Over the past few years, a phenomenon has been gaining more and more prominence in the advertising and online world: influencer marketing. But what exactly does the term mean? Does influencer marketing work? And most importantly, how can it help your business?
Influencer marketing is the promotion strategy used by brands in campaigns that take advantage of a specific figure’s influence and online fame – people who have a dedicated following on social media and are considered experts in their niche - to reach a particular audience with a commercial offer, creating a bridge between a brand and the influencer’s followers.
Obtaining new customers, generating value and trust towards your brand, retaining existing customers and influencing the purchase decision of a specific audience all become easier when these people already trust and identify with an influencer. Through this identification, brands can create opportunities to establish partnerships with influencers, in order to present and share views about their services.
The growth of influencer marketing
With the popularization of social networks, influencer marketing has gone from strength to strength, for a number of reasons. The main one is that social networks make it possible for anyone to become an influencer, as long as they command a large audience. This means relatively low costs for businesses.
Today, anyone can become popular on social media, and become a digital influencer, if they can develop a decent amount of followers, engagement rates and a great reach. There are many cases like this on social networks, especially YouTube and Instagram, whose most popular users are hired by large companies to give visibility to their offers.
Does influencer marketing really work?
The short answer is: yes, it does. Influencer marketing can bring a lot of short-term advantages and benefits to your business. One of the main ones is the opportunity to reach a larger audience for your brand, by communicating it using influencers.
This will lead to an increase in the number of brand impressions from people who may not have known about your brand before, in addition to an increase in the number of followers on your social networks.
How can influencer marketing help your business? Where to begin?
There are two main ways to conduct influencer marketing, based on two popular media models from traditional marketing: paid media and earned media.
In paid media, digital influencers are paid to create campaigns or activations focused on promoting a product, service or brand. There needs to be some kind of synergy - an alignment of positioning and opinions - between influencer and brand, since the message will be transmitted to the influencer's audience.
In earned media, digital influencers engage as partners, without any financial stake in the project. Instead, promoting a product, service or brand is advantageous for them because it will lead to visibility, prestige, access to events or people, or any number of other intangible benefits.
How to find influencers who align with my brand
Finding the right influencers for your marketing strategy can be tricky at times. But a great first step is to survey your audience, in order to understand them better. If you already have in mind exactly who they are, do some research to identify the content producers that they tend to follow the most.
Understand your audience, the profiles they follow and how much these influencers actually impact their decisions. Look into how they consume content, who they admire and respect, and whose opinions they trust. Finding the influencers who align with your audience will allow you to create more effective strategies.
You also need to know where, what and when to post, in recognition of your audience and the social platforms where they spend their time. Getting to know your audience takes time, and should be considered a constant work-in-progress. Take advantage of data, analytics and social testing to get a sense of your audience with each new campaign.
Does influencer marketing work? We’ve seen that it does. Now it's time to put it into practice. Once you've found the right influencer, start to plan your strategies, set your goals, define the message you want to transmit and measure your results once the campaign is over.
Or, if you’re anxious to start off on the right foot, consider hiring a digital marketing agency to support and help you to avoid common mistakes.