An updated guide to influencer marketing
The influencer marketing industry has well and truly exploded in the last two years. Many companies are leveraging the use of Influencers – who can be defined as figures of the digital space who have the ability to influence the behaviour or opinions of others – to promote their products and services.
In fact, approximately 66 percent of marketing professionals surveyed by chute reported using social media influencers in their brand campaigns. “But what’s all this hype about?” you may ask. Simply put, it works. According to Forbes, influencer marketing is growing faster than digital ads.
Following the success of influencer marketing, there has been a mighty rise in platforms which seek to connect brands of different size and industries to the right influencer who can promote their business.
But while this new market is gaining an increasing amount of momentum, for those businesses who are used to more traditional marketing methods, it can be a challenge to try and wrap their heads around the influencer marketing landscape.
Though, if leveraged correctly, influencer marketing can take brands to souring heights of success. This article will provide a basic guide to the different types of social media influencer and just how they can contribute to your brands success.
Within the digital sphere of influencers, those defined as “macro” are those with followers in the millions across multiple social media platforms, and may also be considered “celebrities” in other entertainment industries.
Many businesses utilize the large following of macro-influencers in order to achieve a far reach for their sponsored content.
But, due to the fame and increasing demand of these larger influencers, this often comes at a pretty hefty price.
While using macro-influencers in your marketing campaign may get your product or service seen by a larger crowd of people, the less-personal aspect of these celebrity figures may not be beneficial in convincing followers to buy your product.
If you can’t afford a Kardashian to showcase your product, have no fear, the micro-influencer comes at a much more affordable price
Micro-influencers are considered those with a much smaller following of around 10,000 to 90,000 rather than in the hundreds of thousands.
A key strength of this influencer type is the much more personal nature of their account. They usually specialize in the particular niche such as travel, fitness, beauty and fashion. This enables them to offer more relatable content to their followers, and thus enables brands to connect with a more targeted audience than what could be achieved with celebrity influencers.
As well as being cheaper, micro-influencers have been shown to attract the most engagement on posts. According to a PRWeekreport, those accounts with a smaller following generated five percent engagement on sponsored posts compared to the unimpressive 0.76 percent generated by users with over 100,000 followers.
The nano-influencer can be described as a user with less than 10,000 followers who tend to be their peers. Working with nano-influencers come with many advantages, such as the fact that peer recommendations drive sales.
One study found that 70 percent of consumers said they were influenced by a friend or family member’s online recommendation, beating online articles (59 percent), ads (49 percent), or someone they follow online but do not know (32 percent).
Furthermore, working with nano-influencers means more user-generated content. Instead of spending your marketing budget on just a few big influencers, you can work with hundreds of nano-influencers for the same cost. The benefit of this is that you can push your product or service across many social media channels and accounts.
Advocates are highly satisfied customers who are willing and eager to spread the word of your business to friends, family, and strangers. Unlike influencers, advocates often promote products with no prompting from the business.
Though they have significantly fewer followers than influencers, brand advocates have been shown to have greater influence on consumer behavior.
There are a rising number of concerns around big influencers including brand safety, reputation and influencer transparency – all of which can be detrimental to your brand.
Consumers are demanding more authentic and relevant content which they simply aren’t getting from big influencers. And the facts are in the figures. According to Nielsen, 83 percent of people say they trust recommendations of friends and family over other forms of marketing.
Advocate marketing platform Qubist CEO Andrew Seel told Tech Wire Asia:
“With ad blocking at an all-time high and traditional paid media becoming less effective, brands need to explore alternative ways to distribute their messaging to deliver results. Brand advocates offer an alternative way to reach your target audience in an authentic way.”
Furthermore, with Facebook recent announcement of a new algorithm that will prioritize more personal posts by close networks rather than those from bigger brands, “It makes sense to build relationships with advocates who exhibit a high degree of trust in their personal networks,” Seel said.
What makes brand advocates even more authentic and reliable is the fact they they are not financially paid.
For instance, on Qubist, an advocate marketing platform which enables brands to scale measurable customer and employee word of mouth, advocates are motivated by built-in gamification such as points, badges and levels, as well as recognition.
“A key function of Qubist is that brand content is shared through personal networks. As it’s not coming directly from the brand, people are much more likely to engage with content from friends, family and peers,” Seel said.
Employee advocacy is the promotion of a business by its own staff members. According to the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer, the opinion of employees is a well-trusted source of information regarding a company’s performance, business practices and treatment of employees.
By setting up an employee advocacy programme, your brand has the chance to showcase your core strengths and opportunities through authentic employees.
Qubist has recently worked with UK supermarket Iceland Foods to create an employee advocate program. Employees of the company are invited to join the “Iceland Insiders” app where they can share and personalize branded content, use gamification to make it a fun experience (points, badges, and levels can be earned), and also receive recognition from senior members of staff.
“Iceland [is] able to measure sharing activity and top performers. After three months, the Iceland Insider app created 450 advocates and 37.8 million impressions.”
Choosing the right influencer
Knowing which type of influencer would be best for your brand campaign depends on what your brand is trying to achieve. Influencer platforms such as Asia-based influencer platform Gushcloud and Qubist strive to make this job easier for businesses, connecting the right influencer with the right brand in order to achieve optimal results.
Gushcloud’s Joelle Choong told Tech Wire Asia:
“We take pride in knowing all our influencers and sorting them into the correct verticals so we’re quite confident when it comes to proposing an influencer to the brand.”
“Besides that, we make sure the influencer profile and the brand identity align before matching the two together,” she said.
According to Choong, having a strong understanding of the industry you’re in is important for reaching heights of success with influencer marketing.
“Many a time, companies may find influencer marketing not effective because they do not fully understand the industry and have unrealistic expectations when engaging with an influencer. It boils down to the objective of your business and finding the right influencers for your brand.”
“With that said, we think influencer marketing is universal. Any business big or small can leverage on the benefits of influencers,” she said.