Social media influencers can greatly influence people’s consumption decisions. But partnering with these people also poses certain challenges.
In today’s digital world, where the effectiveness of traditional brand advertising is constantly declining, influencer marketing is known as one of the fastest-growing marketing methods. Obviously, people do not pay as much attention to advertisements as they used to. In addition, because they spend a lot of their free time on mobile social networking applications, they are good targets for this type of marketing. But what exactly is influencer marketing, what are the benefits for start-ups, and how can an effective marketing campaign be launched?
The term influencer marketing easily conveys its meaning: when businesses implement their online marketing strategy with the help of influential people. Therefore, one of the most important and first steps of this strategy is to find people who can play the role of influencer in the industry or market of your products and services; People who can have a positive impact on the development and promotion of your brand.
According to this premise, an influencer is someone who can influence other people’s purchasing decisions. An influencer, because of the credibility, knowledge, or special position or relationship he has with his audience, attracts the opinion and idea of a large number of users. Of course, the size of the influence depends on the size of the niche market. For example, there are more followers in the fashion industry than in Greek philosophy and mythology!
Confrontation of celebrities and influencers
Initially, influencer marketing grew into a subset of celebrity marketing. Decades ago, celebrities advertised the products of well-known companies for a hefty fee. Online celebrity marketing is still an example of influencer marketing. But modern influencer marketing goes far beyond a sports or movie star who encourages fans to buy a particular product.
As the Internet grows older over time, some people have gained a great deal of credibility as online superstars. These people are the influencers who are considered in marketing discussions.
Influencers have earned their reputation as specialists in specific/exclusive fields. For example, they may have launched a successful blog on a particular topic, or they may have made good videos and uploaded them to related YouTube channels. However, most of these people have active and popular accounts on social media and offer their opinions, ideas, tips and advice on a specialized topic. In addition, influencers spend a lot of time building their brand and growing their audience.
If influencers understand how your products benefit their followers, they may be happy to work with you. In this case, they will use their name, expertise and reputation to promote your products among the fans.
Note that influencer marketing, like other marketing methods, is only effective when you produce a quality product. Otherwise, considering the highest wage rate for influencers will not help you sell your bad and inefficient products.
Influencer Marketing and Content Marketing
Not surprisingly, some people do not recognize the difference between influencer marketing and content marketing. Because these two areas have a lot of similarities and internal connections (correlations) with each other.
In short, content marketing is implemented when companies produce relevant and valuable content and distribute it across different channels. Content is produced to engage and stimulate audience engagement. The ultimate goal of content marketing is to lead your audience to take a profitable action, such as buying a particular product. Content marketing covers all stages of the process of creating, distributing and using content to achieve your marketing goals.
As mentioned, marketing through influencers means working with influential people who are in a company’s target market and are able to distribute the content they produce. The main purpose of this marketing method is to encourage the audience to take a specific action, with the difference that influencer marketing focuses only on the distribution of content and not its production.
Content marketing uses a variety of methods and strategies to share content and increase its visibility. One of the most effective methods is to use influencer marketing as part of the content distribution process.
Consumers usually go through the following steps:
1.A consumer sees recommendations for a particular product or service in social media posts or statuses. Most of the time, advice is provided by influencers who have been praised by consumers. However, this recommendation attracts the attention of the consumer.
2.The consumer decides to get more information about the above goods/services. So go to your favorite influencer blog, YouTube channel, social network or podcast. He communicates with the content.
3.The consumer is looking for more details on features, price, availability and shipping methods. He or she will most likely get this description on the website of the retailer or brand of the product manufacturer.
If the consumer likes the product he sees, he buys it; Both physically and online.
The process we reviewed is a combination of content marketing and influencer marketing that affects the consumer.
The biggest advantages and disadvantages of influencer marketing
Although marketing through influencers is one of the most important marketing trends, experts emphasize that this method is not suitable for all businesses. An overview of the most important advantages and disadvantages of working with social media influencers will help us better understand the reason for these warnings.
The Impact of Influencer Marketing on Consumers’ Final Decision
The first and most important advantage of influencer marketing is its rate of return. Numerous studies in this field prove that influencer marketing really has a significant impact on consumer purchasing decisions. For example, one study that examined Twitter social media marketing found that if a brand’s tweets were expressed in the language of influencers, it would increase users’ “buying intent” by 5.2 times. In addition, 49% of people rely on advice shared by influencers when making purchasing decisions.
Influencer marketing is gradually gaining the trust of the audience
Influencers are people who have earned the loyalty of their fans. These fans deeply value the advice of their favorite characters and trust what they say. So when the influencer praises the product of a particular brand, the fans immediately notice. A product or brand that has just entered the market, with the help of the influence and approval of the influencers, achieves extraordinary credibility; Because good influencers do not advertise products just for the sake of money, and the fans are aware of that. The basic premise is that when influencers suggest a product or service, they are more likely to use it and be satisfied.
Access to a huge range of audiences
Most influencers have hundreds of thousands of followers. As we have said, people follow influencers because of the passion, views, ideas, and principles they share. People are waiting for new posts from their favorite influencers. When a new post is published, fans will immediately engage with it (Like, Comment, Republish).
It is clear that a brand, in collaboration with related influencers, achieves a high rate of audience. If influencers share your content, a large audience will see it. Imagine each of these audiences republishing your content. In this case, your message reaches a much larger group of people. If we remove influencer marketing from this process, you will never be able to connect with such a large audience.
Targeting the right audience
When working with relevant market influencers, you can ensure that brand messages are delivered to a better audience. That’s why clothing brands try to work with fashion influencers, Or cosmetic brands work with dermatologists. This way you will reach an audience that is more likely to be interested in your products.
No need for a high budget
Many micro influencers are willing to receive a brand’s products and services instead of wages. Even if they ask for money, it can never be compared to the salary of famous celebrities.
Disadvantages of choosing the wrong influencer
By choosing the wrong influencer, you are wasting your time, effort and resources and getting the least amount of return on investment. In addition, if your cooperation with an influencer does not go well, you may see a strong reaction from his fans. This will also damage your reputation in the market. Make sure you find a relevant influencer in your area of expertise who is a loyal fan and always publishes credible content.
Every mistake calls into question the credibility of your brand
One of the biggest mistakes brands make in influencer marketing is not disclosing the details of the partnership. In today’s markets, this is seen as misleading customers and increases the risk of future lawsuits.
Challenge to find the influencer
Finding an influencer that is in every way suitable for promoting your products is not an easy task. You should leave the responsibility of researching and reviewing the leading options to a team and negotiate with the influencer for a long time after making sure he / she is qualified. The final choice and agreement with an influencer requires a lot of time and effort.
The challenge of measuring progress
After launching an influencer marketing campaign, you need to track its progress. Otherwise, you will not realize that you have chosen the right person and you will get an acceptable return or not.
Poor brand connection costs with influencer
Finally, another big mistake of brands is that they only negotiate with the influencer they want only once. But you need to focus on building strong, effective relationships with influencers. In this case, you will run more profitable campaigns and the influencers will do their best to work with you.
How does influencer marketing help your business?
The amount of help you can expect from an influencer depends on the type of professional relationship between you. If you approach an influencer in an organic way, you will naturally receive less help than you would pay for a distinctive campaign. Of course, the cost of these two modes are also different. Some common methods or approaches that we call organic are:
- Influencer dedicates one of its blog posts to introducing your product.
- Influencer shares your brand advertising information on its social media accounts.
- Influencer allows you to access his website and publish a guest post.
Surely you should not expect influencers to explicitly praise your product. They have become influencers because of the credible relationships they have with their audience.
Influencer marketing implementation process
Just because marketing by influential people is one of the marketing trends of the day, does not mean that you should use it. To run a marketing campaign, you must have a specific goal.
Step 1- Discovering Your Purpose
The goal of any content marketing campaign is to show how it provides value to its audience. In influencer marketing, you have to prove the brand value to the influential person.
One of the weaknesses of many marketing teams is contacting influential people without any specific goals. You need to know “why” you want to run an influencer marketing campaign. Only then can you measure the success of your campaign. In addition, you are better at choosing the right influencer. Your campaign goals may simply be:
- Increase the rate of visitors to the company’s website by X%
- Increasing brand followers on social networks
- Increase visibility or brand awareness
- Increase sales rate by Y%
As we said, your goals determine the type of influence you choose. For example, if you are looking for quick interaction with your audience, you should get help from Twitter influencers. If you focus more on the look and feel of the product, you will focus on more intuitive channels such as Instagram and Pinterest. But if you want to get more insight into your product, especially if you run a B2B business, you might want to publish a technical article on an industry blog and ask influencers to share it.
It is essential that each of your goals be linked to a key performance indicator or KPI. This will make it possible for you to evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing campaign. Your goals must also be SMART; (Specific), (Measurable), (Achievable), (Realistic) and (Time-based).
Step 2: Define the target audience
If you do not yet know who you want to influence, you are not ready to campaign. But if you have a clear idea of the ideal customers in mind, consider their personalities when looking for influencers. Also, if you already have a specific marketing campaign on social media, pay attention to how you target those campaigns.
If you want to have successful influencer marketing, you need to work with influential people who will influence your target audience. The more accurately you define your niche market, the better your search for the right influencers.
Step 3: Define the best influencer for your brand
The highest failure rate of brands in the implementation of influencer marketing is related to this stage. Most companies trying to choose an influencer that fits the brand is not a successful endeavor. Research shows that 67.6% of marketing teams consider finding a relevant influencer to be their most challenging IM campaign challenge. In fact, it has been the biggest weakness of traditional marketing through celebrities. Although some of these ads were memorable and effective, in most cases, an unpleasant question arose in the minds of consumers: “What does this celebrity know about my lifestyle?” “He lives in a completely different world.” The result is clear: you need to choose an influencer whose followers match your target audience.
Category of influencers
Celebrity Influencers: As we said, marketing through celebrities is the oldest model of influencer marketing. For years, companies paid large sums of money to celebrities to promote their products. In some cases, people even identified the product as a promotional celebrity (such as George Foreman Grill). Marketing through the influence of celebrities, both traditional and modern, can be very successful. But this method has always been associated with serious challenges. On the one hand, celebrities ask for a lot of money to promote their products, and on the other hand, consumers in specialized fields are deeply pessimistic about products that are not used by the promoters themselves.
Macro Influencers: These people have millions of followers on social media. People often recognize macro-influencers as experts in a field. The difference between a macro-influencer and a celebrity is that a macro-influencer is known for his or her expertise in a particular field and is not necessarily known to the general public. Well-known journalists, academic activists, and professional advisers are in this group. Macro-influencers have already established their name and are recognized as top experts in specific disciplines; Therefore, they ask for a lot of money to promote the products of the brands.
Micro influencers: The largest influential group on social media. Unlike celebrities, these people are not known to the general public; But because of the success they have achieved in one field, they are considered experts in specific fields. Micro-influencers have less credibility and reputation than macro-influencers, but they still have a large audience. They have gained the trust of their fans and can get their followers to participate and interact. For this reason, they are very effective in word of mouth marketing and increasing brand website traffic.
Tip 1: Never choose an influencer just because of a high reputation or low salary. Look for influencers who have a strong support base, and this support base is relevant to your target audience.
Tip 2: When reviewing influencers, do not limit yourself to the raw statistics of their followers. There are several ways to increase your follower’s rate, not all of which will drive a valuable audience to your brand. Even when influencers have real followers, the rate of followers is not a good metric for how influential people are. Often the best influencers have a smaller fan base with a very high engagement rate. According to research, the rate of effective interactions decreases as the number of followers increases.
How do micro-influencers help increase sales?
Usually, the number of followers of micro-influencers is between one thousand and one hundred thousand. Because these people have more effective access to their target audience, they can better convey the brand message to people. You can increase the sales rate by using the influence that micro-influencers have among the fans.
They tell a personal story about the products: Micro influencers are highly trusted by the fan community. For this reason, when they share their experiences about a product, fans judge the product based on that experience. All marketers are aware of the effectiveness of storytelling techniques. If micro-influencers tell a unique and positive story about a particular product or service, they will have a much greater impact on its sales; As long as they just share the photo of the product.
Advertising discount codes and links: The technique of “offering a discount to the target audience” is one of the great sales strategies. Microinfluencers can share product discount codes or links in their posts and invite audiences to try out these products. Also, if they combine this technique with mentioning personal experiences of the product, they will have a greater impact on the followers. In other words, their story stimulates fans’ curiosity about the product, and to a greater extent, the discount code or link increases people’s desire to buy the product.
Advertising a free sample product: When a product has just entered the market, people look at it with skepticism. But micro-influencers play an important role in resolving the skepticism of the follower’s community by promoting samples of products that you have sent them for free. In this way, people are more likely to understand the value of the products and become customers who pay to buy your products.
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