Influencer Marketing: People Power
If you work in marketing or indeed know anyone who does, it is unlikely that you have escaped the term ‘influencer marketing’ in the past 12 months. But what is influencer marketing? Why is there such a buzz around it? How can small businesses and start-ups benefit from the power of the influencer?
What is an influencer?
The first question to ask when it comes to influencer marketing is how do we define an influencer?
In more practical terms an influencer who is of value to a marketer is an individual who has influence over a segment of a businesses target audience. This is usually, although not always, tied into digital channels such as a blog or social media.
What is influencer marketing?
There is a huge buzz around influencer marketing for two main reasons. Firstly, recent trends have shown that consumers are losing trust in traditional marketing methods with brands broadcasts their message about how fantastic their product/service is.
This trend has occurred in tandem with the rise of the social media mega stars who command vast audiences of loyal fans, which have often been built initially without monetization in mind. These combined facts have seen a rise in the use of influencers to push brand messages as a trusted ‘middle man/woman’.
Influencer marketing is the proactive approach of a marketer in ‘employing’ influencer/s to promote their brand and/or products. This approach has been used successfully across a range of businesses from giants like Nike, Shell and Emirates Airlines to small local businesses and start-ups.
We take a look at a few tips and considerations for small businesses and start-ups in leveraging the power of the influencer:
Top tips for influencer marketing…
Micro or Macro?
In the beginning Influencer Marketing focused on campaigns with big stars, seeing huge brands paying huge bucks for huge audiences. But as influencer marketing has developed it is now widely accepted that the benefits can be achieved through a spectrum from large (macro) to small (micro) influencers. Although there is not yet a widely accepted definition as to what makes a micro or indeed macro influencer there are distinct benefits and considerations for each.
These factors are easy to see when it comes to macro influencers – getting your brand in front of a massive audience is going to be beneficial. The downside…huge costs to go with it.
Micro-influencers on the other hand can offer a cheaper alternative to their behemoth counter parts. The other distinct benefit to working with smaller influencers is the ability to really drill down to an audience that will be beneficial to your business. Take for example watch maker @lordtimepieces instead of focusing on huge influencers where maybe 10% of the audience are interested in their watch, they have focused on multiple micro-influencers with niche men’s fashion audiences where their products are much more likely to strike a chord.
One further additional benefit to micro-influencers is their ability to maintain a community and engagement with their audience, this fact means increased trust – and isn’t that the ultimate goal of influencer marketing?
Marketing experts are singing the praise of micro-influencers as part of a strong marketing campaign.
Paid or Unpaid?
Influencer marketing is big business and costs can be huge, with mega stars such as Kim Kardashian reportedly making upwards of $200,000 per post! This type of output can be daunting and can really put small businesses with small budgets off this marketing channel.
But fear not! Although still hotly debated in the influencer marketing space, many influencer relationships are developed and bring great benefits without money having to exchange hands. These relationships are usually created when an influencer is already a fan or follower of your brand. This is a great way to start discussions with that individual and an opportunity to build a very powerful brand advocate.
“Companies with small budgets should focus their influencer marketing efforts on reaching their inner circle of influencers. These people are already fans of the brands’ products and/or services, and will be able to relay the brand’s messages at a lesser cost than top-tier influencers – with sampling or product reviews for instance.” Nicolas Miachon, CMO at Upfluence.
One way to make these types of relationship even more beneficial is to co-create content together – there is no better way to get an individual to share and promote your branded content than to get them directly involved in its creation. It is important at this point to remember that even if a strong advocate of your brand, an influencer should be paid or otherwise rewarded for their input and skill in content creation.
Get a little help
Although influencer marketing has and can be successfully achieved without any outside help, finding the perfect matches, planning and executing campaigns and measuring your return on investment can be time consuming and in some cases impossible without a helping hand.
Luckily, there is a competitive and helpful market out there to support all sizes of businesses with their influencer marketing campaigns from tools to help pick, choose and measure success such as Traackr, Upfluence and Tap Influence to specialist agencies to help you run start to end influencer campaigns such as Come Round, Social Chain and Pulse Advertising.