Have you ever made a purchase based on someone’s recommendation? You trusted them because they were an expert, a friend, or someone you admire. This is the power of word-of-mouth marketing. In our modern world, influencer marketing taps into this powerful strategy to help you gain more leads and increase sales.
Statista estimates that the worldwide influencer marketing category has exploded to $13.8 billion in revenue. Analyst company Forrester has issued a Wave report on the software used to drive influencer programs that included AspireIQ, Captiv8, CreatorIQ, Impact, IZEA, Klear, Launchmetrics, Linqia, Mavrck, Tagger Media, Traackr, and Upfluence.
What is influencer marketing?
An influencer has a large following of people online on one or more of the social media platforms: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, or YouTube. Usually this large following comes from their expertise on a topic, ability to entertain, or power to inspire. The title “influencer” comes from their ability to influence many people at one time with their content.
For years, businesses have capitalized on this unique opportunity to promote their products and services through influencer marketing. If there’s an influencer who travels regularly, you can pay them to stay at your hotel and wax eloquent about how perfect their experience was. As a healthcare provider, you want an influencer who can benefit from your services and share the story of their experience with their followers.
People today desire connection, like social media offers, but traditional commercials cannot provide. 89% of marketers say influencer marketing works just as good and sometimes better when compared to their other marketing efforts.
Who are the top Instagram celebrities by follower count?
- Cristiano Ronaldo @cristiano 422 million, 5.4% of population of earth
- Selena Gomez @selenagomez 310 million followers
- Dwayne Johnson @therock 308 million followers
- Ariana Grande @arianagrande 303 million followers
- Kylie Jenner @kyliejenner 325 million followers
- Leo Messi @leomessi 317 million followers
- Kim Kardashian West @kimkardashian 297 million followers
- Beyonce Knowles @beyonce 248 million followers
- Justin Bieber @justinbieber 228 million followers
- Kendall Jenner @kendalljenner 228 million followers
These are major celebrity influencers, so they would be out of budget reach for all but the largest brands. Additionally, Joe Rogan is a major influencer with an estimated 7 to 10 million people following his podcasts on Spotify, and his contract is reported to be worth $100 to $200 million.
Most non-celebrity influencers consider influencing as the main part of the their business income. Here are some top non-celebrity influencers.
Who are the top non-celebrity influencers of 2021?
- Huda Kattan @hudabeauty 50.1M followers
- Lele Pons @lelepons 47.7 million following
- Zach King @zachking 24.4M followers
- Cameron Dallas @camerondallas 23M followers
- Joanna Gaines @joannagaines 13.5M followers
- Jay Alvarrez @jayalvarrez 7.2 million followers
- Aimee Song @aimeesong 6.3M followers
- Alexa Chung @alexachung 5 million followers
- Dr. Mike Varshavski @doctor. mike 4.3M followers
- Demi Bagby @demibagby 2.6M followers
Paid and Organic Influencer Marketing
There are two types of influencer marketing to choose from, paid and organic. Paid influencer marketing is straightforward: your company pays an influencer to promote your business. You choose how they promote. Some influencers are content creators who can create clever and captivating TikToks and other short-form videos. Or you may pay an influencer just to share pictures featuring your business with a caption.
The FTC requires that influencers disclose when they receive any pay or in-kind compensation for their promotion.
The organic method is less expensive because you don’t have to pay for the promotion. Organic influencer marketing is any time an influencer posts about something they love without being paid to do so. However, this method does require more work and strategy, and you have less control over the promotion.
In fact, with true organic influencer marketing you have no control over whether or not someone chooses to promote you at all. You can encourage a shout out by sending an influencer a free product, trial of your services, or stay at your hotel or hospitality establishment, but once you give them any product or consideration, they need to disclose that. It’s important to target the influencers that you know will love your business and who have a following that is your ideal client.
How does influencer marketing work?
So, you’re ready to try influencer marketing. Where do you begin? Here are 4 easy steps to help you run your influencer marketing campaign from start to finish.
Step 1: Develop Your Campaign
Companies and influencers are constantly finding new ways to establish their relationship and create great content. Because of this, the way you develop and run your campaign may look different from another company’s process. This is the beauty of the creative process.
Still, the basics will be the same and are outlined below.
- Identify your project goals
- Identify your ideal audience
- Determine which platform (Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok) or method (blog, video, captioned pictures) is best for your project based on your goals, company personality, and where your audience is online
- Define a budget
- Outline the way you will communicate with the influencer throughout the project in a brief, including the following questions:
- How much creative freedom does the influencer have when creating the content versus how you want the content to look?
- Are there any words, phrases, or hashtags they need to include?
- Is there anything the influencer shouldn’t say or do in their content?
- Assign someone or a team in your company to manage your influencer marketing
- Decide how you will measure the campaign’s success: what metrics will you track to determine whether your campaign is successful?
Once you have your plan, you’ll need to draft an official contract. It’s important to set the terms right from the beginning with your influencers so there are no misunderstandings.
Step 2: Find your influencer(s)
You can choose one influencer or multiple influencers to promote your business. But even if you only want one, it’s important to make a list of potential influencers to approach. The success of your promotion is dependent on finding an influencer who will represent your business well and who already has the attention of your ideal audience.
Here are some questions to ask when searching for your influencer:
- Does this influencer’s content and persona fit with your campaign and brand?
- Will this influencer represent your company well?
- Does this influencer’s platform match your brand values, image, and mission?
- Does this influencer seem like the kind of person we want to work with, free from scandals to date, and less likely to become enmeshed in a scandal?
- Is this influencer well-acquainted with our business, a competitor, or our concept already?
- Will this influencer work with my budget?
- Does this influencer’s following match our ideal customer?
- Does this influencer have quality content and great engagement with their followers?
Use search engines on the social platforms to look for influencers who fit your niche. Input target keywords and hashtags that fit your company and find influencers that match. Finally, you can turn to emerging online tools to find an influencer.
Consider an influencer identification software, such as BuzzStream, BuzzSumo, or Sparktoro. These tools help users discover the right influencer for their business. You can review influencers based on your ideal audience and analyze the performance of their content.
Remember, the best results come from content that doesn’t look like it’s sponsored. If you partner with an influencer who would never use your services outside of this sponsorship, you’ve chosen the wrong influencer. Audiences are more likely to be receptive if the influencer is promoting a business they can tell they actually love, rather than something they are only talking about because they are being paid to.
Step 3: Establish and build your influencer relationship
Now it’s time to approach the right influencers to embody your vision. If you’re wanting to reach a celebrity to be your influencer, you may have to go through an agent. Otherwise, you can reach out to the influencer directly.
The influencer should correspond with your team assigned to your influencer marketing campaign. The main objective is to communicate what you want promoted, your guidelines, and the terms of the agreement. You want to ensure the influencer understands what they should and shouldn’t say when they create the content.
When possible, it can be beneficial to build a relationship with the influencer first. If you are going the unpaid organic influencer marketing route, you’ll need to depend heavily on building a relationship to get an influencer to fall in love with your business so much they give an unsolicited recommendation.
Step 4: Run your campaign & review the results
Once everyone is on the same page and the contract is signed, the campaign can be set into motion. Fulfill any pre-post offers, such as free products or services to the influencer. The influencer creates the agreed-upon content.
Before the content goes live, put it through a review process. You want to view the content the influencer created before they post it to make sure it is what you are looking for. Once it is posted, review the results of your campaign using the metrics you chose in step 1. Use the results of your campaign to inform your future influencer marketing campaigns and decisions.
What KPIs should you to measure?
Your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for your campaign will vary slightly depending on the size, industry, and goals of your company. Driving engagement, increasing sales for one part of the business, and educating people about your concept are all goals that will require different KPIs to measure success. So what key metrics should you focus on?
Some of the most important KPIs for an influencer marketing campaign include: visits, new leads, increased engagement, increase in sales, and conversion rate.
Influencer Marketing vs. Public Relations vs. Social Media
How does influencer marketing differ from other promotional efforts such as Public Relations (PR) and social media? Although most influencer marketing appears on social media, it differs from the exposure you get on your business’ social media page. Your social media content is about building a relationship directly with followers. Influencer marketing is more indirect, as you get someone else to recommend your business. Additionally, you get in front of a fresh new audience you haven’t been able to reach before.
The primary difference between PR and influencer marketing is control. With influencer marketing, you have a lot of control over the entire process: who promotes, what audience it will reach, what the content will say, when it will be shared, and so on. With PR, the media outlets control what they decide to share and what they don’t. Additionally, your exposure may be huge and go viral, or you may get very little exposure and interest. Social media, PR, and influencer marketing are all valuable strategies, but they operate differently.
What are examples of successful influencer campaigns across industries?
Influencer marketing is used by many industries and in many creative ways. Creativity is part of the experience, and you can choose to run your campaign however you want. Here are a few examples of how different industries have used influencer marketing.
- Hotels: Starwood Hotels & Resorts partnered with five influencers for an influencer marketing campaign to drive sales to two of their new hotels in Paris.
- Retail: After modeling for H&M’s fall catalog, Julie Sariñana was hired to share a sneak peak and promo stating her excitement for the upcoming release.
- Finance: Current Bank has relied heavily on influencer marketing as they realized social media is where their ideal audience, Millennials and Gen Z, hang out the most.
- Healthcare: Nurse influencer Sara Flanagan will review products by brands or be paid for product placement in her social media content.
Interest in influencer marketing continues to grow in 2022
Influencer marketing is a well-established and rapidly growing marketing strategy today. You can reach new audiences through an advocate they trust and already have a relationship with. Find people to promote your product who fit your perfect client and can genuinely share their love for your business. See bigger results by using influencer marketing in 2022 and beyond.