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What is Influencer Marketing – Is it the right strategy for you?

Wondering about ‘influencer marketing’ but don’t know where to start? Read on for an idea on how and why an influencer can be benefit your digital marketing strategy. No matter the size of your business, the advantages of digital marketing can help all small-, medium-, and large-sized businesses!

Influencer marketing has skyrocketed in recent years and is becoming an increasingly popular choice amongst major brands. You may even find yourself actively following an influencer or may have come across some influencers on social media (knowingly or unknowingly) if you’ve consumed information on online, including YouTube! First things first though, who are influencers?

Influencers are people who have a strong social media presence, have gained an audience for a specific lifestyle or niche, and are sponsored by companies to promote products or services to the followers of their content. Their followers are their biggest fans – of their work, their lifestyle, or simply even their charisma.

There are multiple well-known categories of influencers, including fashion influencers, influencers for brands, sports influencers, lifestyle influencers, amongst other categories whom we will get to in just a minute.

Casey Neistat

For example, Casey Neistat is a very popular example of an early influencer who began uploading daily video logs (vlogs) on YouTube. He is an example of a top YouTube influencer. Overtime, by gaining millions of followers who enjoy his content, has done multiple collaborations with world renowned brands - one of his most popular ones being a giveaway of 100 custom-made Samsung Galaxy Note 9s! Charli D’Amelio is another growing influencer who recently came up to fame via TikTok by gaining a 100 million followers. Growing to become a spotlight to a wide Gen-Z audience, Dunkin’ Donuts collaborated with D’Amelio by putting her favorite Dunkin’ Donuts coffee recipe up on the menu!

Below is an overview of the must-know information about influencers, and most importantly, how they are segmented to help you determine an optimal choice for your brand’s marketing campaigns. 

Types of Influencers

Defined by the Number of Followers: Nano-, Micro-, Macro-, Mega Influencers  

Nano-influencers usually have less than 10,000 followers and are a good starting point for many smaller brands to start a collaboration on a local level.

Micro-influencers have a larger audience, upwards and until 100,000 followers.

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Pros of Nano-, Micro-Influencers 

  • They are authentic (this kind of authenticity attracts engagement, awareness and brand recall)
  • Cheaper than macro-influencers
  • A micro-influencer campaign is easy to execute (this allows in-house marketers to take the lead)

 

Cons of Nano-, Micro-Influencers 

  • Limited visibility and reach
  • Less control over output
  • ROI (Return of Investment) is hard to prove (it can be difficult to directly attribute influencer engagement to direct sales)

 

A macro-influencer will have a much larger exposure, having between 100,000 and 1 million followers, and are a popular choice for most companies.

Mega-influencers are on top of the list, with easily upwards of 1 million followers, usually even much, much higher! They would have a tremendous influence and may also be internationally well-known, experiencing celebrity-like status. Many of them even are celebrities turned influencers! You can scale this influencer marketing strategy exponentially provided you can set aside a budget. 

Pros of Macro-, Mega-Influencers

  • More control (brand can give the influencer precise guidelines and restrictions, like branding design and language)
  • ROI is easy to define (many brands choose to use referral or discount codes that lead audiences to a shopping platform, making it easier to track the traffic coming in)

 

Cons of Macro-, Mega-Influencers

  • Limited trust (product placements become more obvious; harder to determine whether an influencer really advocates for the brand)
  • Higher cost (one piece of content could cost anywhere from $2,000 to $50,000, or even more, depending on the influencer’s status and follower engagement)
  • More complex to execute (they often take longer to organize, and may require a PR agency)

 

In a summary, influencers generate content of great value which is why they prove to be highly effective. Campaigns involving influencers are part of marketing strategies of companies aiming to achieve a series of objectives in the digital space.

They’re nicknamed ‘digital media opinion leaders, have a strong point of view within the spaces of their own expertise, and play an important role in the minds of their audience. They’re also able to change an opinion of a product or service in an instant!

A good influencer will be able to achieve targeted goals quicker than others, find unique ways to promote your product, and bring in a positive perspective; however, they may be also cost more. Experienced influencers are usually very professional and take high regard of a brand’s image and targeted goals and will work ‘with’ you.

However, many also do not like being told how to showcase a product, or be bound with rules, as it may mean changing the way they do things, which can ultimately hurt their own impression, not to forget your brand as well.

So, is it a right strategy to invest in influencer marketing?

The most-effective channels for influencer marketing, 2020 vs. 2021 so far (in orange). Source Linqia

The most-effective channels for influencer marketing, 2020 vs. 2021 so far (in orange). Source Linqia

 

The talk about influencer marketing usually starts when creating a new marketing strategy, perhaps for a new product. You must narrow it down with the right questions though, because your brand’s image will be at stake – sponsoring an influencer essentially means giving them the control over how people perceive your brand. They’re a link to your audience, but one that you will not have complete control of.

Choosing an influencer isn’t about the most popular, but the best one for the job. Considering some of these points below may help you find, or narrow, a perfect influencer choice for your influencer marketing campaign:

 

  • The size of your business – it will determine the scale at which you can have your product advertised. It will also help you identify the amount of traffic you are able to handle as a business. Hiring a high-profile influencer is always a good option, but will your business be able to handle, process, or provide to ‘all’ of the customers they send your way?

 

  • Budget – the cost of influencer marketing can vary. It needs to be a cost-effective strategy or else you will lose The best method is not to exceed your budget if it’s the first time you are hiring one, since you will never know what your return on investment might be, depending on what you set as your influencer marketing KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to measure ROIs (Return on Investment). Yes, you could risk more money for a higher profile personality, and it may even yield positive results. If that’s the case, then perhaps allocating a lower budget for other marketing priorities could be a solution.

 

  • Geographical location – is your strategy to market locally around you, across the nation, or internationally? If you are local, identifying your most passionate customers (with a nano-/micro-level no. of followers) and sponsoring them to showcase your product could be the most cost-effective way to start.

 

  • Your audience – just like every influencer performs best within their own sector, you also have an audience to whom your product would sell to really well. However, choosing the right one can get a little more complicated than that. Ultimately, your audience is who needs to be satisfied, and choosing an influencer closest, in terms of personality and attitude (refer to next point) to the interests of your audience is of utmost priority.

 

  • The influencer’s personality – this is where you may need more caution. Everyone, even you, can be mistaken for who you are solely based on your social profile. It’s important that an influencer is as true on their digital profiles as they are in real life. This is because when away from the screen, if they are not likeable or have a kind of attitude your audience does not resonate well with, they could yield a negative image to your brand instead.

 

  • What can you offer them? – it’s a two-way street and it’s important to think about what the influencer gets out of the partnership. Some influencers look for more than just money. Some might want to build a healthy relationship with a brand they partner with and stay long-term. Sponsoring them with your products to use in their personal lives can also be a good incentive for many, especially for the ones just starting out. “What other ways can you add value to this influencer partnership?” is a great question to ask.

 

You may be wondering about the costs of influencer marketing…

The amount you might be charged by an influencer isn’t going to be definite – every influencer is different. Researching about individual influencer stats before contacting them is going to be very beneficial.

 

Various factors such as number of followers, reach, engagement, platforms, amongst other subjective reasons such as personality and professionalism play a huge role. Social Blue Book, even though it’s built for influencers, is a good influencer marketing platform to calculate an average value for an idea of what your ideal candidate may cost. At Heyday Marketing, we have an extensive influencer hub and also provide influencer marketing opportunities and will help you find the right fit for your brand.

Influencer Rates* Worldwide, by Influencer Tier, March 2019. Source: eMarketerInfluencer Rates* Worldwide, by Influencer Tier, March 2019. Source: eMarketer

**Pro tip: hiring an experienced influencer marketing manager may reduce your costs drastically. Very often, digital marketing managers’ and influencer marketing managers’ job description overlap. Providing training to your current marketing or PR managers into influencer marketing may be a cost-effective way to bring in extra knowledge within the business, and most importantly, to negotiate.

 

So, what’s next?

In summary, firstly, it’s going to be very important to research what your audience is doing online, whom they are watching, and what is entertaining to them. You’ll also be able to find a lot of references to people they like to watch within this step. A great question to ask here is “will this person be a right fit to promote our product?”. If they are not, do not worry. All this means is that you’ll have to dig in deeper into your audiences’ lifestyle and you’ll eventually find the right one. YouTube, Instagram, and the most recent TikTok platforms remain the best places to find audiences and influencers organically.

The next thing is to set an influencer marketing plan within your marketing or PR strategies. This will also help you allocate a budget you are willing to spend. Whether you throw in some extra money or make use of your current budget is up to you.

The next – implementation. Once you’ve set your mind on a particular influencer/s, talks and meetings can commence. This is where the art of negotiations will play a big role. How can you get the most out of your influencer? What are they asking for in return? What are you willing to provide them – is it cash or sponsorship of your product/s that they can use in their daily life? All sorts of agreements can be reached with great negotiation. Be prepared to compromise or add more in for more promising result, for at the end of the day, influencers are people after all and like all people, they can be motivated with different factors.

We hope you’ve got a great idea of what the world of influencers looks like. Should you need any help on our part, Heyday Marketing is always here to take over your marketing and PR needs!

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