The power of social media to instantly make or break your brand is growing as more and more customers rely on it to inform their purchasing decisions. As a result, influencer marketing, an industry expected to reach $7.14 billion in total revenue by 2024, will continue to be a powerful marketing tool to raise brand awareness and generate leads.
What Is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is a strategy involving teaming up with an influencer—someone with a large social media following and who is regarded as an authority in a particular field—for product placement or endorsement on social media networks.
By collaborating with the right influencer, your brand can take advantage of the influencer’s sway among potential customers, users, or clients in your industry and target particular people rather than a general audience.
Historically, businesses have wanted to work with celebrities and mega-influencers (influencers with over one million followers) to promote their brands on social media. However, studies show that nano-influencers (those with fewer than 10,000 followers) and micro-influencers (those with fewer than 100,000 followers) have the highest engagement rate.
Nano- and micro-influencers provide businesses with a unique opportunity to reach niche markets because they have a more targeted and engaged audience than mega-influencers.
What Influencer Marketing Can Do for You?
Influencer marketing can be a valuable addition to your marketing strategy, allowing your company to market itself cost-effectively and compellingly. Some other benefits of influencer marketing include:
- Boosting credibility. The more people who talk about and promote your service or product, the more credible your brand becomes.
- Raising awareness. Influencer marketing can expand and strengthen brand awareness by increasing the likelihood that people will talk about a brand on social media.
- Improving sales. Word of mouth among consumers now drives twice as many sales as paid advertising. Influencers play an important role in sales because they build relationships and are frequently regarded as reliable sources of information.
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Find Your Influencer: How to Do It
Finding influencers can be done using a variety of techniques. Conducting a manual search is the most common starting point for brands new to influencer marketing. For example, you can search directly on your preferred social media platform using keywords as hashtags to find posts from creators in your niche. You can also use industry media and marketing blogs to research lists of influencers. These methods, however, are usually time-consuming and provide little insight into overall performance. Businesses that want to cut down on the time spent looking for the right influencer should think about investing in influencer marketing software, which can give you access to a sizable database of influencers, performance information, and the ability to use filters to focus your search.
Your company, brand, and target market will determine which influencer(s) you should work with. Some characteristics to look for in an influencer include the following:
- Reach: Their followers should match the ideal target market that you are trying to reach. It’s essential that your influencer connect and interact with as many people as possible, but keep in mind that nano and micro-influencers have the highest engagement rates.
- Consistency: Look for an influencer who regularly engages with their communities and whose followers regard them as a trusted authority.
- Expertise: The influencer you select should be knowledgeable about your brand’s subject matter and current industry trends.
- Compatibility: Their personality, voice, messaging, and content should be consistent with the values of your brand.
Strategies for Influencer Marketing
A brand can engage and collaborate with an influencer in various ways. Here are just a few ideas to consider.
- Event marketing: The right influencer can engage your target audience early and generate excitement for your event, especially if it occurs in a specific area or for people with certain interests.
- Video marketing: An influencer can help your company produce unique video content that can be quickly repurposed and redistributed and provide a sizable, focused audience for it.
- Promotional marketing: If your company is planning a special promotion, you could enlist the help of an influencer to promote it on their platforms, which would help drive traffic to your website.
Suppose your business is looking for a low-cost, high-impact addition to your marketing strategy. Influencer marketing could be the answer. When done thoughtfully, it can help your brand boost credibility, raise awareness, drive more traffic, and increase sales.
Best Practices for Influencer Marketing
Businesses and influencers must adhere to FTC regulations when using endorsements, influencers, or reviews in their advertising.
The FTC requires influencers to disclose their material connections to the brand (service, product or company), they promote on social media. A material connection is any connection that that could affect the importance or credibility that consumers place on the endorsement. Material connections include things like gift cards, freebies, or deeply discounted goods and services, as well as chances to win prizes. You can refer to the FTC’s Disclosures 101 for Social Media Influencers for a comprehensive list.
Posting a product image, tagging a brand (even if not commenting on it), or even liking a company necessitates disclosure if the influencer has a material connection to it, unless everyone viewing it is aware it is an advertisement, or the influencer is a well-known spokesperson for it.
Determining when a disclosure is required can be difficult, so it’s best to err on the side of caution and include FTC-approved disclosure language.