?
Macro-Influencers differ from the above two influencer categories in some ways. They usually have a huge number of followers (between 100,000 to 1 million), and they can either choose to charge brands for their services or not. A lot of macro-influencers create content that is related to specific niches, which is why they get more engagement from their followers. Although it is very difficult for new brands to work with macro-influencers but some big ones have been able to do so.
Macro-influencers can help a brand get more exposure and reach larger audience numbers in short time. Brands usually work with macro-influencers because their posts have been proven to drive up more engagement, conversions, and sales. Influencer marketing is essentially getting paid influencers to post about your product or service and that too on their own social media profiles. Social media influencers usually have thousands or even millions of followers, which means brands get to reach out to a huge number of target customers at once.
Who are Celebrity/Mega-influencers?
A mega-influencer is someone who has over 1 million followers on social media. Mega-influencers can charge upwards of AED 40,000 to AED 200,000 per post, which makes them the most expensive kind of influencer out there. In fact, they are very rarely working with brands because they already have huge social influence. The role of an influencer is to be a trendsetter and to convince their followers that they should or at least could buy the product being promoted, but because everyone knows them, it can be very easy for them to just plug what they are already using or endorse a brand without any strong reason, so brands prefer working with other kinds of influencers. But large companies still work with mega-influencers because they can offer value to the business even if they just have thousands of loyal followers.
The most influencing individuals on social media have millions of fans and nearly as many opinions. It follows then that brands should treat these types of influencers cautiously when it comes to marketing. Before approaching them, you should know the following:
How to Determine the Right Influencer for Your Brand?
Companies need to figure out the best influencers for their brand. One way is by asking themselves a few questions and then looking at the answers. These are some of the questions that you can ask yourself in order to know if an influencer is worth hiring:
Do they have followers who target your audience?
Target Audience: It's hard to determine an influencer's true reach if they don't have followers who are actually a part of their target audience. Ask the influencer for a list of their current listeners, read their comments, and consider how much overlap there is between your customers and theirs.
Do the followers like what they post?
You want to reach out to influencers with a strong social presence, but you don't want to pay for posts that end up getting ignored. You can gauge an audience's response by looking at the comments and reactions of followers before approaching them.
Are they engaged or just broadcasting ads?
Engagement is one of the most important metrics for social media influencers, and you want to do business with someone who is providing their followers with relevant, original content. Look at comments or questions users have asked that were responded to by the influencer. By paying attention to engagement levels, you can discover influencers who are more likely to be a good fit for your brand.
What is the size of their social media network?
Look at how many followers are on each platform, especially if they're using multiple social networks. Brace yourself for disappointment if you're looking for an Instagram celebrity to reach out to your customers on Facebook and Twitter. You may be better off with a micro-influencer who has a smaller network developed around one particular platform.
What is the cost of reaching an influencer's audience?
Some companies are going to want higher engagement rates because they have thousands of followers on their social media channels, and while this may be true, you'll need to reflect it in your budget. You can get someone with a smaller following to reach your audience for less money.
What are their followers' demographics?
You can tell a lot about an influencer by looking at the people who follow them on social media. Pay attention to the gender, age group, and geographical location of the influencer's followers since you'll want your ads to reach the same people.
What is your social media budget?
Influencers with bigger audiences may cost more money, but that doesn't mean you should ignore them. In fact, they can be a less risky investment because, with more followers, there's more exposure and potential for engagement. However, certain brands and influencers have smaller audiences, but they still create high engagement rates.
What is your marketing budget?
The higher the cost of reaching an influencer's audience, the more reach you'll be getting with each dollar spent. When you're determining which social media influencers to work with, keep your company's marketing budget in mind and determine how much time and money you're willing to allocate for your digital advertising campaign.
How are influencers compensated?
Some brands pay the influencers in cash, while other companies only offer free samples or products. You can decide which method is best based on what type of relationship you want to develop with your influencer.If you're planning on continuing to work with them in the future, offering a long-term monetary or product incentive is often better. If you're just looking for one-time or short-term results, freebies are probably a good option.
What types of products does your influencer promote?
If an influencer doesn't have followers who would be interested in your product or service, it doesn't make sense to work with them. You need to make sure that your concept and the influencer's content align with their social media audience. If they don't match up, you'll waste money on this campaign.
What is your brand's image?
Think about what kind of message you want to send to your audience when choosing an influencer whose content the brand will share on social media. For example, if you're selling pet treats, you won't want to partner with someone who posts videos of themselves killing animals.
What is the size of the potential customer base?
To determine this for any influencer or celebrity, you can use the number of followers they have and multiply it by their engagement rate to see how much exposure you can potentially get. For example, if an influencer has 1,000 followers and an engagement rate of 20%, then your audience potential is 200 new customers for your brand. However, this formula differs from industry to industry and niche you are working in.
The perception of your product or service will increase when working with an influencer whose content resonates with their audience.
What's your Influencer marketing objective?
If you're looking for a new way to market your business, or if you want to take it up a notch in 2022 with something that's proven and effective, then consider influencer marketing. It can be difficult to figure out how this type of digital marketing is different from others - but we've got the inside scoop on what makes influencer marketing so special and successful! We'll show you why this strategy has been working for marketers over the past few years by reviewing some stats about influencers' reach across social media platforms. Whether you're considering adding one huge celebrity expert as an ambassador or contacting many micro-influencers who have smaller followings, there are plenty of tips here about how to get started with yours today.