Influencer Marketing, in its very basic definition, means using influential personalities to drive your brand’s message to a larger audience especially using social media platforms. They are either paid or inspired to promote a particular brand. Influencer marketing thus involves marketing products or services to a targeted audience. This particular market originates through a person’s expertise, reliability, and popularity.
Celebrities are often hired or paid to market various products and brands due to their visibility and reputation. When a particular celebrity is seen endorsing or using a particular product or brand, the brand gets a higher exposure as well as reliability among its target market.
Bloggers or Instagram stars who have a significant number of followers are also highly preferred by brands in order to promote their products. Blogger recommendations are often deemed more trustworthy and through the effective use of influencers, brands can avoid cynicism and scepticism that comes along with straight marketing messages.
Setting Up Influencer Marketing Goals for your Business
Steps to formulate a typical and effective plan for influencer marketing:
1. Objective Setting:
Before embarking on an influencer marketing program, it is of vital importance to know first that setting up your ultimate business goals matters most. This is because it’s only when you identify such goals that you will be able to work on your influencer strategy subsequently. Moreover, it’s also mandatory to understand how you will define your marketing outcomes that are related directly to your business goals. And finally, how to use that particular information to work out your ultimate influencer strategy. Fig 1 above illustrates the basic business goal decision-making model. In a typical situation, influencer marketing goals focus less on enhancing sales and more on increasing public awareness and buzz.
2. Identifying the right influencers:
After your goals have been established, you need to identify the apt influencers by way of extensive demographic and target market research. Even Facebook and Google searches reveal who all influence consumers. You may even appoint a professional market research firm to do the job for you. Finally, you need to take a call on the number of influencers you wish to target and ultimately select those that meet the goals of your campaign best.
3. Thorough Analysis:
This would be followed by analyzing where your influencers gather, and their audience and the messages they are currently spreading. If you carefully study your target influencer’s preferences, it will be easier to communicate with him later, preferably through social media. Remember, the final goal is to form an organic relationship with the influencer, based not entirely on endorsing and/or selling but to make them your most genuine and vocal advocates.
4. Reviewing your objectives:
Make it a point to revisit your goals periodically to measure the success or failure rates of your influencer marketing program. If your plan doesn’t yield the desired results, start looking for new influencers. However, effective influencers need perpetual wooing for continued support to your company on their websites and blogs.
5. Determine targetable social networks:
For certain brands, a hefty marketing push on 1 or 2 specific social networks works for those campaigns targeting specific demographics. Take Snapchat users for instance. Since most Snapchat users are below 25 years of age, creating an influencer campaign for Snapchat automatically implies that it will reach out to young people only on its platform.
6. Boosting SEO:
Influencer marketing keeps working to the benefit of brands even after the campaign ends because sharing on social media helps build their off-page SEO. Key influencers, who have large social followings aid in boosting your brand to the very top of the results generated by search engines. It also needs to be borne in mind that all your influencers are aware of SEO basics which include site optimization, keywords, and top quality content as also tagging.
Types of Influencer Marketing
The ways in which a brand can base and create its campaign for influencer marketing are limitless. However, generally speaking, a campaign usually falls within one of the following ten subcategories:
1. Product Placements:
A most popular way by which a brand partners with social media influencers. This involves the incorporation of the company’s logo, services or product with the content of a digital influencer in a flattering, engaging or creative manner. As stars of the social media earn the trust and faith of their followers, product placement is an excellent opportunity for a brand to gain valuable exposure to millions of consumers who are not only engaged but most likely to buy something that is endorsed by their preferred Instagrammer, YouTuber, Snapchatter or Viner.
2. Creative Influencer Campaigns:
Creative campaigns give ample freedom to stars of the social media to create targeted content falling within a specific idea or concept. This campaign type gives a digital influencer the liberty of interpreting themes for creating unique content that’s brand-sponsored basically. Typical creative campaigns are well-integrated and organic and lead to enhanced engagement levels in the forms of comments, likes as also social sharing from the social media influencer’s subscribers and/or followers.
3. Hashtag / Theme-based Campaigns:
When your marketing campaign focuses on a hashtag or central theme, your brand creates and enhances the campaign momentum. Moreover, it becomes cohesive with other facets of the campaign that are running on multiple platforms on social media. It also encourages consumers to get involved by using the brand hashtag in content that’s user-generated. When you base, develop and implement your influencer marketing campaign on an attractive branded hashtag, you make way for your brand to initiate an original social conversation. This is more so if the hashtag goes viral.
4. Contests, Sweepstakes, Giveaways:
By hosting events on social media like sweepstakes, giveaways, and contests, it is also possible to create an audible buzz about your brand. You also foster goodwill among your existing and prospective consumers. It is through these events that you successfully inspire social media users to take specific actions such as brand channel following or increase your company’s exposure by way of branded hashtags.
When you align with social media influencers to promote a contest, you are actually leveraging your company with a social media star’s large follower base and also ensuring that your consumers participate in your campaign. Influencers present your product to their target audience with an incentive for the best performer to win a prize which can be anything from a free sample of the product, a luxury trip or even monetary compensation. It’s also a relatively easier way of identifying potential brand ambassadors and engaging with your influencers.
5. Campaign for Building Social Followers:
To build the follower base on its own social media brand channels, a company often collaborates with social media influencers with a view to exposing a new audience to the social media accounts of a brand. For instance, in the case of Snapchat Takeovers, a Snapchatter “takes over” a Snapchat account held by a brand for a pre-defined period. This has proved to be the most effective way for businesses to reach out to millions of new followers, who grow their own Snapchat follower base organically.
The influencer demonstrates how to use a specific product. This is a highly popular YouTube method and provides some precious and convincing product information to viewers and enhances sales.
A typical and conventional type of marketing whereby the influencer becomes the official and accepted brand ambassador. This type of influencer marketing campaign is usually long-term cooperation, and even products get designed around their influencer.
Your product gets reviewed and tested in details. In the best cases, there is usually a recommendation from the influencer to buy when the test proves successful.
9. Discount codes:
Discount Codes/Coupons are placed directly on an influencer’s description, image or video. This type of influencer marketing campaign works quite effectively and one can also easily track how often a specific individual code that is used breaks down to each influencer. Here is a great resource on influencer marketing using promo codes.
In this type of campaign, the influencer is made to visit a company, brand event or store. He shares his viewpoint through videos, photographs or even live streams with his target community making them a part of the exercise, too. It’s a most effective way of tracking brand growth and hashtags before, during and after an event. In most cases, a unique hashtag is also created for such events.
The crux of the matter is that influencer marketing and plain plump placement of a product is not the same thing. An influencer is usable in multiple authentic and very creative ways. The ten influencer marketing types mentioned above have so far proved to be the most effective in creating the right strategies for a product or brand.