Do you know that 61% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase decision based on social media referrals?
However, have you been wondering which marketing tactics they’re using to drive such remarkable success? That’s exactly what I’m going to talk about in this post.
What do you think is the reason behindCoca-Cola’s immense success recently? It is the ‘influencer’ behind the brand. Selena Gomez is the name!
The recent Instagram post of the renowned American singer and actress, sipping Coke through a classic bottle and stripped straw has made a historywith 4.7 million views and still counting. She has a mind-boggling number of followers on Instagram, approximately 114 million! Smart companies such as Coca-Cola, Puma and Coach know how to use this huge‘fan following’ to drive their business growth, having Selena as their brand partner on the social media.
This is what Influencer Marketing is all about!
Influencer Marketing Works!
Table of Contents
- 1 Influencer Marketing Works!
- 2 Best Influencer Marketing Hacks for 2018
- 2.1 #1: Understanding Macro Vs.Micro
- 2.2 #2: Collaborate with Influencers Who Love Your Brand
- 2.3 #3: Let Influencers Create Shareable Content for Your Brand
- 2.4 #4: Take a Cross-Channel Approach for Broader Reach
- 2.5 #5: Leverage the Power of Instagram Stories & Facebook Live
- 2.6 #6: Give Greater Emphasis on Unique & Original Images & Videos
- 2.7 #7: Do NOT Change Your Influencers Too Often
- 2.8 #8: Beware of Fake Influencers
- 2.9 #9: Monitor Your Influencer Marketing Campaigns
- 3 Conclusion
Hope you’ve heard that for every $1 spent on influencer marketing, businesses are gaining $6.50 in earned media.
Social media playsa compellingrole in shaping consumer preferences and interests. Today, buyers no longer care for companies to inform them about what they want. Instead, they look up to influential people whose knowledge or ‘WOW’ factor is highly valued. For instance, YouTube vloggers have millions of subscribers. Their videos garner hundreds of millions of likes and views. There are several companies liningup to partner with them. And it is the same scenario when it comes to Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest.
Thisis inevitably the era of influencers. For consumers, the focus has shifted from some faceless company to individuals who showcase a brand directly and respond better. The radicalbudge has paved the way for businesses to use the power of social media influencer marketing. In the fight between Influencer marketing vs. Adwords, the former works as word-of-mouth communication coming from experienced, glamorous and authoritative persons on social media. Thishas a stronger impact than Google Ads or Facebook ads which are typically exaggerated and self-promoted.
Still,think aboutwhy use influencer marketingwhen it is too costly for your brand?
The numbers say it all…
A recent report indicates the following statistics:
- 67%of marketers believe that influencer marketing can help them connect to a more targeted audience
- 94%of marketers find influencer marketing as an effectivepracticeto drive business growth
- Influencer marketingcan generate up to 11x the ROI as compared to traditional advertising
- 39%of marketers are planning to increase their influencer marketing spend in 2018, while 67%plan to invest over $100,000 per campaign
- For every dollar spent on influencer marketing, businessesearn $6.50
- Instagram influencer for marketingwill rule in 2018, where 99%of influencers expected to spend more time. See the image below:
Best Influencer Marketing Hacks for 2018
Considering the potential of social media influencer marketing, businesses and marketers are busy learning the strategies to get the most out of their influencer campaigns. Withtime, influencer marketing is evolving, andone has to stay abreast of the latest trends to reap the profits.
Discussed here areninetactics to amplify your brand presence and drive growth with the aid of “influencers.”
#1: Understanding Macro Vs.Micro
One of the biggest challenges for marketers is todetermine what drives higher engagement and business growth in the field of influencer marketing. Is it a goodapproach to have celebrities and famous personalities as influencers or peers to recommend a brand?
The below infographic by St. Joseph Communications indicates what actuallyworks.
It is no secret that many leading brands such as Nike, Puma, Coca-Cola, etc. have superstars and celebrities as their influencers. These “macro” influencers are big-time shots and worth millions of dollars for a single post.They have a huge fan following, and it isquite obviousthat when they spread a word about a brand, it will attract more users. People love to imitate the lifestyle of famous personalities, andthis goes in favorof having them as influencers.
However, the market research by St. Joseph Communications revealed something else. It is foundthat peer groups, and not celebrities, have a higher engagement rate despite having a lessernumber of followers. Peers include people having similar interests, background, age or social status. Their ‘word’ inany brand or business tends to influence people more because they can trust someone who has experience, knowledge, andinterest in the field.
For example, having Seth Godin or Guy Kawasaki say a word for your online marketing business makes more sense to consumers than having Cristiano Ronaldo promoting the brand.
Influencer marketing is no longer dominatedby socialites and celebrities who are paid to promote a product. There is a massive shift towards passionate, experienced and authentic content creators who have a smallbut loyal following. In fact,70% of social media users trust micro influencers more over traditional celebrities. Their recommendations are genuine and trustworthyand focused towards a niche.
Celebrities may have higher visibility, but that doesn’t mean they are more influential.Below is another image that shows influencers with lesser followers tend to have higherengagement rate than the ones having a hugefan base.
Thiswill help you find the right kind of influencers based on the size and type of your business, what you wish to convey and your budget. Influencer marketing companiesor free tools can also help you find the right influencer for your brand.
#2: Collaborate with Influencers Who Love Your Brand
If influencers such as celebrities, bloggers, socialites or industry experts are already talking about your brand without being sponsored, it shows they love it. So, thechancesare that you already have an audience who would like to receive your brand messages. If you canleverage the influencers who are fond of your brand, you have greaterchances of succeeding in y our campaign.
Airbnb is the perfect example of how touse influencer marketing strategyto your advantage. When the company came to know that “Songbird Supreme” Mariah Carey had booked their incredible beach house in Israel, they knew she loves the brand. They approached her for influencer marketing collaboration, andas a part of the campaign, she posted photos of the Airbnb property on Instagram. It received over 44,000 likes from her followers.
After the success of this campaign, Airbnb partnered with other popularinfluencers such as Lady Gaga in the same manner. The influencers post photos of their luxurious vacation on the social media, thanking the brand.
For businesses that tend to have high control over how influencers present their brand, it is time to let the reigns loose in 2018.
The success of influencer marketing depends on its trustworthiness and authenticity. People should feel that the words are coming from actual users or someone having experience and knowledge in that field. Thisbecomes a problem when the influencer has to share brand-ready content. The campaign loses its substance and people tend to lose their faith.
2018 will see more influencer-created content as brands strive to achieve better influencer marketing results. With this, the campaign will appear genuine, driving higher user engagement. Another advantage is that it can be much cheaper. A person who has years of experience using a product would happily tell the world about it, and that would have a better impact than company-produced content.
See the below example to understand why H&M has one of the largestInstagram following than any other fashion brands on social media today. The credit goes to its Instagram influencers for marketingthat includeswomen who reflect H&M’s unique style by themselves. Julie Sariñana is an avid fashion blogger who loved the clothing so much that she promoted it on her Instagram account.
H&M did not have any prejudices regarding how she should appear or what she should write about the brand. And its ‘genuineness’ has made this campaign successful.
#4: Take a Cross-Channel Approach for Broader Reach
By the mid of 2018, it has become evident that companies prefer a cross-channel approach to maximizereach with their influencer campaigns.Thisis especially true for biggerbrands having deeper pockets.
Merely sticking to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube won’t serve the purpose anymore. Look for other potential markets and find out where your target audience loves to hang out across various social media platforms. It’s time to be active across all the channels. Thisis yet another way of how to do influencer marketingto drive business growth.
At the same time, you have to identify which social media channel top influencers in your niche are spending more time. Likewise, you have to use different influencers active on different channels for a single campaign. Leading brands have begun using a mix of macro and micro influencers to attract different types of audiences to campaigns. Mix and match social networks and influencers in whatever way it suits your marketing goals. Elsewhere, you can also partner with influencers who have a highengagement rate across different social media channels.
Taking a cross-channel approach will have a stronger impact on your consumers. They tend to notice a campaign if they receive the same brand endorsement from different people, expressed in different ways and across different channels such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, andTwitter. When everyone seems to be talking about the brand, consumers are likely to get drawn towards it.
For example, Puma had used influencers across multiple channels for its #DoYou campaign. This has boosted the leading shoe brand’s sales, driving in more loyal customers. Here are some images of their cross-channel approach for the influencer campaign:
#Famous model and influencer Cara Delevingne talks about #DoYou Puma in a YouTube video
#Sakshi Malik, India’s first female wrestler to wina medal at the Olympics tweeted on how women have the power to make the impossible possible, courtesy Puma.
ModCloth, a vintage clothing website fully utilized the influence marketing advantage. This banner makes their audience feel very special, which stimulating more posts about the clothing.
#5: Leverage the Power of Instagram Stories & Facebook Live
Live Facebook videos, andInstagram stories have been a huge hit ever since they were launched. As of the latest report, Instagram Stories have garnered 400 million daily active usersworldwide till June 2018. On the other hand, Facebook Live has achieved over 3.5 billion live streamingbroadcasts since its launch in 2016.
Social networking features such as Facebook Live and Instagram Stories have high organic reach and engagement rate. Brands can use this opportunity to their advantage,integrating influencer marketingwith Facebook Live and Instagram Stories.
Best Fiends, a top-rated free puzzle gaming app, was successful in maximizingtheir organic reach and engagement with influencer marketing and Facebook Live. They partnered with Laura Clery, a prominent influencer with over 3 million Facebook followers, to increase the number of app downloads. Laura went live on Facebook, showing her audiences how to play the game.
The live streaming video garnered 464,000 views, 8,300 likes, and9,600 comments. It received over 13 comments every second. The campaign not only helped increase brand awareness but also spiked up app downloads quickly.
In another example, prominent singer and actress Selena Gomez posted fourphotos on Instagram Stories, flaunting a new launch by Coach, a premium brand for stylish bags. No wonder, it is a goodway to influence her fan following of 114 million.
#6: Give Greater Emphasis on Unique & Original Images & Videos
One thing that makes a marketing campaign lookstereotype is the use of similar-looking images available across the Internet. There isalimitedquantity of unique photos available relevant to any keyword. As such, familiar-looking images pop up every time and are usedin blogs and marketing campaigns. If a social media user sees a commonimagein their feed, they turn off. Thisis called banner blindness.
However, 2018 will see more originality and uniqueness in the arena of social media influencer marketing. The best brands and influencers show a growing inclination to stand out from the mundane, using unique and original images, and especially, videos. Say, forinstance; youare inthe ‘shoe’ business. Instead of having your influencer post typical photos of different shoes that you wish to market, make it unique by adding images that show her sporting the shoeor incorporating it intoher daily life. That would be more genuine and authentic.
Wolf Millionaire makes a deeper impact on his followers with the above Instagram post than merely posting a photo of Louboutin sneakers.
Interestingvideos and live streaming will also see significant popularity as they allow for genuine communication between an influencer and his followers. Engaging and dynamic videosare most effective in catering to the diminishingattention span of users and have the potential to drive twice the sales as text-based content. Videos look more authentic and earn higher engagement. That is why influencers and brands will continue to experiment with video marketing, whether on YouTube, Instagram Stories, Facebook Live or Snapchat.
#7: Do NOT Change Your Influencers Too Often
Businesses have to understand that influencer marketing operates in a different way than traditional advertising. Once you have identified influencers who blend with your brand image well, try to clinch onto a long-term relationship rather than experimenting with variedinfluencers.
The strong connections between a brand and an influencer can go a long way. The latter would develop a personal attachment tothe brand, andthis helps promote it better to his fan base. Even after the campaign ends formally, he will be happy to ‘endorse’ it even if he is no longer being paid. Consumers are also likely to develop more affinity towards a brand that has a committed brand evangelist.
#8: Beware of Fake Influencers
The key element of any influencer campaigndepends on how well a brand connects to its audience with credible and genuine social media figures. Not many have the budget to collaborate with leading celebrities and socialites, while a majority of others consider micro influencers to be most effective in driving higher engagement.
The growing demand has paved the way for unscrupulous activities where people ‘buy’ social media followers or subscribers to draw an influencer image. Working with such influencers can be devastating for your business, particularly if you have spent huge and end up getting nothing.
Therefore, brands need to be cautious when choosing influencers for their marketing campaign. Pick someone who has years of experience, knowledge or interest in your niche. Often, a loyal customer, having a highfan following on social media, can serve as a good influencebecause he knows your brand in and out.
However, don’t go by the numbers. Anyone can fake social media following. Rather choose known micro influencers who will spend hours to create the right social media post than simply tagging your brand on their profile.
Here are some tips to spot fake influencers on social media:
- It is easy to buy social media followers or subscribers to show a massive follower base. But when you look at the engagement rateof their posts, it will tell you about their genuineness. For instance, there must be something fishy aboutan influencer who has over 50K followers but gets only 50 likes on a post.
- Check for real community engagement as in the example below:
- Look for signs such as a radicalincrease in followers abruptly. Thiscannot be true. The follower base of a bona fide influencer would increase consistentlyand not all of a sudden. You can use free tools such as InfluencerDB or Socialblade that would help you know follower gain or loss
- Check the contentquality of the posts. It is easyto fake social media followers to enjoy the benefits of being an influencer, but it is not simpleto post quality content that attracts followers. If you see the follower base growing despite that the content quality is poor, then something is wrong.
- Another simple tactic is to verify the influencer’s presence on other social media platforms. Fake influencers are likely to be active on only one platform because buying followers for multiple channels may be expensive for them. So, if you find someone very ‘influential’ on Instagram but do not have a presenceon Facebook, YouTube or other platforms, go for closebackground check.
- If you scrutinizethe comments on a post, you will be able to distinguish between a genuine and fake influencer. A dependable influencer will generally have followers posting comments related to the brand or the particular update. On the other hand, a forged influencer tends to buy comments to indicate a highengagement rate. These fake comments come from different kinds of people who would post irrelevant stuff or generic.
Spam comments, two-word responses, andobscureemojis are something to worry about. Also,check if the ratio of comments to total engagement on social media is skewed to be untrue.
#9: Monitor Your Influencer Marketing Campaigns
The success of anyinfluencer marketingcampaign depends on the ability to use the right tools and measure performance. If you are unable to identify what impact an influencer’s post is having on your business, you cannot determine the ROI or what can be done better to improve the campaign. If you want to drive business growth with influencer marketing, it is vital to use the right tactics and tools available.
According to a study, 78% of marketers consider it difficult to measure their influencer campaign ROI. Thisis because they are not aware of or overlook importantinfluencer marketing tools. TapInfluence is one tool that gives an overview of your campaign ROI.
The tool also helps discover the right influencers for your brand and ways to amplify brand presence through influencer marketing. Other useful tools are Socialpeeks and Grin that can help overcome the challenges. You can also take advice from influencer marketing companiesfor overall campaign penetration and business growth.
While other brands are leveraging influencer marketing to the most, would you like to be left behind? The tactics discussed above will help you in planning and executing successful campaigns. Make sure you choose the right influencers whose personality or knowledge perfectly blends with your brand image. Focus on making long-term relationships to reap the benefits for a lifetime. Also, using different influencer marketingplatforms and tools can help you save time and make the campaign more impactful.
Influencers are strong pillars of good PR for businesses. When you approach and work with them as you would in any business partnership, the campaigns tend to be more effective.Just give them the flexibility to be creative and real, while ensuring it does not hamper the ethos of your company.
Good luck and all the best to you!