Influencer Marketing 101 – Everything You Need To Know

What is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing is the enlistment of influential people in a specific industry to market products to an audience. Think celebrity endorsements for the digital age.

Divided into macro and micro, influencers can range from activists to educators, socialites to trendsetters and experts to entertainers. Micro influencers would include those who have a loyal following within a particular niche, while a macro influencer would have a larger following that may incorporate one or many niches. Either way, influencers have a loyal following that respect and value their expertise or insight. When influencers express their opinion of a particular product or service, their established credibility makes their testimony that much more meaningful to their community. Essentially influencer marketing is part celebrity endorsement, part referral marketing, part testimonial marketing, and part product placement. It’s about leveraging powerful leaders in your industry to market your product/brand.

What are the benefits of Influencer Marketing?

There are many benefits of influencer marketing. The main benefit of influencer marketing is to raise awareness of your brand and reach audiences you may never organically reach. Other benefits include:

  • Trust: Influencers already have an engaged audience that trust and admire their opinions
  • Targeting a niche: Finding an influencer with the same niche as your product/service/brand will put your product in front of an audience that is interested. Unlike broad mainstream marketing such as billboards, commercials, or print ads, it is less likely that this marketing strategy will be wasted on uninterested parties.
  • Inbound Marketing: Using an influencer allows you to attract qualified leads that are more likely to consider and convert.

...Nine in every ten Internet consumers worldwide (90%) trust recommendations from people they know - Nielson

How does Influencer Marketing work?

More traditional marketing methods have brands market and advertise directly to the consumer. Influencer marketing has brands market their products through the influencer, essentially as a marketing recommendation through a third party. Unlike the baby boomers and generation X, millennials, who grew up surrounded by technology are mostly immune to the traditional forms of marketing and are often off put and desensitized to it. It is important to effectively market to this socially active and digitally savvy generation, which is soon to hold the majority of the spending power globally.

There are two types of influencer marketing: earned influencer marketing and paid influencer marketing. So, what’s the difference?

Earned influencer marketing is the partnership between a brand and an influencer without monetary compensation, but instead a mutual agreement of exposure to each other’s audience and often free product.

Paid influencer marketing involves the brand offering free product, monetary compensation, or sponsorship to the influencer.

Governments have begun to set rules and regulations on influencer marketing as to how influencers can promote a product and not mislead consumers. Most countries require influencers to state that their posts are in fact paid sponsorships by tagging their posts with #ad or #sponsored. This tag must be in an obvious spot, not to get lost in a multiple hashtag block.

... 43% of consumers are more likely to buy a new product when learning about it on social media - Nielson

How to choose the right influencer for your business/brand

Micro influencers have followings that range from 1000 to 10,000 followers. Their communities are engaged and their conversations and personal brands are authentic.

What to consider when looking for an influencer

  • Understand your target audience and find an influencer whose community reflects that. It isn’t enough to just choose a fitness blogger for your athletic wear brand. Is their demographic solely female? Are they a weightlifter? Is their community in a specific location?
  • Find someone that shares the same ideals and values. You want to make sure that their brand voice and messaging align with your brand. They will be a direct reflection of you and the community will forever associate your brand with them.
  • Have goals and targets in mind. When looking for an influencer, check to see what partnerships they have made in the past and if their campaigns look successful. If your goal is brand awareness, find someone that is great at showcasing a product and establishing a name for that brand. Perhaps your goal is sales, having someone that is convincing in their reviews or makes great tutorial videos is ideal.

Tactics to find an influencer:

  • Look to find someone that may already be interested in your brand. Keeping in touch with who interacts with your brand will help. Check geotags, hashtags, and post tags for influencers. Take a look through your followers to see if you already have a relevant influencer engaged with your brand.
  • Filter through more general hashtags that are relevant to your brand. Looking through geotags could help you find someone in a specific location if that is of importance.
  • Check out your competitors. Do they have followers of influencer status that they are not working with but seem to be interested in a similar product?
  • Look to other known influencers in your industry to see if they have similar influencers within their communities.

In this digital-first world, the more traditional marketing strategies are not enough. Audiences are immune to advertising (or altogether blocking it!) so it is important to reach them without them feeling like they are being sold to. Influencer marketing is proven effective for those very reasons and is a must-add to your 2018 marketing strategy. With the right partnership with an influencer, you will be reaching a new audience that shares the same values and trusts the opinion and expertise of that influencer.

Want more information on influencer marketing and help to choose the perfect influencer for your brand? Contact us for a free consultation with a Marketing Specialist!