Eight thousand. That’s the average number of ads you, and the rest of consumers, are exposed to every single day.
Unprecedented competition for consumers’ attention has caused one noisy market. In an effort to be heard, brands have turned from storytelling to story-yelling, and quantity over quality. But, is this really an effective communication strategy? Not usually. Because as consumers get lost in all the noise, they lose sight of who they can trust.
Enter the need for an authentic and influential voice that can speak on your behalf.
Influencers have the inimitable power to be heard — and trusted — in a crowded market. Consider the following:
- Two out of every three consumers admit to trusting an influencer’s message about a given brand more than its own advertising.
- The average engagement rate for influencer content is approximately double that of branded content.
- Eight out of every 10 consumers purchased something after having seen it recommended by an influencer.
Influencer marketing is built on the brand-influencer relationship — and each relationship needs a goal. It’s important to first define what you want to get out of your influencer — and what they expect to get out of you. Keep in mind that an influencer relationship should be a symbiotic one.
Goal 1: Engagement
You want to generate a buzz among your target audience via likes, comments, and shares. Your influencer also wants to increase engagement on their own posts by promoting a product or service they know will resonate with their audience.
Goal 2: Growth
You want to enter new markets and are looking for an influencer who fits in this new demographic. Your influencer also wants to grow their following by partnering with a brand whose audience mirrors their own.
Goal 3: Conversion
You’re seeking higher conversion rates and want to uncover ways to generate more leads or purchases. Your influencer wants compensation based on their ability to perform and convert.
Finding your brand’s perfect match
It may take a little soul searching to find an influencer that aligns with your brand’s identity. The key is to find a person who shares a common voice, values, and most importantly, target audience. Building brand authenticity is the whole point of investing in an influencer. So who should you choose?
Mega-influencers are your A-list celebrities. With millions of followers, this is where Kim Kardashian and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson rank. Because of their massive follower base, these influencers are great for engagement and awareness campaigns that reach a very wide audience. But, this one-and-done post will come with a considerable price tag – up to ($1 million per post), low engagement, and speak to a non-targeted audience.
Macro-influencers are a notch down from the Megas. Think podcasters, vloggers, and social media stars with a following of 100,000 to one million. With this group of influencers, you can target a more specific demographic because each macro-influencer is more likely to have a niche. But again, this type of influencer is best for top-of-funnel awareness campaigns, increasing engagement, and possible growth. However, it will be challenging to build any meaningful connection with such a large audience.
Micro-influencers are steadily gaining attention from retailers and brands, and have anywhere between 1,000 to 100,000 followers. Brands see better results, thanks to their super-targeted follower base, geo-targeting capabilities, higher engagement rates, and lower costs. Micro-influencers are ideal for mid- to bottom-funnel campaigns aimed at driving leads and conversions. But keep in mind that they have a much smaller reach and niche.
Different types of relationships
Each brand-influencer relationship will be different. Depending on each of your business goals, you’ll have to decide which campaign-type makes the most sense. Here are some of the most common influencer marketing tactics:
- Affiliate marketing: Influencers are given a unique promo code or URL to promote and share with their following. This allows you to easily track the performance of your influencer and reward them accordingly.
Use for Conversion
- Contest: Competitions and giveaways are effective marketing tactics to gain brand and/or product exposure, generate buzz, and increase engagement. With contest rules as simple as tagging a friend or following the brand, you can see significant spikes on your brand’s social accounts.
Use for Engagement & Growth
- Sponsored content: An influencer will create their own content about your product or service and post it on their social channel. This authentic content typically resonates well with followers but requires you to trust their artistic direction.
Use for Engagement, Growth, & Conversion
- Collaborations: This is similar to sponsored content, except it’s co-created between you and the influencer. It’s a very involved strategy that ties your brand’s voice with that of your influencer. This is a mutually beneficial option that allows businesses to keep control of their content while adding an authentic flair.
Use for Growth
- Takeovers: While the other tactics involve your brand showing up on an influencer’s platform, this one involves the influencer showing up on yours. For this campaign-type, you give the influencer access to your social media accounts for a set amount of time. This tactic is commonly used for a “behind the scenes” or “day-in-the-life” special event or occasion. It’s a fun and dynamic way to bring a fresh voice to your channels. However, you have to have complete trust leaving your social accounts in the hands of your influencer.
Use for Engagement & Growth
- Brand Ambassadors: This is more than a one-and-done transaction. Think Matthew McConaughey and Lincoln. It’s when an influencer becomes associated with a product or service to such an extent that they become the face of the brand. The stronger the relationship with the influencer, the more credible it becomes. But again, you have to choose wisely. Think Tiger Woods.
Use for Engagement, Growth, & Conversion
Share the love
One major benefit of influencer content is that it can be shared across your media mix. Influencer content is paid media since you obviously provided compensation for it. But, the more you invest in influencer marketing, the more you build your social presence. And all those reciprocated likes, shares, and comments feed into your earned media. And that’s not all. You can repurpose all the influencer and user-generated content on your owned media channels for greater authenticity. Voila! A perfect love triangle.
Is an influencer in your future?
Your influencer relationship will be one of the most important partnerships your business will ever make. With a mere one percent of millennials trusting brand advertisements, you need an influencer just as much, or more, than they need you. So take your time to find the perfect one.