Understanding Influencer Marketing and Where To Begin

 “People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic.” Seth Godin

Over the last few years, there have been many developments in the digital world. Notably, the popularity of Instagram, where it turned from sharing pictures to sharing lives, and the rise of visual content. There’s one buzz word that lies at the intersection of all of the greatest trends that are driving the way brands are speaking to their customers online – *drumroll* It’s Influencer Marketing.

We’ve all asked ourselves at least once – What makes influencer marketing effective?

People are always on their phone. Statistics suggest that around the globe people spend an average of 144 minutes on social media every day. With the advent of the Instagram era, speaking to your followers is only a 10-second story away.

Here’s where mainstream marketing recognized the force of Instagram follower base and the potential of what could happen when content creation meets brand integration.

And that’s what we know now as Influencer Marketing.

What is Influencer Marketing?

Before we get to influencer marketing, let’s understand who social influencers are.

Influencers have the power to affect purchasing decisions of their followers because of their area of authority, knowledge, presentation or the relationship they share with their audience. Social influencers often actively engage with a distinct niche following.

Influencer marketing then, is a form of digital marketing that focuses on brand collaborations with influencers to drive a brand’s message to the influencer’s fan base. Rather than marketing directly to your intended audience, you onboard influencers to get the word out for you. Influencer marketing involves two other prominent forms of digital marketing: social-media marketing and content marketing.

The popularity of food bloggers, travel bloggers, photography bloggers and the like is an evolution in the way we consume social media. It now seems natural for a custard brand to tie up with a food blogger vis-a-vis tying up with a generally popular person as a brand ambassador. Because of the authority and credibility, the food blogger enjoys (in this case), the marketing campaign is bound to be authentic and successful.

Today there are influencers even in the smallest niches – wellness, interiors, mothers, makeup, comedy, the list goes on. Brands make direct and lateral collaborations with these influencers to tell a genuine and believable narrative.

Followers trust influencers and value their words, especially against brands. Influencers usually have a large, engaged audience that brands can tap into to build credibility and even drive sales.

Reasons why Influencer Marketing is right for your brand

There are many benefits of influencer marketing, but here is a roundup of 5 factors which are our top picks.

Followers want to listen.

Unlike digital ads, influencer marketing is not pushy. The content produced by the influencer engages the follower and therefore there’s a certain willingness in listening to what they say. Certainly influencer marketing wins over ads that occupy people’s personal space – and that is a huge advantage.                                                                                 

Reach a bigger audience.

Influencer marketing is the roadmap to tapping into a really engaged follower base on social media. Influencers are specialists in building trust and telling engaging stories. So when a brand collaborates with such an influencer, what they get is a whole niche of invested followers.

Targeted marketing and relevant leads.

Further, the target audience can be narrowed down to reach relevant leads. Thanks to the niche fan following, influencer marketing allows brands to tap into the specific audiences they want to target. Which more often than not, results in relevant leads and drives conversions.

Enriched content strategy.

Influencers are true content craftsmen. Once you enlist an influencer, your content strategy gets the oomph that will enrich your content plan. Say you do align all your content and the influencers with your brand, prepare to blow up.

Small campaigns, big impact.

The digital game demands unique, specific and most times small scale campaigns (sometimes part of a bigger plan). The advantage with influencer marketing is that it is a generally cost-effective way of running an online campaign as opposed to onboarding a conventional brand ambassador. One of the key benefits of influencer marketing is higher rate of return on relatively lower investment.

“Influencer marketing delivers the 2nd highest ROI of any digital channel.”

So, where to start?

If you’re excited about employing social media influencer marketing, here are some things you can do to start.

Within is always the best place to begin. There are three key points you need to identify and define for your brand before you take on an influencer marketing campaign.

First, define your goals.

What do you want to achieve through your social influencer effort? What are the various tangible and intangible objectives you want to fulfill? Do you want to create brand awareness, engage with your target audience, launch a new product or run tactical promotion? Defining your brand’s goals provides a guideline for every step in the process.

Second, identify your audience.

You can start by asking who they are, what do they do, what do you want to say to them? Further you can define age groups, the geography of where they are, and what their consumption patterns are. What value are you bringing to them and what role does your brand play in their lives? Another big factor to identify is which platforms your target groups are present on.

And finally, set the key metrics.

What metrics will you use to measure the success of your campaign? Total impressions, number of clicks on landing page/website, average engagement rate, conversion to customers, amount of user-generated content created and revenue are some of the industry-standard metrics to measure the success of influencer marketing efforts. No one size fits all, which is why it’s imperative to understand what your brand’s key performance indicators are.

Once you’ve answered these questions, you’d have built the foundation for a successful influencer marketing campaign. Next step would be identify what kind of influencers would suit your goals best. Let’s have that conversation another time?

Meanwhile, here’s an example of  where we collaborated with Wipro’s Maxkleen to launch a floor and surface sanitizer during the corona virus lockdown.

In conclusion, we’ll leave with you this quote:

“Influencers — they’re the best thing since sliced bread. But forget bread; they’re selling like hot cakes. They’re creating huge returns, and they’re only set to keep growing!”