Have you ever purchased something because a well-known person you admire used the product or service?
I’m definitely guilty of this — in fact, I recently started buying a certain brand of tissue because one of Kenya’s most influential entertainers has been promoting the brand for quite sometime now.
Influencer marketing uses top content creators, specialized in their respective niches, to help you improve brand awareness, increase traffic, and drive your brand’s message to your target audience. These content creators already market to your ideal audience across different channels which you can take advantage of for your influencer strategy.
Examples of these channels include social media, blogs, columns, digital and print ads, and television. Influencer marketing is increasingly more popular among businesses these days because traditional advertising has become less effective in attracting leads and customers.
Influencer marketing works because it uses tactics like word-of-mouth marketing and social proof, which are now critical aspects of any successful marketing strategy. Customers trust their peers, friends, and people they admire more than the companies selling the products and services they buy and use.
Before we dive into the different types of influencers, let’s review the difference between a brand influencer and a brand ambassador, as they’re often confused terms.
Brand Influencer vs. Brand Ambassador
A brand influencer refers to someone who has a following within a specific niche that they engage with regularly. Because of this, they have the power to impact their purchase decisions. The major types of brand influencers include micro-influencer, celebrity influencer, blog influencer, social media influencer, and key opinion leader (each of which we’ll define momentarily).
For example, Wabosha Maxine in Kenya has a huge following on social media among millenials hence most brands that seek to target young people with specific products work with her to push sales for their products, she creatively integrates various brands into her posts without appearing to be pushy to her audience to buy these products.
A brand ambassador is hired by a business to work under contract to help them achieve specific goals: increase brand awareness and boost conversions and sales. A brand ambassador’s contract is typically long-term (several months or even years). During that time, they represent the brand and the lifestyle associated with it and have deep knowledge about the business’s products or services. They don’t necessarily need to be an influencer prior to becoming an ambassador.
For example, Marini Naturals in Kenya works with various brand ambassadors who have a strong affinity towards African hair in order to help build brand awareness among current customers as well as attract a new set of customers who might identify with the influencer.Marini’s most popular brand ambassador is Fena Gitu who regularly promotes the Marini brand in her music videos as well as appearing regularly on Marini’s Instagram feed.
In this article, we’re going to focus on brand influencers. However, before we dive into the various types of brand influencers, let’s take a look at some important statistics that prove working with an influencer is effective in helping you reach your marketing goals.
Influencer Marketing Statistics
Influencer marketing is an investment — to get it right, you have to devote time to ensure you find the right influencer to promote content that appeals to your target audience. You also have to spend money and/ or resources to reward the influencer, run various campaigns with the influencer, and more depending on your specific marketing goals.
Luckily, there are a number of statistics that prove influencer marketing is a worthwhile time and monetary investment. There are also statistics that show you which metrics are impacted by influencer marketing.
General Influencer Marketing Statistics
- 89% of businesses say their ROI from influencer marketing is comparable to or better than other marketing channels.
- 80% of marketers say influencer marketing is effective for their businesses, and 35% say it’s very effective.
- In a survey, 82% of consumers said they were highly likely to follow a micro-influencer recommendation on a product or service.
- 71% of marketers say the quality of customers and traffic from influencer marketing is better than other sources.
- 49% of consumers today depend on influencer recommendations for their purchase decisions.
- The influencer marketing industry is set to reach $10 billion by 2020.
- 99.3% of businesses implementing influencer marketing campaigns use Instagram.
- Google searches for influencer marketing grew 1500% in the last three years.
- In a survey, 77% of marketers said they ran their business’s influencer campaigns in-house.
- 48% of marketers working with influencers say audience relationship is the most valuable factor when considering which influencer to collaborate with.
- Micro-influencers have 22.2x more weekly conversations about what to buy than the average consumer.
- Engagement is the biggest measure of influencer marketing campaign performance.
- Influencer marketing strategies focused on branding or engagements generate 8x ROI.
- 84% of marketers think that the measurement of ROI will be critical to the future success of all influencer marketing campaigns.
- 34% of businesses focus on reach (or impression) with their influencer marketing strategies.
- 35% of marketers want their influencers’ followers to take action, so they measure their results and ROI by engagement or clicks.
- The top three goals of influencer marketing for businesses include increasing brand awareness (85%), reaching new audiences (71%), and generating sales and conversions (64%).
Now that you have a better idea of the reasons why you’d want to invest in influencer marketing, let’s review the five major types of influencers to consider doing business with and examples of each.
Micro-influencers — have a relatively modest following of thousands or tens of thousands of people within their niche. They create relevant content for their audience and communicate with them via social media platforms, blogs, other written publications, websites, and forums.
Due to the size of their following and the type of content they create, they typically have high engagement rates. Having a smaller audience allows micro-influencers to bond with the people who follow them more regularly (as compared to a celebrity with millions of fans) via their channel. This makes them appealing to work with for businesses looking to develop personal relationships among their target audience.
How to Work With a Micro-Influencer
Micro-influencers can be established on a variety of channels. So, once you’ve chosen the micro-influencer you’re going to work with, you can have them write a post about your service, share an online review, or post a picture on Instagram with one of your products. Due to the manageable size of their base of followers, they’ll be able to engage with your target audience on the content they share about your products and brand.
This way, they can answer any questions the audience members may have about your products, communicate their experience with your products, and direct audience members to your website or customer support team if necessary.
2. Celebrity Influencer
Celebrity influencers are famous people with large followings — typically in the millions — who are known across many industries. They’re widely recognized and, therefore, have the potential to be very successful in influencing your target audience.
Even if your target audience doesn’t overlap with all of your celebrity influencer’s fans, having them promote and/ or use your product or service is a powerful form of social proof. Since celebrities are so well known, they’re effective at reaching multiple audiences across various channels.
How to Work With a Celebrity Influencer
Since celebrities are so well-known, there are many ways to work with them. You may focus on social media, print or online ads, TV commercials, blogs, or other written publications.
You can ask the celebrity to pose for pictures promoting your products, explain why their audience members would love your products or services, provide coupons and discount codes, or write reviews telling audience members why they stand by your brand. You may even sponsor an event the celebrity is hosting or attending.
3. Blog Influencer
A blog influencer is someone who writes for their established blog and has thousands, or millions, of subscribers and readers. Their reach and influence set them apart from other bloggers (meaning, they aren’t just writing for themselves or a very small group of people).
How to Work With a Blog Influencer
To collaborate with a blog influencer, you may write a guest post for their blog, ask to be mentioned in one of their posts, or sponsor a post about one of your products or services. If you sponsor a post on the influencer’s blog, you can also provide images of your products for them to share as well.
4. Social Media Influencer
Social media influencers are well-recognized on social platforms, such as Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter, and are followed by thousands or even millions of people. Social media influencers share content about a wide range of topics such as health, workouts, cars, diet, outdoor activities, travel, fashion, art, beauty, and interior design.
How to Work With a Social Media Influencer
Once you find a social media influencer with an established image that works for your brand, posts content you feel complements your products or services, and has followers who are also members of your target audience, you can determine what type of content you’re going to have them promote.
If the influencer is on Instagram, you may have them post a picture with your product and tag your social account. If they’re on Facebook, you can ask them to share a live video of them opening your product and if they’re on Twitter, you can have them write a brief statement about your product and pair it with a picture of them holding it. On YouTube, you may have the influencer share a video of them using your product while explaining the reasons why they love it.
On any social media platform, you can also have an influencer host a contest or giveaway with your products or share coupon codes.
How to Create an Influencer Marketing Strategy
1. Determine Your Goals
The first step is to create goals for your influencer marketing strategy. This way, you’ll be able to measure your success later on. Think about your objectives in terms of SMART goals — meaning, they’re specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound.
When working to develop influencer marketing SMART goals, there are three factors to keep in mind: reach, relevance, and resonance. These will help you focus your goals on the different aspects of influencer marketing your business wants to prioritize.
- Reach is the ability to deliver content to your target audience through an influencer. It helps you improve brand and product awareness. For example, how many people on Instagram are actually seeing the content an influencer is posting about your product?
- Relevance is the level of connection your audience feels to your brand, product, or service due to the work of an influencer — it’ll help you enhance brand loyalty. For example, if your audience sees a celebrity they love and admire with your product, they might begin to feel a strong connection to it as well.
- Resonance is the ability to drive audience members to a specific action because of an influencer’s content — it’s all about impact and memorability. Resonance helps you increase your follower count, drive traffic to your site, and boost conversions. For example, if your audience reads a blog post written by an influencer about your product, they may click on the link in the blog post that directs them to your website so they can buy it.
2. Determine if Your Audience Aligns with the Influencer’s Audience
No matter which type of influencer you decide to work with, your business’s target audience will remain the same. That’s because, although different influencers may have multiple ways of connecting with your audience, your business’s overall marketing goals and buyer personas don’t change.
If you’re in need of some guidance while defining your audience for your influencer marketing strategy, you can work with your marketing team to develop and learn about your buyer personas. This will help you identify the exact type of customer you’re going after and, therefore, help you determine what type of influencer and content will appeal most to them to ensure your target audience is aligned with that of the influencer.
3. Choose a Type of Influencer and Budget
Based on our review above of the different types of influencers,, you should be able to determine which type will work best for your business’s goals as well as your target audience. You should also think about your budget at this point.
For example, if you’re a startup with a low budget, you might choose to work with a micro-influencer. If you’re a mid-sized company with more resources, you might choose to bring on a celebrity influencer or work with a Key Opinion Leaders who’s highly-regarded in their industry.
Here are some more details on the average cost of influencers based on the type of work they do. However, it’s important to note these numbers aren’t set in stone — they’re just averages for Kenyan based brands that seek to work with influencers
- Micro-influencer: $80-500 per piece of content
- Celebrity influencer: $3,000-$10,000
- Blog influencer: $400-$1000 per blog post
- Social media influencer: $100-$10,000
- Key Opinion Leader: $500-$5,000+ per piece of content
4. Make Sure the Influencer is a Good Fit
Once you’ve determined the type of influencer you want to work with, it’s time to identify the right influencer for your company.
Ask yourself the following questions to ensure you identify the right person:
- Does this influencer and his or her lifestyle fit my brand image?
- Have they worked with any competitors?
- Who is this influencer’s current audience?
- Is my target audience active on the platform/ channel the influencer works on?
- Does working with this influencer make sense for my budget?
- Has this influencer actually used any of my products and/ or services before?
- Does this person have a personality I want to work with?
- What will this influencer expect from me?
5. Review Expectations With Influencer
Once you’ve chosen an influencer, review all of the expectations you have for them in addition to any expectations they have for you. Remember, your chosen influencer may have worked with other brands before yours — meaning, they may already have their own processes in place for the way they do business.
Additionally, their expectations are going to differ depending on the type of influencer they are. For example, a micro-influencer is going to have different expectations for the way you communicate with them versus a celebrity. A micro-influencer may speak directly with you whereas a celebrity may have an agent communicate on their behalf.
Most importantly, you’ll want to ensure these expectations are written, agreed upon, and signed by both you and the influencer — you can organize all of this information in an influencer contract This will help you avoid any issues and discrepancies down the road.
To help get the ball rolling, here are some examples of the expectations to review:
- How the influencer will be paid and/ or rewarded (money, swag, discounts, coupon codes, etc.)
- Length of time you’ll be working together
- The type of content they should (and should not) share
- How you and the influencer will be communicating with each other
- How they’re going to help you boost traffic with their content (will they be adding links to your site, social channels, blog posts, etc.?)
- Whether they’ll be creating content for your brand on their own or if you’ll provide the content for them to post
- Target metrics that you can expect per post or piece of content
- Any other terms of contract necessary for your specific business to review
6. Reward Influencer
It’s probably safe to assume the influencer you chose isn’t working for free. You’ll need to reward them for their work — you should discuss the form of payment when you review expectations together as mentioned in the above step. There are several ways you can reward an influencer. Here are some examples.
- Money (payment prior to or after the content is created and shared, depending on your agreement)
- Swag (such as clothing, accessories, or product samples)
- Free product
- Access to discount codes and coupons
- Promotion on your website, blog, and/or social media platforms
7. Measure Your Results
Lastly, you must measure your influencer marketing strategy results. This is how you’ll determine the level of success you’ve had in reaching your audience with the help of the influencer. You should refer back to the goals you set to help you determine whether or not you’ve achieved your objectives.
Here’s more detail on which metrics you’ll want to keep an eye on when measuring your influencer marketing strategy success:
- Engagement: Keep an eye on all engagement involving content shared by the influencer about your brand and products. Engagement includes various interactions such as Likes, shares, comments, Retweets, mentions, direct messages, and reposts on channels like social media, blogs, and forums.
- Reach:Determine your reach, or how many people are actually seeing the content your influencer is sharing about your brand, by looking at your overall number of views.
- Resonance:Learn about the level of resonance — or the actions that were completed — by your audience members after they consume and/ or interact with the influencer’s content involving your brand.
- Brand Awareness: Measure your brand awareness among the audience members of your influencer as they begin sharing content related to your brand. There are quantitative — such as direct traffic and social engagement — and qualitative — such as social listening and awareness surveys — ways to measure your brand awareness.
- Clicks: Review the number of clicks on the content the influencer shares about your brand, whether it’s a direct link to your website, a CTA, a social media giveaway, or a signup form.
- Conversions: Calculate your conversions (the number of leads who become customers) as a result of your influencer marketing strategy. You can calculate conversions on your website or through URLs (like discount/ checkout codes found on the influencer’s social media account or blog) by dividing your conversions by your overall number of visitors.
- Return on Investment (ROI): Calculate the return on your influencer marketing investment by dividing the return (or benefit) by the cost of the influencer marketing investment.
- Follower Count: Track the increase and decrease of your number of social media followers or blog subscribers over time to see whether or not the influencer is helping you boost your follower and/ or subscriber count.
In terms of measuring the success of the influencer’s work, BuzzStream and BuzzSumo both have analytics tools built into the software to help you measure the success of the influencer’s work. These types of software are especially helpful in allowing you to determine ROI from your influencer marketing strategy, which is known to be the most difficult metric to measure when working with an influencer for businesses.
Google Analytics is great if you want to track overall traffic directed to your website and the number of leads converted. The software provides you with a deep look at acquisition, behavior, and conversions related to an influencer and your visitors.
For example, if you ask the influencer to conduct a giveaway or contest, look at the number of people who participated. If you give the influencer a discount code for audience members to use at checkout, look at how many people used it and, therefore, made a purchase thanks to their content. If you provide the influencer with specific URLs with tags to specific posts or landing pages, track their performance by looking at the number of leads directed to those pages via the given URLs.
Now, onto measuring influencer marketing success on social media. HubSpot’s Social Tool can help you pull specific engagement-related data, like reach and interactions, from various platforms. Additionally, the respective social platforms you’re using may have analytics tools built in as well, such as Twitter Analytics and Instagram Insights.
Disclaimer, some insights of this blog originally appeared on Hubspot
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