Influencer Marketing: Get the best out of it

Like it or not, influencer marketing is on the rise. For anyone who doesn’t have Instagram, influencer marketing is a form of collaboration where business’ partner up with an influential person to promote something. It could be a product, service, or campaign. The original form of this was celebrity endorsement deals.

Celebrities have been used for years to promote brands and services, but in today’s digital world, social content creators with more niche audiences can often offer more value to brands. These people have dedicated and engaged groups of followers on social media, known simply as “social media influencers.”

With the rise of Instagram and reality TV, it appears influencer marketing is here to stay. With the two working hand in hand, new influencers are constantly being churned out. 2019 Love Island star Molly-Mae Hague left the show with 3.2m followers and a £500k deal with online fast-fashion retailer, Pretty Little Thing. Think that’s a high price? Shockingly, no. 18% of companies are spending anything from £100-£500k of marketing budget on influencer partnerships. What’s more, 7% are spending £1m+.  

Image: Pretty Little Thing x Molly-Mae collaboration campaign.

A 2019 study from MediaKix found some companies are really spending large percentages of their annual budget on influencer marketing.

MediaKix also revealed that 80% of marketers find influencer marketing effective, and 89% of marketers say influencer marketing ROI is as good or better than other marketing channels.

Image: Infographic from MediaKix

Who should be promoting my brand?

Influencer marketing is an investment. To get it right, you have to devote time to ensure you find the right influencer to promote content that appeals to your target audience. You also have to spend money and resources to reward the influencer, run various campaigns with the influencer, and more depending on your specific marketing goals.

This is where knowing which influencer you need comes in. There are five types of influencer:

1. Micro Influencers

A relatively modest following of thousands or tens of thousands of people within their niche. They create relevant content for their audience and communicate with them via social media platforms, blogs, other written publications, websites, and forums. Due to the size of their following and the type of content they create, they typically have high engagement rates.

2. Celebrity Influencers

Celebrity influencers are famous people with large followings, typically in the millions. Those who are known across many industries. They’re widely recognised and, therefore, have the potential to be very successful in influencing your target audience. Celebrity influencers are best used as a form of ‘social proof’ within marketing.

3. Blog Influencers

A blog influencer is someone who writes for their established blog and has thousands, or millions, of subscribers and readers. Their reach and influence set them apart from other bloggers (meaning, they aren’t just writing for themselves or a very small group of people).

4. Social Media Influencers

Social media influencers are well recognised on social platforms, such as Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter, and are followed by thousands or even millions of people. Social media influencers share content about a wide range of topics such as health, workouts, cars, diet, outdoor activities, travel, fashion, art, beauty, and interior design.

5. Key opinion leaders (KOL)

KOL’s are high-level experts on a specialised topic within a particular field. For example, a KOL might specialise in makeup application, for example Jeffree Star. If your business is looking to attract audience members in a very specialised field, a KOL is the best option due to their expert knowledge, they are trusted contributors in their industries. 

Image: Jeffree Star, make-up KOL and CEO of Jeffree Star cosmetics

What’s better about using influencers over a standard marketing campaign?

The key is trust. Your audience has to trust and respect the opinion of the influencers you partner with. Without this, any results will be superficial. You’ll struggle to see a tangible business impact from your efforts. In order to see if a potential influencer is trusted, look at their engagement. Plenty of views, likes, comments, and shares show an actively engaged audience. Specifically, you want to see these from the precise follower segments you’re trying to reach. A good engagement rate also means a loyal following. 

Image: Jess & Dom – Love Island, unsuccessful Instagram ad.

Influencer marketing has become a lot more strategic with its rise over the years, but it hasn’t always been this way. A few years ago, it wasn’t uncommon to see A-list celebrities advertising the outfit they ‘bought’ at Boohoo. Unless it’s a celebrity collaboration, people aren’t naive enough to believe someone with millions to spend would buy their clothes from Boohoo. That being said, there is still a lot you can use an influencer for, even if it isn’t their niche.

The important thing to remember is that when you partner with an influencer as a brand, you still want to ensure your brand values are visible. An influencer deal is useless if there is no clear vision of the campaign. Decisive, measurable and realistic goals must be in place. Having a detailed plan will give the campaign a vital dose of purpose and navigation, and ensure that both you and the influencer can work toward achieving a scaleable goal.

Another thing to consider as a brand is loyalty to your influencers. If you’ve chosen to work with them, they are now a face of your brand. Feel free to add some more influencers into the mix if and when necessary, but dropping influencers for new ones for each campaign will confuse your audience and lose their trust in your authenticity. 

In conclusion, influencer campaigns can and do work wonders for brands and businesses when run effectively. It’s a strategy that cannot be avoided in the digital age. That being said, it is vital to avoid the common pitfalls that can prevent you from achieving your desired results. Research, build relationships and reflect your brand values for success with influencers.

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