If you want to grow your social media presence, partnering with influencers is a sure bet.
A decade ago, influencers were only big celebrities and bloggers. Now there are many other kinds of influencers to fit any brand’s needs and budgets.
That’s a good thing, right? Or maybe not?
Before jumping into the ocean of influencers, you need to know everything about them to ensure an excellent collaboration for both sides.
So, in this guide, you’ll learn:
- What influencer marketing is
- The benefits of collaborating with influencers
- The fundamentals, such as the types of influencers, endorsement guidelines, and more
And we’ll also share some tips on developing an influencer marketing strategy with a great return on investment (ROI).
Let’s get started!
What Is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is a form of marketing that involves a brand collaborating with influencers to distribute promotional content about its products or services.
Influencer marketing is often a part of digital marketing initiatives, and the campaigns take place on social media platforms.
On social media channels, brands want to expand awareness of their products or services and increase exposure to new audiences.
Influencers are the ideal candidates to help brands to do this by creating engaging and authentic content to hook the target audience and achieve the brand's business goals.
Since customers have less trust in branded content, influencers have come to fill this gap by allowing brands to have promotional content that feels more natural and honest compared to traditional advertising.
A study found that 82% of people have purchased a product or service after seeing friends' or influencers' posts.
This means that influencers leverage word-of-mouth marketing—essentially, recommendations from friends, family, and peers are more likely to get someone to buy something.
In fact, 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family above all types of advertising.
This type of content is called user-generated content (UGC), and many brands capitalize on it to distribute authentic content that appeals to their audience’s demographics.
Since we’ve covered the influencer marketing definition, let’s dive deeper into its benefits on social media platforms.
How Social Media Influencers Can Help Your Business
A common problem most businesses have is needing help finding new leads and potential customers.
And what better place than where they all hang out?
Social influencers have built a community that trusts and relates to them, while during the pandemic, the influencer marketing industry size has more than doubled and is valued at $16.4 billion.
Here’s a list of some benefits of collaborating with social media influencers:
- Authenticity: 30% of millennials have unfollowed brands because their content was inauthentic or too sales-y. Content produced by influencers looks much more natural than conventional ads.
- Social proof: Influencers act like brand ambassadors highlighting product features and use cases. Their followers trust them, so their suggestions highly impact their followers’ purchase decisions.
- Engagement: One of social media's most important key performance indicators (KPIs). User-generated content has a 6.9 times higher engagement rate.
- Creator licensing: Social media platforms allow brands to use content produced by influencers. Creator licensing also enables influencers to give advertising access to their content to brands.
- Cost-effective: Influencers with smaller followings, such as nano and micro-influencers, are affordable even for small businesses. According to data from Insense, the average cost for collaborating with micro-influencers is around $80–$400.
Collaborating with influencers can boost brand awareness and exposure, while these partnerships also add credibility and make a brand look trustworthy.
Since influencer marketing is growing daily, now is the best time to learn the fundamentals of this rising market.
Understand the Basics
While working with influencers may feel straightforward at first glance, it’s actually quite tricky if you don’t know the basics.
The more you know about influencers, the better your sponsored campaigns and content marketing will be.
But, don’t fret; we’re here for you!
Let’s get into the fundamentals of influencer marketing!
4 types of influencers
While all influencers may seem alike, they’re categorized based on the number of their followers.
Roughly speaking, there are four categories of influencers:
- Nano-influencers: 1K–10K followers
- Micro-influencers: 10K–100K followers
- Macro-influencers: 100K+ followers
- Mega-influencers: 1M+ followers
In our example, the Instagram influencer belongs to the micro-tier category since she has around 27,000 followers.
While the categories we’ve mentioned are determined based on follower count, they include other characteristics such as payment methods, content quality, and engagement rates.
For example, nano-influencers are usually paid with giveaways or free product samples, while mega-influencers and above are paid per piece.
Plus, micro-influencers have the second highest engagement rate at 2.4%, behind nano-influencers with 5.6%, based on a survey by HypeAuditor.
There are several factors to consider before collaborating with an influencer, so let’s see what they are.
This is a parameter that is usually responsible for a campaign's failure.
It has to do with the alignment between the brand and the influencer. And to illustrate this common problem, we'll give you an example.
Imagine asking a food blogger to promote life insurance. Does this feel natural?
We hope your answer is no, or else good luck!
The brand should aim to communicate its message to a related, targeted audience, so an influencer's relevance in your specific niche is essential.
What’s more, one key ingredient that makes influencer content successful is its authenticity.
Users relate to influencers that have built thought leadership or are experts on a specific subject.
If finding the right influencers for your brand initiatives is challenging, consider using collaboration platforms like Insense. You can access its marketplace with 35,000+ influencers, making the influencer outreach process much more manageable.
Follow endorsement guidelines
Content on social media must follow Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines that ensure your material is appropriate for sharing.
Influencers and brands must ensure their content follows all applicable laws and regulations.
Previously, celebrity endorsements didn’t disclose that a company provided the product or service they displayed for promotional purposes. That misled the audience into thinking that the celebrity was sharing an honest (and unpaid) recommendation.
Today, things are different, and influencers must inform their audiences about sponsorships and sponsored content.
The law is also strict about deceptive ads and/or ads that mislead users with unrealistic promises.
Any social network, such as TikTok, Meta platforms, or LinkedIn, has guidelines, especially for influencer ads and sponsored content.
So, before launching your campaign, look at the documents and act accordingly.
Next, let’s get into the details of creating your influencer marketing strategy!
Develop a Winning Influencer Marketing Strategy
The nitty-gritty of our guide has started!
You’ll learn how to build an influencer marketing strategy, from baby steps to more advanced tips that guarantee your success.
All you have to do is follow the step-by-step process we’ll cover.
Set SMART goals
Any marketing initiative should have specific purposes, and the most popular framework to construct them is SMART.
SMART is an acronym, and we’ll explain influencer campaign goals by analyzing its components:
- Specific: Define one primary and one secondary goal for your campaign: like conversions and traffic to your website.
- Measurable: Now that you’ve defined your goals, you need to identify how to track the campaign's progress. There are countless options to track your goals, from built-in analytics on social platforms, external tools, or even by using tracking links and software.
- Achievable: Based on your experience, separate your goals into smaller pieces to get easy wins. This will encourage your collaborators to do their best.
- Relevant: Find influencers that fit with your brands’ products or services to make their content more authentic.
- Time-Bound: Set due dates for each deliverable and ensure the influencer knows these deadlines and follows the schedule.
Follow this process, and your goals will be objective and achievable.
Choose the platform based on the audience
Or, in other words, who’s your ideal customer?
To answer that question, you need to define their demographics, what they want to achieve, their pain points, and more.
All these pieces of information will also help you identify the most suitable social media platform to attract them.
As the graph above shows, the platform most marketers use for influencer campaigns is Instagram.
At the same time, marketers have been increasing influencer marketing campaigns on platforms like Facebook or TikTok for the last two years.
That indicates that brands and marketers often change their influencer marketing campaign strategies.
For example, TikTok is better for brands promoting their products or services to a younger audience.
Identify the key influencers
Finding the right partners on social media is challenging, but there are some ways to make it a bit easier
Here are a few ways to identify influencers:
- Find niche hashtags
- Encourage influencers to reach out
- Attend events
- Search on Google
All the above ways are effective, but some are more time-consuming than others.
If you want an effortless way to find influencers, consider using an influencer marketing platform like Insense.
Reach out to the influencers
After finding the ideal prospects, it’s time for outreach!
Most influencers have their email addresses in their bio, but if not, you can also send them a direct message (DM) or comment on their posts.
Ensure that your message is crystal clear, introduce yourself and your brand’s name, and explain why you think you’d be a good fit.
Before moving into an intro call, ask them to provide their media kit (more prominent influencers will have this, but smaller ones might not) with previous collaborations, statistics, and track records.
Work on the campaign together
While guidelines are essential in maintaining the quality of content and achieving the campaign’s goals, you shouldn’t overlook the influencers’ recommendations.
You need to craft a creative brief and use it as a documented template with all the essential information for both sides in one place.
Creative briefs contain the following information:
- Brand details
- Product or service information
- Campaign information
- Creative specification
The last two sections could be adjustable based on the influencer’s feedback and creative approach.
Adding creative requirements helps ensure the content will meet the brands’ expectations.
Building a successful influencer campaign also means knowing how to measure its performance.
So let’s dive into how to do just that!
ROI of Influencer Marketing Campaigns
All investments are judged by their return (ROI), and it's the same with social media marketing.
The good thing about influencer campaigns on social media is that there are several ways to track their performance.
Social media platforms have built-in tools that measure a post’s reach, engagement, and new followers.
There are also influencer marketing tools, such as Insense, that help brands view the progress of their campaigns and measure their results.
Also, influencers can add some details to their sponsored content, as we’ll see in our example, that help brands achieve their goals.
Take a look at this example from an Instagram post for a moment.
The influencer uses good practices that lead to traffic and awareness of the brand, such as:
- Tagging the brand’s profile on Instagram: this leads the influencer’s audience to its partner profile. The metric that the brand can measure is new followers or visits.
- Displaying hashtag #ad: Using this hashtag makes it clear to the audience that this is a sponsored post. It’s pretty helpful since it adds credibility to the content.
- Using branded hashtags: This can be an opportunity for audiences to engage with the brand by using its hashtags. Brands can track branded hashtag posts easily through the related tab.
- Having a clear call to action: The influencer calls her followers to try the new product and share their experience. This may lead to more conversions and engagement.
As we’ve seen, a good partner creates opportunities for followers to engage with a brand’s products or services.
Now you’ve learned all this, we can wrap things up.
Find Your Influencers
Influencer marketing campaigns can drive growth to your brand, and while collaborating with influencers may require substantial knowledge, you have nothing to be afraid of anymore.
The only thing keeping you from your winning social media strategy is identifying the best influencers for your brand.
If you don’t know where to start, Insense’s platform has 35,000+ vetted influencers to pick from. You can sort by filters such as age, gender, location, and more. There are also creator portfolios and ratings to help you make the best choice.
Feel free to book a demo with Insense to see how all this works in practice. We’re looking forward to making your next social media marketing campaign successful.