Influencer marketing: what you need to know before getting started
In the last few years, brands have completely reviewed their marketing strategies. Indeed, traditional adverts and commercials have been deemed too impersonal, or even too ‘in your face’, by consumers. This has given way to a more ‘authentic’ approach: influencer marketing.
With the proliferation of social media and the emergence of digital influencers, brands seized the opportunity to innovate in their way of targeting new audiences, including the millennial holy grail. Thanks to a large reach, but above all an impressive engagement rate, these opinion leaders have become real assets for brands, a jewel in the marketing strategy crown. Their advice is scrupulously heeded, and their words influence millions of followers.
With influencer marketing representing an $8B industry in 2020, it is still growing and has been adopted as a pillar practice of the marketing strategy today. Why has it become so popular amongst brands and advertisers?
Influencer marketing guarantees visibility, brand awareness, and especially engagement, as a way to boost revenues. Though it might seem simple, launching an influencer marketing campaign requires a distinct and adapted methodology.
From the choice of influencer to building a relationship and type of collaborations, Influence4You covers 3 key points you need to understand for a successful influencer partnership.
Finding the right influencer for your brand
Choosing the right influencer to represent your brand for its marketing campaign is fundamental. Whether it’s on Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, or a blog, there are myriads of influencer profiles to choose from now. It’s therefore not easy to make your choice and to go for the right person.
For a partnership to make sense, here are 3 crucial things to keep in mind when searching:
- The vertical: Beauty, fashion, travel… what is the influencer an expert about?
- Their ethos and personality: does the influencer’s mindset fit in with your brand’s values? What’s their mode of expression and tone? Does their way of expressing themselves fit your brand’s communication?
- The geography and audience: what region(s) does the influencer reach, where is their audience? What kind of audience do they target?
These factors are essential as they allow you to sort through different possibilities and find the person closest to your brand’s values. An influencer is first a personality, so it’s important to understand that the match with your brand’s own image needs to be coherent.
The other key point is to direct your search towards the right category of influencer, depending on your objectives. Here are the 3 mains types of influencer profiles:
They are the superstars of social media. Characterized by their huge audience, they have over 100k followers and can go up to celebrity status with millions of followers. This kind of influencer fits with campaigns wanting to leverage audience for visibility and brand awareness. However, they will also require brands to set aside a big budget for the campaign.
With lower audiences than macro-influencers, these accounts nonetheless usually have stronger engagement rates. By maintaining a strong relationship with their communities, they generate a lot of interaction in the form of comments, and therefore more engagement. They often also differentiate themselves by having a great level of knowledge and expertise in their vertical. This makes them more credible for consumers, having the trust of their communities on specific subjects. This is therefore the ideal profile for a more targeted partnership.
The lower the number of followers, the more active the audience. This has been shown by Instagram nano-influencers, with less than 1K followers. These are seen as the most authentic accounts because they are first of all consumers themselves. Their affection for or expertise on a brand gives them a very strong influence on their very engaged, if limited, following.
Selecting the right influence therefore requires a lot of research and reflection, after having decided the objectives for a campaign. Everything will then run on from the style and personality of the chosen influencer. Once identified, that’s when you can decide on the type of content you’ll want to post as part of the campaign.
Defining the type of cooperation
There are numerous possibilities offered by social media for your influencer marketing campaign. The choice of content style you will want to create with your influencer partner is very important. In fact, it is by proposing a collaboration they will find interesting enough that you will be able to retain their attention.
Depending on your objectives and budget, you can go for different actions. Here are some examples of the different types of collaborations:
- Product placement
With this type of content, the influencer features your brand’s products. It can also be part of an article, photo, video or other publication. If the product fits in with the influencer’s lifestyle and personality, it will be perceived as a genuine recommendation. Here’s a fashion example with the collaboration between Valentino and influencer Caro Daur:
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- Sharing a promo code
Sharing a promo code via an influencer allows your brand to offer reduced prices on its products. This way of advertising discounts is a useful tactic to enable your brand to gain visibility.
This type of partnership is widely appreciated by social media users. It generates a lot of interest and visibility, but especially strong engagement rates. See beauty blogger Taylor Anise’s giveaway for Lotta Body natural hair care products below for an example:
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- Sponsored brand content
The sponsored image or article allows the influencer to speak about your brand with dedicated content. You can either create content for the influencer to share, or let their creativity work around your brand. Note the FTC has now made it an obligation for content brought by paid collaboration to be clearly marked as a sponsored post. It will cost you more if the influencer has to create the content themselves.
Famous tech influencer Marques Brownlee, for instance, has made a living showcasing the latest technology products by different brands.
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- Platform Takeovers
This is when a brand gives access to their social media accounts to influencers, allowing them to curate content and bring their followers onto the brand’s channel. Consumers will therefore find their favourite influencers on the brand’s social media channels. This type of ‘exclusive’ content is especially popular on TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat.
And there’s more: affiliate marketing, brand ambassadors, and other creative uses of social media!
The collaboration can therefore take different forms. Depending on the platform on which the campaign will take place, you can also pick different formats (photo, video, article, story, live…). All these factors need to have been established in the creative brief that will be presented to the influencer when getting in touch with them.
Getting in touch and collaborating with influencers
Follow and share the influencer’s work
Influencers get a lot of requests from brands. Many often receive around 10 invitations a day! They’ll therefore tend to prefer brands they already know. In order to attract attention to your brand and build a relationship with an influencer, you must first follow them and shouldn’t hesitate to like their work. There are even tools that enable you to automatically like posts published by an account. We also recommend you share some of their posts. This is appreciated by influencers and will allow you to make a better impression upon contacting them.
When you show interest in an influencer’s work, you create a kind of relationship and trust between the influencer and your brand. That’s when you can make contact. To do so, send them a direct message on their social media, or via an email or contact form. It’s important that you make an impression through a personal, customized message making it clear that you are interested in their work and style.
Put forward your brand’s products and values
However, you also have to sell yourself! Pitch your project and present your brand’s products and identity or values. According to a study by Reech published in 2019, 57% of influencers accept to collaborate with a brand primarily because of its product(s). The second reason, with 25% of influencer’s votes, is to do with the brand’s values. It’s therefore essential you tailor your pitch around these two things.
Create an authentic partnership
If all these factors have been respected, there’s a high probability that your partnership proposal will be accepted. We are now at the moment of collaboration. It is important to establish a trusting relationship. Keep in mind the influencer is a partner and not an employee. Their work is already appreciated and renown on social media, so give them a creative license in their content creation for the partnership to be as authentic as possible. Your collaboration should be run according to the influencer’s personality and editorial style. On your end, don’t hesitate to guide them, and give them some suggestions. Close collaboration will be the key to a successful campaign!
As you can see, influencer marketing requires a lot of work, but also a lot of know-how. Now you’ve now got the key points nailed, you’re ready to launch your own influencer marketing campaign.
If you don’t have the time or expertise required to run your influencer marketing campaigns, we can help and accompany you through every step! Tell us about your project, and we will guide you in putting in place the necessary actions for your campaign.
Don’t hesitate any longer, start acting and contact us!