Rapid advances in technology and user preferences are causing digital marketers to continuously audit and refine their existing marketing strategies. Influencer marketing is one strategy that is not necessarily a new concept, but has recently skyrocketed in both popularity and effectiveness. Because of this, brands are paying more attention to influencers and are projected to spend $15 billion dollars on influencer marketing in 2022.
A cohesive digital marketing plan incorporates multiple platforms and channels, including email and SMS, to reach your target audience. Adding an influencer program to that strategy is a powerful way to gain an advantage on your competition.
In this article, we go over the best strategies when using influencer marketing to grow your business.
What Is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing refers to the partnership between brands and individuals with a dedicated following, known as influencers, to give endorsements and product mentions. Influencers provide social proof for a brand as successful influencers have built a high level of trust with their followers and are seen as experts in their niche markets.
The relationship between brands and influencers varies depending on what your brand’s goals are and the type of influencer you choose to work with. As Ingrid Milman Cordy, Senior Director of Web Experience for Nestlé, told us on our recent webinar about building a brand for acquisition, not all influencers are created equal.
Types Of Influencers
- Mainstream influencers, or mega influencers, have celebrity status and multi-million followers that will give your brand a big reach but with the highest cost. For example, members of the Kardashian-Jenner family have over one billion Instagram followers combined with some members, such as Kim Kardashian, charging over one million dollars per post.
- Influencers with niche markets, such as female runners, have a smaller following but also a more targeted audience. The type of influencer can get even more specific, such as a ‘female marathon runner’ or a ‘female trail runner’, who would promote different products tailored to the specific running style.
For example, Lisa Migliorini is a physiotherapist and running / sport influencer who created “The Fashion Jogger” blog and has over one million followers:
Influencers are further categorized by how many followers they have:
Macro-influencers: 100,000 to one million+ followers
Micro-influencers: 10,000- 100,000 followers
Nano-influencers: less than 10,000 followers
- Channel specific influencers are an influencer specific to one channel. For example, a Youtube influencer pairs with a Youtube media buy and a Youtube strategy.
- Retailer specific influencers only focus on a specific retailer. For example, the social media account “Target Does It Again”, only focuses on deals for Target.
- Affiliate marketers are not necessarily influencers as they have a much smaller audience, but their followers are highly engaged in purchasing based on what the affiliate marketer says. The pay structure is commission as opposed to just a one payout. Using affiliate marketers is a conversion play while using traditional influencers is an awareness play.
Why Influencer Marketing Works
Influencer marketing is effective because of the increased importance of social proof. Consumers overwhelmingly trust people more than ads when making purchasing decisions, as a Nielsen survey found that 92% of consumers trust suggestions given by family and friends more than traditional advertising.
An influencer is another trusted source for potential customers to get an honest review about a product or service, but they can also offer much more for your brand.
The right influencer marketing partnership can:
- Increase brand awareness
- Attract a new audience
- Increase revenue growth
- Create unique brand content
More and more marketers are seeing the benefits from implementing an influencer marketing strategy. 60% of marketers have reported that influencer-generated content increases their engagement rate more than branded posts, and 51% of marketers believe that influencers have helped them acquire better customers.
Influencer Marketing Strategies To Grow Your Business
- Pick the right type of influencer
- Run a promotion with an influencer
- Set a clear goal and budget
- Use influencer content in your email marketing
- Track your results
Pick the right type of influencer
Over 50 million people currently consider themselves to be content creators. Needless to say, there are a lot of options when deciding which influencer to partner with. However, choosing the right person is critical to the success of your influencer marketing campaign.
Below are the most important factors to consider when choosing the right influencer:
- Choose someone whose content aligns with your brand’s messaging. Make sure they have similar values and tone to your brand. When looking for potential influencers, search hashtags on social media that are relevant to your brand to see who is already talking about similar products and services
- Observe the level of engagement an influencer has with their audience. Look to see how many of their followers like, comment, and share their posts. Also pay attention to the frequency of how often they post, as people generally need to be exposed to something multiple times prior to taking action.
- They use a social media platform that is popular with the demographic of your targeted audience. For example, if your ideal customers are members of Gen Z or millennials, then you’ll want to choose an Instagram influencer or someone that has a presence on TikTok.
- The partnership cost aligns with your budget. As we mentioned earlier, there is a very wide pay range for influencers. If you are a newer brand or working on a smaller budget, you will be most likely looking to partner with a nano-influencer that has a smaller but very targeted following.
Run a promotion with an influencer
Having the exposure from an influencer is great, but you want to incentivize their audience to take action and make a purchase once they’ve learned about your product. The best way to do this is with a discount code or special offer exclusively for that particular influencer’s followers. This code is displayed in their Instagram stories or posts as they’re describing their experience using your product or service so followers are more likely to take action as they’re seeing and hearing about your brand.
Set a clear goal and budget
Like any other part of your marketing plan, you should have a clear understanding of your desired outcome and how much your marketing budget is for an influencer.
Smaller and newer brands often lean towards social media influencers, podcasts, or bloggers with smaller followings as they are more affordable, but that does not mean they are necessarily any less effective. Nano-influencers and micro-influencers usually have a very high engagement rate with their targeted audience that gets you in front of higher quality prospects for your brand, as opposed to getting a celebrity endorsement from someone that has a very large, but general, audience.
Prior to partnering with an influencer, know what metrics you are focusing on in order to track your success. Be clear on what you want the desired outcome of the influencer marketing campaign to be.
Use influencer content in your email marketing
The sponsored content a social influencer creates for your brand is great to utilize in your other content marketing such as emails and SMS. This content is usually creative and different from your own so it changes things up for your readers while also showcasing authenticity in your brand-influencer partnerships. In addition, it exposes email subscribers to other content they might be missing out on if they aren’t active on social platforms.
For example, KT Miller, an adventure photographer, partners with Patagonia. She wrote a blog detailing one of her adventures while using her Patagonia sleeping bag that the company then featured in an email:
Track the results of your influencer marketing program
Like with any marketing strategy, you have to track your key performance indicators (KPIs) to know what’s working and what needs to be improved. Using the unique coupon codes for each influencer makes it easy to track sales and traffic that they are bringing in.
Combining Influencer and Email Marketing Strategies
Influencer marketing won’t be going away anytime soon as it’s more popular than ever before. While Quantum does not manage influencer marketing for clients, we know using influencers is a powerful strategy that should be implemented into a digital marketing plan. Using influencer content can bring fresh ideas to your overall content strategy while running cross channel promotions can help boost your business’ reach, engagement, and profit.
Influencer marketing should be just one part of an overall larger digital marketing strategy.
Learn more ways to maximize your marketing efforts to create business growth through a lifecycle marketing strategy.