Influencer marketing has evolved into one of the most popular and influential forms of advertising this century. With the rise of social media, influencers have the ability to reach millions of people through a single post, making them a valuable asset for brands looking to increase their visibility and attract new customers. Moreover, it’s a strategy that appeases at least 49% of consumers, who look at social media influencers for their product recommendations.
What is Influencer Marketing?
In an era of media consumption, brands need to tell a story, discover their outlet, and attract numerous customers. There’s no way better than influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing uses social media influencers to promote products and services to their followers. These are individuals who have built a large following on such social media platforms as Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.
Influencer marketing outperforms traditional forms of marketing by an average of 4.5%. Half of all brands are expected to increase their influencer marketing budgets more than they increase their traditional forms of marketing.
Brief History of Influencer Marketing
In modern history, the first case of influencer marketing happened in 1760. Wedgwood labeled their pottery as ‘Queen’s Ware’, because they made a tea set for Queen Charlotte. Eventually, the company received the royal stamp of approval.
‘Brand characters’ were often used as early influencer marketing, such as Homepride Fred, Uncle Bed, and Santa Claus in Coca Cola’s 1930s advertising. However, the first celebrity product endorsement occurred in 1905, when Murad Cigarettes used comedian Roscoe Arbuckle in their print ads.
By the ’80s, celebrity endorsements were running rampant, but it wasn’t until the 2010s that the term’ influencer’ gained more traction. The increased use of social media benefited influencer marketing popularity.
In 2018, the Advertising Standards Agency published guidelines that stated influencers must clarify that their posts are sponsored, as either a paid deal or gifted products.
How Influencer Marketing Works
Influencers create sponsored content that promotes a brand’s product or service. It’s as simple as that. The brands will typically approach influencers with a proposal for partnership, which includes product placement, sponsored posts, and any other type of collaboration. In exchange for promotion, influencers are compensated with money or free products.
According to a survey by the Influencer Marketing Hub, 63% of consumers trust influencer opinions more than traditional advertising.
Ultimately, influencer marketing allows brands to reach built-in, highly engaged audiences. Because of this inherent loyalty, they market to those who trust their opinions and recommendations. In particular, they market to younger generations, who are likely to make purchasing decisions based on social media recommendations.
Influencer marketing also allows brands to create an authentic connection with their audiences. When an influencer promotes a product or service, it’s done in a way that feels natural and organic to their followers. This relationship can ultimately lead to long-term loyalty and repeat business.
Essentially, the niche is the influencer’s superpower. If every influencer talked about the same things, they would have no value in this subcategory of social media marketing. Besides higher engagement rates, increased brand awareness, and increased sales for a business, influencer marketing is ideal for businesses interested in targeting specific audiences effectively.
Social media influencers already have followers who are focused on a particular niche or industry (think fashion, beauty, fitness, etc.). An influencer niche is when the content creator “stays in their lane”, ” delivering images, videos, products, and captions that purposefully connect with the audience they’ve amassed.
Influencer marketing campaigns can take numerous forms, depending on the business’ goals and budget. Common types for a campaign include:
- Sponsored posts: influencers create a post that promotes a business’ product or service. The post is typically labeled as “sponsored” or “paid partnership” to comply with Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines.
- Giveaways: influencers partner with a business to offer their followers the chance to win the product in exchange for following the brand’s social media accounts or engaging with their content.
- Affiliate Marketing: the influencer promotes a product or service using a unique affiliate link. When a follower clicks on the link and makes a purchase, the influencer receives a commission.
Tips For Successful Influencer Marketing Campaigns
Now that you know what influencer marketing is, and the benefits utilizing such an effort can provide, running an influencer marketing campaign relies on the following steps:
- Identify the right influencers — each individual should be aligned with brand values and follower engagements.
- Set clear and obtainable goals — determine what you want to achieve with your campaign (i.e., brand awareness, sales, etc.).
- Develop a clear strategy — this plan should detail the how, why, and what of influencer marketing: how you will work with the individual, why you are implementing the marketing campaign, what types of content you want to be created.
- Transparency — ensure all sponsored content is labeled accordingly to comply with FTC guidelines.
- Measure your results — analytics tools can track the success of a campaign and make adjustments as needed.
ROI of Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing provides high ROI because of its targeted audience, authenticity, and cost efficiency. For every $1 spent, influencer campaigns earn $5. Because of this, 66% of brands will increase their budget on influencer marketing this year. Out of those surveyed, only 7% claimed they hadn’t used influencer marketing.
Yet, despite the continued importance of influencers, only 67% of brands measure their actual ROI from it’se campaigns. But, overall, it’s a solid investment; as per Mediakix, 89% of marketers that track ROI stated that the ROI on influencer marketing is better than any other marketing channel.
If your new to implementing influencer marketing, you may want to outsource the project to a markeitng firm with experience and expertise in influencer marketing, or work with a consultant to properly and effectively create your influencer marketing campaign.