People are taking more control over the types of content they consume. The use of ad-blockers and distrust of branded content is on the rise. Even though it has become harder to reach new audiences, consumers still want to engage with brands.
Thanks to social media and content marketing, people are interacting with brands more than ever before. They are sharing their customer experiences, researching businesses and recommending products to their friends and family.
Many traditional advertising and marketing techniques are no longer as successful as they once were. Instead, companies are looking to newer and more effective techniques like influencer marketing.
Some of our clients at 10twelve have asked us about influencer marketing. An influencer marketing campaign can generate buzz about your brand as well as increase sales and web traffic. However, there are a few things that you should know before launching an influencer marketing initiative.
What is influencer marketing?
More people view ads and branded content as biased and one-sided, because they are generated by the company that they portray. On the other hand, influencer marketing is a technique in which companies work with thought leaders that share messages and raise brand awareness. This usually takes the form in:
● Ambassadorships: Often longer-term relationships with influencers who represent and advocate on behalf of your brand.
● Product reviews: Influencers test out your products and share their opinion.
● Sponsored content: Videos, blogs, recipes or other content that is created on behalf of your company (i.e. Makeup tutorials, cooking blogs, etc.).
● Social media mentions: Influencers give a shout out to your company on their blog and other social channels.
Because influencer marketing involves a third-party that is usually an expert in the area or industry, it is viewed as a more trustworthy source. In fact, a recent survey by Twitter and Annalect found that people trust influencers almost as much as their own friends. In the survey, 49% of respondents said that when making purchasing decisions, they look to influencers for recommendations. In comparison, 56% said that they get recommendations from friends.
In the same survey, 40% of people said that they bought a product online after seeing it on an influencer’s Instagram, Twitter, YouTube or other social channel. Many companies and marketers have found success with influencer marketing, but it is important to select the right influencers for your brand.
Who are influencers?
To be considered an influencer, a person or group usually needs to have:
● A large, active audience
● Expertise in a certain area or industry
An influencer can be a blogger, YouTube or other social media celebrity or an industry-recognized expert. They are usually compensated in some form, whether that is by receiving free products or money.
A few years ago, working with an influencer would usually mean endorsing mainstream celebrities to appear as a spokesperson in TV commercials or other ads and marketing. Now, even the biggest companies in the world are looking to Internet celebrities, bloggers, and social media stars that cover specific niches for their campaigns.
For example, Nura Afia may not be an immediately recognizable name to the majority of the population. However, she is a well-known Muslim beauty blogger that has recently become one of Covergirl’s ambassadors and joined their #LashEquality campaign. She isn’t the first Internet celeb that Covergirl picked up either. Social media star James Charles also joined as the line’s first male ambassador and makeup model.
When deciding on which influencers you should connect with, there is more to consider than simply how many followers they have on social media. First, you need to identify your target audience(s). Ideally, an influencer’s audience will be comprised of the people that you want to reach.
For example, if you are a software company that wants to reach developers, having Kylie Jenner as an influencer probably wouldn’t help you. On the other hand, if you are a cosmetics line targeted to teens, Kylie Jenner is an ideal influencer.
You also need to establish your objectives for influencer marketing. Do you want to:
● Raise brand awareness?
● Grow your user base or list of email subscribers?
● Increase website traffic?
● Build engagement and follower count on social media?
● Generate leads or increase sales?
Once you know your audiences and goals, you can begin the search for influencers.
How to Find and Connect with Influencers
The key is to target influencers that have the audience, tone and expertise that fits your brand and objectives. You can find influencers by using a simple keyword search and noting the blogs, social media profiles and websites that pop up. You can also do a hashtag search on social media. However, both are time-consuming. Luckily, there are several useful tools that can simplify the process.
Buzzsumo is a great tool that has a section specifically designed to find key influencers. You can search for them by topic and narrow the search by location. You can also find influencers by tracking those that mention your brand or selected keywords on Twitter. The tool will help you gather the influencers that you find into an outreach list.
Influencer Marketing Platforms
In recent years, several influencer marketing platforms have emerged to facilitate some aspects of the process. Some sites will pair influencers with marketers or companies, while other platforms aim to automate the entire process.
A few popular platforms for finding and connecting with influencers are:
● BrandBacker: The platform has over 10,000 influencers, who offer branded blogs, posts, tutorials, contests and many other campaigns.
● Content BLVD: Because it focuses on video, it is great for connecting with a Vlogger or YouTube star.
● Ninja Outreach: A platform for blogger outreach and CRM.
● FameBit: An online marketplace for finding influencers on Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
Whether you use an automated platform or another method to connect with influencers, it is crucial to track your interactions.
You can use a simple Google Sheet or a CRM tool like Streak to keep track of your outreach efforts. Because Streak connects with your email, it is easier to track messages that you’ve sent to potential influencers via email.
More companies and marketers want to work with influencers on campaigns. Depending on who you reach out to, it can be competitive. Improve your chances of landing the influencers that you want by crafting a few different versions of outreach messages and testing their effectiveness. Make sure that you are clear on how you want to collaborate.
● Do you want to create a giveaway or contest?
● Are you looking for reviews or sponsored content?
● Do you want them to be an ambassador and work on more than one campaign?
It is important to also remember that influencers aren’t going to work with your brand for free. You are compensating them for their opinions and content, so you should be honest and transparent. However, they also need to provide value that can be measured. Some ways that you can measure their impact are:
● Number of impressions
● Engagement and reach
● Clicks and views
● Conversions and sales
Measuring the effectiveness of influencer marketing can be tricky, but it is possible. Make sure that you establish the metrics that can help you determine the ROI of each influencer relationship before launching a campaign.
Influencer marketing can be an incredibly effective tactic for your company, but it can also be a time-consuming and intricate process to manage on your own. Reach out to 10twelve, to find out more about influencer marketing and how we can help you craft successful campaigns with influencers.