Influencer Marketing 101
As social media becomes more engrained in peoples lives and takes on more functional uses beyond communication, the role of influencers is set to only grow. As e-commerce and social media continues to coverage, influencers will become increasingly vital in helping to connect brands with consumers on social media in rich, authentic ways that can deliver immediate and valuable returns, but what exactly is influencer marketing and how does it fit into the world of marketing that we know?
Let’s begin by defining the term, influencer marketing. Influencer marketing is a hybrid of new and old marketing tools. It takes the idea of celebrity endorsement but applies it to the social media driven world of today. Influencers are modern-day celebrities by millennials and generation Z and brands cultivate this influence, they have over the younger generation by embarking upon influencer marketing campaigns. Influencer marketing campaigns are when a brand works with an influencer or a group of influencers to create content, on social media or the wider internet, based upon the brand’s product or services as a means of promoting said brand.
Who Are Influencers?
To understand Influencer Marketing, we must first understand who and what an ‘influencer’ is. An influencer is someone who has the power to influence the consumer buying decision of others. This person is likely to be influential due to their knowledge, relationships to their audience or the size of their following. Although influencer marketing uses similar methods to celebrity endorsements, it is important to understand the difference between an influencer and a celebrity. Influencers are not celebrities in a general sense, instead, they are only famous online
What makes them influential?
As stated previously, influencers are often influential due to their knowledge, relationship with their audience or the size of their audience. Let us elaborate on these reasons:
- Knowledge – Influencers are often knowledgeable in their niche market focusing on fashion, beauty, technology, food, or other subject areas as the focus on their content across social media. This knowledge can be educational, through their work or simply self-taught via an interest, the level of knowledge often does not affect their influence.
- Relationship to Audience – The relationship between influencers and their audience can be an effective factor in how influential they are. If an influencer interacts with their audience and treats them like a friend, they are likely to be influenced easier. The audience see them as a friend providing advice and therein are likely to look to them for advice.
- Size of Audience – This factor is slowly declining as a major element behind the influence of influencers. Influencers are likely to have a large following on social media and at one point it was believed that the larger the audience the more influential they are. This has recently changed with the introduction on ‘micro influencers’ who have a smaller following, but likely to have a larger following than you and I.
How do I Find Influencers?
To find influencers to collaborate with you should look on the platform in which you wish to collaborate with them on:
- Research – There are several research papers and articles out there listing influencers of all niches, whether you’re looking for influencers of a certain niche or from a certain location reading articles and papers can lead to you finding who to work with.
-Search your followers – Search through your brand’s accounts, look at UGC you are tagged in, look through followers or those who regularly interact with your posts, do they look influential? Do they have an engaging audience? Reach out.
Things to Consider Before Reaching Out to an Influencer
Once you have found someone to work with, you should ask yourself several questions before reaching out to them.
- Do they post regularly?
- Do they have an engaging following? Do people like their posts, do they receive comments?
- Do they fit your brand’s niche?
- Are they open to collaborations?
- Have they previously working with brands?
- How will you compensate them for promoting your brand?
How Do I Reach Out to Influencers?
There are several ways to reach out to influencers, many influence their contact details in their social media bios or on their website if they are open to collaborations. You can send them a quick email asking if they would like to work with your brand, give them a full and comprehensive run down of how you wish to work together and what compensation they will receive.
If you are contacting a larger influencer you may have to speak to their agency. Influencer agencies tend to work with mega-influencers and are a middleman between brands and influencers. Most agencies can be contacted through email or telephone, the details of which are usually shared on the influencer’s social channels or website and the agencies’ channels.
If you wish to work with a micro-influencer who has not collaborated with another brand before, they may not include their information on their website or socials. If this is true, reach out via social media, however, do so to ask for contact information rather than ask for the collaboration
What Activities Are Part of Influencer Marketing?
There are several activities which can result as part of an influencer marketing campaign. Brands often exchange goods or services (and sometimes money) for social media post(s), blog posts, YouTube video(s) or attendance at an event.
As a brand you can negotiate what you would like from the influencer, some influencers offer packs of several social media posts, Instagram stories and blog posts promoting your products or services. You can ask the influencer you are working with to post a social media review, a photo including your product, a video of your service etc., however, you cannot ask them to provide a positive review, you must ask them to be truthful to their experience.