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SUMMARY. Influencer marketing can be a valuable addition to your business strategy. However, it’s vital that you understand the concept – you’ll be surprised how many people think they do, but they don’t. Ensure that you take the time to study the different types of influencers meticulously. It’s essential you find someone who aligns with your brand values and beliefs and can share your product authentically and honestly.

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There are a lot of misapprehensions about influencer marketing: what is it, exactly? Is it an effective asset to your business’s marketing strategy or a trend that will eventually fade into obscurity?

According to an article published by Forbes, “Influencer marketing has existed in the modern era since the 1930s, but in truth, it could be traced back to ancient Rome when gladiators actually endorsed products. However, the word “influencer” only entered the modern lexicon in the past decade and was only officially added to the English dictionary [in 2019].”

Read on to get a better grasp of influencer marketing and for our tips to determine if it’s right to integrate in your business strategies.

 

What is influencer marketing?

So, answer this question before you read any further, “what does influencer marketing mean to you?”

Have you just rattled off a bunch of celebrity names, particularly those who upload content to Instagram (IG) every day? Do a quick Google search and you’ll find that the top IG ‘influencers’ include popular personalities, sportsmen and brands such as Kim and Khloe Kardashian, Neymar and Nike. The number one spot goes to Juventus football legend Cristiano “CR7” Ronaldo with 282 million followers. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they are valuable influencers and would guarantee a huge uptick in your business.

One of the biggest mistakes that the media makes is a failure to see the difference between celebrities and online influencers.

 

What is an influencer?

An influencer is someone who has:

  • The power to affect the purchasing decisions of others because of their authority, knowledge, position, or relationship with their audience.
  • A following in a distinct niche, with whom they actively engage. The extent of the following depends on the size of their niche topic.

On a surface level, influencer marketing is a form of social media marketing by which influencers (individuals who have a dedicated social following and are viewed as authorities within their niche) endorse or mention brands’ products and/or services.

The volume of authority and trust are two of the main criteria that can cement someone with the moniker of being an effective, specialist social influencer. Due to their following, any recommendations or mentions serve as their social proof to help a brand attract and retain a customer base.

 

What is social proof?

Social proof is a term created in 1984 by author Robert Cialdini. He states that it’s the idea that people tend to emulate the behaviour of others in specific contexts and/or circumstances.

From a marketing perspective, social proof exists in the form of people reading other people’s reviews and recommendations of products and/or services they’ve used. Let’s say for example, you’re shopping for a coffee table. There are many brands that offer this piece of furniture, but if one brand has 500 4.3-star reviews and the other has 200 2.2-star reviews, it’s likely you’re going to purchase the table with the better review score. Why? Because you have been influenced by social proof.

In marketing, social proof built by content including but not limited to:

  • Case studies
  • Reviews and testimonials
  • Awards and accolades
  • User-generated content (UGC)

These are essential elements that should appear on your website and other appropriate brand material. We’ve helped clients implement these necessities and recommend you consult us to assist you in developing a review management strategy as well as setting up a Google My Business profile which provides customers with a convenient way to add reviews that will appear on Google search result pages (SERPs).

 

What influencer marketing is not!

Influencer marketing is not simply about paying a celebrity lots of money, expecting an entire campaign to produce conversions just because you paid them $1million for a single post. True influencers spend most of their time building and nurturing an audience and care about the content they generate. Please don’t forget this statement.

Furthermore, like SEO and content marketing, quality results take time. It’s about adding current influencers’ power to assist in boosting your authority, credibility, and thought leadership within your industry.

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 Key takeaways

  • An influencer is someone who has:
  • The power to affect the purchasing decisions of others because of their authority, knowledge, position, or relationship with their audience.
  • A following in a distinct niche, with whom they actively engage. The extent of the following depends on the size of their niche topic.
  • Social proof is a term created in 1984 by author Robert Cialdini. He states that it’s the idea that people tend to emulate the behaviour of others in specific contexts and/or circumstances.
  • In marketing, social proof is built by content including but not limited to case studies, reviews and testimonials, awards and accolades and user-generated content (UGC).

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The different types of influencers

There are actually different categories of influencers: the primary metrics that determine their level of influence is by follower count, and the content they upload.

Influencers by follower count

The Influence Marketing Hub has provided the following breakdown. It’s important to note that a mega influencer is not better than a nano influencer; each has their pros and cons. You need to identify the type of influencer that suits your holistic marketing model best.

  • Nano influencers (1K–10K followers)
  • Micro influencers (10K–100K followers)
  • Macro influencers (100K–1M followers)
  • Mega or celebrity influencers (1M+ followers)

 

  • Nano influencers (1K–10K followers)

Nano influencers ooze authenticity and therefore tend to have an engaged following on social media. “They have a very close relationship with their followers and take the time to engage with their followers to cultivate those relationships.”

When to use and find nano influencers

Nano influencers are best suited to SMEs with a limited marketing budget that require brand awareness, reach and consequently, cost-effective engagement. Instagram is your ideal first port of call. They can be found quite easily if you use  social media listening tools such as BrandMention, Buzzsumo and Hootsuite Insights.

 
  • Micro influencers (10K–100K followers)

Even though micro influencers have a more significant following they, like nano influencers, are considered to be relatable and boast high engagement rates because they typically specialise in a particular niche such as fashion or mobile technology which draws a targeted audience.

When to use and find micro influencers   

Micro influencers are also suited to SMEs who want to generate targeted, quality leads for a niche campaign. Their message, endorsement or recommendation will pique the interest of their dedicated followers. It’s best to use social listening tools to find them, but you should also search for hashtags that relate to your brand’s industry and speciality. 

 
  • Macro influencers (100K–1M followers)

Now, we’re heading into the territory of well-known influencers who generally have paid partnerships with prominent brands. “They can include social media stars, bloggers, vloggers, or podcasters.” Macro influencers are experts at nurturing followers. The drawback is that because they generally have a more widespread appeal, their engagement rates are lower than nano and micro influencers.

When to use and find macro influencers

Macro influencers are perfect to spread brand awareness and fortify brand reputation. Their popularity will give you the opportunity to increase engagement rates yourself. Macro influencers are characteristically frequent content creators who post content predominantly on popular social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and/or TikTok.

 
  • Mega-influencers (1M+ followers)

Mega influencers are generally global celebrities. They command an extremely broad audience and you’re going to need a substantial marketing budget if you’d like them to promote your brand. For example, with 138 million followers on Instagram, Jenner is alleged to charge up to $1 million per sponsored post or advertorial when working with brands. If you want to get a campaign viewed internationally by as many people as possible, consider a mega influencer.

When to use and find mega influencers      

Mega influencers are usually known across the globe and so they’re not difficult to find. It’s best to define the type of mega influencer that will fit your brand and search for them directly.

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Key takeaways

There are different types of influencers. You need to do your homework and identify which one would be best for your marketing strategy. They include:

  • Nano influencers (1K–10K followers)
  • Micro influencers (10K–100K followers)
  • Macro influencers (100K–1M followers)
  • Mega or celebrity influencers (1M+ followers)

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How we can help you create an influencer marketing strategy

 
  • How to find the right influencer

One word: research. Start with the core platform that you want to use e.g. Facebook or Instagram, YouTube, Tik Tok or Twitter (you can always expand onto other platforms later.) Remember, certain platforms are better suited to your business’s industry. As mentioned earlier, it’s worthwhile using social media listening tools to assist you to find the ideal influencer for your brand and overall business.

 
  • Set a budget and strategy

Today, depending on the platform and type of influencer you choose, one influencer can cost anything from $25 to $1million! So, you need to have a watertight budget with a diverse strategy that covers all the touchpoints to achieve your overall goal. Perhaps, it’s worthwhile drawing up a few strategies to find out which one is financially feasible and logical? If you budget is $1million and you use it all on a single Instagram post that doesn’t yield a favourable ROI, you, and the influencer, are not going to happy. This could damage your brand reputation.

Don’t forget that you’re also going to need capital for all other aspects of the campaign. It’s a good idea to speak to a business consultancy with direct access to independent financial advisers who can look at your campaign holistically and compartmentalise your budget spend optimally.

READ: How to Repair a Negative Online Reputation.

 
  • Define what you want to achieve

What are you looking to achieve from this campaign? Engagement rates? Brand awareness? Strengthen brand reputation? Or perhaps you’re looking for a smaller targeted audience that has a high probability to convert? There’s nothing wrong with using influencers for high level campaigns, but don’t forget the value they possess in their specific niche.

The answer to these questions plus your financial budget should determine the type of influencer that will help generate the best return on investment (ROI). It’s also vital to ensure your strategy and touch points are innovative so they can produce maximum value.

Part of your research should be looking at what your competition has done in the past. Gather as much performance data as possible, dissect it to find the strengths and weaknesses and make yours better!

 
  • Measure influencer marketing performance

If you don’t have data-capturing tools in place to measure the performance of the campaign, it’s meaningless; it’s essentially a hypothesis. There are a plethora of tracking tools available. However, it’s best to employ a marketing consultancy that specialises in analytics and tracking. An example of what they will likely do is add a UTM tag.

UTM stands for “Urchin Traffic Monitor” It’s a snippet of simple code that you can add to the end of a URL to track the performance of campaigns and content. There are 5 variants of URL parameters you can track:

  • Source
  • Medium
  • Campaign
  • Term
  • Content

These dimensions you track via UTM codes will be displayed in your analytics reports to give you accurate data-based insight into marketing performance.

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 Key takeaways

©Mediakix

The four stages of creating an influencer marketing strategy include:

  • Finding the right influencer for your business.
  • Setting a financial budget.
  • Defining your goals.
  • Measuring performance of the strategy

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We spoke to the Head of Social Media at Fio, Laura le Roux who provided her valuable insight which sums up the importance of finding the right influencer to assist in marketing your brand.

“When looking for an influencer to work with your brand, obviously the size of their following will play a role but the most important metric to consider is their engagement. Is their audience leaving comments? Are they sharing the content? The amount of followers becomes irrelevant if the audience is not actively engaged.”

The search for the right influencer for your campaign shouldn’t be a quick process. A lot of research needs to be done first to make sure that you find the right influencer for your campaign. Choosing an influencer purely because they are popular and have a big following is the downfall of many campaigns. It is essential you find someone who aligns with your brand values and beliefs and will be able to share your product authentically and honestly.”

 

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