As a marketer, you’re probably used to implementing a wide range of marketing campaigns, such as email marketing, digital marketing, and paid advertising. Over the past few years, you may have noticed a new marketing strategy emerge influencer marketing. What once seemed like a trend in the industry is now a billion-dollar industry that sees no signs of stopping.
Whether you’re a new startup looking to get off the ground or a seasoned corporation looking to expand your reach, influencer marketing can help you reach your goals. To help you get started, we’ve created this all-encompassing guide on influencer marketing, how to get started, the benefits, and some examples. Keep reading below to find out how to take your company to the next level.
What is influencer marketing?
In simple terms, influencer marketing is when an influencer (someone with a lot of influence) markets on behalf of your business. When speaking of influencers, we’re referring to individuals with a large social media following and presence, which is why influencer marketing is often called social media influencer marketing or social influencer marketing.
No longer are companies spending millions of dollars on A-list celebrities to market their products or services. With the rise of social media, companies are reaching out to social media users with devoted followers who regularly interact with them. Influencers are one and the same, either. There are micro-influencers, which are influencers with anywhere between 10,000 and 100,000 followers, and larger influencers with half a million to millions of followers.
When it comes to influencer marketing, brands will typically reach out to an influencer and incentivize them to promote their product, service, or brand with financial support, free products, and quality content for their audience.
How do you start influencer marketing?
Now that you know what influencers are and the gist of influencer marketing, how exactly do you start influencer marketing? Follow these steps to roll out an influencer marketing campaign:
- Step 1: Identify a goal: Your first step with any marketing campaign is to identify a goal. Who do you want to reach? Do you want to promote a specific event? Or are you looking to promote a new product or service? These are just some of the questions you should ask yourself during this stage. With a goal in mind, you can then set key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure how effective your campaign is.
- Step 2: Determine what makes a suitable influencer: Next, you’re going to want to set guidelines for who makes a good influencer to promote your brand. These guidelines can be how often they post content, the number of followers they have, the number of likes and comments they receive, and so forth. It’s also important to remember that not every influencer is one and the same. Influencers typically have a niche. For example, there are beauty influencers, food influencers, running influencers, home decor influencers, and so forth. There are also influencers for different types of social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and YouTube.
- Step 3: Find an influencer to work with: Once you’ve set your criteria, it’s time to find an influencer. This can be done by using influencer marketing tools that provide you with a list of potential influencers who may help your brand and match your criteria. As always, do your due diligence to ensure a profile actually has influence. A fake influencer tool can help you determine whether an influencer’s followers are real, genuine followers or bought followers made up of fake profiles. Once you do find an influencer to work with, make sure you compensate them fairly. This can be through the form of money, free products or services, quality content for their profile, and so forth.
After following these steps, you’ll be able to find a reputable social media influencer with a devout following who can promote your brand, drive traffic to your website, and increase sales.
Benefits of influencer marketing
Influencer marketing is one of the most popular forms of marketing used today. According to Linquia’s 2017 The State of Influencer Marketing study, the top benefits of influencer marketing include:
- Create authentic content about my brand
- Generate authentic, easily discoverable product reviews
- Generate content cost-effectively
- Reach younger generations who don’t trust traditional advertising
- Drive engagement around my product/brand
- Drive traffic to my website/ landing page
- Grow my email database with qualified consumers
- Drive online and in-store product sales
As you can tell, there are plenty of reasons why influencer marketing is one of the top strategies brands and businesses are using to promote their products to a broader audience.
Examples of influencer marketing
So, what does influencer marketing actually look like? Let’s look at a few hypothetical examples of what influencer marketing might look like for various platforms:
- Instagram: Instagram is one of the most popular platforms for influencer marketing. Let’s say a flower delivery service wants to drive holiday sales, such as selling more Easter flowers. This brand can pair with an interior design influencer who can decorate their home for Easter with their flowers. Their caption can then explain how to find the perfect Easter flowers, how to take care of them, and how to integrate them into your home.
- YouTube: YouTube is one of the first big-name social media platforms to come out. It’s a place where people like to learn or be entertained. An example of an influencer ad could be a running shoe brand pairing with a running influencer who provides running tips, training programs, and other running advice. They can then give a review for the brand’s running shoes or products.
- TikTok: If you’re looking to reach a younger audience, TikTok is the place to go. An example of influencer marketing on TikTok could be a makeup brand pairing with a beauty guru who uses makeup to create an elaborate makeup look.
Influencer marketing can be a powerful tool when it comes to growing your brand, boosting your sales, and reaching a broader audience. With these tips on how to start influencer marketing, the benefits of influencer marketing, and examples of how you can roll out an influencer marketing campaign, you’ll be on your way to reaching your business goals. In order to be effective, provide the influencer with a creative and engaging campaign to attract the attention of their followers.
Noelle Fauver is the Associate Director of Agency Marketing at Inseev Interactive. She has a B.A. in Communication Studies from California State University, Northridge and experience in marketing, copywriting, and small business management. She is the President of the San Diego American Marketing Association, helping local marketers in the area develop their professional expertise and connect with other professionals. She loves curling up next to the fire with a good book on a rainy day with a bowl of homemade soup. But most of all, she loves marketing.