Business activities in the 21st century are more internet-based than offline. From email marketing, social media marketing to influencer marketing, online activities is the new paradigm shift in business.
The term "influencer marketing" has been a buzz word for a long time. But it's now a form of online marketing. It involves marketing products and services to people who influence the things people buy.
Influencer marketing has some similarities with Word-of-Mouth Marketing, but it doesn't rely on strict recommendations.
An influencer could be any person, group, brand, or place. For instance, you can choose to use celebrities for marketing your products or services because they are respected and visible.
In recent times, bloggers have become influencers because they can easily influence their loyal followers' buying behavior. Whenever a blogger recommends a product or service to his loyal followers, they tend to trust such recommendations more than traditional advertising.
When you engage influencers to spread awareness of your brand, you can avoid the cynicism and skepticism that come with direct marketing messages.
One of the reasons why influencer marketing is unique is because it appeals to the needs of influencers rather than your customers. Since the endorsement of your products by influencers could exponentially increase its acceptance, you must respect influencers and form relationships with them.
Influencer marketing is an effective strategy because it involves collaboration between brands and influencers.
Let me quickly correct an impression here. Unlike what most people think, influencer marketing doesn't just involve celebrities. It revolves around influencers, especially people with large and loyal followers online.
When it comes to influencer marketing, the real forces are the online influencers. They have been able to build a community of keen and enthusiastic followers over the years. Even though an influencer's audience doesn't like your brand, they will always value the influencer's opinion.
A survey organized by an influencer marketing agency -MediaKix in 2018 to get marketers' opinion about influencer marketing unveiled the following;
89% of surveyed marketers believe that the Return on Investment (ROI) from influencer marketing is comparatively better than that of other networks. The survey also revealed that 65% of marketers plan to increase their influencer marketing budget for 2019.
If you are planning on starting an influencer marketing campaign anytime soon, you can get fresh insight that could positively impact your campaigns from these studies;
#1. Brands Are Increasing Marketing Budgets
Most brands are constantly increasing their marketing budgets to meet up with the trends. A study on the State of Influencer Marketing carried out by LINQIA shows that most markets increase their budgets. According to the survey, only five percent of marketers report plans to reduce their investment in marketing.
There are several reasons why brands are increasing their marketing budgets; one is the rise of big data. Buyers in the 21st century are smart; they seek out products on their own, unlike in the past, when products were broadcasted to them.
So, brands have to compete to provide a superior experience to their customers, hence the continuous increase in marketing budgets.
#2. Challenges in Marketing Influencer Marketing Program
In 2018, brands reported that incorporating influencer marketing into their busy schedules was one of their biggest challenges. But due to the value of this marketing strategy, they had no other choice but to embrace it.
Furthermore, some marketers are searching for creative ways to manage their influencer marketing programs. This was reflected in LINQIA's report, which stated that 42 percent of marketers report using turnkey service providers to help run their influencer marketing programs. An additional 18% reported outsourcing their influencer marketing to an agency.
#3. Influencers Continue to Engage
The strength of influencer engagement has always been one of the many reasons brands continue to increase their investment in influencer marketing. According to Business Insider, the average influencer engagement rate across the industry is 5.7 percent.
In the social media environment, influencers have more engagements than brands. This is because influencers are more authentic. Unlike brands that promote with the incentive to sell, most influencers only promote products and services they trust.
#4. Video Content Dominates other Types of Contents
Video content is dominating other types of content online due to their level of engagement. That's why experts predicted that by the end of 2020, video consumption would reach 80% of global traffic.
Again, 85% of marketers use video content because views usually absorb 95 percent more messaging through video. Also, 99 percent of marketers currently using video are saying they will continue to use video.
If you haven’t been creating excellent video content, you can hire some of the best content marketing companies online to help you out.
#5. Marketers Are Honing in On Instagram and Blog
In 2018, Instagram was rated as the most important social media network for influencer marketing. Even though most social media channels support video content, Instagram is outstanding due to its enormous user base and concise video content.
How to Create an Influencer Marketing Strategy
No doubt, influencer marketing is an excellent strategy to increase your brand awareness and expand your business reach. Like every other marketing activity, if you aren't strategic in your influencer marketing, you may not achieve the desired result.
If you are too busy to handle your influencer marketing program, you can hire some of the best influencer marketing companies online.
Here is a step by step process to create a winning influencer marketing strategy;
#1. Start with Research
The first step to creating an influencer marketing strategy is to conduct a detailed research about the channel or network you want to focus on.
If you are new to the influencer marketing game, you should focus on one network and expand it later. If you already have a social media handle for your brand, start with the channel where you have the highest number of followers.
Don't forget that the audience's demography differs across different social media platforms; try to understand it before deciding on the niche to focus on.
Again, your business niche plays an important role when trying to implement an influencer marketing strategy. For instance, if you own a fashion and beauty brand, you tend to connect with your potential customers easily on Instagram and YouTube.
So, research is important when creating an influencer marketing strategy. It puts you in the right perspective and furnishes you with the correct information.
However, if you don’t have the skills or time to carry out research yourself, you can hire from any of these top rated marketing research companies online.
#2. Set a Budget and Management Strategy
Once you are done with your research, the next step is to set a budget and management strategy. Of course, you should have an idea of how much to pay influencers during this stage. This will enable you to create a working budget for your strategy.
Furthermore, factor in time for planning, executing and reviewing the entire strategy. You should bear in mind that running a successful influencer marketing campaign isn't a set-it-and-go strategy. It requires constant monitoring and follow-up. After all, influencers are humans who frequently balance multiple partnerships. So, there are chances that they may fall behind in their commitment to post on time and possibly make errors in your requested tags or call to actions. For this reason, you need to monitor your influencer marketing campaign continually.
If you think your brand needs a larger pool of influencers, it would be better to hire an influencer marketing agency. A good influencer marketing agency will help to carry out extensive research and coordinate your strategy.
#3. Decide on Your Influencer Marketing Goal and Message
Before you start your influencer marketing campaign, you must have a goal and message to deliver. Most times, the goal of an influencer marketing campaign is usually to either elevate your brand awareness or increase sales.
Generally, your strategy will be more focused if you align it with the campaign's goal. The beauty of influencer marketing is that it enables you to promote your brand to a specific audience through influencers.
So, try to work with influencers in your niche. They can easily reach out to a targeted audience within your niche who would be interested in your products and possibly engage with your content.
#4. Find and Contact Your Influencers
Every influencer marketing campaign is centered around influencers. So, before you start implementing your strategy, you should find and contact influencers, you can work with within your niche.
When you are searching for influencers, always remember the following;
- The influencer must be posting content related to your niche. For instance, it will be unwise to engage an influencer who regularly posts about fashion to help you promote your tech services. You can't get your desired result from this type of campaign.
- Ensure that the influencers you are working with are legit. You can investigate their legitimacy by going through their feeds and click through on posts. And if you notice poor engagements compared to their follower count, you should know that something isn't right.
#5. Always Review Your Strategy
In the end, how effective your influencer marketing campaign depends on your strategy. So, it's important to review the campaign strategy and measure its performance constantly. If you aren't getting the desired result, you can do things differently.
Influencer marketing could be a game-changing strategy when implemented correctly. With this strategy, you can quickly expand your business reach and elevate your brand awareness.