No, we’re not in the laboratory! We are talking about one of the biggest marketing trends today, and there is no indication of a slow-down. The question is, do you need an influencer marketing strategy to reach your goals?
In our last blog article, we wrote about why you need personal branding. And, we alluded to the topic of micro-influencers. Let’s continue the discussion and delve into the topic of influencer marketing.
What is an Influencer?
According to Wikipedia, it seems the definition of “influencer” is a source of debate. Some possible definitions include:
“A range of third parties who exercise influence over the organization and its potential customers.”
“A third party who significantly shapes the customer’s purchasing decision but may never be accountable for it.”
“Influencers are well-connected, create an impact, have active minds and are trendsetters.”
Okay, so we can agree that an influencer is someone who impacts the decision of others. It seems that the person must be well-versed in the art of persuasion.
Influencer Marketing Works
The influencer-marketing industry is projected to be worth $15 billion by 2022 according to financial analysts.
“Influencer marketing works because audiences follow influencers because the influencers can speak directly to their audience, they build a level of trust you cannot get through standard advertising.” Evan Asano CEO and founder of Mediakix.
Why do Brands Need Influencers?
The digital marketplace is teeming with brands and consumers. There are billions of bits of data streaming across digital platforms every second. Approximately 3.484 BILLION people use social media every day, according to a We Are Social report published in January 2019.
Almost one-half of the world’s population is using social media!
And what are all these people doing on social media?
For certain, many use social media channels to connect with others and to keep up with what’s going on around the world. In fact, live feeds from Twitter, for instance, are much more reliable for relaying facts on the ground than many mainstream news channels.
But people are also using social media to help them make decisions about what products to buy, services to use, places to go and other kinds of spending decisions.
Consumers Trust Influencers
Influencer marketing, as it is known, works because consumers trust real people, especially the celebrities they follow. Trust is a critical element in developing a positive online reputation.
Traditional advertising is not working as well as before due to several reasons, including constantly changing algorithms.
Influencers provide you with a ready-made audience, which alleviates you of the hard work of starting to build an audience from scratch.
Mega, Micro and Nano
Probably when you think about influencers, you imagine the mega-influencers. These are the celebrities and others who have amassed millions of followers on their social networks. They cover just about every niche. How they got to be such mega-influencers is a unique story, but most mega-influencers are involved in the entertainment and sports industry. They already have a fan following, so it’s easy to build a social network with more than one million followers.
Many big brands collaborate with mega-influencers to get their message out. But, it’s not cheap. A mega-influencer can cost tens of thousands of dollars for one video or promotion.
Micro-influencers have between 10k to 50k followers. Their following is not due to celebrity status.
“Their engaged followers admire their values and aesthetics and trust them to create great content and bring attention to brands they should know about.” (Forbes.com: Micro-Influencers at Every Stage of the Customer Journey)
Micro-influencers specialize in a certain niche and their followers are passionate about the same niche. Dunkin Donuts used micro-influencers and nano-influencers, generating $300 million in coffee sales with this strategy.
More importantly, micro-influencers generate higher engagement rates, which is what you want. According to Business2Community, consumers follow celebrities because they are fans, but they can’t build a personal relationship with them. However, a trusted micro-influencer is more approachable.
At the end of the day, what you want is for your consumers to trust your brand and the products or services you provide.
Nano-influencers have fewer followers than micro-influencers, but with a stronger reputation in a certain niche. A typical following on Instagram might be as few as 2,500 up to 10,000. They usually have less than 5,000 subscribers on YouTube.
While nano-influencers don’t have a high number of followers like micro and mega-influencers, they may be the most appropriate for your influencer marketing campaign. It all depends on your goals of course. But what nano-influencers lack in numbers of followers they more than make up for when it comes to engagement.
Engagement is a two-way street, as you have probably learned. If you don’t respond to every comment, like, or question, you will quickly lose your followers. Nano-influencers have a smaller following, giving them the time to engage with each person. This level of engagement will build the awareness, trust, and loyalty you are looking for.
Nano-influencers may be more effective because they are more approachable. Most don’t look so different from consumers’ friends, neighbors or co-workers. Consumers are more likely to turn to nano-influencers for the hard, true facts about what’s going on in the niches they follow. And while they may not be superstars, they are passionate about the interests and brands they talk about. This level of authenticity is lost with influencers who collaborate with multiple brands.
According to a Sway Group study:
Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to sparking real engagement on social media. While micro-influencers and nano-influencers have fewer than celebrity-level influencers, their audiences are often more active and loyal. Generally, as an influencer’s follower count rises, their rate of engagement decreases.
Can you Be a Micro or Nano-Influencer?
Absolutely. You can become a micro or nano influencer. It takes time and effort. If you become an expert in your field and utilize a top-notch branding and content marketing strategy, you could successfully attract 10 thousand followers to your Instagram, Twitter, YouTube or blog.
The question is one of trust and relationship-building. Brands use influencers because they are a third-party advocate. Customers are more likely to trust what they say about your brand over what you say, which is self-promoting. On the other hand, if you have developed yourself as an expert in a niche, to the point where your followers trust you to give them the most accurate, timely and useful information, then…you are an influencer!
By the way, let’s not forget about the importance of blogging. When looking into partnering with a micro or nano-influencer, don’t forget about the bloggers. Influencers writing high-powered SEO content on blogs followed by tens of thousands of readers can bring significant brand awareness and new customers to your company.
How to Work with an Influencer
Once you have made the decision that collaboration with an influencer will bring the ROI you are looking for, the next step is to set out the parameters of your relationship.
What is your goal?
- Are you introducing a new brand and want to build brand awareness?
- Are you rebranding and seeking to convert your base?
- Do you want to convert more followers into paying consumers?
Who is your target audience?
Identify a social media platform.
- Unless you are one of the mega brands, you’re not going to have the budget to cover every social media platform. Once you have answered the first two questions, you will have the information you need to help you select the most appropriate social media channel for your goals.
Define how you will measure success.
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