An introduction to Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing has steadily become the most popular, powerful marketing tool over the past couple of years, but what exactly is it and how can you use it successfully?

A common mistake people face when defining influencer marketing is how they confuse it with celebrity endorsement. The influencer market is much more powerful in comparison and goes further than just attaching a well-known face to a brand.

 

70% of teenage YouTube subscribers trust influencer opinions over traditional celebrities.

 

It’s quickly become established that word-of-mouth marketing can have some incredible results, a whopping 92% of consumers say that they’d trust word-of-mouth recommendations more than any type of advertising and with the rise in social media, the ability to share these recommendations are easier than ever… enter, influencers!

Identifying key brand advocates to drive your message to potential consumers in a totally organic, trustworthy way. Influencer marketing is successfully pinpointing those with large social followings who have the power to ‘influence’ your target audience. These people are basically a walking-talking poster that people have formed a trusting connection with.

So, how do you go about identifying the correct potential influencers?

Well, obviously you’re going to want someone with a large potential reach, so in this instance, the more followers the better. But, beware, bigger is not always better! Be sure to check out the engagement levels on their posts. This will help you gauge how well people respond to the potential influencer or not.

You should also be aware of fake followers. It is possible for people to buy followers, making them look impressive but rest assured that the thousands of fake profiles are not a valid potential consumer pool.

If you’re concerned about how real someone’s followers are? A handy tool to be aware of is InstaCheck. The tool is designed to detect fake accounts by analysing their engagement, spam and overall activity.

Do take note of their recent sponsored posts too, make sure that that’s not all that they are posting. Sponsorship saturation is real. YouTube influencer Laura Reid recommends only having one in every five or 10 posts sponsored.

 

On average, businesses generate 6.50 for every 1 invested in Influencer Marketing

How to get the best results from your influencers?

These people have built up their following, putting a lot of time, energy and thought into the content that they put out. Do not take this for granted, if you’re after using their platform to promote your brand, you evidently see some worth in it. So, compensate the influencer.

There are a lot of opinions floating around on how much an influencer should be compensated for their platform. But when doing research, it’s found that real life money is the favourite form of payment among influencers.

Of course, if you’re a small company or just starting up, paying a large sum of money out for influencer marketing might not be entirely possible. So there are a few other options available:

Free products / a discount

If you’re getting someone to promote one of your products, E.G. clothes, why not give them some for free? Or perhaps a large discount for them to use whenever they wish. This could be a very good start, that could eventually morph into another form of payment.

 

Commission / Affiliate

This is a favourite among brands and logically, it’s a win-win. The brand won’t lose any money that they haven’t already gained and the influencer gets paid a proportional amount to the number of conversions that they’ve caused.

 

Freedom

Allowing your influencers to have a bit of creative freedom with how and what they post will not only make their posts all that more authentic, but it also gives them a chance to align their own values to yours and make the post as relevant to their followers as possible.

 

Boost credibility

Cross-posting content can really raise the credibility of your content. This highlights the collaboration and shows you being open and honest about your intentions too. Transparency is always a good thing!

The importance of transparency…

Transparency in business is always recommended, but when it comes to influencer marketing, it’s basically a must. So much so, that there are even laws about it now.

The Advertising Standards have now set guidelines to ensure that any posts that have occurred and been paid for are clearly marked. That’s why you may have seen posts with ‘#ad’ on them, it’s the law.

Of course, there are variations to ‘#ad’, some have chosen to go with ‘#sponsored’ or something to a similar vein. All that matters is that there is honesty surrounding the nature of the post.

The authorities are increasingly starting to crack down on this, so be proactive. Don’t risk destroying the trust of both your consumers and the influencers following. Honest partnerships will have far more success where influencer marketing is concerned.