Influencer marketing 101 : how to harness the power of influencers
With 70% of millennials surveyed as being influenced by their peers and the public's mistrust in media outlets building, it is no surprise agencies are turning to influencer marketing to deliver the best results. Economical and effective influencer marketing has various benefits, but also has challenges that can lead some down rabbit holes. This 101 guide will outline the purpose of influencer marketing, offer a 5 step approach to implementing a campaign and provide 3 examples of succesful influencer marketing campaigns.
So, what is an influencer?
An influencer is someone who has an effect on the purchasing decision of the user.
What are the benefits of influencer marketing?
There are numerous benefits to influencer marketing from diversifying your content strategy to something more concrete - like acquiring more relevant leads.
Here are some more benefits of influencer marketing:
- Reaching new audiences: Offering access to a younger demographic that can prove difficult to reach through other platforms as well as specific niche audiences that have formed online communities.
- Measurable: Monitor and report on online conversions and leads pushed by influencers. This also presents an opportunity to collect tangible data and insights on your audience.
- Shareable: Online content created and/or shared by your influencer also provides an opportunity for your audience to share the content. This increases your reach and visibility and can allow you to assimilate into your audience’s community.
- Affordable: With the option of micro or macro influencers, numerous or a single influencer, your budget is flexible. There is no set price so you can negotiate with influencers if necessary providing more room to deliver a higher ROI.
- Native advertising: Intended to increase organic traffic, this form of advertising is more digestible and relevant to communities that do not respond to traditionally commercial forms of advertising.
- Build your brand: Whether it is your goal or not, influencer marketing comes with the added benefit of building brand awareness and trust as you establish yourself through your influencer(s).
- Increase SEO value: With increased organic traffic reaching your website, this will improve the SEO value of your website.
How do I create a campaign using influencers?
While there is no cookie cutter approach to creating and influencer campaign, here are 5 steps you should always consider when starting out.
- Firstly, you must have a clear understanding of your audience and your goals. If you believe your audience would be responsive to influencer campaigns you need data to back it up.
- You should want to align your content strategy with your campaign. Also, make sure the content you are delivering doesn’t conflict with your overall media plan.
- Then, decide how you want to structure and deliver your content and which influencer(s) would be appropriate. Select your influencers, either through a third-party platform or contact personally.
- As you should have aligned your campaign with your media plan, once the influencers promote the content through their different channels follow through with any amplification you may have planned at your end.
- Finally, monitor and report on the performance of the campaign. I recommend setting up an initial benchmarking document to compare the performance of your company’s website before and after the campaign has run its course.
Examples of creative influencer campaigns
Establishing your brand as an influencer: Skinny Me Tea
Utilising Instagram to boost her company’s sales, Gretta Van Riel managed to achieve over 3 million sales in her first year. Despite only selling four packets on her first day, Gretta persisted building her Instagram account establishing it as an influencer. Today Skinny Me Tea holds over 15 million followers on Instagram and several accounts.
Employing a network of influencers: HiSmile
Starting with only $20,000 within three years of launching HiSmile turned over more than $40 million. Investing nearly all their initial 20K into their social media strategy, HiSmile saw the value in influencer marketing. Targeting micro-influencers, more affordable and often more affective influencers, they managed to grow their brand and business. Today HiSmile hold about 5,000 influencers on their roster, continuing to promote their brand and product across multiple platforms.
Collaborating with influencers for shareworthy content: Keens Chilli
If you want to broaden your content strategy and reach new audiences, without building your brand purely on influencer marketing than creating a campaign relevant to your brand that is exciting, shareable and relevant to your audience is a clever way to do this. To promote their Chilli product Keen’s have created an interactive map sharing Chilli recipes created by influencers from around the world. As you select each destination you can read the recipes and follow the influencers who created them on different social platforms. This content is also available on each influencers blog page with a link back to Keen’s website to improve the SEO value of the website.
A relatively new form of marketing that many companies are yet to invest in, there is a lot of potential for growth and innovation. However, there is also a lot of opportunity for brands to misstep and receive backlash. By always considering the potential risks of your influencer campaign (such as if your influencer's values conflict with your brands) you can avoid any potential hiccups. Remember, keep your audience and brand at the forefront of your mind throughout your campaigns life cycle, this will ensure a relevant, engaging and targeted campaign.