Everything you need to know about the growing trend of influencer marketing in minutes
What “Influencer” Really Means
Influencers are just people on social platforms who have a significant amount of influence over other people’s opinions and thoughts. Typically, these people have sizeable followings on their platforms, and are consistently producing content their audience wants.
Some big name influencers could be Conan O’ Brien, PewdiPie, or Gary Vaynerchuk.
So of course “influencer” + “marketing” is just brands working with influencers for each other’s mutual benefit.
Here’s some standard influencer marketing scenarios:
- A YouTube makeup artist decides to work with a makeup brand in their next video and try out their product in a video tutorial. The influencer then mentions the brand name in the YouTube video and puts a link to a purchase page for that product in the video description.
- A photographer that’s well known for capturing images of beautiful houses gets an offer from an architecture agency to shoot a new house they just constructed – and mention their brand name in the picture’s posting.
- A product reviewer using Snapchat strikes a deal with a brand to “unbox” the product they send to her and capture her initial reaction and thoughts about the product in her Snaps.
This is by no means an all-encompassing list. Influencers can be just about anyone with a following on a social platform, as long as that following is active. Now for the good stuff…
Why Companies use Influencer Marketing
Here’s the deal.
In your face, pushy, salesy advertising just doesn’t work very well anymore. The plain truth is that the ROI for things like online banner ads has dropped so massively that there is hardly any return anymore. So marketers started looking at what people actually wanted rather than what they thought they wanted.
As it turns out, people want authenticity. Creating a real connection with an audience through an influencer has a pretty good ROI – just about $6.50 per $1 to be exact.
And we really shouldn’t be too surprised by this. Most people and marketers I know use “Adblock” when they’re online everyday – which really says something.
Besides simple ROI, influencer marketing has a lot more moving parts in it than you might think. It allows brands to:
- Get authentic branded content on social platforms they’re not familiar with
- Reach a specific niche or demographic
- Create a message that resonates with an online community
- Tap into influencer subject matter expertise
- Have branded, authentic, credible content created for them
For these reasons influencer marketing has blown up in the last three years and the process for acquiring the right influencer to get a brand message out has been massively refined. Speaking of which…
How do brands find and work with influencers?
Because influencer marketing has matured so much, brands have found somewhat reliable ways of making this process work for them. Some of these ways are:
Fully manual – All the research, outreach, and conversation is handled completely by the brand. This takes a lot of time and can lead to disappointment as finding the most relevant creator can be difficult to do alone. It can be especially hard to know how to make a manual process work well for beginners.
Partially automated – Using an “influencer search engine” like traakr helps marketers find influencers and give them tons of information about them which allows them to find the right match. However, marketers have to completely manage the relationship from starting the conversation through some medium to talking about what kind of work they want done.
Mostly automated – Using an “influencer marketplace” like hypr, marketers can get detailed information about influencers and their audiences and have a conversation with them, all over an online platform. This includes guides for how a project is supposed to be done and project metrics.
Automated and assisted – Similar to an “influencer marketplace” platforms like HashtagJust exist so that marketers can both find the right influencer and have their projects be guided by an actual assistant. They strive to offer the most value in terms of guidance and guarantee of a good match.
What are the problems with influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing isn’t all daisies and unicorns, unfortunately. It has some problems that you can avoid if you know about them.
1. First and foremost, understand that it is hard to find a good match with your brand.
This is important to remember as it is currently the number one complaint about influencer marketing by and large.
Because people jump in not knowing what they need. We suggest you sit down for a few hours to analyze the past content produced by the influencers you’re considering and imagine your brand in that same spot – and see if you’d be happy with it.
2. Secondly, don’t view influencer marketing as nothing more than a tool for your benefit.
The livelihood, and the passion of these people you’re contacting is at stake here. Don’t view them as simply something you’re “using” instead think of them as a partner to achieve success with.
Even if it feels like a waste of time, building connections with influencers can be a huge bonus for you marketing efforts as they will learn and grow with you – oh, and you can keep working with them over and over if you play it right.
3. You must be willing to accept that influencer marketing is not an exact science if you plan to use it.
Again, emotion and passion is put into the influencer’s creation, and the result of their creation often leads to engagement with their followers. If you want exact numbers to show ROI proof to your boss, you should probably go back to AdWords.
You can’t put an ROI on engagement. There are times when you will be able to track a direct sell (like in a YouTube description link) but if that’s all you’re looking at, then you’re missing the good stuff – branding.
If you think we missed something in this guide and want to give us a few pointers, just drop by our Facebook and let us know here!