Influencer marketing is the buzzword of 2017. It’s been popular for a long time, but now you’re hearing this term everywhere. Is that appropriate? Is this the ultimate key to reaching an audience that is tired of advertising?
What is influencer marketing
In order to get a good idea of the value of influencer marketing we must know first of all what it is. Influencers are people who affect other people. That’s a broad concept, but in the context of digital marketing we are talking about bloggers and vloggers with a certain number of followers that they are influencing.
In addition, you can distinguish between macro-influencers and micro-influencers. For macro-influencers, the random limit is more than 100,000 followers. These are often known actors, athletes or singers, but also the more famous YouTubers can fall into this category. Micro-influencers are characterized by a smaller group of followers, so it’s often smaller bloggers and vloggers targeting a niche. In the smallest definition, you could even count consumers who write reviews as micro-influencers. After all, they have influence over their “followers” of family and acquaintances, but in this article we don’t take them in account.
For influencer marketing, these influencers are deployed to promote a brand or product through their own social media channel. There are several ways to do that. A popular way is sending products so that the influencer can write a review or take a picture of it for Instagram, but they can also be paid directly to place sponsored content.
There are countless reasons why influencers are currently deployed which work pretty well, but we often see that companies tend to overestimate the effectiveness of this approach. In addition, they are only chasing the influencers without asking themselves why? Below are a few common reasons why you might question the concept.
“Useful, that wide range of influencers.”
But is that range so big? Yes, macro influencers have a massive group of followers, but they often have the same problems as traditional marketing: promoting through them is not easily trusted, it is too impersonal. You therefore can have more effect on the audience of micro-influencers. It is a smaller group, but with much more specific interests and a much higher degree of commitment. Do not expect huge traffic figures, but if you find the right influencer for your target audience, it will provide a high quality group of followers.
“The followers have a lot of interaction, super!”
It is true that with micro-influencers the audience interacts with the influencer and what he or she posts. There is a lot of licking, sharing and commenting. That obviously sounds promising, but you should ask yourself whether it has an interface with your brand or product. Does your product or brand get noticed anyway, or was the ‘like’ given by the followers automatically just because of the sender?
“If we just get a picture on Instagram, that’s great for the brand-awareness!”
Well, you also have to put this in perspective as well. Even those who are not big Instagrammers post a picture one to three times a day. We already know that the concentration of the audience continues to decline, and increasingly social content is only briefly scanned. If the influencer then uploads a picture with your product, it’s very questionable how many people notice it, yet alone know the next day what was posted yesterday.
This is how it works
That’s great, so not start at all? Fortunately, it’s not that black and white. There is a certain truth in the rationale given above. However, it is a matter of having a good strategy and being aware of the limitations. Some tips to guarantee success with influencer marketing:
- Set up a concrete and measurable goal and then check whether you can achieve this via an influencer
- Ensure a clear link between your brand, the influencer, and the ultimate communication to the follower
- If you’ve found an influencer, sit together to discuss ideas. They know their followers best and, moreover, the influencer is more motivated if he or she is involved in the process
- Look beyond branding, especially if you have no big company behind you. It’s better to focus on boosting sales by deciding to post a clear call-to-action, possibly even with a voucher or discount code
- Go for a long-term collaboration to build a relationship with the influencer and his or her followers
- Try to make an agreement for your cooperation to be exclusive so that you are not lost as a brand in a lot of sponsored content