Who are Influencers, what is Influencer Marketing, and is it the Right Strategy for your Brand?

Wondering about, or looking for an “Influencer” but don’t know where to start? Read on!  

 

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 (knowingly or unknowingly) if you’ve consumed information on social media, 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 (within the content they produce online) to their followers. Their followers are their biggest fans – of their work, their lifestyle, or simply even their charisma.

 

Casey Neistat is a very popular example of an early influencer who began daily vlogging on Youtube; and has done multiple collaborations, like giving away 100 custom-made Samsung Galaxy Note 9s! Charli D’Amelio is another growing influencer, who recently grew her audience to a 100 million followers on TikTok in 2020. She even partnered with Dunkin’ Donuts and got her own coffee on their menu!

 

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

 

Types of Influencers

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

There usually isn’t a specific number used to differentiate between these types of influencers, however, 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.

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 a celebrity-like status. Many of them even are celebrities!

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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)

 

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)

Defined by the sector (or industry)

  • Celebrities – they usually accept roles of a brand ambassador, however, also make great influencers! To get them onboard, a social cause or an important message is a very strong driver!
  • Fitness – they would seek to raise awareness of the importance of a good diet, exercise, or a healthy lifestyle. They are usually very passionate as their belief led them to this sector in the first place, hence, naturally motivated! Sascha Barboza and Michelle Lewin are great examples in this sector.
  • Fashion – personalities with a unique style! Many dedicate themselves to becoming brand ambassadors for different brands because of their taste in fashion. The community in this sector really follow recommendations and is one of the most booming industries on Instagram, especially since Instagram Shopping has just launched. Arielle Charnas (owner of Something Navy) and Chiara Ferragni are great examples!
  • Travel – they travel the world! They are constantly exploring and are usually sponsored by various hotels, tour guides, travel agencies, or any company in the business of travel and experiences. Oh, you can also expect high quality photography or videography of locations from influencers in this sector. Murad Osmann and Louis Cole are great examples!
  • Gaming – most commonly, they share their personal gaming experiences and promote the qualities and characteristics of video games. It has been a fantastic opportunity for the video game studios to hype up their newest projects. Bradley Colburn and Ninja are great examples of two distinct personalities in this sector!
  • Food – passion for food dominates this sector. Food bloggers and influencers literally can make you feel the food you can’t taste over a screen. Sharing recipes, tips, opinions, photos, videos, and recommendations for food and/or restaurants are most common. DevourPower is a great example, including Gordon Ramsay, who is a celebrity chef!

 

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 charge 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 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 particular job. Considering some of these points below may help you find, or narrow, a perfect influencer choice for your brand:

 

  • 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? Remember

 

  • Budget – it needs to be a cost-effective strategy, or else you are losing money. 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. 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 where your product does really well in. 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 audience – essentially, your brand is going to be promoted to the influencer’s audience, and then some. Does your audience overlap with their audience? If not, then hunt for another personality where the overlap of your audience and theirs is a higher percentage.

 

  • 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 reality. This is because if, in reality, they are not likeable or have a certain kind of attitude your audience does not resonate well with, it could yield negative results instead.

 

  • What can you offer them? – it’s definitely a two-way street and is important to think about what the influencer gets out of a 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 the partnership?” is a great question to ask.

 

You may be wondering…

…about precise costs. The amount you might be charged by an influencer isn’t going to be definite – every influencer is different. 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 resource to calculate an average value to get an idea of how much they would charge – it becomes a huge added bonus when budgeting. At Heyday Marketing, we also provide influencer marketing opportunities and will help you find the right fit for your brand.

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