What is influence marketing?
Nowadays, people no longer buy goods and services. They buy relationships, stories, and magic. With the growing demand for attention and the vast array of product options on the market, consumers are starting to lose sight of whom they can trust. Influencer marketing helps as never before.
A decade ago, the influencer marketing arena was limited to celebrities and a few bloggers. Now, we can see that the number of influencers on social media is growing. Let's try to figure out whether you need to use this and how to do it efficiently.
What is influence marketing?
Influence Marketing is a type of marketing, in which the companies interact with opinion leaders in various fields to promote products or services. A powerful branding tool that works for reach and engagement is included in the advertising strategies of many global brands. It exerts influence through the personal recommendation of publicly influential figures.
It works like this – the company chooses the appropriate account for the subject, direction, and philosophy of advertising; agrees on cooperation, discuss details and conditions; delivers the technical task; and the blogger then places advertisements in the form of text, photo, or video content, where they recommend subscribers to try the company’s product.
Influence marketing is equally effective for business projects of any format: from small online stores to large market players working globally. But it is important to choose the right concept and placement format. In this case, it is worth focusing on the specifics of the offer and the particular goals of the advertising campaign.
With the right approach, the method helps to solve the following problems:
- familiarize the audience with the product/service;
- demonstrate the benefits, possibilities, and ways of using the product;
- debunk myths about the shortcomings of the product;
- improve brand confidence;
- establish a positive image of the company;
- increase sales.
Influence bloggers: who they are and why you should collaborate with them
The opinion of popular and actively read on social networks users is trusted by about 90% of consumers. This is easy to explain: the audience is too tired of traditional advertising attacking from all sides and stops noticing it.
The secret to influencer marketing is that it doesn't look like an advertisement - even if a video or post about your product comes out with an "ad" tag. Bloggers try to embed the story of the advertised product into their content very natively – and because of this, people tend to believe their favorite bloggers more than the advertisements on TV or pre-roll on YouTube.
What are the benefits of working with bloggers?
- Nativeness. Advertising harmoniously fits into the content, thanks to which it does not catch the eye and does not cause a violently negative reaction. On the contrary, it may be interesting to find out what products your favorite blogger ordered in the advertised online store, or how the blogger's skin reacted to the cosmetics presented in the advertisement. By the way, if a blogger likes your product, they can continue to use it in the future and talk about it in his videos and posts on his initiative – additional free advertising for you!
- Targeting. Influencers need to be carefully chosen regarding their audience – it must intersect with the target audience of your brand. If you can do it wisely, you will get highly targeted traffic.
- Attraction of "hot" traffic. Since leads from bloggers are highly targeted, conversions can be significantly higher than through traditional channels. If not instant, then deferred for sure. To motivate the audience to make a purchase as soon as possible, you can enter personalized promotional codes with a limited validity period. On the other hand, if your product is expensive and requires time to think, you can also enter an unlimited promo code for a blogger, and then you can track, among other things, the delayed conversion of advertising from an influencer.
- Fast and informative feedback from the audience. Working with an opinion leader, you can easily get useful data from your target audience – a general reaction, specific reviews about a product or service. Don't forget to look at the comments below the videos or posts that contain ads!
- Duration of work. Unlike ads posted on social media feeds and have to be paid for every day, ads in blogger posts stay there forever. You only need to pay for it once, and it can be shown for years, including to new subscribers of the influencer, who can become your new clients.
It is also important to note that social media and blogs are resilient to the current coronavirus crisis. Many people are now cut off from the usual offline entertainment and watching videos on YouTube, in TikTok, or photos on Instagram becomes a pleasant leisure time, distracting from the harsh reality. So even advertising content, if it is made of high quality, can become entertainment and cause pleasant emotions in people. As a result, your brand awareness and trust in it increases, your customer base grows, and as a result, you receive a passive flow of applications to your business.
How to choose the right influencer?
First, decide on the scale of the bloggers' advertising campaign, then, following this, choose the scale type of the influencers themselves. According to the number of subscribers, there are several types of opinion leaders: nano-influencers, micro-influencers, macro-influencers, and millionaires.
Micro-influencers and nano-influencers are called niche influencers. For nano-influencers, the number of subscribers ranges from one to 10 thousand, for micro-influencers – from 10 to 100 thousand. These people have a small audience, but they are often listened to carefully. After all, these are, as it is right, ordinary people, united with their audience by some common interest. If your product somehow intersects with this interest, then a campaign with a nano- or micro-influencer may be successful.
In the macro-influencers category, there are opinion leaders with an audience of over 100 thousand subscribers, and millionaires are bloggers with over 1 million subscribers. These are the real media persons, who value their reputation. Most of them advertise serious brands and are reliable in collaboration. On the one hand, it is easier to go to them with an advertisement offer than to smaller opinion leaders; such bloggers usually have their advertising manager or work with an agency, they have a clear price list and media kit. On the other hand, popular influencers receive dozens of offers from different companies and you still need to convince them that your brand is worthy of advertising on their blog.
All in all, finding the right influencers for an ad campaign that delivers the metrics you want, is not easy.
The first thing to do is to decide on the topic of interest for blogs. Stories about an air purifier from a young blogger on TikTok or beauty bloggers on YouTube are unlikely to lead to high conversions.
The second important step is to figure out how large the audience you are dealing with. In our work, before negotiating a price with a blogger, we request statistics from him, just in case, it is better to double-check it yourself using special services. Based on these numbers and the goals of the advertising campaign, we can already conclude whether the investment in this influencer is worth it or not.
For example, if our goal is link clicks and reposts, then partnering with a large number of micro-influencers with small audiences but high engagement rates would be a good idea.
On the other hand, if we run large-scale campaigns intending to expand the coverage and brand awareness, working with multiple bloggers with high views will be a better choice.
We also note such an approach in working with influencers as cross-channel. In this format, we work with celebrities, popular bloggers, micro-influencers, and more classic digital tools at the same time. Let's say your potential client, seeing an advertisement of a brand up on the blog of a famous journalist or actor, may not immediately believe them. However, having met the same recommendation in another 5-10 advertising channels, the person tends to feel trust in the brand, and doubts about the purchase will weaken.
How to build work with influencers?
Do not forget that bloggers are ordinary people, they also have their own rules, and there are also force majeure and forgotten deadlines that you need to be ready for even before the deal is established.
To carry out the project comfortably, you need to figure out the offered points:
● Amount and type of payment. Does the cost of advertising fit into your budget? Or maybe there is an opportunity to negotiate a barter? The latter is more often relevant for nano- and micro-bloggers who are not yet accustomed to high advertising fees. But if your product is expensive or very hype (for example, it is unavailable in stores, or produced in a limited amount), then you can offer it for a review to larger influencers. In general, the barter option can be quite profitable and at the same time look native. After all, a blogger will be able to try your products and tell their subscribers about this experience.
● Timing. Some bloggers require an additional fee for specifying the exact date and time of the video or a post release. Therefore, check this point in advance.
● Ability to make changes and additions to the text, as well as to agree on it before publication. Not all bloggers are ready, for example, for a company to assess their review of a bartering product. Also, discuss how long you will be able to make changes. For example, would it be possible to make a last-minute edit if you have started a sale or a new service has been added, about which you want to notify subscribers.
How to track the results of an advertising campaign from bloggers?
The main questions that can and should interest you: “How to track success?” “How do we understand that clients came from bloggers?” Let’s see how you can track ROI – return on investment in influence marketing.
According to a study by Later, 79% of companies measure the performance of their campaigns only in terms of the reach and engagement of a video, post, or story from a blogger. This approach has a right to exist, but it is not always optimal, a lot depends on the product itself and the format of the advertising campaign. So, for example, when promoting a product of the FMCG segment, for example, juices that are sold in every supermarket, you can safely focus on increasing awareness and loyalty to the product precisely through reach and attention from the audience. But if you are advertising a niche product, for example, a new collection of a fashionable, but not widely available, South-Eastern clothing brand, then it would be wiser to indicate KPI in leads or actions on the site.
Here is a shortlist of important metrics that you can evaluate after running a campaign:
● Engagement rate — likes, comments, and reposts, and so on.
● Brand sentiment — an indicator of brand awareness.
● Website traffic — the number of people visiting the website and how much time they spent there.
To achieve success in influence marketing and conduct a high-quality advertising campaign, you need to carefully consider your promotion strategy. It is important to understand that this format does not always give instant results, especially if you are doing it for the first time or bringing a new product to the market. This is the same slow and steady approach as social media branding and content marketing, where your campaign is not about direct selling. When working with influencers, focus on demonstrating your credibility, competitive advantage, and thought leadership in your industry. Then, perhaps, you will be able to maintain constant cooperation with the bloggers and thereby strengthen your place in the hearts of their subscribers.
To understand how many leads a particular partner has attracted, companies create personal discount promo codes that influencers distribute to their subscribers.
Influencer marketing is one of the most effective digital promotion channels, a great way to improve brand awareness and climb to the top positions in your niche. Influencers gather a large audience around them, they can influence the views, actions, and decisions of subscribers. By creating a stable positive image of a company or product in the consumer's mind, they help to increase sales.
To get the most out of influence marketing, you need to find the right active blogger, choose the best methods of influencing your target audience, and carefully monitor your posts.