- – Influencer marketing is when marketers identify people with large followings with whom they can establish a mutually beneficial relationship and gain coverage, followers, potential customers and more through one person’s influence over other people
- – An influencer is someone who is trusted among their community to make recommendations. They tend to have large followings across online platforms. Examples of influencers include the Kardashians, fashion or beauty bloggers, product vloggers, or even just your friends who know their stuff.
- – You can use influencer marketing as a lower cost PR effort to launch new products, get your brand in front of the right people, acquire a product review with extra exposure, or just gain new followers and website visits. There’s many ways to use it.
- – See below for all the quickfire stats you need to know on why influencer marketing is taking over traditional PR.
Influencer Marketing for Beginners: What is Influencer Marketing?
There’s a whole bunch of definitions out there, but we chose the simplest and most straightforward one which comes straight from Kimberlee Morrison, who defined it as “Influencer marketing is when marketers leverage the power of top social media influencers to connect with audiences on social networks.”
I believe personally that influencer marketing as a concept is built on the fundamental marketing ideology of word of mouth marketing. It’s arguably the most successful type of marketing that you can use. The word of your family or friends means more to you than something you saw on a billboard the other day, right?
Prezly presents a really interesting point that we’d like to reiterate to you. If you’re here you’re probably trying to wrap your mind around this relatively new marketing concept, but the truth is it isn’t new at all:
“Influencer marketing is something that has been happening for decades without the trendy name. The difference is ‘influencers’ were traditionally journalists at major media outlets or powerful people in society. Now things have changed and now anyone with an audience or platform can be an influencer, from your mother and her friends to the bedroom blogger writing about makeup.”
And on that note, we answer the next question…
What Is An Influencer?
Source: Delucchi Plus
The fact that virtually anyone can become an influencer makes it difficult to tell you a direct criteria so you can identify them easily. But here at Spot Studio we define them in the following way:
The ‘influencer’ is the new PR manager. They aren’t a firm, they aren’t necessarily a company. They are one person with a sphere of influence large enough that you could be willing to invest in them speaking about your product because the communities they take part in trust their recommendations and opinions enough to follow suit.
Bearing in mind that influential people are no longer just powerful people in society, the new ‘influencer’ is a concept that has democratised public relations. Anyone can become one if they establish genuine relationships with their friends, family or audience. An influencer in the simplest terms has a certain amount of people ‘following’ them. People who are advocates of that person and what they do. The influencer is the user who has a certain level of knowledge in a particular subject that deems them a trustworthy source of information to others. They integrate themselves into product communities, take part in discussions and are as the name would suggest, influencing those around them.
The epitome of what an ‘influencer’ is, is probably Kim Kardashian or Kylie Jenner. It’s clear to see that whatever they put on their faces or take a photo of online, everyone must have it. That’s the pinnacle of what it is to be influential. Kylie Jenner had people almost making their lips explode back in 2015 trying to emulate her lip filler injections so there you have it. Influencers have the power.
Ways to Use Influencer Marketing
All depending on what type of product or service you offer, the influencer marketing strategy is always different. You might want to use an influencer for a few reasons:
Increase social media following
Driving traffic to your website
Increase brand awareness
Create brand ambassadors
New product promotions
Creating a customer review
Exposing your brand to a large amount of potential customers
Now that you know these people can be really useful to you, how do you reach out to them and get them to make this magic happen?
Finding the Right Influencer
You’ve done a Google search and wow, look at all those influential people helping these brands out! But be careful. Picking the right influencer for you is a long task, but can reap massive rewards if done right. Convince and Convert suggests there’s the following points to keep in mind:
Authenticity – The authenticity of a blogger is what gives them their reliable reputation. Bloggers that have a larger ratio of personal posts with subtle, but genuine use of products, are far more trusted by the community than standard, to the point product reviews. Engaging stories from bloggers get far more engagement than long generous reviews of your product. (Spoiler: readers don’t care about those). You need an influencer who is transparent, and above all passionate about the product or service you may be offering so that their coverage is legit.
Frequency – It is known that there’s a direct correlation between how often a blogger posts and their rate of return visitors and traffic. As you’ll know, it will take multiple exposures of your brand to get a visitor to click and check you out, and you want to make sure they return for more. When vetting influencers, take note of how frequently they post. Pay attention to the consistent bloggers. Bloggers who don’t post often don’t have much loyalty and have fewer return visitors.
Reach – We really hate to talk about vanity metrics. (Vanity metrics we describe as the massive numbers you see on everyone’s social media pages that may give you a rose tinted view of their influence potential). Reach isn’t the most important metric when selecting an influencer, but it is a factor. Marketers need to avoid looking at unique visitors when playing the numbers game. Followers are only meaningful if the influencer is actually reaching the people most likely to buy from you. You also need to consider the platforms they’re on. If you’re a fashion brand, Instagram and Pinterest are the best platforms you can be exposed on. If the influencer only really uses Facebook, they’re just not right for you.
Engagement – In our eyes, engagement is one of the most crucial factors in influencer marketing. It’s an indicator of how interactive a blogger’s content is. Are readers responding to what they post? Are there comments, shares or likes? What percentage of these readers are coming back to share again vs new ones? It’s important to know how much readers engage with a publisher and how often they return as it’s a calling card for how meaningful the relationships are between the influencer and your target customer.
Relevance – We’ve left this one until last because it seems like a no brainer but it’s easy to have your judgement clouded. Before looking at all those numbers we mentioned before, pay attention to how aligned a blogger’s content is with your message. Read extensively throughout the blogger’s content and get to know them and what type of consumer they really are. They might post an ‘Outfit of the Day’ post every now and then but it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll fit in with promoting your couture, you dig? And of course as with all bloggers, their own personal branding messages shine through. Is being provocative a part of your brand message? Are you comfortable with profanity? This in essence is the most important thing you need to know about who you’re considering. Get to know the person inside out behind the blog. You can’t afford blunders.
The Rise of Influencer Marketing
So is influencer marketing just another strategic fad? Nah. We’ve been scouring all sorts of sources to bring you some key influencer marketing statistics for you to pour over. Here’s what we found:
Back in 2015, A survey from eMarketer revealed that 84% of marketers said they would launch at least one influencer campaign within the next twelve months. Of the marketers who have already done it, 81% said they were happy with it.
Later in 2016, Burst Media – NY based digital advertising agency – reported that influencer marketing drives typically a yield of around $7 for every $1 spent in paid media campaigns. According to them, Instagram is proving to be one of the most popular outlets for influencer marketing. Furthermore, eMarketer piped up again and stated that the platform’s global mobile advertising revenues are expected to hit almost $3 billion by 2017.
And now just for fun, a quick fire round. We’re going to share with you 10 key stats centring around influencer marketing which quite frankly show just how much influencer marketing has blown up in the last few years.
- – 57% of beauty and fashion companies use influencers as part of their marketing strategies, while an additional 21% are also planning to add this strategy to their campaigns in 2017.
- – 70% of teenage YouTube subscribers trust influencer opinions over traditional celebrities.
- – 32% of US influencers who currently work with brands cite Facebook as the best platform, followed by Instagram at 24%
- – 71% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase based on a social media reference.
- – 86% of the most-viewed beauty videos on YouTube were made by influencers, compared to 14% by beauty brands, themselves. Beauty video views have increased 65% year over year.
And finally, we’ll reiterate what we told you in our trend report at the beginning of the year now that we’ve clued you up a bit:
Influencer Marketing: A Top 2017 Trend
The following super fancy excerpts are taken from our 2017 Digital Marketing Trends You Need to Know:
When you think of influencer marketing you probably think of either a major celebrity’s Instagram account littered with brand names, or you think of the famous bloggers who just so happen to be into particular products at any given time, but influencer marketing goes well beyond this now. It can include hashtags which start genuine conversations as well as other organic, creative ideas. The innovation behind influencer marketing is likely to flourish in 2017, we believe. It isn’t just going to develop for typical products, however.
An Expert Opinion from the Brand Relationship Strategist at Fractl, Ashley Carlisle states that “As more research is becoming available to prove influencer marketing’s ROI, B2B and other types of B2C companies will likely join. These brands especially better work with powerful middle- and micro-influencers as they often have more influence over a more intimate, targeted audience – which also translates to more engagement.”
“Micro Influencers?” we hear you ask?
Expert Opinion: Micro Influencers
The Huffington post has suggested that part of a successful digital content strategy involves nurturing a growing community of followers – something that can be facilitated through partnerships with brand advocates or micro influencers.
We got in touch with Jessica Gow, Content Marketing Consultant, for her take on micro influencers:
“The use of micro influencers is a stand-out 2017 trend for me (especially for growing fashion/beauty brands), as it’s something that many companies no matter their size or budget, can try next year, and should produce effective results as long as enough time and effort is spent on finding authentic influencers who have a genuine interest in/need for a product or service.”
In an informative piece on influencer marketing on LinkedIn, Jessica states something that we thought was incredibly important to understand:
“Popularity does not equal influence, and authenticity is perhaps the real key to creating powerful content that will truly resonate with its target audience. The best results of influencer outreach occur when the chosen influencers themselves are genuinely passionate about a brand or product, and are excited to feature it in their posts. These people may not always be the ones with the most followers or the largest communities, but the influence they do have will be significant.”
There you have it. In just a few minutes you are now clued up to hell on what influencer marketing is all about. Got questions? Tweet us @spotstudiouk.