Influencer Marketing - What, Why, How for Ecommerce Businesses
American beauty influencer, James Charles, is constantly breaking all gender stereotypes when it comes to beauty and fashion. This 22-year-old leads a beauty community with over 23.4 million followers on Instagram and 24.2 million subscribers on YouTube.
Influencers like James Charles are the torch bearers of the likeability of most brands today. These are common people like you and me who have entirely revolutionised the sphere of marketing.
If you’re an avid Instagram user, there’s no chance that you haven’t heard of Daniel Wellington, a Swedish brand founded in 2011 by Filip Tysander.
In the last 10 years, Daniel Wellington (or DW) has grown from being just another small startup to one of the hottest brands of the decade.
This brand is an excellent example of how strategic marketing can now be executed by common people with just a few thousand followers on social media. With the rise of platforms like Instagram and Instagram, marketing has massively changed in the past few years.
However, if you’ve ever done research on influencer marketing, you know the web is filled with contradicting and confusing information on this topic. In this article, we’ll talk about the basics and nuances of understanding and implementing influencer marketing.
What is influencer marketing?
Today, social media is immensely dominated by influencers. In fact, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that they make up most of the social media today! Influencer marketing as a term has been floating around for a few years now. However, we witnessed its widespread popularity quite recently!
Influencer marketing is a balanced combination of celebrity endorsement and content-driven marketing campaigns. What makes it interesting is these are run by common people. And today, companies choose to invest in influencers because it is so much cheaper than running other traditional paid campaigns; all while delivering excellent results almost every time!
This marketing domain has become so widely accepted and is also continuously and steadily getting better than ever. Today, 17 percent of companies spend more than half their total marketing budget on influencers alone!
Another interesting buzzword you’ll see floating around is micro-influencer marketing.
Smaller, niche-focused influencers with typically a follower base of anywhere between 1,000-25,000 are called micro-influencers. Despite a smaller follower base, They are considered to have more active and loyal followers than the bigger celebrities with millions of followers.
An Experticity study on micro-influencers shows that:
- Micro-influencers boast 22.2 times more conversations than average consumer recommendations
- 82 percent of consumers reported that they were highly likely to follow a recommendation made by a micro-influencer
Why do you need to get started with influencer marketing
Consumers of today listen to influencers. They trust them more than the traditional ads companies run. This is also so because most times, influencers are people like you and me. They are not big-shot celebrities and so, consumers see them as ‘online friends’.
1. Wider reach
Influencers invest a lot of time, effort, and energy into growing their following. These are usually niche-focussed. When you partner with a potential influencer that aligns with your niche and focus, you can also tap into that influencers’ followers. This means you can increase your traffic and conversions exponentially.
2. Win consumer trust and improve brand awareness
When an influencer endorses a brand, it is probably one of the most regarded and trusted forms of social proof today. A recent survey revealed that consumers find influencers more helpful and trustworthy than brands during the pandemic. And only 19% of viewers find influencer content unhelpful.
3. Increase in earned media value
The influencers you partner with can help you create authentic UGC (User Generated Content). This can later be repurposed in a number of marketing contexts. For instance, you can add it to your website homepage (with their prior permission).
4. Improved SEO
Influencers can help generate high-quality backlinks to a brand’s website. These could be in YouTube descriptions, blog links, and so on. This helps increase the company’s ranking on search engines.
How can you get started with influencer marketing
1. Set specific goals for influencer marketing
It is important to have a plan of action laid out. You should have a clear understanding of what your objective and goals are. It is crucial to define your plan for outreach, relationship management, and deliverables from both parties.
Next, set goals for this partnership. These could be -
- Attracting a new market segment
- Building links for SEO
- Increasing brand awareness
- Hyping a new launch
- Increasing sales
Don’t just set general goals. Set specific goals like - increasing quarter sales by 25%.
2. Define your ideal influencer partners
Once you have a good understanding of your target audience and have a game plan, pick a niche-specific influencer (who is ideally already your customer). You don’t have to always reach out to the biggest influencers with 30 million followers, for instance. Micro and nano influencers give great results as well if picked strategically.
a) Influencer Seeding
This is probably one of the easiest influencer deals you can strike. Consider this as a sort of barter - you can send a product(s) to the influencer to test and try. If they like the products, they create content around it and post it on their social media handles.
It helps establish a natural bond between the influencer and the audience. Usually, this type of content is also not in-your-face kinds of ads so it’s easily digestible by consumers.
b) Outsource to an influencer marketing platform
There are more than 1 million active influencers on Instagram. This means finding the right influencer for your brand among such a large crowd is going to be a long and tedious task. Added to that, for any collaboration your brand takes up, your brand’s image and reputation are on the line. So, one wrong choice could adversely affect your brand and all the work you’ve done for years.
This is why finding trustworthy influencers whose beliefs align with your brand ideology is important.
Today, you can reach out to specific influencer marketing platforms like InfluencerMarketing Hub to find the right choice for you and your brand. It is quick and efficient. And you can manage everything from the number of influencers, performance analysis, and so on from a single dashboard.
c) Affiliate-based partnerships
Another great option is to partner with influencers. Consider it like they become a sort of salesperson for your brand.
If you’ve spent any more than 5 minutes surfing through a beauty guru’s social, you are most likely to bump into some personalized coupon for an x% discount at a particular brand store, like the one shown above.
This is usually done through affiliate programs. It works on a pay-for-performance model. So, affiliates get paid by commission on results like sales, clicks, and/or signups. This way, influencers will also be thoroughly invested in promoting your product to improve your conversion rates.
d) Other alternatives
There are several other models for influencer marketing programs:
- Cold outreach - Reach out to influencers who you think would be the perfect fit for your brand. Directly ask if they would be interested in a collaboration.
- Work with an agency - Unlike using an influencer marketing platform where the process is automated, an influencer marketing agency helps you create a personalized strategy. This is specially crafted and curated for your brand and its requirements.
Influencer marketing trends and statistics for 2022
The influencer market has only been growing with each passing day. This is the present and future of marketing. Influencer culture is our reality today and leveraging this is going to help take your brand to new levels. The sky is truly the limit here.
Here are some influencer marketing trends and statistics to help you make better strategic decisions for your company -
- In 2022, the influencer marketing space is expected to grow to be a $13.8 billion industry.
- Over 75% of companies today have or intend on investing in influencer marketing.
- Close to 42% of marketers this sphere as their biggest revenue-generating strategy
- 33% of marketing teams don’t measure the ROI of their influencer collaborations. This makes it difficult to track the impact and growth rate.
- Companies can get a return of an average of $6.50 for every $1 spent on strategic influencer marketing.
- 53.5% of influencers have followers between 1,000 and 5,000. Nano-influencers are those who have a loyal following of 1,000 to 10,000. Studies show that these influencers drive the most engagement on social media.
- According to Influencer Marketing Hub, most companies and brands still pay influencers in the form of barter (free product samples) and not actual contractual payments.
- Influencer engagement received on TikTok is higher than on Instagram. The numbers of likes and comments on the former are almost double that of the latter.
- TikTok witnessed a 60% increase in new users in the last year alone.
- 68% of users purchased a product after viewing a post about it on TikTok.
The domain of influencer marketing is only going to grow bigger and better in the years to come. How your brand makes and leverages the most of this is in your hands. With the right influencer marketing strategy in hand, you can grow to become pioneers of your market space.