What is Influencer Marketing?
Using famous and influential individual in marketing as a company is nothing new. Companies have since the 40s and 50s started to understand the power and importance of association with famous and influential individuals.
As such, companies have associated their brands with influential people, industry leaders, and celebrities that people look up to, in order to leverage the trust and audiences these people have.
For almost as long as marketing has existed, celebrities have been able to make money by letting their person adorn cereal packages, billboards, commercials, and other media. What is new with Influencer marketing, however, is that social media has given it completely new preconditions. Both for marketers and influencers.
Influencer marketing has in recent years exploded in popularity. Today, it seems like everyone is talking about it and a large portion of companies have made it a part of their marketing strategies. A reason for this is of course that the companies see just how effective influencer marketing is. And how effective it is for reaching a target audience.
One way to reach your target audience is to work with influencers on social media. Influencer marketing can work as an alternative to traditional advertising that can be expensive and inefficient. Consumers are not fond of ads and promotions messages such as billboards and tv commercials, and these continue to lose credibility every day. However, social media influencer marketing approaches them in a completely different way, which enables it to work more effectively. It also reaches them through a medium which they enjoy spending time on, and are doing so more and more.
But the fact of the matter is that while the influencer marketing statistics prove that it is extremely effective in marketing, it is just like any other tool. In order for it to be effective, you need to know how to use it properly.
To get the results that you see the statistics reflecting, you need to know how to leverage it to your advantage and get the most out of it.
Today, more people than ever spend time on social media, and this means that if you want to continue reaching your target audience, you need to be where they are. One way to do just that is by using influencer marketing. And in this article, you will learn how to do just that.
Guide to micro-influencer marketing: How it works and what it is
Let’s start with the basics.
Influencer marketing is a partnership with influential individuals to promote the company and the company’s message. In today’s day and age, influencer marketing normally takes place on social media whereas previously, companies only made celebrities a part of their advertising campaigns, for example on television.
In influencer marketing, the influencer promotes the company directly to their audience as social media has given people a direct communications channel with their fans and followers, which as a result has laid the foundation for influencer marketing.
When a company thus works together with an influencer, they do not only get the trust and fame from the influencer, but they also get access to their audience on social media, whichever platform that may be.
Influencers are trusted individuals who have established themselves as industry-experts and thought-leaders within their own industry. Therefore, people seek themselves to those individuals for inspiration, advice and information.
To start with, there are different types of influencers. Different people use different terms to describe these individuals, but some of the most common terms are Macro influencers, micro-influencers, nano influencers, and simply “influencers”. These terms do not mean the same thing either, so let’s sort that out first.
A misconception that many companies have is that the more followers an individual has, the better. But this is of course not the case. In fact, what truly matters in influencer marketing is that the audience of the influencer is relevant to the brand (targeted), and that the audience is engaged. The follower count in itself does not necessarily have to mean anything.
What’s interesting is that micro-influencers generally have a smaller following on social media, normally between a few thousand followers up to one hundred thousand followers. But at the same time, because they have fewer followers, they can engage, interact, and build relationships with them in a completely different way. This means that while the influencer has fewer followers, they tend to have a more engaged audience. And because of this, they can impact them in a better way, thus having more impact with their brand and product recommendations.
The thing is that social media influencers tend to base their prices for promotion on their follower count, and this can be a bit problematic. Because over time, the engagement tends to decrease for natural reasons, meaning that less of the people who follow will actually engage and interact with the influencer and their posts. Furthermore, it causes a skewed reality, as it takes away the focus from what truly matters, which is how relevant and engaged those followers really are. Because this is what will ultimately affect how successful a campaign is.
So, how can you leverage micro-influencers and why should you work with them?
Bloggers and Youtubers
Influencer Marketing is about identifying the people who have the confidence and ability to inspire potential buyers and consumers. In other words, it can be people who are from journalists, politicians, researchers, bloggers or other people who have made imprints.
The companies want to be seen and heard where there are customers. And today, customers are on social media. Bloggers and YouTubers are the ones who are mainly associated with influencer marketing and carry the new professional title influencer. If you get the right person in the blogosphere to write about a product or you get broad visibility on Instagram or YouTube, it can be crucial to get started “buzz” around your brand. However, an influencer can be anyone who influences a person’s perception, behavior, and purchasing decision.
What is an influencer?
Customers have always influenced their surroundings by telling them what they have bought and whether they are satisfied or dissatisfied with the product. The customers’ shopping experience then determines how they convey their impression of the brand and product to others. Therefore, marketers have early on been aware of the importance of mouth to mouth marketing. However, it is not easy to influence it. However, a great improvement has been made thanks to social media. By analyzing and capturing what is written about the brand and product names online, it is possible to detect and put in action.
Influencer marketing means that a company uses a celebrity, a blogger, a social media profile or another influential person to communicate their message – usually via the profile’s own channels. This has long been prevalent on the PR side, but more and more people are seeing the benefits of buying exposure in these channels and thus gaining greater control over their visibility.
The whole reasoning is based on a fundamental truth, we are more likely to listen to a small number of people that we consider credible or expert in one area than anyone else. An influence is, therefore, someone who has the power to influence our perception or make us do something new or different.
The emergence of the internet as we use it today, and not least social media, has made influencers and their ability to deliver a message to a large number of people even more important in order to have an impact. This can be the reader of a publication/magazine, the audience of a television host or the number of social followers anyone has. Reach is important but insufficient. Those with rather limited reach but high credibility and sales creation are called micro-influencers, and these can actually have a bigger impact than “regular” influencers with more followers.
Influencer marketing is done correctly
The easiest way to work with influencers is to pay them money. Advertisers have used celebrities in their campaigns for decades. Marketers basically “borrow” their credibility and familiarity with selling a product. This is a tactic that can work, but that’s not what we define as influencer marketing, this is normally known as celebrity endorsements. Consumers know that the actor, athlete, or celebrity is paid to market a product in a completely different way, so, therefore, it doesn’t come off as equally effective.
Another way to work with influencers is to “borrow their reach”. This is how most marketers use influencer marketing today. In other words, leverage the reach of the influencer to reach your target audience. They are looking for someone with many Instagram followers and pay them to market a product. This is truly sponsored advertising and does not maximize marketing opportunities for influences.
Good marketing influences are focused on building sincere personal relationships with influencers and sharing useful, unique, exclusive or early information.
The goal of influencer marketing
Influencer marketing should be honest and authentic. An influencer speaks about your product not because they are paid to do so, but because they want – because they think your company is interesting and the information is useful for your readers.
Therefore, influencer marketing takes time, commitment and focus, and it must be open and honest. An influence will talk about what is good and the bad with your products. But they will do in a way that is much more credible and useful and honest than any ad could be.
What is needed to become an influencer?
Exactly what is required to be titled “Influencer” is open to debate. Because the fact of the matter is that you do not become an influencer by simply writing “influencer” in your profile description, which many people seem to believe. If we are to only look at the definition of an influencer, it is that you influence other people’s decisions and thoughts, and in order to do that, people need to trust you and look up to you.
But of course, if brands are going to work with you, they want to be able to do it in scale. It’s not worth the time if you can only impact one person.
There is no given number of followers that you need to have which, after you reach it, makes you an influencer. If you want to make money from your influence then it’s not enough to have only followers, as mentioned earlier. People need to look up to you, see you as an inspiration, and an industry leader.
A little simplified, the following is required in order to be able to call yourself an influencer:
- That you have a clear target audience as followers and audience
- That you have a real influence over your followers and can impact and inspire them through your content.
- That companies can see commercial value in reaching your target audience