Influencer marketing has come a long way since the phrase was first coined over a decade ago. Long gone are the days where to be an influencer you had to be a global celebrity, with millions of followers, earning thousands in endorsements. Now, almost every industry has its bloggers or authentic individuals with a large following and engaging content.
Once you have an idea of what influencer marketing is, the next step is to understnad how to implement it. For brands, influencer marketing can be extremely lucrative. It works because these influencers, who are seen as experts in their niche, have built up their following organically and those followers trust these influencers and their recommendations. These influencers ‘influence’ their audience’s buying decisions and, for your brand, using influencers could make a huge difference when it comes to acquiring a larger following and those all-important conversions.
Part 1: Defining Your Influencer Strategy
Before you begin to work with influencers, you need to define your brand goals, target audience and establish your brand’s KPIs. The influencer strategy will form the basis of what you need and will help you to measure the success of your efforts.
First, define your goals. Most likely your goals from using influencers will be to achieve:
Brand Awareness And Amplification:
One of the main benefits of an influencer strategy is that it helps to amplify the brand to a new audience and attract page followers. A key goal in any influencer strategy should be to build your audience, attract new followers and drive new customers to your website. How many followers do you need to attract for this strategy to be successful?
Engagement is arguably the most important metric. It not only shows that the audience is enjoying the content being shared but also helps to inform the algorithm which determines whether your content appears in your followers’ feeds. Poor engagement affects post reach and can cause followers to leave your brand to go to another. What would successful engagement look like for your brand? Which engagements are going to be the most valuable? What is your target engagement rate?
The above are great, but conversions show if your efforts are worthwhile for your business. It's great to attract new followers, but these new followers need to be converting. If the audience doesn't convert, the likelihood is you are using the wrong types of influencers and attracting the wrong followers. How many conversions do you need to generate to achieve a successful ROI?
Once you've defined your goals, you need to think about your target audience. For this, it will be beneficial to review your social strategy to understand who your target audience is. Then you need to research the topics, brands, and influencers that your audience will be inspired by. For example, are you a luxury fashion brand whose audience is between the ages of 25 - 34? Then you will want to target influencers who are also part of this demographic. They could be interested in publications like Vogue or Harper’s Bazaar and may use the hashtag #outfitoftheday. They may have even already worked with one of your competitors! Create a persona for your ideal influencer based on your customer’s needs and desires so you have a clear idea of who it is you’ll target. Platforms such as SparkToro are a great way to research your target audience, their interests, brands they might follow, and more.
Part 2: What Types Of Influencers Should You Work With?
Despite now having to follow defined rules and regulations, the influencer industry is still rapidly growing. Sure, in an ideal world, all businesses will have the opportunity to work with mega-influencers such as the Kardashians & Jenners, but this isn't always the case. However, the good news is there's a whole world of influencer tiers out there for you to explore. The tiers are generally accepted as follows:
- Nano: 1k - 10k followers
- Micro: 10k - 50k followers
- Mid-tier: 50k - 500k followers
- Macros: 500k - 1m followers
- Mega: 1m+ followers
The most common social channels are Instagram or YouTube. Targeting nano and micro-influencers can be extremely beneficial as these influencers have a smaller, but more engaged following. These influencers will have a more targeted following - for example with a UK-based influencer with 10k followers, it's more likely that their audience resides here, so as a UK brand it will be easy to ship to followers purchasing the product from that post. Mega influencers are likely to be global names, which could be difficult for a brand that only ships to one country.
These influencers will cost less than bigger influencers and therefore won’t have a negative impact on ROI. They will also promote the brand because they want to, rather than because of monetary value, which will essentially have a more organic feel and is more likely to attract a qualified audience in the long term. However, the benefits of working with mega-influencers can’t be dismissed. They definitely still offer the highest impact with the potential reach and engagement from a single post generating the same results as hundreds of smaller influencers.
In short, if you have the budget to work with top-tier influencers then great, but for those SMEs or new businesses, nano and micro-influencers can still generate impressive results for your brand.
Part 3: Measuring Your Strategy
One of the most important stages of any strategy is the reporting stage. This is the stage that allows us to track the wins and losses of our efforts that will influence our activity moving forward. Similar to the social media strategy, reporting on influencers helps us see which type of influencer is attracting the right audience, understand why the target audience is engaging with this content, and ultimately whether the influencer is having a negative or positive ROI. Key metrics include:
Engagement is one of the most important metrics. Here we measure how well the target audience has engaged with the posts. The engagement rate is where you look at the number of followers that influencer has, and the amount of engagement the post has received. In 2021, a good engagement rate on Instagram is between 1-3%, but of course, anything higher than this is great!
As one of the main key goals for most influencer strategy is brand awareness, it's important to be able to track how many followers that influencer has helped you gain. It’s not always easy to track the exact number of followers, but scheduling tools such as Sprout Social will let you report on follower data and analyse which days saw the highest increase. If this is when your influencer has posted, then we can track it back to this.
Similar to the above, sales can be a difficult one to track. Setting up a unique influencer code is one way brands can monitor the return of working with an influencer, which is especially important if you are working with the higher-value influencers in the macro and mega tiers. Unique codes could look like “SOPHIE20” and will let their audience access a unique promotion such as 20% off, free shipping or free product.
If discount codes don’t fit your business model, then Shopify or Google Analytics insights will let you monitor which days saw an increase in sales.
When you’ve built a strong relationship with an influencer you can nurture that relationship further using an ambassadorship program. These ambassadors help to humanise your brand further and act as spokespeople - rather than publishing one-off sponsored posts, they will work with you on a monthly business. If you are a brand that struggles to produce content due to time, money, or resource constraints, working with ambassadors could help you produce new and fresh content on a monthly basis that you already know your audience will love. Brands that have used ambassadors to their advantage include the likes of Gymshark and Grenade who have created a team of loyal experts who continuously promote the organisation’s ethos, messaging, and products.
It’s clear that while the influencer landscape has evolved, and continues to do so, in the last ten years, it remains a viable marketing tactic for businesses of all sizes.
If you’d like to discuss how we can work with your brand to develop an influencer marketing strategy, drop us a line and we’ll be happy to have a chat!