So what exactly is an influencer?
An influencer is someone who carries some sort of authority or impact over others. Think about people who influence you in your own life such as your parents, siblings, peers, professors, co-workers, etc. There are different types of influencers including, but not limited to an industry expert, a professional, a brand advocate, or a celebrity. Influencers can have the potential to induce ones’ purchase decisions or opinion of a service or product. A social media influencer is someone who exerts their influence using social media platforms like facebook or instagram.
Let’s talk about influencer marketing…
What is influencer marketing you might ask? This marketing strategy focuses on using these people we call influencers to market a brand, product, service, or message. By using the influencer’s image, a company may be able to reach a broader audience. Using this tactic can assist brands in building trust and credibility as well as saving money. Influencer marketing is changing the way companies and brands are marketing their products or services. While the increased conversation created by the influencers grows brand awareness, the increase in engagement leads to brand loyalty, and both of these things lead to an increase in sales. Content derived from influencer marketing can result in 11 times more ROI (Return On Investment than the traditional forms of digital marketing. By taking advantage of influencer marketing, brands can see real conversion.
There are four main criteria that need to be considered when choosing an influencer: reach, credibility, authenticity, and activity. Each of these are key to choosing a good influencer to promote your brand or product.
What is reach and why is it important…
Reach, as far as influencer marketing, can be defined as the number of people an influencer is able to deliver a message to. While reach can be influenced by the number of followers a content creator has, more followers does not necessarily mean great conversion rates. This idea that social media influencers must have a lot of followers to be successful is a common misconception. The reality is, while reach is important, reach is not the sole requirement of a good social media influencer. There are many smaller influencers who have a more credible niche audience than those with millions of followers. There are different types of social media influencers from nano-influences with 1-10,000 followers to mega-influencers with 1,000,000+ followers. It is important to keep in mind that the larger, higher profile influencers come at a heavy cost. For this reason, many companies choose to work with nano or micro influencers. Because of their small communities, smaller influencers have higher engagement levels.
There are several tools available to social media managers that assist with planning and selecting influencers:
It is important to understand reach depending on the influencers engagement. Like I mentioned earlier, they may not be reaching all of their followers through their posts. These tools allow brands to compare the followers to the estimated reach based on the influencers public engagement on their account including comments and likes.
Credibility, Authenticity, and Activity…
These three credentials in addition to reach are the key qualities of a great influencer.
Credibility is the trust level provided by followers to an influencer based on perceived knowledge or expertise. In many cases, credibility is considered more important than reach.
Authenticity is the influencer’s genuine belief in the brand or product. It is important that they are promoting something that they are confident in and not just looking for an income or an increase in followers. The product and the influencer should also be on target with the audience being marketed to. For example, Jennifer Anniston is the spokes-woman for Aveeno. This makes sense because she is marketing to women around her age who are interested in anti-aging skin care or want to look like her. It would not make sense for Jennifer Anniston to be an influencer for men’s cologne such as Dior, Savage… well, because she is not a man and does not wear cologne.
Activity is the influencer’s activity on social media, publishing daily or weekly content. This coincides with engagement. When followers are asking questions or making comments on the influencers posts, it is important that the influencer acknowledges these reactions with likes and/ or comments. If the influencer is no longer posting or engaging with their followers, the algorithms will suppress their content, resulting in less successful marketing.
Benefits of influencer marketing…
- Increased exposure
- Brand awareness
- Improved search ranking
- More credibility
- Effectively reach a target market
- New leads
I briefly wanted to touch on peer-to-peer marketing because recently it has been invoked as referral or sharing challenges combined together with content or rewards programs. Peer-to-peer marketing works best with smaller influencers and is a very popular tactic on Tiktok. The method involves customers engaging with other customers through recommendations. The main quality of peer-to-peer marketing is the trust aspect. It may even be people who are not “considered influencers” making a post raving about a product which encourages others to purchase it as well. Challenges may arise through this. For example, a challenge began with the brand Too-Faced lip injection lip-gloss, a product that had already been around for some time. The Tiktok challenge was not affiliated with the brand, but resulted in a rise in sales of the product. A lot of times, similar to the case with Too Faced, the brands have no part in creating the “new hype” around a product or the brand itself. Peer-to-peer marketing is on the rise and while not a paid marketing tactic, it may be rewarded with promotions or contests.
So we know now that influencer marketing as a whole has its benefits, but let’s go over the pros and cons of engaging with influencers of different reach types…
Pros of nano and micro influencers:
- More cost effective
- Increased brand awareness
- More trustworthy
- Higher credible niche audience
- Higher engagement
Pros of macro and mega influencers:
- Increase brand awareness
- Delivers higher ROI
- More people purchase a product after seeing it recommended by an influencer
- Higher credibility rates
Cons of nano and micro influencers:
- Less credibility
- Possible lower levels of reach due to smaller following
Cons of macro and mega influencers:
- Higher cost
- Possibility of lower reach due to less activity and less engagement
Overall, social media influencers come in all shapes and sizes, each with their own benefit and their own influence over their audience. Using influencers can help brands to reach larger audiences, increase credibility, build trust, and increase brand awareness and engagement. Social media influencers are changing the way that brands are able to market their products.