Influencer 101: Time to Get Schooled
Welcome to the class you never knew you needed! Gear up because it’s time to learn about influencers. What comes to mind when you think of influencers? Most will think of staged photos posted on social media by a creator with millions of followers. While that is sometimes the case, the $14 billion industry is definitely more than meets the eye.
Whether you realize it or not, at some point you have purchased a product or service because someone influenced you to do so. An influencer can be a random lady in line at a coffee shop discussing her favorite latte, a Facebook friend recommending your next plumber, or a TikTok that demonstrates a new sponge that you just need to wash your dishes. In fact, 72% of users have made a purchase decision based on the content they saw on Instagram. If you’re sitting there thinking that’s an impossible statistic, remember, anyone can be an influencer.
The Power of People
Recent studies show that only 30% of consumers put their trust in companies, proving that one of the larger obstacles for businesses is gaining that trust. People trust other people. They don’t want a brand coming to them hyping up their own product. They want an outside source—someone who will give them an unbiased, honest opinion.
There should be a strategy behind everything, and influencer marketing is no different. And, for influencers, that strategy starts with authenticity. You need to remind your influencers to be real in their posts and share their honest opinions. Regardless of an influencer’s size, how much you pay them, or how much research you’ve prepared, nothing matters if you don’t prioritize authenticity.
Now get your pen and paper out because it’s time to take notes. Ever wonder what the main difference is between “micro” and “macro” influencers? Keep reading to test your knowledge.
Is Bigger Always Better?
True or false: a campaign will be ineffective if an influencer doesn’t have a following of over 50,000. FALSE. This is not the case. Micro-influencers, or people with a following under 50k, are the secret weapon to driving sales for your brand.
Since micro-influencers have a smaller following, they are more focused on building a strong community and therefore spend more time responding to their audience to foster more meaningful relationships. This, in turn, increases engagement and causes followers to feel more like friends than followers, leading to a higher level of trust in the long run. Are you more likely to buy something from your favorite celebrity who hasn’t given you the time of day, or your friend who provides helpful advice?
Don’t get me wrong, mid-tier and macro-influencers are a great option if you have the budget. They just align with different objectives than micro-influencers. If you have a new client looking to gain brand awareness, influencers with a larger following are probably the way to go. All I’m saying is, don’t sleep on micro-influencers, they might just surprise you!
Pop quiz time! Answer this question before moving to the next section: What is the first step in activating influencers?
A. Reach out to relevant influencers
B. Meet with your client to discuss their objectives
C. Research your client’s industry and develop a list of insights
D. Draft contracts to send to influencers
How Do I Start?
If you answered B, you’d be correct. To get started, you need to do some initial background research and develop a list of insights and questions before speaking with your client. Then, consider your findings and ask yourself these questions:
- Who is my target audience?
- What is the goal of this campaign?
- What size influencer should I work with to achieve this goal?
- What is my budget?
- Are there any geographic restrictions to consider?
- Am I paying the influencer, sending a product or PR box, or both?
- What kind of content do I want from my influencers?
Once you answer these questions, you have developed a basic strategy and can begin sourcing influencers. Don’t forget to consider how your influencer strategy can complement the overarching marketing plan as well. Do you want to repurpose influencer content in your paid media advertising? Share the posts on the brand’s social accounts to boost your organic presence? There are many ways to use influencers to your advantage outside of the traditional TikTok/Instagram posts—get creative!
Speaking of creativity, let’s see if you can fill in the blank. In a world where you can be anything, be _______.
Kindness is Key
The answer is…kind! We need to remember that influencers are people, too. For many of them, this is their full-time job, so make sure to be respectful and patient when negotiating deals. Always encourage your influencers to speak candidly to their following as we don’t want to force anyone to lie and appear fake.
Kindness can go a long way, and most influencers appreciate the personalization and extra thought that goes into the communication and execution of a campaign. Remember to be overly communicative and pleasant because who knows, maybe the influencer will reward you with extra content!
Above all remember that influencer marketing is not an exact science. There are many ways to run an influencer campaign—the best thing you can do is extensive research and planning to avoid complications down the line. But trust me, you won’t regret joining the other 93% of marketers that utilize influencers to their advantage.
Want another lesson? Contact Rebel Interactive Group to learn more and see if influencers are the right fit for you!