The way we use social media for marketing has changed a lot in the past decade. These days, you can’t just create new content and hope to get organic engagement. Today’s social media marketing is dominated by advertising and sponsored posting—often with the help of influencers.
Companies pay big to access the audiences of well-known influencers. In 2019, they paid an estimated $8 billion to influencers for sponsored posts, a number that is expected to reach $15 billion by 2022.
Instagram is by far the most popular platform for influencer marketing, but it isn’t always easy to find success. Companies need to choose influencers carefully, design powerful sponsored post content, and track their campaigns carefully in order to see any significant ROI.
Here’s how companies leverage and manage influencer marketing as it gains momentum as an effective strategy.
What is an Influencer?
Influencers are typically regular people who just happen to have a significant following on social media in their area of influence. Some celebrities are influencers, but not all influencers are celebrities!
There are influencers in every category: fashion, food, fitness, DIY, travel, pets, parenting, marketing, entrepreneurship, you name it. Their authenticity builds trust with their followers. This means that when they recommend a product, their audience will listen.
Categories of influencers include:
- Micro-influencers are typically niche experts who have a small but engaged audience anywhere from 1, 000 to 100,000
- Meso-influencers overlap micro and macro-influencers with between 50,000 and 500,000
- Macro-Influencers have followings between 100,000 and 1 million and have developed their fame online
- Mega Influencers are celebrity influencers with multi-millions of followers
Anyone who has sustained and engaged attention from an audience is typically considered an influencer.
Where Most Campaigns Go Wrong
Influencer marketing is a blend of traditional advertising and word-of-mouth. The trust is there, but it might not be as strong as a recommendation coming from a friend or family member. People, especially the youngest Instagram users, don’t like to feel like they’re being advertised or sold to. Companies and influencers have to be very careful about how they frame their messaging to avoid alienating people.
In addition to some campaigns coming off as inauthentic or sales-y, many companies don’t know how to choose their influencers for maximum impact. The influencer may not be experienced in sponsored content or might not be the right fit for the product they are promoting.
A campaign can easily go off the rails if there is no clear strategy for picking influencers and working with them. That’s why it’s so important to create clear goals and to choose influencers based on more than just their number of followers.
Create Goals and KPIs
First, companies need to think about what their goals are for an influencer campaign. Is it brand awareness? Sales/direct response? It’s important to decide what you want from a campaign so you can choose influencers and design appropriate content. By 2023, nearly 66% of advertising budgets will be spent through digital avenues.
Creating goals will also allow you to set KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) like impressions, likes, follows, or conversions, helping you to ultimately calculate your ROI. Fifty-two percent of marketers in a 2019 Linqia report indicated that measuring their ROI was their biggest challenge. Measuring the performance of a campaign requires clear goals and KPIs.
How To Choose Your Influencers
It can be really challenging to find suitable influencers for a marketing campaign. Start by looking for influencers in a niche that’s related to your product. Take the following factors into consideration before you reach out to anyone. When you find influencers, evaluae them by answering these questions:
- How many followers does the influencer have, and what kinds of influencers are you looking for?
- Is their audience engaged? Are they commenting, not just liking?
- Has the influencer worked with other brands in the past?
- Does the number of followers seem artificially high?
- Would your product be something the influencer might use if you weren’t paying them?
- Is the content of good quality?
- Are sponsored posts disclosed, and do they have a call-to-action?
Remember, working with an influencer is a partnership. And it’s not a good strategy to work with someone who won’t help you build trust. Don’t just pick your influencers out of convenience and desperation. Finding the right influencers takes time.
Create Quality Content and Measure Your Efforts
Once you’ve found the perfect influencers, you might think the work on your end is done. Far from it! Collaborate with the influencer to ensure that the content they create is on-brand and high quality. You may even provide resources, examples and assets to ensure the quality. Furthermore, continually measure your efforts so you can make changes as needed.
Remember: Influencer Marketing is Evolving
As with any fast-growing digital marketing strategy, growing pains are inevitable. With influencer marketing when influencers don’t deliver quality content, users start to become wary of those sponsored posts. Companies need to prepare to adapt and get creative to effectively leverage the potential power of influencer marketing.
Develop and Implement Your Influencer Marketing Strategy
To determine if influencer marketing is right for you, please contact us and request an influencer marketing strategy call.