How do you identify the right people, how much should it cost, how do you measure results? With a proper understanding of influencer marketing, your business—no matter the size—can benefit.
Defining a digital influencer strategy can be a key component to rounding out your digital marketing plan. Influencer referrals and promotions can have a direct impact on your business goals and growth. However, finding the right influencers to partner with and in a mutually beneficial way is a difficult task. Determining a system to measure their success can be even more daunting. So, here’s how your business can benefit from this growing industry.
What Are Influencers?
Influencers bring attention (or traffic) to your business. Image via Kit8.net.
Influencers—also called digital influencers, social media influencers, etc.—are content creators who have gained a substantial following on one or more platforms. These can be celebrities and public figures, but they may also be smaller creators with a curated or niche audience. Influencers can use their platform to highlight products, promote services, or generally bring attention and traffic to your business.
Macro- vs. Micro-Influencers
Consider the pros and cons when determining who to hire. Image via Irina Strelnikova.
When discussing influencer marketing, influencers are often sorted into two buckets: micro-influencers and macro-influencers. As the names suggest, a micro-influencer is an influencer with a smaller following, and a macro-influencer is an influencer with a large following. Defining “small” and “large” can vary by platform. But, generally, the accepted definition is a macro-influencer has over 100,000 followers, and a micro-influencer has over 10,000 followers, but under 100,000. These categories can be broken up further. Mega-influencers are those with a massive following, often over one million people. Conversely, a nano-influencer can have a following of under 5,000 people.
With each grouping, there are benefits and drawbacks. Influencers with larger followings typically cost substantially more, but you get a much wider reach with their larger audience size. Due to their large size, there’s also a chance that their audience demographics aren’t as monolithic as smaller creators, making it harder to determine how well your product or service will align with a particular influencer.
With a micro-influencer, you’ll be able to promote at a much lower price point, but you may not reach the same amount of people. However, don’t let their size fool you. Micro-influencers often boast a much higher conversion rate than macro-influencers. According to Socialbakers, micro-influencers see over 20% higher conversion rates than their macro- counterparts.
How Can Influencers Benefit Your Business?
Remember, it may take time for your influencer relationship to make a difference. Image via phipatbig.
Influencer marketing is a growing industry and businesses are still finding new ways to mobilize online creators. By incorporating influencer marketing into your overall digital strategy, you can find new buyers and clients while simultaneously improving brand awareness.
Still, it’s important to go into any influencer relationship with realistic expectations. While promotion from a major influencer can have an impact on your business, this doesn’t necessarily happen overnight. It may take multiple influencers several weeks (or months) promoting your business to different demographics—or on different platforms—before you find the strategy that best fits your business needs.
Keep in mind, not all influencer promotion looks the same. There are many different ways that you can work with influencers, depending on your business. We’ve outlined a few, common ways here:
How to Find Influencers
Search through hashtags on your social media platform for the right match. Image via Graphic farm.
You’ve decided you want to jump into influencer marketing—now what? The first step is finding an influencer to work with. Influencers are everywhere, and you’ve likely come across a few in your market research, or time on social media, who would align with your business.
If you haven’t yet found the right match, try searching hashtags on social media related to your type of business. It may take some digging, but you can likely find a good match through searching organically through hashtags on your preferred social media platform.
You can also use tools like Facebook Brands Collab Manager, which provides you with a database of influencers and basic audience demographic information to help inform your search. Tagger—a data-driven influencer marketing platform with over 5M influencers and 250K+ brands—is another influencer marketing resource designed to help you plan and source influencer campaigns.
Do you have a small, but mighty, following? Another option would be to see who your top followers follow. People typically follow many brands and influencers in their favorite niches. Look through some of your most engaged followers to see if they follow any influencers who might align with your business. Similarly, look through your followers to see if any influencers already follow you. Typically, you’re likely to find an influencer in spaces where your business already operates and occupies.
If you have available budget, a more costly option may be to hire an agency that specializes in sourcing and managing influencer marketing programs. This is a smart option if you’re looking to incorporate influencers in a single major campaign or launch.
How Much Should You Pay an Influencer, or a Semi-Simple Formula for Finding a Fair Rate
When it comes to expenses, commit to what is best for your long-term investment. Image via Kit8.net.
For most businesses, influencer marketing is an added expense that often needs to be justified by a strong return-on-investment (ROI). With so many different platforms, influencer sizes, and business types, it’s hard to determine a single pricing structure for your influencer program. You may also find, as your business grows or the industry demands, rates may fluctuate. Many influencers will also set their rates. This is particularly common with larger influencers with limited space in their content schedule.
Some influencers require direct payment in exchange for promotion. If you’re able, this is the best option to onboard influencers and maintain a strong relationship with them. However, not all businesses have the budget available for this expense. So, another common way to afford influencer marketing is an even exchange. That means providing free products in exchange for the promise of promotion. This is more common with smaller influencers who are looking to add brands to their portfolio.
If you’re unable to provide free products or pay directly, you can also consider an affiliate link where you give up an agreed-upon percentage of your revenue to an influencer who drives converting traffic to your website (or put more simply, gets people to buy your product).
While this isn’t all-inclusive, a simple way to approach influencer marketing costs on most major social media platforms is to use the cost per mille (CPM) of buying an ad on that platform, and comparing the cost to the expected reach you’ll receive from working with a particular influencer. This varies widely based on which platform you choose and which industry you work in.
For example, say a beauty brand wants to launch its influencer marketing plan. They’re considering working with an influencer with approximately 12,000 followers. They report receiving between 3,000 and 5,000 impressions per post. You want to send them $50 worth of product. For you to buy an ad for that amount at a CPM of $5.14, you’ll need to receive about 9,700 impressions. This could equate to two posts, or possibly a mix of a post and a mention—or another combination that fits your needs.
How to Define Success with an Influencer Campaign
Influencer marketing is about growing your business while building a relationship. Image via Kit8.net.
Once an influencer campaign has finished, there are many ways to determine if the campaign was successful based on your business goals. If there was a discount code or affiliate link associated with an influencer promotion, you may want to look at the ROI to see if the influencer provided enough revenue to offset or, ideally, exceed the cost of working with them.
Or, you may look at web traffic to see if the influencer drove more traffic to your website and the quality of that traffic. For example, if the influencer drove 30% more traffic, but the traffic had a 90%+ bounce rate, it may not have been a successful campaign. Conversely, if an influencer drove 10% more traffic, but their users converted at a higher percentage or stayed on the website longer, the campaign may have been more successful.
No matter the metric, it’s important to have a complete understanding of your expectations before partnering with an influencer. Similarly, work with your influencer to determine the best metric to define success based on your expectations and what the influencer is experienced in doing.
In short, influencer marketing is flexible. You need to find a system that works for your business and your long-term goals. Whenever possible, try to amplify and share the content that influencers create for you to ensure you’re getting the most out of your promotion. Remember, influencer marketing is as much about building a relationship as it is an advertising avenue. With proper planning and an understanding of your desired goals, influencer marketing can become a fundamental piece of your marketing plan.
For more social media tips and advice, take a look at these articles:
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Cover image via Kit8.net.
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