You post regularly, your customer service is top-notch, and you’ve received great feedback from a handful of clients. However, you’re still struggling to expand your brand and reach new prospects. You’ve tried multiple marketing strategies and have done you’re best to keep up with the changing nature of the consumer market but aren’t completely satisfied with the results.
It can be disappointing to pour your heart and soul into a business, only for it to be met with a few ‘heart’ emojis and a small local following—especially when you have a larger goal for your brand in mind. It’s important, however, to not lose hope and continue to explore your other marketing options, particularly those residing within the confines of the online world.
The internet is unsurprisingly responsible for a large chunk of retail sales. According to Statista, in 2020, retail e-commerce sales across the globe amounted to USD$4.28 trillion. This figure is only expected to grow to USD$5.4 trillion by 2022. It’s, therefore, crucial to utilize the tools available to you in order to attract, convert, and retain online customers and support. Influencer marketing is considered one of the most popular ways of doing so. (1)
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is a social media strategy that revolves around the endorsement of products and services by individuals who have an existing pool of followers (local and international) and a reputable online presence. Influencers are typically believed to be experts within their specific niche area and, therefore, are trusted by their followers to promote brands and their products.
Who qualifies as an influencer?
The label ‘influencer’ used to remain exclusive for celebrities and bloggers who were successful in landing a huge network of social media fans. The market, however, has expanded in recent times to not only the latter bodies but also those who have pull and influence with smaller communities as well. The concept has even been broken down into the following categories: mega, macro, micro, and nano. (2)
Apart from top-tier famous people, the following individuals may be able to assist you in furthering your brand with influencer marketing tactics:
- Bloggers and content creators
- Thought leaders
- Industry/niche experts
- Organization authorities
- Ordinary individuals with a tight relationship with their followers (micro-influencers) (3)
Benefits of influencer marketing
If you’re unsure whether or not this method of marketing is right for your brand, it’s wise to review the success that other companies have had when implementing it. According to Influencer Marketing Hub, for example, businesses were making USD$5.20 for every USD$1 spent on influencer marketing in 2019. (4)
If this gain doesn’t entirely convince you, consider the following advantages:
- Leverages the relationship influencers have with their consumers in order to build trust and authority within your own brand.
- Effectively reaches your desired target audience.
- Connects to a wider market that you didn’t know you wanted.
- Enhances brand awareness.
- Optimizes your content strategy.
- Sets trends within the market.
- Creates partnerships.
- Generates leads.
- Drives conversion rates. (5)
Considerations before investing in influencer marketing
Before you hire a marketing agency like The Influence Agency, it’s vital for you to consider a few key factors in order to ensure that your use of influencer marketing aids your brand rather than hinders it. Diving right into the sea of influencers and determine shoppers without prior thought or preparation may not be wise. It’s not always as easy as reaching out to the first celebrity you can find and hope that they also see value within your business.
#1. Understanding and identifying your motivations
Before you dive into any marketing campaigns, it’s essential to have a clear idea in your mind of what specific end results you’re after. The latter may include a general increase in brand awareness, higher conversion rates, or enhanced audience engagement with your social media platforms.
It’s key to understand why you’re investing in influencer marketing in order to effectively steer towards and achieve your goals.
#2. Determining your budget
Once you understand what you’re after, it’s crucial to address how much your vision will cost you from an influencer marketing perspective. Some nano or micro-influencers may be willing to promote your content for free, especially if you offer them incentives. If, however, you’d like them to be more involved within your marketing schemes (as a brand partner, for example), you’ll need to research as well as receive quotes from them to determine a price.
Acknowledging your financial situation and leeway before undergoing the latter processes is wise if you wish to reduce your cost-hunting time.
#3. Choosing your influencer/s carefully
You may think it wise to go after the celebrity with the largest online following. However, this may not serve you or your brand well. It’s crucial to choose your influencer not only according to their level of reach and popularity but also their relevance to your niche. If they fail to appropriately align with your core values and overall vision, they’re less likely to succeed at promoting your brand in a way that honors you and your creations.
If they’re genuinely interested in your products and services or live within a similar niche online, they’re more likely to better understand how to advertise and produce engaging content specific to your name.
Other perks to consider:
- They’re highly selective with what they promote.
- Their followers and interactions are organic rather than bot-generated.
- They have a strong connection with their audience.
#4. Establishing a connection with them
Sliding into an influencer’s direct messages ready to deliver your pitch without any prior communication may seem a little self-indulgent and spam-like. Influencers are more likely to better receive and respond to your message if they’re aware of your brand and have interacted with you in the past.
Maintaining an ongoing stream of communications (likes, comments, shared posts, etc.) before asking them to collaborate may serve you better than going in without any foundational relationship cushioning.
#5. Providing ample information upon initial outreach/pitch
When you pitch your vision, it’s recommended to include as many details as possible so that the individual can better gauge whether or not they’re right for the job.
#6. Offering a briefing document
Once you’ve landed an interested influencer, it’s wise to draw up a briefing document that covers the following components:
- Desired timeline of overall project and post previewing/posting.
- Image specifications
- Styling direction
- Copy guidelines
- Do’s and don’ts
#7. Allowing your influencer creative control
It’s important not to micromanage but instead appreciate your influencer’s unique flair and allow them the freedom (within the aforementioned briefing outline) to create and promote how they feel most beneficial and in line with both of your names. It’s may also be clever to collaborate and collectively support a common cause to further unite your fronts.
#8. Ensuring you both uphold your end of the deal
Remaining professional throughout the process is essential. It’s crucial that you uphold your end of the deal, as well as ensure and encourage them to do so. If they forget, for example, to post on a previously-decided-upon day, a simple and polite message may be all that’s required.
If a monetary agreement has been made, it may be wise to pay after they post or provide a partial payment until they follow through.
#9. Measure the results of your influencer campaigns
It’s essential to review the progress of your influencer marketing strategies in order to determine whether the investment has been worthwhile or if you should consider pitching to a different influencer.
Influencer marketing may boost not only your brand name but your overall customer base and engagement. It’s key, however, to outline your motives and choose an influencer most appropriately aligned with your vision.
- “Global retail e-commerce sales 2014-2024”, Source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/379046/worldwide-retail-e-commerce-sales/
- “Social Media Influencers: Mega, Macro, Micro or Nano”, Source: https://www.cmswire.com/digital-marketing/social-media-influencers-mega-macro-micro-or-nano/
- “How to Work with Influencers”, Source: https://tinuiti.com/blog/paid-social/how-to-work-with-influencers/
- “100 Influencer Marketing Statistics For 2021”, Source: https://influencermarketinghub.com/influencer-marketing-statistics/
- “10 Benefits Of Influencer Marketing”, Source: http://www.themarketingsage.com/10-benefits-of-influencer-marketing/