Influencer marketing is on the rise, and there are more than a few good reasons why. To put things in perspective, here are some compelling stats about influencer marketing from veritable reports and studies.
- 74% of people turn to social networks for guidance on purchase decisions. (Ogilvy Cannes, 2014)
- 49% of people say they rely on recommendations from influencers when making purchase decisions. (Twitter and Annalect, 2016)
- Twitter users report a 5.2X increase in purchase intentwhen exposed to promotional content from influencers. (Twitter and Annalect, 2016)
- 40% of people say they’ve purchased an item online after seeing it used by an influencer on Instagram, Twitter, Vine, or YouTube (Twitter and Annalect, 2016)
According to Forrester Research, 73% of marketers say that they have allocated budget for influencer marketing. Chances are you’re already investing time and money in influencer marketing.
If you’re examining how to make influencer marketing work for your brand, here’s a look at influencer marketing trends and how you can leverage them.
Micro-influencers are the future
Make no mistake, big influencers come with even bigger price tags. The reason – too much demand and too little supply. According to Captiv8, an influencer marketing startup, “a Snapchat influencer with three million to seven million followers can charge, on average, $75,000 for a snap while one with 50,000 to 500,000 followers can charge, on average, $1,000 for a snap.”
Exorbitant influencer campaign costs pose a barrier to entry for small brands. Yet, it also gives them the opportunity to leverage micro-influencers. Micro-influencers are people with strong reputations, relevant to highly niche markets, with followership of 10,000 or less.
There are clear market indicators of the emergence and preference of micro influencers by large and smaller brands alike. “More than 90% of posts are made by influencers with less than 1 million followers,” Forbes reports. “This number was around 60% in the beginning of 2016…In early 2016 a client could be satisfied with two influencers with two million followers each. Now they want to see 20-30 influencers with smaller followings.”
Social media monitoring tools can prove invaluable for small businesses to identify micro-influencers. You can set up campaigns to monitor social media and web activity for niche keywords across platforms, websites, mainstream news websites, discussion boards, and forums.
These paid and free social media monitoring tools leverage the power of analytics and visual reporting apart from one-stop dashboards to help marketers connect with and manage micro-influencers. Using filters such as the number of mentions, social media reach, influencer score, email alerts, newest mentions, sentiment analysis, and other filters, you can easily shortlist relevant micro-influencers.
Influencer marketing has become platform agnostic
The initial days of influencer marketing were mostly about Facebook and Twitter, which begged the question: Is influencer marketing limited to social media? The resounding answer is – no.
Also, influencer marketing is not only about driving sales, but also driving brand awareness and increasing brand reach. Moreover, it’s believed that customers need 6 to 8 contacts with your brand in their online journeys to be able to make a purchase.
“With the advent of the Internet, blogging, social media, and a myriad of digital communications channels, the path to purchase is not a simple, straight line, but a complex and varied web of twists and turns – and touch points,” according to Salesforce.com.
All these combined forces mean that influencer marketing is increasingly becoming platform agnostic and that’s where the term multichannel influencer marketing comes into play.
Since most influencers have multiple social media accounts (e.g., Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn, and more), this strategy helps brands work with collaborators to reach across all relevant platforms. This also facilitates the repurposing of content across platforms to drive increased ROI for influencer marketing budgets.
Measuring influencer marketing ROI
A 2017 Linqia State of Influencer Marketing survey reports marketers consider ROI measurement the biggest influencer marketing challenge. Yet, it is key for sustainable success.
Here are a few best practices that can improve the measurement of influencer marketing campaigns.
Use influencer outreach tools
Identify influencers with a proven track record in leading conversations and online conversions. Use influencer outreach and analytics tools to manage your campaigns.
Set smart business objectives
Set specific business objectives across the campaign. Ensure they are SMART – that’s specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-bound. So, instead of saying, we’d like to increase engagement, say “Expose our product to high net worth individuals in one month, by generating 3,000 impressions across X, Y, and Z platforms.”
Track key campaign metrics
Consider an influencer’s overall reach and the breadth of the audience you expect to reach. Track each element of the campaign using dedicated tracking pixels, link trackers and internal metrics to measure results. This can include tracking your own website visits, referrals, increase in social media subscribers, sales, email newsletter subscriptions, etc.
Organize and measure influencer events
Organize specific and isolated events and link them to your influencer marketing campaign. Create events such as in-store events, collaborations, trade show visits, charity fundraisers, etc. and tie in promotional tactics that can be measured. Generate coupon codes for each influencer and track individual and collective redemption rates.
For example, over the course of two days Good Hair Day, known as ghd, a UK-based manufacturer of hair care products hosted top editors and bloggers at Sun Studio, Sydney, for the ultimate LA Smashbox Studio experience.
Guests received Smashbox and ghd makeovers and were encouraged to post their transformations on social media. The media and influencers were also afforded their very own photo shoot with a top LA photographer.
Nurture long-term relationships with key influencers
Expect millennial customers to smell faux excitement among influencers, particularly when they know how easy it is for influencers to switch from one endorsement to another.
This alone is why brands should nurture long-lasting relationships with key influencers. To do so, here are some best practices to follow:
- Review the most recent brands an influencer promoted and the length of the partnership.
- Use social media monitoring tools to discover the number of mentions an influencer has made for a specific brand.
- Encourage brand loyalty with strong compensation and reward-based program to motivate influencers to stick with your brand.
- Consider ways influencers can collaborate individually and collectively to promote your brand.
Influencer marketing will continue to experience strong growth in coming years. Consider how to leverage this growing channel to promote your brand, build community, and drive sales.
Guy Sheetrit is the Founder and CEO of Over The Top SEO. He holds broad expertise in the areas of SEO, social media, digital marketing, B2B, B2C brand development and online lead generation.