Influencer Marketing: A New Wave of Content Creation
Updated: Apr 18, 2022
Did you know? Two in three consumers trust brands supported by influencers more than company advertisements. With trust ranked as an essential buying consideration on par with product, brand and company attributes, Influencer Marketing might just be the key to strengthening the authenticity of your brand and unlocking sales growth.
Misconceptions: What It Is and What It Is Not
With social media users at an all-time high and an increasing number of users sporting high follower counts in the thousands, the lines between influencers and your everyday social butterfly seem to have blurred. As more users hop on the bandwagon to cash out on their social circles, brands may struggle to identify the right individuals to be the advocates of their brand.
Is influencer marketing still relevant?
In short, yes. One common misconception is that influencers are simply attractive people who are “paid to post” about products they might not truly believe in. While this may be true for certain individuals, most established influencers are openly selective about the type of brands they support. Influencer marketing, therefore, involves brands building a relationship with their influencer of choice to first establish trust in their product with the individual, and subsequently, their community.
My friend has 3,000 followers, does that make them an Influencer?
Beyond having a strong following and high engagement rates, influencers are characterised by having built a reputation around a specific field of knowledge or topic of interest. As the word “influence” might suggest, these individuals are seen as rising experts in their domains who are able to help consumers make more informed decisions about their purchases — conferring credibility to brands, and helping them get their products into the right hands.
How do I know whether influencer marketing is right for my brand?
Another misconception is that influencer marketing is only for large brands that have the deep pockets to foot hefty engagement costs and give out numerous free samples. In reality, there are a wide range of influencers that brands can choose from, some of whom might just fit into your brands’ budget. At the same time, while it might be tempting to pick an influencer with the highest number of followers, paying more for a high number of likes and shares may not necessarily translate into meaningful sales conversions for your brand if their followers are not part of your desired target audience. For example, a skincare brand that specialises in treating eczema might benefit more from engaging a microinfluencer that has built their reputation around overcoming their struggles with sensitive skin, rather than engaging a celebrity who has always been lauded for their flawless complexion. Picking the right influencer for your brand will help you position your brand favourably among the right audience, and can help to drive brand loyalty and sales through advocacy.
Picking Your Brand’s Spokesperson
Now that we have a better understanding of what influencer marketing is about, let’s explore how to make it work for your brand. To begin, decide on the objectives and goals of your proposed campaign. This will give you a clearer idea of your intended audience and guide your decision-making when it comes to choosing influencers to work with. Depending on the scale of what you'd like to achieve, you can consider starting small and focusing on a single influencer, or working with multiple influencers simultaneously for a wider and more diverse reach.
At a broad level, you can look at online personalities that would be relevant to your industry (e.g. sportswear). At a deeper level, look at influencers whose personalities and values align with your brand. Choosing influencers who speak for the same beliefs will increase the likelihood of your brand resonating with a relevant follower base. You should also think of the nature of the content they create and if you'd want your business to be represented in that way. For example, brands centred around sustainability may garner the wrong kind of attention if they were to engage someone who supports fast fashion rather than more eco-conscious options.
Beyond the tone and messaging of your selected influencer, you should also consider the medium and platform that they use to deliver content. As specialists rather than generalists, influencers tend to focus on specific social media platforms and types of content that enable them to best showcase their creative touch. For example, some influencers may primarily focus on flat lay images to showcase the aesthetic appeal of a product, whereas others might create short-form videos of the same product to give followers a sense of its look and feel. As certain types of content perform better on specific platforms (e.g. short-form videos may do better on TikTok or Instagram Reels), think about which aspects of your brand and product you would like to showcase, and determine which influencer might be best-positioned to deliver relevant content in the most appropriate form.
Specifying Calls-to-Action (CTAs) and Linking to Metrics
As with all marketing investments, increasing exposure for your brand should ultimately translate to tangible conversions or business insights. Measuring engagement with specific metrics tagged to a clear CTA can help your brand avoid overspending on influencer marketing efforts that do not generate returns for your business.
For example, if the goal of your campaign is to drive sales to your website, getting influencers to include a link to your e-store and analysing your site traffic generated as a result could help you determine whether the influencer’s followers are interested in your business. Alternatively, if you do not have visibility over the sources of your site traffic, you can also explore using exclusive coupon codes to directly track whether a spike in sales is due to an influencer campaign.
Not all metrics are made equal
While views, likes, and comments might show that the influencer’s post has exposed your brand to more people, they are not an accurate measure of whether their followers have been convinced that your brand is worth exploring. Tracking metrics that require a higher level of involvement such as Click-Through-Rates on CTAs, shares, follows (on your page) and saving of posts will help to reveal whether the influencer has been effective in persuading their followers to commit to the brand. Make sure to work closely with your influencer to ensure that they are able to provide relevant data, and tweak your future influencer marketing plans based on the results that follow.