Influencer marketing | A real need for your business or a trend?
The influencers’ world has always had a hold on me. I was interested in what it takes to be a great influencer and, more than that, in finding out the mechanisms of the human brain that make people value a product more positively when their favorite influencer is the image of the marketing campaign. Or negatively when the influencer is not a good fit for the product. As an MCS student, I researched this topic for my projects. No wonder influencer marketing is a hot topic, even among scholars.
The Beginning of Influencer Marketing
The rise of influencers is due to technological advancements and social media dominance. An advantage of using social media platforms for your business is that your messages can be disseminated across many eyes and ears since users are continuously increasing. And companies didn’t hesitate to take this opportunity to promote their products and services using social media influencers. But when did the influencing phenomenon start? I would say it has been around forever with the opinion leaders of each era and admired public figures with great capital of visibility and popularity or fictional characters such as Santa. Because, after all, influencers are opinion and trend makers. However, with the introduction and boom of social networking sites, social media influence has become a thing.
The industry has developed quickly from mommy bloggers who have started to cultivate this hobby in the early 2000’. Today, we have a wide range of categories of influencers, such as lifestyle, beauty, travel, art, music, gaming, food, and many others. Because influencers’ niche of activity is so diverse, for sure each one of them can find a suitable brand collaboration. Brands have seen in influencers much potential in terms of visibility, brand awareness, expanding reach, and positioning; in the end, all of these lead to increased sales. And it seems to be a great marketing strategy since studies show that it is effective.
What is an influencer?
Who hasn’t thought of becoming an influencer at least once? I must admit that I did, although I was not very familiar with the phenomenon. So I start asking what is an influencer and what I need to become one? Influencers are online content generators that are experts in a certain niche. Due to the large number of followers in each community, they are a valuable marketing strategy for brands. Thus, an influencer is a social media icon whose creative efforts and collaborations with brands become a stand-alone job.
Digital platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, Twitch, TikTok, or blogs have created many popular influencers. Moreover, some of the current influencers did not start from scratch in this career, but they were public figures like actors or musicians. Videos, photos, stories, reels, or live sessions are the kinds of means the majority of instafamous ones use to keep in touch with their community. Their engaging posts on social media ensure visibility equity and raise brand awareness.
However, I have always considered that an influencer who creates a strong community around them must appeal to authenticity. Yes, the influencer is a creative person, on point with new trends, and has good communication skills. But more than that, social media influencers should be authentic by definition. The way they express themselves in front of their audiences and the values they believe in must be consistent. I would say that there should be some balance between what is seen on the outside and what is on the inside. Content creators can only build a high degree of trust for a brand.
Moreover, this micro-celebrity implies also having great management skills. Being aware of what you spread around you, in what doses, and with what effects. Analyzing your actions and reactions. This is what a professional does.
Influencer marketing campaigns for brands
Collaboration between influencers, content creators, and brands has grown recently. Many businesses use influencers in their digital marketing campaigns. It seems that they have learned the secret that if you attach a familiar and generally pleasant, even loved, face to a product, there will be a transfer of attributes between the person and the product they are promoting. For example, products in the tech industry promoted by influencers considered experts in this niche would gain popularity.
Finally, that brand’s products have a greater potential to be sold. And this works because people’s appetite for advertising – if it has ever existed – has certainly reached supersaturation. Every day people are bombarded with advertisements from different brands that they don’t know how to get rid of faster. The situation changes when the influencer appears and the brand takes on a human face. People are inclined to believe other people, not a corporation.
As you scroll through your social media accounts, it is impossible to get away from seeing a paid partnership, sponsored content, or something related to a brand and a content creator. Some well-known strategies to gain brand awareness among social media influencers are giveaways, event activations, social media takeovers, affiliate marketing, sponsored posts, unboxing, or reviews.
One common strategy is giveaway campaigns where brands give influencers products that they give in turn to their followers. In most cases, people can participate by following fairly simple conditions such as leaving comments and following the pages mentioned by influencers. This method ensures a rapid increase in the influencer’s visibility and the brand’s products.
Moreover, even though other participants did not win the giveaway, there are great chances that you as a brand would have won a place in their minds, and they will look for your products in the future. However, there is a risk that the followers reached during this campaign will disappear from your list once the contest is over.
Taking over a brand’s social media account is another common practice. Thus, for a day or a week, your social platform will have the face of the influencer chosen to represent you. In addition, if your advertising budget runs low, the affiliate marketing campaing is your to-go option. I have often seen this tactic for the lifestyle and clothing niche. The influencer redirects a customer to your website, and with each product sold, they receive a commission.
How to create a great campaign for your business
Great campaigns are built on great strategies and valuable insights. You might have a big idea in your mind, but it could not be successful without extensive research beforehand. Thus, some questions wait for your response when planning a campaign.
What are your goals?
Start by thinking about what you try to achieve and where you want your campaign to lead. For example, do you want to promote a new product, reach new customers, or increase brand loyalty? First, though, be aware that the budget is watching your every step. So, be sure that when dreaming of achieving these results, your budget plays out in the same movie as your goals.
Whom, where, and how exactly?
We all want to be heard. This largely depends on the interest the receiver has in what we say. Therefore, the campaign’s direction must always consider the audience to which it is addressed. It is in vain to say spectacular things if your audience does not engage in those kinds of discourses. Thus, learn what your audience likes and play by its rules. Study what digital platform your target spends the most time on and use it. It’s like you’d reach them directly at their home. For example, an Instagram marketing strategy might be the most effective due to the multiple uses of the channel. Video, photo, text, live sessions, Instagram gathers a wide range of ways to deliver your messages. And, since we’re here, maybe think of a strategy that has an instafamous in the spotlight. Learn everything about them and their audience to be sure that you can connect your destinies.
Evaluate your campaign
In some cases, this might be the party breaker. But it’s a critical step to take during the marketing campaign and once it is over. This way, you will know what works and what can be improved in real time. And thank God content marketing tools have your back in this tough challenge. They can monitor and analyze the evolution of the campaign, and their results will be of great help when it comes to making further adjustments. But let’s see in detail what they are all about in the next section.
Using influencer marketing platforms
From actually ‘a no one on earth, with much work and the right tools, you can become a mega influencer who can boast a community of over 1,000,000 supporters. All it takes is also to become a good manager. The great news is that influencer marketing platforms endorse your managerial efforts. These tools have specific advantages that are highly related to your business needs. Let’s see some of the most popular ones.
Sprout Social helps you keep track of the overall online activity of your brand across nearly all social media channels. It has a broad spectrum of features that you are likely to need at some point in your influencer marketing campaign. This app is a fully-fledged platform that manages your social media accounts. You can do everything from planning and scheduling posts to monitoring, analyzing, and evaluating the performance of your projects, along with your competitors. This all-in-one tool works with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and many others. As a result, you can have a clearer and more insightful picture of your entire digital presence.
StoryChief is the chief for blogging posts allowing you to monitor content performance, embed lead forms, and track campaigns. The most important thing about content writing is to align with the search engine requirements. And StoryChief provides you and your team with SEO analyzers that recommend content ideas that would make your post rank higher. It is also social media friendly, and it automates the process of posting due to the scheduling functionality. Moreover, because it is a team collaboration tool, you and your team can simultaneously work on the same project or approve content for publishing from your team members.
Another social media management tool is Buffer, a widespread tool among influencers and businesses interested in knowing their audience better. Besides giving valuable insights like engagement data and other analytics, it is a great tool used to measure and monitor the performance of social media campaigns. However, Buffer’s shortcomings are due to their limited functionalities included in lower pricing plans and the expensiveness of higher pricing plans.
Is this marketing strategy a real need or just a trend?
From the earliest times, even though they were not called the way they are nowadays, the contribution of influencers in society is undeniable. Especially when discussing the benefits of implementing influencer marketing campaigns to businesses. Thus, we firmly believe that influencers are important in marketing strategies with great sales and brand visibility results. They can bring people closer to a brand, helping them reach more audiences. These micro-celebrities guide, induce desires, and direct people to certain trends. So, it wouldn’t be fair nor accurate to refer to them as a trend. In reality, they are trendsetters. And their influencing power is exactly what businesses need.
Embrace it because it’s here to stay
More and more people seem to engage in influencing practices increasingly. Normal people from across the world have developed a taste for this phenomenon. Not only do they accept and assist in it, but they have become active participants in the influencing thing. The commodification of the self is a profitable business primarily for the person in question and second for the companies they work for. With more people becoming influencers and the growing popularity of influencer marketing agencies, it is clear proof that we will not see a fall in these strategies soon.