Have you ever heard of influencer marketing, what it is and how it can be important for an effective marketing strategy? Usually, when we talk about influencers, the mind immediately goes to celebrities with millions of followers on social networks like Instagram and Facebook. But influencer marketing is much bigger and broad than this and can encompass influencers big and small on many different platforms. An influencer doesn’t have to be a celebrity or famous person and just needs a loyal following. They don’t need to post clever Instagram captions or funny quotes. If they can persuade their following with their content; then they can influence.
The fact is that influencer marketing has skyrocketed as an advertising medium in recent years and is continuing to do so. This is largely due to the fact that target demographics for retailers are naturally shifting and Millennials now make up a large portion of online purchases. The problem for retailers is that Millennials receive forms of marketing in different ways than other generations. This means that while a certain type of advertisement could work great on people between aged 32 and 55, people who are 22 – 32 could respond completely differently, even if it’s the same product or service with the same benefits.
This has caused a complete shift in the way that companies advertise and what used to work on this age demographic a few years ago is now delivering the opposite effect. Influencer marketing isn’t just for Millennials though and can have a positive effect on any person as long as it’s delivered through the right medium. This is what makes it so great, and you too could enjoy the benefits and reap the rewards if you get a good campaign going.
Let’s take a look at what influencer marketing is and how you can get started.
What is Influencer Marketing?
“Influencer marketing is a form of advertising that is done by approaching people of notoriety in your niche to drive conversation and engagement around your brand.”
These people have a profile on social media, whether it be one platform or multiple, and are regarded within their niche as someone of importance and worth listening to.
The concept on which it is based is very simple:
A company decides to contact a prominent character with a certain following on social media and asks them, by sharing posts like photos and videos, to sponsor a certain product or brand. It could even just be a mention of your brand, similar to Instagram shoutouts. We could define it as a sort of word of mouth from the new millennium, more heterogeneous and certainly much more effective.
While Instagram is the most popular influencer marketing platform, especially for eCommerce websites, there can really be any platform where someone can have a regarded, known, and respected profile to partake in this activity. As long as this type of person and an audience is present, then it’s possible to utilize this marketing technique.
As you’re aware, people on social media have different amounts of followers and engagement. When it comes to influencer marketing, this would categorize them into different levels or tiers. Let’s take a look at the different tiers.
These are the influencers with the smallest following who aren’t as well known as the influencers in the other tiers.
This tier is actually considered by many people to be the best, because this tier is more likely to have a higher engagement rate with likes, comments, retweets, etc. and sponsored posts are cheaper.
The content in this tier is often more narrowly focused, and the followers tend to be highly engaged with the account owner.
The amount of followers would typically range from a few hundred to about 10,000.
A sponsored post from an account in this tier would usually range between $20 and $130 depending on the niche and follower/engagement ratio.
This tier is where most people would advertise.
The influencers in this level would have 10,000 followers at a minimum and depending on the niche could have up to one or two hundred thousand followers.
You may notice the engagement rate could start to drop here compared to a micro influencer, but that can be completely normal. When an account has more followers, the potential reach could be more limited as a result. This is especially true with Facebook pages.
The influencers in this tier generally have some celebrity status or notoriety within their circles and could be bloggers, YouTubers, business owners or professionals.
A sponsored post from an account in this tier could range anywhere from $100 to a few thousand per post.
A standard metric on Instagram is $1000 per 100,000 followers but again it comes down to engagement rate, relevance, and niche so you should not solely base the rate on followers alone.
The people in this tier are very well known, sometimes even to people who aren’t really interested in what they do. Such is their notoriety that they get tonnes of sponsored post requests per day and really have to vet them all carefully.
Having a large following at this level comes with power and responsibility. If they post something their followers don’t like, it could destroy everything they have built up.
These people are among the biggest figures in their niches and you’ve probably even looked at some of their accounts before. Popular niches for mega influencers include health and fitness, travel, luxury, beauty, fashion, and business.
A sponsored post from an account in this tier would start around $1500 on the low side, and range well past 10, 20, and 30 thousand per post.
Celebrities have a tier of their own but aren’t always the most expensive.
Some celebrities could have fewer followers than a mega influencer, and may not even be as good of a choice for promoting your brand as other types of influencers could be.
Choose carefully if you take this route, as the celebrity may not be relatable to your brand and your marketing efforts with them could be ineffective.
Depending on the celebrity, their notoriety, recent work, what they’re famous for, and many other factors, a sponsored post from one could cost anywhere from around a thousand up to several hundred thousand dollars per post.
People such as Cristiano Ronaldo and LeBron James would be considered in the top echelon of their niche and could command hundreds of thousands of dollars for a single post.
Other celebrities could have only just broken onto the scene or may be winding down their career and could charge considerably less than their follower count or engagement rate may suggest, while some will simply charge more because of their status.
Finding Social Media Influencers
So now you need to figure out how to find influencers in your industry.
You’re in luck, because there are many ways to find social media influencers, both free and paid.
There is, of course, the manual way of trawling through the social networks and looking for them and sending a private message to chat. This is self-explanatory and there’s no science to it. And then there are tools out there which can speed up the process for you.
One of our favorite tools for finding social media influencers is Ninja Outreach.
Using a tool such as this help you find influencers on Instagram and Twitter, in addition to being able to perform other forms of outreach such as Guest Posting.
In order to create an effective influencer marketing strategy, you need to find the right people to market with. Tools like this can greatly speed up the process for you instead of you having to trawl social media for hours looking for people, messaging back and forth, and then eventually agreeing to something.
How to Calculate Social Media Influencer Rates
Just a few years ago, the standard metric to go by was the influencers follower count.
An influencer could typically say “Well, I have 100,000 followers, so that would be $1000 per post.”
With the rise of fake followers and brands realizing that the follower count isn’t everything, the rates are now more variable and should be considered on a niche and case-by-case basis.
Niche is important because some will cost more than others. An influencer in the tech niche, for example, would be able to charge a lot more than an influencer in the knitting niche.
Here are the influencer marketing metrics you should know:
The number of followers that an account has.
This can be calculated by dividing the average number of likes/shares a post gets by the follower count.
An Instagram account with 10,000 followers which averages 1,000 likes per post would have an engagement rate of 10%.
What is the influencer’s audience like? Is it made up predominantly of males, females, students, business people?
You could find a great account with lots of followers and a good engagement rate, but their audience is not suited for your brand at all. Any decent influencer will be able to give you a detailed breakdown of their audience.
How much thought and effort goes into their posts? Can you see that there’s a lot going on and the influencer puts a lot of work and care into every post? Or do they just post stock pictures with captions?
Is the influencer an individual or a brand? Do they have multiple social media channels and will include some mentions for your sponsored posts on these other channels? How big is their combined social media reach across all of these channels? Do they come up in a Google search and have positive mentions?
Does the influencer produce the content for you or do you supply it?
There can be a lot of work which goes into sponsored posts such as photography, videography, hotels, Airbnb, props, lighting, clothing, etc.
All of this costs money and if you’re expecting the influencer to foot the bill, you will at the very least be paying a Talent Fee to compensate them. Don’t think that just because they take pictures of themselves and post it online that there isn’t any work involved on their part; there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye.
Also, there are many influencers who would accept a freebie of equal, similar, or greater value in exchange for a sponsored post. So if you’re launching a new product they may accept it instead of a monetary fee for their work if they’re interested in your product.
Having all of these metrics side by side can help you to compare them easier and calculate their value to you, so draw up a few tables and collate the information so you can make a decision.
Hypothetically, Influencer 1 may have a substantially higher follower count, but their engagement rate and content could be lacking in comparison to Influencer 2, whose rate may actually be higher.
On the surface, Influencer 2 may just look more expensive, even though they have fewer followers, but they have actually calculated their worth properly and are charging accordingly.
You don’t know if they’re charging correct rates, as the influencer can really just set whatever they want. This is why it’s so important for you to analyze every single prospect you have and compare them to each other to work out what’s best for you.
It’s also very important that you don’t be one of those people who offer “exposure” in exchange for an influencer promoting you. This is the ultimate cop-out and very unprofessional, and you will be turned-down and blocked. Exposure won’t pay their bills, much like you working for free won’t pay yours.
How to Measure Influencer Marketing Campaigns
Once you have decided which influencer you want to collaborate with, it’s important that you can get measurable results from them. This enables you to see exactly how effective that influencer is for you and to calculate the ROI for future marketing campaigns.
You want to measure whatever metric is applicable to your campaign. If you’re trying to sell a product, give the influencer a special coupon code just for them. If you’re trying to get visits to your website, give the influencer a trackable link for example so you can see exactly how many clicks the link had.
Unique Coupon Codes
If you’re selling products and want to track the sales attributed to the influencer then you can create a coupon code specific to them. This way, you know exactly how many sales were driven by your collaboration based on the amount of people who purchased using that coupon code. It’s very easy to create discount codes for your website if you’re using a platform such as Shopify or WordPress. Other platforms may require more technical knowledge.
Competitions and Giveaways
You can start an influencer marketing campaign and get them to spread the word about a competition or giveaway you’re running. The influencer could direct traffic to a landing page where people are required to perform an action such as completing a form. You can create a landing page and only share the link with the influencer so you can be sure that every action performed on that page originated from them.
You can use tracking links such as Bitly and get the influencer to put the link in their bio temporarily.
This is free to use and tracks all of the clicks on the link so you can see exactly how many clicks were attributed to your collaboration. You could attach the Bitly link to a specific page on your website if you want more people to visit it such as a product.
Liking a post, following an account, sharing content, subscribing for a newsletter and tagging people could all be considered as measurable metrics for engagement. You could run a wide variety of marketing campaigns which requires the user to perform one of these actions and influencer marketing doesn’t necessarily need to always be geared at driving sales.
Influencer Marketing Strategy
Your strategy will be dependant on your overall goals.
If you want to drive more sales, then ask the influencer what type of content they normally promote. If it’s products, then you can supply them with a unique coupon code. If they normally direct traffic to web pages, then you want to create a trackable link for them.
Influencer marketing is an easy practice to perform, it’s finding the right one to promote the right product or web page is where it gets tricky. If you didn’t see any results from a marketing campaign it’s not necessarily the influencers fault either. Your website or products could be terrible and no one would ever buy them regardless of where your traffic comes from. You could have made a bad decision and chosen an influencer whose audience really isn’t suited to what you do.
Ultimately, there are many deciding factors in a campaign and your strategy should take these factors into account before you start running ads.