The other day I bought a pair of shoes that had been featured on an Instagram page I follow closely.
It wasn’t an impulse purchase; I had been moderately searching the internet for a fresh pair of sneakers. However, I found it curious that it wasn’t any of my active web searches that led me to make a purchase, but a passive, recreational scroll through my Instagram feed…
I believe this was my first time giving in to the bewitching charms of Influencer Marketing.
Do you remember when was yours?
I ask this because there are 3.4 billion social media users in the world, and I’m pretty sure you’re one of them. Plus, I bet you follow at least one person whose status can be defined by today’s buzzword “influencer”.
And, at a not-so-wild guess, I’d say you’ve either acquired a product or used a service because it’s been endorsed by her or him.
Like anything from a coffee mug to Brazilian waxing.
Am I right?
I’m confident in saying this because research has proven that we’re more likely to acquire something when it’s been recommended by someone we have some form of a tie with, as opposed to when we’re just being “told to buy” by a brand.
Check these stats out:
It’s safe to say that the good ol’ word-of-mouth marketing isn’t going anywhere…
And that’s one reason too many why you must have your finger on the pulse of Influencer Marketing. Especially when 80% of marketers say that it has been helpful in growing their business.
To get your juices flowing, we’ve prepped a simple guide touching the most important bases on the realm of digital influence.
These are likely the first people that come to mind when the word “influencer” comes up. They’re well-known figures in the online world and have anywhere from 100,000 to 1,000,000 followers, which gives them a wide appeal over an audience characterized by diversity. Usually, such influencers work with big brands that can pay them the big bucks.
These are the up-and-comers who have a following that ranges from 1,000 to 100,000. It’s likely that prior to joining their social media platform of preference, where they now have a solid presence, they hadn’t experienced such a high level of influence over people. Due to their audience being significantly smaller, their engagement rates tend to be higher and it’s easier to visualize their niches and who are the people over which they exert the most influence.
As the name suggests, there’s not a big following to be found in a nano influencer’s profile – they usually have less than 1,000 followers. But this doesn’t mean a collaboration with them can’t be fruitful. Especially when it comes to local businesses with a niche community, when nano influencers tend to be the best alternative.
Does your product or service align with the influencer’s area of expertise?
In what platforms and channels is the influencer present? Are they the same platforms and channels that your target audience uses? For instance, if you’re after corporate clients LinkedIn is likely to be a better platform than Instagram.
Is your ideal customer likely to be amongst the influencer’s followers? How do his most typical followers look like?
What are people’s opinions on the influencer? Are they usually positive or negative?
Before going out there and start sending messages to influencers, stop to determine what it is that you want to achieve with the collab. Although this sounds rather obvious, it’s worthy of reiteration as there are many things an influencer can do for your brand, such as:
It’s important to get the minutiae on paper so it’s clear to the influencer what you want to achieve, how s/he can help you get there, and how success is going to be measured.
To simplify things a bit, let’s explore the two main forms of collaboration between brands and influencers.
The Pay Per Post Model
This is the most classic form of collab between brands and influencers, where a campaign is created with clear guidelines that the influencer will follow for a set price that’s been officially agreed upon via a formal contract between the two parties.
Pricing usually varies according to the size of the influencer’s following. In which case, the bigger the audience, the bigger the paycheck they’ll require. This is where most businesses tend to go with micro or nano influencers, as they offer more affordable, yet effective services.
Here’s a snapshot of what prices are like in today’s market:
This is, however, not an exact science and everything is subject to change according to your negotiation skills and what you’ll require from the influencer. It probably hasn’t crossed your mind yet, but:
When all of the above is considered (and discussed), you’ll be one step closer to kicking off the campaign. What results will ensue after this will be the next burning question – or shall we say the million dollar one…
The Affiliate Model
This is the model for us control freaks who don’t like letting things too loose. It gives marketers a system wherein one can account for each sale or lead that’s come from the influencer via a specific affiliate tracking link.
Fundamentally, everything will be the same: how you’re gonna devise the campaign, the creatives that are gonna be included, and what the influencer will have to do. However, the payment will not likely be made upfront – or in case it does, it won’t be a large sum -, as the influencer will be working under one of the models below:
To set up your tracking you’ll need to use a proper Affiliate Marketing tool. If you pick any of the ones below, you’ll be up to a great start:
Now that we’ve covered some ground and things are shaping up, let’s take a step back and look at the most crucial of aspects: how to find an influencer that’s the perfect match for your brand.
Although many are tempted to think so, it isn’t simple and you can easily find yourself going down the rabbit hole if your search is not a thorough one – the needle in a haystack maxim has never applied so well to a situation…
Luckily, social media is a quite sophisticated thing and all we need is to put a few processes in place. Below are the most basic:
Keep your ears open: add relevant Instagram hashtags to your radar. Instagram has two different hashtag tabs – one for top profiles, and another for chronologically-sorted posts. Searching through the former one will give you access to high-profile users who dominate the topic and have a great following, without necessarily being expensive macro-influencers. You’ll be surprised by how many interesting profiles you’ll come across.
Take a glance at their followers’ list and interactions: if you haven’t picked a macro influencer, it’s likely you’ll see great, genuine engagements in each post. Ask yourself, then, “are the people following and interacting with this influencer my target audience?” Straight away, you’ll know whether to cross this one off your list or flag him/her as a potential partner.
Look beyond a single platform: while you’re at it, take a step further and pay a visit to the influencer’s other social media profiles. Does s/he get tens of thousands of hits in the other profile(s)? Are they relevant profiles to your brand and target audience? Ideally, you’d want to utilize more than one platform to maximize your reach.
Get techier (if you feel like it): you don’t necessarily need to pull all the weight. Tools like HypeAuditor and Upfluence can do all the heavy lifting for you, instead. They literally scan through most social media platforms to find the most relevant influencers based on inputs like location, target audience, engagement rates, etc. Not only that, but you can literally manage every single aspect of your influencer campaign through them. The only question is how much you are willing to pay to utilize these amazing tools.
Partnering with an influencer is a great way to bring more relevant people to the top of your funnel and start an illuminating conversation with them that will boost brand awareness. Because they’ll first come across your brand through someone they likely consider to be a trustful source, chances are higher for them to follow through and take some form of action towards your business – e.g. website visit, direct inquiry, or even a purchase.
With influencers ranging from nano to macro across all major platforms, you can rest assured that you’ll find a cost-effective option for your influencer campaign that has the potential to bring in awesome results.
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