December 24, 2021 Juie Merchant
Digital Marketing, Influencer Marketing, Instagram Marketing, Social Media
Influencer marketing has been around for eons now albeit under a different name like celebrity endorsements – out and loud celebrities who become the face of a brand, thus a life size, mega influencer. When such influencers or celebrity endorsements occurred, it was safe to assume that such activities would mean a brand had to have deep pockets and the right connections. With the advent of influencer marketing or influencers who aren’t big screen celebrities or sports personalities, influencer marketing has become a more affordable platform. But the questions that beg to be answered are: Does your brand require influencer marketing? Do you need to just be in trend or does your brand have products/services that can resonate with a certain audience type?
But first, how did influencer marketing begin?
What is influencer marketing? Let us head back to 2004 when serial entrepreneur, founder and CEO of IZEA, Ted Murphy, observed the beginnings of what has become a booming and ever burgeoning industry today.
There was a small group of independent creators online who were influencing public opinion. These people were thought leaders and artists who were creating a sizable audience in their own preferred niche. These creators, he observed, could drive massive amounts of traffic to websites only through their own opinions and ideas that were shared online. This led Murphy to create the BlogStar Network which comprised a database of bloggers. Murphy and his team would send out emails to these bloggers with various attractive offers in exchange for publishing branded content. Some of the early brands to take advantage of this nascent phase of influencer marketing were Burger King, Red Lobster & Turner. But this process required massive amounts of manual work. Hence, Murphy, later on in 2006, went on to launch a platform called PayPerPost which was the first of its kind marketplace where brands could reach out to bloggers and pay for branded content to be published. Thus came about the concept of influencer marketing & Ted Murphy is credited as the father of paid blogging.
Why should your brand opt for influencer marketing
Influencer marketing is one of the most prominent marketing strategies used by brands today. And since influencers have a voice that can be heard, have a loyal following of like minded people, it only makes sense that your brand should leverage influencer marketing as part of their marketing strategy. After all, people always want to buy from people. And if they can find a voice they can associate with and opinions they can trust, then it just would suffice to say that the next logical step would be to trust their recommendations.
1. Cost effective marketing strategy
We’ve long been in an era where a large portion of your audience is always online and always behind a screen. In an era past, consumers saw nothing but billboards, TV ads and print ads and at some point your brand would have indulged in either or all of these means of advertising. But today, this very same audience is on social media and is tech savvy. They follow people they connect with and brands they relate to. In scenarios like this, influencer marketing proves to be a more connected and cost effective strategy. Rather than spend the big bucks on ATL activities, you could work with influencers for a fraction of the cost. You can look for macro and micro influencers as per your budget & brand vision. With traditional marketing, you end up paying enormous amounts of money with no specific results.
2. Marketing via known faces & targeted audiences
With the traditional marketing methodology, your brand will focus on a broad target audience and unknown faces. But with an influencer, you can see them, read about them and will know about their audience based on the category of products or services they promote
As a brand, you often have faced the dilemma of measuring ROI via a traditional marketing method. But with the right influencer marketing strategy and working with known influencers, your brand will be able to – a. Target the right audience b. Derive results and data from the campaign c. Take actions for your next campaign based on the data collected. An influencer marketing campaign will only serve to create brand awareness and help you achieve desired results if the strategy, targeting & the influencers you opt to work with are right for your brand.
3. Performance based influencer marketing
An influencer marketing company can offer performance based influencer marketing for you to track results by pre-defining the metrics for your choice of influencers. The metrics could range from – sales via promo codes, app installs, clicks, site traffic etc. The influencer must drive results in order to get paid. Performance based influencer marketing succeeds because of the pre-established trust that the influencers have with their followers. Their validation and content for a product is social proof which gives immediate legitimacy to a brand and their product. With the trackable metrics pre-set it becomes easier to spot the productive influencers over the non-performing, thus allowing you to adjust your strategy for the next influencer activity.
4. Impact on your brand’s following
Some brands struggle to make a mark on social media in terms of brand visibility and followers count despite putting in their best efforts. In comes influencer marketing. Once you have influencer marketing campaigns done regularly, your brand sees an uptick in the follower count. This is because the influencer will carefully craft the message to be sent out to their followers which is in alignment with your brand. Thus, encouraging their followers to follow your brand. From driving followers growth to generating leads, an influencer can help a lot.
Here’s your way forward
Brands – both small and big always require influencers and an influencer marketing agency to aid in the growth and visibility of their brand. Ensure that you select the right influencers, via the right medium. Also, it would be more prudent to ensure that you do not use influencer marketing as a one time activity. In order to generate the right results, influencer marketing has to be a part of your regular marketing strategy and should be consistent. Here’s a helpful checklist that will help you walk through the murky waters of influencer marketing:
Step 1 – Determine the objective of the campaign
Step 2 – Research influencers with the help of a professional agency
Step 3 – Understand the influencer demographics
Step 4 – Competitor collaborations, if any
Step 5 – Get engagement stats from the influencers
Step 6 – Determine the topic you want them to prepare content for
Step 7 – Measure performance of the influencers
This checklist is aimed at helping you ascertain if your influencer marketing campaign is on track and will aid in increasing your chances of success.