In recent years the super growth of social media has been a major catalyst for a new school of marketing to appear. Estimated to become an enormous $2.4 billion dollar industry by 2019, influencer marketing has taken the world by storm and is slowly becoming a fundamental part of digital marketing.
As with most new practices, there’re still many clouds surrounding the subject and many unanswered questions, so we’re here to clear up some of the confusion and answer your top influencer marketing questions.
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is a form of marketing whereby communications are channelled via individuals (influencers) who have an authoritative influence in certain key demographics. They create quality content and encourage discussion between themselves and their audience to create a unique authentic channel of marketing. Influencers are primarily based on social networks like Instagram, Twitter, blogs and YouTube, and have built up credibility in a niche audience that fits the requirements of the brand.blogs and YouTube, and have built up credibility in a niche audience that fits the requirements of the brand.channelled via individuals (influencers) who have an authoritative influence in certain key demographics. They create quality content and encourage discussion between themselves and their audience to create a unique authentic channel of marketing. Influencers are primarily based on social networks like Instagram, Twitter, blogs and YouTube, and have built up credibility in a niche audience that fits the requirements of the brand.
What are the benefits of influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is unique in that it allows brands to connect with millions of consumers through a more credible channel, creating organic engagement between brands and consumers. As traditional media outlets are on the decline with consumers spending more time online, brands require new ways to communicate with their audiences. Influencer marketing offers the solution, creating a trustworthy channel between brands and consumers.
Purchase decisions are more likely to be influenced when recommended from a trustworthy, credible source in contrast to traditional advertising. In essence, influencer marketing is powerful due to the integrity of the influencers; in the past celebrity endorsements drove consumers decisions, but now with the advent of social media, influencer marketing is just as successful – if not more – as well as being cost effective. The influencers have a voice the consumer is willing to listen to.
How do you identify influencers?
There is no real ‘ideal’ influencer. The best influencers are those with an audience that match your target demographic and those who marry up with your brand message.
Another common misconception is that influencers with the largest following are best; again this is not entirely true. While the size of the audience does factor in, what’s more important is the engagement levels and the influencer’s ability to produce quality content that naturally incorporates the brand’s message in an authentic original story.more important is the engagement levels and the influencer’s ability to produce quality content that naturally incorporates the brand’s message in an authentic original story.
Factoring all this in will narrow your search for influencers. There are various tools as well as agencies that can help pair you up with the best influencer for your brand; alternatively, you can manually sift through various social networks, such as Instagram, Twitter or YouTube, to find the influencer that fits you perfectly. Hopper HQ, the Instagram scheduling tool, manages thousands of brand and influencer accounts and it has seen a 30% rise in sponsored posts from influencer accounts on Instagram since late 2015.
What level of budget is required for influencer marketing?
Generally speaking, there isn’t a rule of thumb to go by when it comes to the budget. The influencer marketing industry is still growing and it’s yet to mature.
Costs can vary greatly depending on the campaign and the influencer, however, a higher cost doesn’t necessarily correlate to a better ROI. The best way to gauge how much of your marketing budget should be dedicated to influencers is trial and error. Start off small with micro-influencers and incrementally increase your spend. After trialling a few campaigns, you’ll gain a better understanding of what works for you. Again, it is important to reiterate there is no right or wrong answer.
How do you measure the ROI of an influencer marketing campaign?
In order to measure the ROI of an influencer marketing campaign, first you need to establish the metrics you will be using as targets, and, of course, this is relative to the overall objective of your campaign.
Analytics such as engagement, impressions, web traffic, unique page views, shares, downloads, video views and sales are commonly used to measure the ROI of an influencer campaign. If the investment you’ve made achieves the target metrics, then the return on investment is positively clear.
What is the cost of working with an influencer?
As the industry is still in its very early phase, the costs surrounding influencer marketing vary greatly. A popular Instagram travel account charges up to £7,000 per Instagram post. This might sound like a relatively absurd amount, considering it’s only one post in an entire campaign, however, you should bear in mind the size of the potential audience you will be reaching. That £7,000 Instagram post will be published to 3 million users.
However, not all influencers cost as much. Micro-influencers will cost you considerably less and that doesn’t necessarily make them any less effective either. They will typically have stronger relationships with their audience, inspiring better engagement rates.
So the cost of working with an influencer really depends on what you are trying to achieve.
How do you determine the success of influencer marketing?
As with any marketing campaign, the best way to measure success on a macro level is by analysing the ROI; factoring in cost which will, of course, depending on the scale and size of the campaign against set targets such as site traffic and sales.
However, beyond the facts and figures of sales and site traffic, a successful influencer marketing campaign will create a relationship between your brand and your audience built on trust and credibility, increasing brand awareness. The value created can’t be measured with numbers, but through conversations and discussion on social media, you can see the impact of your campaign. Although this can’t be factored into the ROI, it should definitely be an important aim of any influencer marketing campaign.