WHAT IS INFLUENCER MARKETING?
Influencer marketing isn’t new. Long before the industry coined the term, consumers have looked to experts for guidance or inspiration. Be they screen icons or style bloggers, these notables gain the trust of their public, and in doing so, exert some influence over their purchasing power. In this era of social media stars, the term “influencer” encompasses a wide variety of socially savvy experts. Beauty, business and tech influencers, among others, can reach difficult demographics. For brands struggling to connect, sometimes the only way to go is to tap into a network of individuals who have the trust and the admiration of the target consumers.
Today, workout brands hoping to strike gold with influencer marketing might call on fitspo vlogger Cassey Ho, while makeup marketers approach Michelle Phan for a branded tutorial YouTube video. As always, the waters are murky. The complexity of platforms and networks has spawned an industry devoted to connecting brands with the talent they need to get the word out.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT INFLUENCER MARKETING
It’s Here to Stay
If you’ve been thinking a, “watch and wait” approach to influencer marketing is safest, think again. eMarketer reports 84% of marketers anticipated launching at least one influencer campaign within the next twelve months, and close to 60% plan to increase their influencer marketing budgets in 2016. That means brands who have not yet gotten started with influencer marketing are falling behind.
It’s No Longer About Celebrities
The media hoopla around celebrities like the Kardashians has created misperceptions around influencer marketing that remain, even now that it has become mainstream. While the early days of influencer marketing were all about celebrity influencers and social media stars, people soon realized an influencer’s ability to reach and influence an audience of your target consumers, and carry your brand message authentically was far more important than their reach alone. A robust influencer marketing strategy will often include macro-influencers, “power middle” influencers, micro-influencers, brand ambassadors, brand advocates, employees, and even celebrities, as needed. True optimization means brands can understand and optimize the performance of the right group of influencers, at the right time, to meet their goals. Nielsen reports 92 percent of people trust recommendations from individuals—even if they don’t know them—over brands.
It’s Not About You
Brands today are grappling with some serious issues around declining consumer trust. Nielsen reports 92 percent of people trust recommendations from individuals—even if they don’t know them—over brands. The problem is so bad that a 2015 survey commissioned by the 4As ranked consumer trust in advertising lower than that of Congress. Driving this decline in trust is both the feeling that advertising has become intrusive‚ as evidenced by the widespread adoption of ad blocking technology. Today’s consumers, especially millennials, who will total more than 1.4 Trillion in spending power by 2020, to have more meaningful connections with brands that they feel stand for something. The result is that consumers would rather hear from real people than brands, and influencer marketing delivers the connection to more authentic experiences that consumers crave.
It's About Trust
If today’s consumers aren’t buying marketing messages, to whom are they listening? The answer is other consumers. According to BrightLocal, 92% of consumers now read online reviews, up from 88% in 2014, and nearly 90% of customers trust online reviews by strangers as much as they would recommendations from friends. That online trust is translating to dollars. Twitter reports nearly 40% of Twitter users say they’ve made a purchase as a direct result of a Tweet from an influencer. Those numbers are often even higher for Pinterest and Instagram. As influencer marketing becomes commonplace, maintaining that trust requires authenticity, including strict adherence to FTC guidelines on disclosure of sponsored content. Savvy brands recognize consumers want honesty and are using disclosure as a differentiator. They are also jumping on trends such as real-time social to hand over the reigns to influencers for a more authentic experience, trading the perceived brand control of static social for performance increases from Snapchat’s 10 billion daily views and Facebook Live’s 3x longer watch times.
HOW TO GET STARTED
Since influencer marketing is a discipline all its own, you’ll need a few unique components to build an influencer campaign. Here are the steps we teach to help our clients build influencer campaigns:
Planning Your Influencer Marketing Strategy
Influencer Identification & Selection
Program Workflow and Automation
Monitor & Track Key Metrics
However, before you start looking for influencers or create a strategy, you’ll want to determine a few key things to help set the stage. You’ll need to know your audience, set clear goals, and define how you’ll measure success.
Know Your Audience
A common mistake brands and agencies make is to decide first the type of influencers they would like to work with. We recommend stepping back and looking at your audience. Who are you trying to reach? Who is the target market for your message?
Set Clear Goals
Many of the common goals for influencer marketing campaigns are: Brand Awareness, Get people to try a product, Gain Social Media followers, and Increase sales.
Define How You’ll Measure Success
The last key ingredient is how you or your client plan to measure success. These often roll up to higher level marketing goals or key performance indicators (KPIs) you hope to achieve. By setting up the right tracking methods you’ll be able to identify where a consumer is in the decision journey. i.e. Awareness, Purchase Consideration, Preference, or Loyalty.
WHAT ARE THE KEY COMPONENTS OF INFLUENCER MARKETING? 1 | Planning Your Influencer Marketing Strategy
Developing a successful influencer marketing strategy takes careful thought and planning. To get started you’ll want a workbook that contains helpful worksheets and examples that will lead you through the process we use with our clients to build influencer marketing plans. A successful influencer marketing strategy requires careful planning. These worksheets are used to create strategies for many of our customers. They’ll guide you step-by-step through the process of developing a solid influencer marketing strategy for your brand.
2 | Influencer Identification & Selection
Depending on budgets and scope of your campaign there are four main ways to identify influencers to work on your campaigns.
Google – This use to be the main way brands and agencies found influencers to connect with. This method requires individual searches, then scanning webpages for contact info, and then populating spreadsheets to keep track of it all.
Databases – Do site scraping for you, pulling publicly available data. These are good places to start but be prepared to spend time vetting each influencer and communicating with them directly.
Networks – This method of connecting with influencers sits in the middle of a database and a marketplace. A network has relationships with the influencers, but will require that you go through them to reach out.
Marketplaces – A marketplace will offer the best of database by pulling in real-time information, along avoiding the middleman like you get with a network. Check out the Anatomy of the TapInfluence Marketplace
Influencers come in all shapes and sizes and with varying levels of influence. We bucket them into categories because each bucket serves a different purpose and is motivated differently.
Celebrity Influencers - These social media stars have broken out and command a pretty penny to work with, but leveraged for their own brand name and cache’ of followers. They can deliver on a large scale and are great to use as the face of a campaign.
High-Quality Content Creators - These are the high volume content producers that have attracted a sizeable audience because they’ve gotten to know them during their building process. These people know how to create content for a certain type of audience and have data to understand what works and what doesn’t.
Buzz Builders and Promoters - Are great at getting the word out and have audiences that range in size. Some are large deal focused bloggers and other are know for spreading the word on what’s hot and can help get your brand the attention you are looking for. They will help you scale your outreach efforts with little collaboration
Advocates and Employees - These brand ambassadors naturally love your brand and can be found online talking about you already. Pay attention to your social channels and invite them to share and create content. These people already love your brand and are willing to talk about what you are doing.
3 | Content Collaboration and Campaign Workflow
The key to any great Influencer Marketing campaign is creating great content. Content that is compelling to its target audience, authentic to the storyteller’s voice, and delivers against your brand objectives. If even one piece of this equation is missing, the content will fall flat. So how do you create great content?
One way this can be done is by giving your influencers an experience or brand immersion they won’t be able to stop talking about. Experiences provide the creative inspiration influencers crave, and also align nicely with your brand messaging since you control the atmosphere.
4 | Optimized Distribution
Using influencers to create content that will attract the right audience is the bedrock of any influencer marketing strategy. But it doesn’t just stop with the content being posted on their site, or across their social channels. So what else can you do with it? Build a content strategy to extend its usefulness over your whole marketing strategy. Use influencer content in quotes and testimonials. Feature top tier celebrity influencers in your TV or print ads. Even share your content in a dedicated section of your brand newsletter.
5 | Monitor & Analytics
Different metrics and methods for measurement can be used to define your success as it ladders to your original goals. Take a look how online actions map to the consumer decision journey:
As you collect data (this is where a technology solution can be of benefit) you can start to use that data to optimize your influencer marketing efforts. You can rank your influencers based on output, what content resonates with your audience, and which of their social channels are best for distribution.
What Does Success Look Like?
One of the best ways to show the return on your investment is a influencer marketing campaign is to determine a dollar value for the content itself, the audience it reached, and the engagement it received to calculate a Total Media Value of your influencer content. Calculate your Total Media Value and ROI. Traditional advertising has left the building. So has your money. Don’t worry, we’ll make you an influencer marketing pro. Just make sure you download the Influencer Marketing Survival Kit. You’ll get access to a bank of tools to help you:
Wrap Your Head Around The Basics
Understand The Aspects You Wouldn’t Even Consider To Get Started
Measure, Monitor, and Optimize For Success
Envision The Future So You Know How To Maximize Success
Get Clarity On Legal Rules (Messing With The FTC Isn’t A Joke)
Technology and data are only part of the story. There is a reason influencers are often referred to as creators. Look for a partner that blends the science of data and technology with the art of experience and expertise, to give you a clear and customized picture of the real impact of your influencer marketing campaigns and strategies. At TapInfluence, we used our years of experience running influencer marketing campaigns to build the highest quality, opt-in influencer marketplace and influencer marketing automation platform in the industry. Coupled with our team of influencer marketing and content strategists, we give you the relationships, data, technology and expertise you need to succeed.
Do you have an idea for your first Influencer Marketing campaign? Are you looking to scale your current Influencer Marketing efforts? TapInfluence’s Influencer Marketing Automation Platform will allow you to take your Influencer Marketing to the next level.Take our self-guided product tour to see if an automated solution is right for you.