What is influencer marketing

We live in a world of influencers. Increasingly, to promote a brand online it is no longer enough (unfortunately) to have a good advertising idea and an interesting, thoughtful product. Customers need social proof, but they don’t pay attention to the opinions of random, unknown people. They look for validation from someone they follow daily on social media. Let’s talk about influencer marketing.

Influencer marketing – what is it?

To start with, who is an influencer (we’ll use the masculine form directly from English for ease of use, but you know – there are just as many female influencers, if not more). It is someone who is very active in social media and on the Internet. The influencer’s reach and followers number in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions. Are influencers experts in their fields…hm, it depends. Some know what’s in the grass for months covering one topic (such as fashion or cosmetics), while others are typical one-season stars: their popularity fades as quickly as it flared. So if you’re wondering what an influencer does, well, he or she is simply an online personality, gathering around him or herself a group of observers interested in various topics.

The birth of online influencers was a time when social media was emerging. First we had the craze for Facebook, after it dimmed, there was a craze for Instagram, and now the golden period is being experienced by TikTok. It will probably be followed by something new that we don’t know about yet. The natural order of things. It is said that today an influencer can become practically anyone. In theory, yes, but choosing the right influencers involves, among other things, weeding out those who have gained popularity on controversy and scandals. As a rule, they will not be good ambassadors for your brand.

If you have the effectiveness of influencer marketing in mind, opt for campaigns with influencers who have been “on the market” for some time and are doing well. On the one hand, this will provide you with reliable and consistent coverage, on the other hand, you have more confidence that this influencer will not suddenly disappear because he/she loses heart to continue being active and promoting his/her persona.

Do you start looking for influencers? A few years ago it was simpler. There was less competition, with well-known names firmly in the top spot, whose hiring admittedly cost a lot, but guaranteed very satisfactory reach. There was also less social media. Now there are seemingly more influencers (or people who want to be influencers), but at the same time this oversupply in the market makes it harder to come across someone who is significantly recognizable.

The value of influencer marketing

First and foremost, reach. The most popular influencers have a huge base of followers who follow their every activity online. You can reach this group with the promotion of your products or your brand in general.

Another thing: many options for advertising. If you have large budgets, you can even launch a TV or radio campaign. This is an option for the most resourceful advertisers, but you can just as well (and with similar results) focus on an online campaign. There are indeed quite a few advertising channels, although it’s best to choose the medium in which the influencer is already present and has the largest reach in it.

The value of influencer marketing is also a kind of social proof, or social proof of rightness. Your potential customers are quicker to believe people they know and admire than, for example, actors hired specifically for an ad. It is a good practice to lay out your influencer marketing strategy in such a way that you advertise your products or brand sublimely – without pushy and ubiquitous cryptic advertising. Product comparisons and tests, which are usually the most popular, work well here. The influencer honestly presents the pros and cons of each product being compared, while discreetly highlighting the advantages of your solution.

Influencer marketing strategy

The ideal influencer partnership should be well planned – because once it takes off, there usually won’t be much room for adjustments, just observing the effects and cosmetic adjustments.

Below we write how to find an influencer. Come to it with ready answers: what do you want to achieve in the campaign? In what form should the influencer advertise your brand – will it be social media posts with company branding, or will it be more discreet whisper marketing (e.g., product comparison)? Is the influencer supposed to promote specific products, or are you more concerned with building brand recognition?

The more specific you are at the stage of formulating expectations, the better the cooperation with the influencer will be and you will avoid unnecessary understatements. When thinking about how to prepare an influencer marketing strategy, remember to tell the influencer about your brand’s values and activities. The more he knows about you, the more naturally he will talk about it. And believe, the audience of such an influencer will immediately sense artificiality and shovelware marketing content written on the knee. Don’t forget about the contract to secure the interests of both parties.

How to find an influencer

An influencer marketing strategy and campaign requires deeper thinking. Avoid “roundup”, do deeper research. A good choice of an influencer without risk to the brand is, first of all, to find someone who is not controversial (has not been in the past and there is little likelihood – although it is known that you never know – that he will “twist” something in the future). Controversial in the negative sense, because for some industries and brands an influencer with character is even advisable.

It would also be appropriate to select influencers in terms of what kind of activity they are known for online, at least roughly. Of course, the most well-known personal brands (such as athletes) can advertise virtually anything. But most influencers usually specialize in specific topics – fashion, automotive, makeup, gaming, etc. An effective campaign with influencers is one in which your brand is advertised by people related to the industry in which you operate.

An important thing: when analyzing an influencer’s profile (especially one you don’t associate with), check whether he or she is buying followers and his or her follower base is built organically. Unfortunately, some people want to quickly build popularity in an artificial way. These are not reliable business partners and avoid them like hell.

Cooperation with influencers begins with establishing contact. There are a lot of opportunities, usually influencers (the bigger ones) provide data, for example, to their agent, who embraces such topics for them. Of course, you won’t be able to work with everyone right away or immediately. As we wrote, by the way, bet on quality, not quantity, and carefully choose the influencers with whom you would like to share something. The most popular influencers are difficult to approach. One, you need to have a really solid budget, and two, they are often “swamped” with advertising duties for other companies and either don’t have the time, or their contracts with these advertisers prevent them from partnering with direct competitors, for example.

As a rule, most influencers are concentrated in agencies, or you can find data for them on special platforms that bring together the most influential online personalities. So if you are wondering how to contact influencers, there are good places.

How much does influencer marketing cost

Influencer marketing in different industries will have different prices. In niche topics, of interest to a group of enthusiasts, where the influencer acts as an expert – the costs may be lower. As we said, the biggest influencers cost the most. Influencer marketing allows you to reach a wide thing of people with your marketing message, but remember that an influencer is one side of the coin. Even the most influential person, generating the most reach, won’t do much to promote your brand if you don’t have the right backgroud prepared on your side: a cool website, interesting product presentation, marketing background and UX. Nothing will come of a spike in visits to your site if it is structured repulsively for customers. Besides, self-respecting influencers themselves (or their people) check what they will advertise and what quality the brand they are reporting on carries.

In some cases, you can settle with an influencer on a barter basis, offering them your product in exchange for advertising. However, influencers’ opinions about barter are divided. Much depends on the quality of the product you can “donate” and whether it is realistically useful to them.

To sum up

How to create campaigns with influencers? With your head, after thinking about the topic and writing a sensible strategy. Not on the sly, not taking advantage of the momentary popularity of some persona.

What is an effective influencer marketing campaign? One that is not a fake cryptocurrency similar to a teleshopping studio. Use contextual marketing, empathize with the customer and their need to get from the influencer what they need at the moment.

Why should you work with influencers? Because they provide effective and high reach, building your brand recognition and – if everything on your side is done right – increasing sales.

How to choose an influencer? By analyzing influencer marketing platforms and social media. Choose one that is at least partially associated with your industry, or that you know will be placed in some acceptable context when advertising your products (for example, an influencer hosting live broadcasts of his computer games may not necessarily be a sensible face for an insurance company).

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