What is Influencer Marketing?
If social media marketing, affiliate marketing, and paid display ads had a baby, it would be influencer marketing. It has a lot of the positives and negatives of the three combined.
This channel especially is amazing because it is so diverse and is giving opportunities to so many emerging young entrepreneurs. If done right, this can help give you much better ROI than other marketing channels, if not, it can be a huge waste of your time and money.
Influencers are people who have already built communities or following in a particular niche. You collaborate with them to share your message with their audience.
Why does it work?
To build their communities/following they need to consistently post good content in a particular niche. Their audience chose to follow them because of this content and is interested in the niche.
- Trust: Associating with great influencers makes their audience trust and like your brand since they trust and like the influencer.
- Targeting: You can actually target your customers based on the type of influencers(primarily based on their niche and location).
- Trend: Since multiple well-followed people post about your message and may even nudge other people to do so, it becomes a trend. This often leads to virality.
- Timeless: All the posts from your campaign stay in the influencers’ profiles and people often check out the influencers’ old posts.
Even though influencer marketing is growing extremely fast, I still believe is uncluttered and less competitive than most other marketing channels out there.
It is so effective that Instagram itself has considered adding features which will take influencer marketing on its platform one step further.
Who is it for?
Influencer Marketing works best for industries like food, fashion, fitness, CPG, etc.
This is because it is easier to get creative influencer marketing ideas for products and services that can be shown visually in a post.
Also, due to the type of influencers there are on Instagram, it is easier to target the potential buyers of these products.
There are numerous case studies where it has worked wonders for other brands as well. It is arguably one of the most creative marketing channels out there. You just need to understand it, get creative with it and test it out.
Just think about it. If Instagram ads can work extremely well even for software companies, why not influencer marketing which is on the same platform but has lesser competition.
Process: How to do it effectively?
Here are some things that I want to talk about:
- Setting KPIs
- Campaign Design
- Bonus: Taking it forward
So let’s get straight into it
KPIs: How to measure your marketing success?
So, what should be your marketing goals for Influencer Marketing?
Likes? Positive Comments? Reach?
That was a trick question. Your marketing goal doesn’t change with a channel. It remains the same. Broadly it can be one of the two:
The right key performance indicators(KPIs) help you understand whether your marketing efforts are actually mapping to your goal or not. What are the right KPIs for you then?
For influencer marketing, your primary KPI should almost always be engagement.
- If your Marketing goal is brand awareness, your KPIs can be reach, engagements, number of posts, etc.
If someone looks at the posts that are a part of your marketing campaign and connects with it, he/she are very likely to engage with the post. If your posts have a high reach and low engagement that may mean that something went wrong; maybe the posts didn’t click with your customers or you didn’t select the influencers with the right audience, etc.
- If your marketing goal is getting leads, your KPIs can be engagement, clicks, website visits, purchases, etc. People who engage with your content have already shown some amount of intent that they like your product.
Measuring engagement or clicks both work well in this case. Other metrics like website visits and purchases may vary a lot due to other factors like your site speed, your website’s conversion rate, etc.
So how do you get higher engagement?
I’ll cover each of these points in the upcoming sections, so keep reading! (Bossy much?)
Creatives: What should you promote?
Keep your marketing objectives in mind. What do you want to communicate to your audience; what action do you want them to take?
Here is a list of things you should focus on:
Have you ever seen an ad which was amazing and memorable but you just don’t remember which brand it was promoted by and what they were trying to promote? Influencer Marketing, being such a creative channel, is highly susceptible to this.
Make sure what you want to communicate is not lost in your creative genius.
Inclusion basically means trying to get potential customers to take some action so that they are a part of the campaign.
Most of the posts that have high engagement or even go viral are posts which have something in them that pushes people to either tag their friends or share it with someone.
The content may be so enlightening, relatable, interesting or amusing.
Don’t forget to ask people to take action. One way you can do this effectively is by running a competition.
Taking action (like taking part in a competition by sharing a post for you) has lesser friction than buying your product. So if you can convince someone to take action for you, they are more likely to convert and also, your campaign reaches more people.
This is a less talked about metric that has a massive on the campaign’s performance and is one of the things that can lead to virality. This is extremely similar to inclusion.
When you pay an influencer to post for you, you are paying for the engagement and the business you will get because of that influencer. But, if your campaign has something like a competition which people can take part in, you will also get additional engagements and benefits from these organic posts.
To illustrate the power of repostablity, I created the chart below.
% of paid engagement: What percentage is the organic engagement in comparison with paid engagement?
Eg: 10 paid and 5 organic will be 50%. 10 paid and 20 organic will be 200%.
Repostability: What % of people who engage on your posts, take part in your competition.
Try to get as many people as possible to take part in your campaign organically.
The values in this graph may vary if we change different factors (like budget, industry, demographics, etc.) but this can give you a really good idea of the impact of this metric.
Tell people viewing your posts exactly what action you want them to take. This is essential for all marketing activities as this reduces the mental effort required for them to take action.
5. Brand Image
Make sure that the post is in line with your brand image. Colors, graphics, themes, messaging, everything.
You will have to track the performance of your posts. (More in a section down below)
To track your campaign’s posts, add an hashtag unique to your campaign.
So, who makes the creatives?
Option 1: You create a picture and share it with the influencers.
This is actually the easier option to implement. On the other hand, it is very difficult to create something that every influencer’s audience will enjoy and relate to.
Option 2: They create a picture/video based on how you instruct them and incorporating their own creativity and style into it.
Try including as many things as you can to make sure you are communicating your instructions properly. You can add the following to your documentation:
- What is not acceptable
- Moodboard & Examples
- Product placement Instructions
Influencers: Finding the Right Influencers for you
Influencers are the core of any Influencer marketing campaign! So much so that they’re even in the name “Influencer Marketing” (Bad joke?)
Factor 1: Macro/Micro
I want to start with this because they are extremely different from each other and businesses would want to use either of them.
|Micro Influencers||Macro Influencers|
Select the influencers whose content you think people, who are interested in your brand, might follow i.e. whose followers are mostly your brand’s target audience.
It’s usually a bad idea to go after influencers who try to be in more than 2 niches since their image isn’t very clear in the minds of their followers.
Factor 3: Engagement rate
We’ve already established that engagement is a really important metric and probably will be one of the primary KPIs for your influencer marketing campaigns.
The average engagement rate of an influencer tells you out of the followers that he/she has, what percentage do usually engage with his/her posts.
How do you know what a good engagement rate is?
Well.. this depends primarily on 3 things:
- The Region
- The number of followers
- The Niche
For your reference, here is a Followers vs engagement rate graph that I created by analyzing over 1000 Indian Instagram influencer profiles.
P.S. Shoutout to my friends at InfluenceMonk(an Influencer Marketing agency) for providing me with the data.
A lot of pages on Instagram have gained popularity by featuring really racy or inappropriate pictures which don’t align with most brand images. There might be other inappropriately innovative things people do on Instagram to gain followers. So, do look at the influencers’ posts to see whether or not they are the right fit for your brand.
Factor 5: Fake influencers
Around 35% of all influencer profiles that we analyzed were fake. Read that again.
This is huge! This means that having fake influencers isn’t something you can just ignore anymore.
People can buy followers and engagement illegally on Instagram for low costs.
These services have created a lot of fake accounts which are run by bots. Whenever someone buys followers, these bots just go ahead and follow that account.
How does this impact your marketing campaign?
If you pay someone who just buys followers, their engagement rates will be almost nothing.
But, if you pay someone who has bought followers and then also engagement, you will get high engagement from that influencer but this engagement won’t contribute to your marketing goals.
How to check whether an influencer is buying followers?
You can use a free tool like app.influencemonk.com to check the number of followers any influencer has had at different intervals of time. If you see any spikes followed by a fall in the number of followers, you can assume that the influencer is fake or at least suspicious and try to avoid him/her or dig into it further.
If all the comments on an influencer’s posts seem too generic and maybe a lot of them are also out of context, then you can assume that they are buying engagement.
Factor 6: Influencer’s connection with followers
Especially when you are working with macro influencers, you should check how well the influencer is connecting with his/her followers by doing things like replying to comments or posts videos/stories of their lives.
There have been multiple cases where people partnered with a macro influencer but haven’t seen any significant successes just because the followers of that influencers didn’t really connect with him/her.
This is a much smaller issue when you are working with micro influencers as since they have a small following making it easier to relate to and trust them.
Factor 7: Influencer’s brand
Again, especially when working with macro influencers, you can check whether or not the influencer’s brand resonates with your brand image.
Eg: If you are a company which focuses on creating eco-friendly products then you can try looking for influencers who have posted about environmental issues before.
If your brand has a masculine image, you can try looking for influencers who also have portrayed a masculine image of themselves.
Pricing: How much should you pay the influencers?
Look at your business goals, derive the right KPIs for it. Estimate how can you pay for those KPIs to get profitable results, then try achieving them for a much lower price.
Business goal: Store walk-ins
Assumption: If I get 100 engagements on my posts, 1 person will visit my store.
Average order size from my store: 200$.
Based on my profit margins and business requirements, I can pay 50$ per store walk in.
So I can pay 50$ for 100 engagements. I.e. 0.5$ per engagement.
Now look at the influencers you were looking to work with and try and predict how much of your KPI you can generate working with them. Try and negotiate with them, if they can’t agree to work at your acceptable price or lower, they might just not be a good fit for you.
If you’re taking advantage of repostability(which you should), you will also have to account for how much organic engagement you may get. This calculation can get a little complicated, you can consider taking consultation from an influencer marketing agency.
Tracking: What should you monitor once the campaign is live and how?
To tracking metrics on an influencer level is very important. You can use various techniques like giving different links to different influencers, giving different promo codes or using UTM parameters.
Try tracking the following:
- Influencer Side:
- Did they post it at the correct time?
- Is the post graphic/video is in sync with your guidelines?
- Did they take it down before the campaign ended?
- Did they post something right after posting your post?
- Did they use the right CTA and hashtag?
- Performance Side:
- Track all the KPIs that you had chosen at the start of the campaign as frequently as you can.
- See what people are commenting: Take insights and respond to them asap.
- If your message got taken in a wrong way decide whether or not you should immediately stop the campaign.
Analyzing: How to read and understand the results?
- Your funnel: See where most people dropped off from your marketing funnel.
- Eg: Maybe you got great engagement but extremely few people visited your website. Try including a better CTA the next time or providing a better incentive for people.
- Eg: Maybe you got a lot of traffic to your website but people didn’t convert as well. Do some conversion rate optimization on your website. Try seeing which type of influencers gave better results and use more of those influencers.
- Best Influencers: See which influencers performed better.
- Eg: Maybe some influencers got you a great amount of engagement but the traffic coming from them doesn’t give you too much traffic.
- Understand your audience better: See where your most of your results are coming from. Which influencer is giving the most engagements, who is giving the most clicks, whose followers are converting better on your website, etc.
- Gather real feedback: People are extremely comfortable with expressing their thoughts in the comments. You can use this as real feedback for your marketing campaign and your company.
Bonus: Taking it forward
- Now that the campaign is over and you have analysed the results, you can use this data to run much better campaigns the next time onwards.
- You can boost influencers’ posts if you think the content is good and gave good results. Since it will help them gain visibility as well, most influencers will agree to this.
- You can also try and buy the rights to the post content to use as marketing collateral for your other campaigns.