There is no doubt that influencer marketing plays a huge role in public relations nowadays. Business tends to pay more attention to this marketing form every year, and this trend won’t go away anytime soon.
Influencer marketing is an extremely effective way to generate sales, increase brand visibility, or simply introduce yourself to a new audience. It seems to be a perfect marketing niche where nothing can go wrong, right? Wrong – it can go bad if you don’t know how to execute an influencer marketing campaign correctly.
It’s important to examine all the pros and cons of influencer marketing before actually investing your money into it. Also, the complete guide to getting started with influencer marketing by Oberlo is definitely worth your attention. You will get some great insights on the most important features of influencer marketing.
The Bright Side of Influencer Marketing
Let’s start with an impressive number – influencer marketing is usually converting twice as good as regular paid advertisements. Obviously, influencer marketing campaign needs to be executed correctly to achieve this, but the potential is there.
It’s also worth mentioning that influencer marketing lasts way longer. You see, those social media celebrities have an ability to create a special bond with their audience, so products promoted by them look a lot more appealing compared to something that can be seen on online advertisement. People usually treat influencers as their friends, so an influencer promoting a product is similar to a friend praising something. That helps to build long-lasting relationships with new customers.
And new customers or audience is probably the biggest advantage of influencer marketing. The most important thing is to select the right people to cooperate with. Since influencers usually have a very targeted audience that is interested in some particular things, you can promote your brand only to those people who are likely to be your clients one day.
Another thing that makes influencer marketing so great is the ease to start off. If you plan to establish a strong presence of your business on one of the social media platforms, you will need to put a lot of time and effort into it. I.e., if you want to create a profile page for your business and build a fanbase, it will cost a lot, and the success rate is very low. Influencer marketing lets you dive right into this game without any hard work preparing for it.
So to sum it up, influencer marketing saves time. And time is money, right? You don’t have to produce your own content or spend time building an audience. Sure, paying a couple of thousands of dollars to an influencer that is not even an A-class celebrity might look like too much, but when you consider all the pros and cons – it’s definitely worth it.
The Dark Side of Influencer Marketing
We have mentioned, that influencer marketing is much less time consuming than establishing your own profile on social media. However, it still requires some preparation, and only money alone won’t deliver the right results. You have to invest your time in figuring out the vision of your campaign, reaching out to potential influencers that could be ambassadors of your brand, and managing the ongoing campaign. Or you can simply pay to some advertising agency that could do that for you. Needless to say, that will cost additionally.
Probably the biggest downside of influencer marketing is taking the risk for the person you are working it. You must have heard of Logan Paul (a guy with millions of followers), who posted a video of suicide forest in Japan last year and the impact it had on his career and public image. Just imagine what kind of impact it would have on your business if an influencer promoting your brand would do something similar? That’s why selecting the right people to work with is crucial.
Last but not least, you have to always track the performance of your campaign because it might not work. There might be a lot of reasons why influencer marketing is not returning desired results, so you got to keep an eye on that. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket – promoting the brand only with influencer marketing is a big mistake.
Finding Right Influencers
Regardless if you want to focus on the negative or positive side of influencers marketing, there is simply no denying that they have a massive effect on your business. After all, they are called influencers for a good reason.
One of the biggest struggles that newcomers face is finding the right influencer. It is quite easy to get lost in a sea of people who are self-proclaimed experts and have spent a lot of time on marketing themselves. Thus, keep in mind that the first results to pop up in search engines are not necessarily right.
So how does one find that perfect influencer? The whole process takes a lot of time. But once again, the benefits are well worth the investment.
Understanding Your Audience
You are creating a business with plenty of things in mind. One of those is the audience which is going to buy from you. For example, if you are looking to sell video games, your ideal targets should be young males. Meanwhile, beauty products are more likely to succeed among women, and the age for this one is not as important. Both young and old want to look their best.
Why is any of this important? Well, the answer is quite clear. Your targeted audience should be identical or at least similar to that of the influencer. Otherwise, the whole thing will end up as a complete waste of resources.
Remember that even if blogs or social media accounts advertise themselves as being in a particular niche, you should still make sure that they are relevant to you. If you are selling hockey gear, do not bother with general sports groups because it would be difficult to appeal to them.
Another thing to consider is whether your business is local or you are offering products and services which are available for everyone. In other words, the more you narrow your options, the better your situation will be.
It is worth to spend some time analyzing your potential competition. Finding similar businesses on the internet is not a problem. If you stumble upon an idea like yours, it is not something bad. Instead, you should think of it in terms of “somebody is also turning this into reality”, which means that if they can do it, so can you.
Brand growth is where influencers excel at, and if you are sure that there will be a place for yours, it becomes much easier to work toward the goal.
Understanding the Influencer
There will be more than a couple of choices when you are looking to strike a partnership with an influencer. You will have to evaluate your potential candidates and judge them by quite a few parameters.
Reach is the first thing that comes to mind. In other words, how many followers they have on social media and how many unique visitors go to their website every day or so. Of course, it is quite easy to blow these numbers out of proportion.
To avoid anyone who has fake followers, look at their engagement rate. Engagement shows how many people are actively participating. The number of likes, comments, shares, views, etc. These statistics are the most important of the lot.
For example, if an influencer has hundred-thousand followers but only one thousand of them engage, it is not a very good indication. On the other hand, a social media profile with ten-thousand followers and an engagement rate of about five-hundred is great. Not to mention the fact that you would have to pay less for someone with fewer followers.
Authenticity should also be taken into consideration. Look at their post history. If you believe that their content is nothing but paid advertisements and the history does not look natural at all, it is highly likely that you would be better off picking someone else.
Personality also tends to be overlooked. Of course, finding someone whose style aligns with your brand values is extremely difficult. Nevertheless, if you feel like you are willing to take that extra mile, go for it.
Finally, the niche. Even if you are having a hard time, remember to make sure that the influencer is not someone random, but one within the same industry as you.
Where to Look for Them?
As per usual these days, social media is the answer. That is more or less the ideal choice as virtually every influencer has a presence on these platforms, no matter how big or small it might be.
There are a plethora of platforms to choose from. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular ones:
- Facebook. It will be difficult to find someone who is not using this one. Despite what you might hear, the popularity of Facebook continues to grow, and so does the number of influencers who find themselves relying on it as a source of income.
- Twitter. Another big social media website, though it might be a bit difficult to find the right influencer here. Consider it as an alternative and a way to introduce a little variety once things start to pick up.
- Instagram. Perhaps the most popular choice among both businesses and influencers. If you have been on Instagram, you have definitely seen sponsored posts where big accounts give shoutouts. It is one of the most common methods to influence, and despite what you might think, it is quite effective.
- YouTube. If you feel like video format is the best way to advertise your services or products, nothing beats YouTube.
- Twitch TV. Might be a long shot, but like gamers could also be a good audience to target. Contact streamers and give them an offer. They should be more than happy to work with you.
Those who do not feel like spending time browsing these websites randomly can always make use of special tools. One of the most popular is HypeAuditor, Discover.ly, Tweetdeck, Clout, and Buzzsumo. It helps if you want to narrow down your search. And keep in mind that there are plenty of other tools, developed for specific platforms.
Once you have a list of potential candidates, you will have to contact them. Some people like to take the direct approach and send them a message on social media. However, this is not always the best option.
If you can find an email address, make sure to send them a proposal using that. Everything will seem more natural and professional. After all, they have this contact information available for a reason.
As for the email itself, the content should consist of the main points. Introductions, your expectations, why you are choosing to work with this particular influencer, how much you are willing to pay, and so on. There are plenty of templates for writing such emails online. In case you are struggling to come up with everything yourself, look for some help.
Increase Your Odds
When you find an influencer you are particularly interested in, you can increase the odds of working with him or her by engaging on their content first. In other words, you need to get noticed.
Share their posts, leave relevant comments, and so on. And make sure to use a business account, not a personal one. Who knows, they might be the ones to contact you, not the other way around.
Maintaining the Relationship
When you start the cooperation, make sure that you are in a good relationship with the influencer. It can be a pain to find a replacement. Consequently, working with someone for a long term shows that you are capable of maintaining relationships. Having such a trait will only strengthen your brand.
So in a word, it should become clear that influencer marketing is no walk in the park. It takes effort, and there will be bumps along the way, especially if you have no or very little experience with this method of marketing. But then again, when all things are considered, nobody can deny that influencers are extremely beneficial to your brand, and their presence as a whole will continue to grow in the world of digital marketing.