In a world where marketing is becoming more and more personalized, the rise of influencer marketing isn’t surprising. Before we dive further into more details about this particular type of marketing and how it works, let’s first look at the definition of “Influencer Marketing.”
What is Influencer Marketing?
An influencer is someone who has an active following and can move their followers to take action. They are people who are active on social media blogs . They are also brand advocates and niche promoters. Influencer marketing involves connecting with these thought leaders to build a mutually beneficial relationship.
A study published in the McKinsey & Company quarterly demonstrates that:
- 20 – 50% of all purchasing decisions are influenced by word-of-mouth.
- Influencer opinions are more than twice as effective as regular paid marketing.
- Customers acquired through influencers and word-of-mouth are 37% more likely to stick around.
In the past, most people would use advertisements they saw on television or print media to make decisions are their purchasing. Today, it’s much easier to learn what other people just like yourself think about a particular company’s product or service.
Businesses can identify key personalities who can help them further their message. Influencer marketing, at its core, involves working with these personalities to create promotional campaigns which are personalized and come across as authentic. Who are you most likely to trust- a company who wants to sell you a product through advertising, or an individual who is offering their opinion as a customer? Think about it!
With the rise of social media platforms as an avenue to influencer consumer purchasing decisions, in recent years, influencer marketing has become a trending topic that is rapidly gaining momentum, particularly in the Gulf region.
Types of Influencers:
It’s important to monitor the different types of online influencers in order to make the most of opportunities to find the right fit for your business. We have shortlisted four types of influencers that are most popular in the Gulf region:
– Popular Youtubers
– Famous people and celebrities
– Social media experts
Benefits of Influencer Marketing
Here are some of the main reasons why you should have an influencer marketing strategy:
1. Best Advertising Channel
As social media usage continues to accelerate and platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and Youtube play increasingly large roles in how people spend their time, communicate, consume information and make decisions, influencer marketing is not only the fastest growing, but also the best advertising channel for businesses.
2. Better Customers and Increase Your Reach
With the help of influencers, you can build an audience that has a high tendency to appreciate your product or service. If the influencer’s opinion comes across as genuine, there’s a huge chance they’re going to genuinely become fans of your product. This means they’re going to spread the word among their own followers.
3. Building Trust with Your Audience
People trust recommendations coming from friends, family or even celebrities or influencers. So building a relationship with your audience through influencers could be an effective way to earn their trust. When consumers trust your brand, they’re more likely to make a purchase and choose you over your competitors.
4. Improving Customer Retention and Loyalty
When you build a relationship with your audience, there’s a good chance they’re going to come back to you and continue doing business with you. So you can make the most out of influencers to build that relationship and retain more customers in the long run.
5. Use Generated Content
The content that is generated by the influencer on one platform provides great content to be shared on all of your other business social platforms, including your website.
So what are the traits of a good influencer?
- They are trustworthy. They are a trusted source of information with original thoughts and aren’t just retweeting stuff other people say.
- They are thought leaders. An influencer is typically interested in just one main topic. They have a loyal following of readers. They actually interact and react to the interests of their audience.
- Their words have impact. They can often impact other influencers and buyers in a given space because of their knowledge and passion about this topic.
- They are engaging. They regularly interact and engage with their followers. Engaging in real-time is extremely important these days.
- They go to their audience. They use the same tools (usually Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram) as your audience.
How to engage an influencer
Here are the steps you should bear in mind when engaging with an influencer:
Determine KPIs, Budget, Audience Target, etc.
The first step in developing an influencer marketing strategy is to align the strategy with your business goals. In essence, you will need to determine if the objective is to raise brand awareness, generate leads and sales and/or increase customer loyalty. The second step is setting a budget, identifying the target audience, and establishing key performance indicators (KPIs) that will determine campaign success. Typical KPIs include audience reach, impressions, views, engagement rates, the number of screenshots taken (for Snapchat campaigns), increase in followers, and sales, among other goals.
Determine Social Media Channels of Influencers
To ensure campaigns are successful, you should determine which social media platforms best represent the audience you are targeting and can achieve the goals of the campaign. Because different platforms are used/favored by different demographics, leveraging the right social platform is critical for targeting a particular group of customers. Different platforms also allow for different types of audience engagement, so utilizing the platform that will lead to the desired engagement is vital to campaign success. Therefore it is important to have a better understanding of how the chosen influencer is engaging with their audience to help you develop a more effective and engaging content strategy.
Determine Publishing Schedule
For campaigns to achieve maximum effectiveness, publishing schedules must coordinate across all social platforms and align with key dates and corresponding marketing initiatives.
First, you need to determine how the influencer is connected to their audience, then determine which influencer best matches the goals of the campaign. You should look at key criteria when reviewing influencers for a campaign. Primarily, the influencer ’s voice must align with your brand messaging to ensure that the message feels authentic and resonates with the influencer ’s audience. You should also review an influencer ’s engagement across all social platforms to determine audience loyalty. If you can, you need to assess the influencer ’s past campaigns to help determine the success of your campaign.
Prepare Campaign Brief
To best facilitate the creative process, you should prepare a brief of the campaign, including campaign requirements, talking points, creative guidance, and goals. Allowing the influencer to be part of the creative process will help them create authentic branded content that is most likely to perform well with their audience. Any content that feels too branded, too scripted, or isn’t true to what an influencer would actually say will fall flat with its audience, or worse, will draw negative feedback.
Negotiate Rates and Contracts
Prior to launching an influencer marketing campaign, businesses and influencers should negotiate rates and sign a legal document stipulating compensation, campaign deliverables (regarding all aspects of influencer-created content), publishing schedule, and licensing rights for any content created through the campaign. Influencers will often have “rate card” quotes for sponsorships on their channels.
To ensure each piece of the influencer content fulfills campaign requirements – touches on predetermined copy points, aligns with brand messaging, meets the guidelines set at the beginning, etc. – you must always review and approve posts, photos, and/ or videos before they are published. You should set a reasonable schedule for delivery to allow time for review and changes the influencer need to make, if necessary.
Once you have reviewed and approved the campaign, the social media influencer may proceed with publishing content to their social media channels. During this time, you should monitor the campaign for accuracy, note all social engagement, and document the campaign.
Amplify and Optimize
Promoting campaign, both immediately after they launch and beforehand, can amplify influencer marketing efforts to larger audiences. You may choose to optimize the campaign be asking influencers to promote campaigns on their own social media channels, strengthening the Call To Action (CTA) within the content, and publishing additional social media content to boost campaign exposure.
Report & Analyse
You should gather all metrics, including reach, views, impressions, and engagement to review for a campaign report. Recording and taking screenshots of social engagement (messages, comments, etc.) is an important indication of audience sentiment and response to the campaign. Comparing engagement metrics (likes, comments, etc.) against past videos and/or social posts by influencer can also help determine the success of the campaign, and reviewing results against pre-campaign KPIs and/ or other similar marketing initiatives can inform future marketing strategies, budget allocation, and influencer selection.
Bear in mind that one size does not fit all. One particular influencer may only influence a certain segment of your audience, so choose your influencer well. Currently influencer marketing is so cost-effective that businesses can try different influencers, gather analytics, and become more sophisticated buyers. At the same time, influencers are becoming savvy at figuring out the best way to engage with their audience. There has never been a better time to get started.