A few years ago, influencer marketing was a jargon used only by big brands with the budget of hiring big celebrities for promoting their products and services. Nowadays, influencer marketing is an established form of marketing that businesses of every size and scale are leveraging for growing their brands.
In this article, we will be discussing influencer marketing in detail with its benefits, processes, and role in reaching their target audience.
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is a form of social media marketing that involves influencers - people with a niche following, to promote brands and their products/services. It's essentially a developed form of endorsement where a brand collaborates with social media content creators. The whole process can be summed up like-- influencers produce content, post it on their social media platforms, promote brand-related content to generate brand awareness and increase sales. Brands, in turn, compensate these influencers with monetary benefits.
Influencer marketing plays a key role in brand growth. Long-term influencer-brand relationships result in many positive outcomes. Today, influencer marketing is one of the most relevant forms of marketing because:
- 49% of people rely on influencers’ recommendations to purchase a product.
- Businesses, on average, generate 5X returns on investment through influencer marketing.
- 74% of consumers are dodging brand messages with half of them using ad blocks.
- Targeting multilingual audiences has become easy and effective through influencer marketing in India.
- 89% of marketers consider influencer marketing ROI to be better or comparable to other marketing methods.
Why influencer marketing is important?
Influencer marketing has redefined and replaced traditional marketing. Ads are becoming ineffective in influencing the purchasing decision of buyers, marketers are looking for other ways to promote their products. And influencer marketing platforms present themselves as a great alternative. Reports suggest that about 67% of marketers are now using influencer marketing platforms due to its efficiency.
Instead of abruptly pushing products/services to audiences, influencers create conversations around the brand and involve their followers in it. Audiences trust the influencers they follow. And when those influencers recommend/promote a brand's product/service, trusting that brand becomes easier. Benefits offered by influencer marketing are as follows:
- Reaching a bigger audience
- Increasing site traffic
- Helping to get more leads
- Growing brands’ social media following
- Driving customer loyalty
- Increasing repeat purchases
- Maximizing customer lifetime revenue
How does influencer marketing work?
The marketing landscape has shifted to consumers. Now, it is the consumers who decide which messages they want to see and how. To connect with consumers, brands now need to become part of the consumer’s conversations. And social media is the place where these conversations are happening. Influencer marketing helps create a bridge between brands and consumers to initiate brand conversations on social media.
People connect better to a human than a faceless brand. They trust influencers’ voices more than branded content. The authenticity that a creator offers on social media helps them earn audiences’ loyalty. People value their advice, recommendation, or suggestion on things related to their niche. Partnering with an influencer allows brands to plug their messages in the influencers’ content. This way, their messages reach the audiences through a reliable source and resonate better with people.
Influencer marketing helps brands create a space for them in new communities and connect with their members. The audience engagements within the communities result in earned media that goes a long way in building consumer loyalty.
How does influencer marketing help in brand growth?
Word-of-mouth marketing has been one of the most effective forms of marketing. People trust the opinions and suggestions of their family and friends more than anything. What influencer marketing does is that it takes word-of-mouth marketing on social media at a scale.
Influencer marketing works exceptionally well for B2C industries like fashion, lifestyle, beauty, food, fitness, and photography, etc. as they are highly visual and relatable. As per reports, 57% of fashion brands use influencer marketing to grow their business, and the other 21% are expected to utilize it in the future. Influencer marketing is heavily based on engagements, it makes audiences a part of the process rather than just the end-consumer. Everyone uses social media these days and connecting to people via influencers give brands the added advantage of leveraging the relationship that influencers have built with their communities over time.
Influencers also help in growing the social media following of brands by introducing the brands’ social media to target audiences. As influencers have a good amount of follower base, it is also possible that the social media following of a brand can grow overnight with the help of influencers. Influencers present a credible picture of brands on social media which helps build their reliability. In terms of return on investments, influencer marketing generates quite favourable results. A study by NeoReach suggests that for every $1 spent on an influencer marketing campaign, it brings earned media of $5.2 valuation. When it comes to social media, influencers help brands grow both in the short and long term.
How to get started with influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is a discipline on its own. To get successful results through it, a well-planned strategy along with clear goal-setting is required. Here are some key components of building an influencer marketing campaign.
Brands need to define a clear objective of what they want to achieve through the campaign. It can be generating brand awareness, lead conversion, sales growth, etc. Based on the goals, a clear roadmap has to be prepared and a budget needs to be set for the campaign. When setting the campaign objectives, follow the S.M.A.R.T (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) model for maximum benefit.
Based on the budget and requirements, influencers are selected for the campaign. There are different types of influencers in the market, and not all of them are the right fit for a brand. Broadly, influencers are classified into four types - Mega, Micro, Macro, and Nano, depending on their reach and engagements. While selecting the influencer it is important to ensure that the influencer’s content resonates with the brand voice.
Brands can either directly pitch the selected influencer with a collaboration offer or can use the services of an influencer marketing platform that will do the job for them. Other ways include mentioning influencers in brands’ content or reaching out to them with/for a favour. Clear communication regarding the campaign must be established between the influencer and the brand for an effective partnership.
The key to a successful influencer marketing campaign is to create great content. Authenticity and a storyteller's voice best connect audiences. Give influencers an experience of the brand and offer them creative freedom to generate the content. Influencers know their audiences best and can create content that resonates with them the most.
Once the campaign is live, it’s time for measuring its success. Collect data and insights on parameters like post impressions, clicks, engagements, sharing, etc. Track the sales generated with influencer-exclusive coupons, if used. Optimize the data and modify the campaign accordingly for the best results.
Thoughtful planning and effective execution are the chief determiners of successful influencer marketing campaigns. The above-listed steps will help in initiating and building a strong foundation for a productive influencer marketing journey.
Though influencer marketing is relatively new, it has changed the way businesses communicate and market to audiences. In the digitized world, influencer marketing is becoming a necessity for brands to create a strong identity on social media and influence people. Influencer marketing offers a range of benefits to brands from reaching new audiences to increasing brand awareness, boosting conversions, improving marketing ROI, and more. Considering its advantages and growing importance, influencer marketing is a must for businesses looking to grow their brand.