YouTuber Lilly Singh -also known as IISuperwomanII – is famous for her comedic videos that have garnered 2.7 billion views and 14 million subscribers, which even got her a deal with Coca-Cola. As of 2018, one of her sponsored videos of Coke has over two million views. This is one of the few things that a global influencer can do.
Influencers are individuals or groups of content creators and curators who have a steady following. Their commentary can influence their subscribers’, followers’, or fans’ purchasing decisions. Their audience doesn’t need to be huge. If they have a fanbase that deems their opinions and thoughts to be credible, then they can be considered to be influencers.
Over the last few years, influencers have grown as a dominant force online. Many have utilized influencer marketing to sway consumer behavior and decisions. The method helps build up engagement through social media marketing and increase subscribers on different platforms.
So if you want to take your digital marketing to the next level, consider collaborating with an influencer! But first, it’s best to know what influencer marketing is before getting onboard with it.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing means partnering with influencers who have a strong following on one or more major online platforms so that you can promote your service or product. They can include famous social media personalities, like YouTube stars or Instagram models, or actual celebrities.
The principle isn’t entirely different from celebrity endorsements. Brands hire actors or athletes to endorse services or products because of their popularity among the public, influencing the impressions and sales of the brand’s products and services. This marketing strategy has been used for years and can extend from print ads and billboards to TV commercials.
Influencer marketing functions in a similar way. The brand and the influencer have the potential to reach a target audience with their partnership and leverage each other’s work on the platforms they’re on. Influencer marketing is mainly done using social media channels, video streaming sites, blogs, and personal websites.
If you want to learn more about the topic, you can read Jeff’s Influencer Marketing: A Beginner’s Guide On What It Is and How to Get Started
3 Simple ways to target the right influencer for your brand
There are several reasons to want to work with influencers. Their audience admires them and would want to replicate their lifestyle by purchasing what they buy, produce, and endorse. But to make it work, you have to find the right one that fits your brand.
1. Research social media influencers
The first thing you can do is know who they are. Though there isn’t a well-defined category for them, you can think of the different types of influencers based on their social media following such as:
- Mega-Influencers: More than a million followers
- Macro-Influencers: 100,000 to 1,000,000 followers
- Micro-Influencers: Less than 100,000 followers
Jeff has provided useful tools to find influencers in his introduction to influencer marketing post, but here’s a brief overview of the tools you can use:
- Buzzsumo: Discover the most shared content around a keyword or phrase, at the same time, seeing which influencer shared that specific content.
Buzzsumo is a get tool for finding influencers on Twitter and other social media networks.
- Klear: Find influencers that are within your network and filter them based on their audience and the number of followers they have.
- Discoverl.y: This chrome plug-in enables you to view influencers who are connected with you via mutual friends and other extended networks.
List down all the potential social media influencers you find with these marketing tools and evaluate who can help you with your brand.
You can also manually research using Google. Type in the niche and the platform – say, for example, blogging – and you can try to look for the top bloggers that you can reach out to.
2. Contact influencers that fit your brand
We’ve discussed before how to connect with A-list influencers. But know that you’re also merely relying on the fame of a Youtube star or an Instagram model, which is inefficient and can be a waste of time if they don’t yield results.
Evaluate the influencers by browsing through their channels (social media, blog, videos, etc.) to see if they fit your brand. Their content gives you an idea of the relevance of what they do to your audience. Assessing them also gives you a glimpse of their target market and if they are your target demographic. After doing this, you can start contacting them.
There are several ways that you can connect with the influencers you like, but you can try these two practical methods:
- Email or Social Media: Contact them via email or social media and let them know that you want to do a campaign with them. Make sure that you acknowledge their identity and show appreciation for their work so that you won’t look like you’re spamming their inbox.
E-mail screenshot of an inquiry.
- Developing a relationship: Following their channels and engaging with their content are the best ways that you can connect with an influencer. Following their work builds a relationship with him or her before the actual pitching.
3. Collaborate with campaigns
Once you’ve connected with influencers, collaborate with the ones who’ve accepted your offer by creating campaigns together. Set goals on each campaign and explain to them what you want to happen with your collaboration, which can be exposing your brand to a broader audience, generating leads, or improving sales.
You can come up with all kinds of campaigns to achieve these, but the following are a few ideas that can help you yield results:
- Reviews: The audience trusts the influencer’s opinion about products or services. So when they hear or read about recommendations, they’d be more open to them. Reviews are a great way to boost your sales and leads.
A product review using Macworld.
- Contests: To create a buzz, you and your influencer can promote giveaways or similar contests. By doing so, you get people talking and also produce more sign-ups.
- Paid-Posts: Sponsoring a post is a simple way to have your brand be heard or seen through the platform of an influencer.
Understand that you can experiment with all kinds of influencer marketing campaigns. Create metrics for each one to see which ones work and which ones don’t. Once you look at the results of all your collaboration, you learn how influencer marketing works and its effectiveness in your business.
The risks and benefits of influencer marketing
Like other forms of marketing, influencer marketing can be a gamble. There are many benefits to generating a buzz – especially when trusted sources are the ones creating it. But there are also risks that you have to face if things go south.
The start of 2018 is a good example when YouTuber Logan Paul, who has 15 million subscribers, was subjected to widespread criticism when he published a video of himself stumbling upon a body of a suicide victim. He had no ads for that video, but you can only imagine the impact it would make if brands are well-associated with such a high profile YouTuber.
So understand first the benefits and risks before doing this kind of marketing, such as:
- Reach specific demographics
- Avoid ad blockers
- Develop a closer relationship with consumers
- Build brand awareness with the help of a highly influential platform
- Scandalous behavior of the influencer may tarnish your brand
- Boosting their popularity instead of the other way around while they feed off your sponsorship
- Get duped by fake influencers when the research wasn’t done thoroughly
- Inauthenticity on the influencer’s end when not given much creative freedom for the campaigns
Another thing to keep in mind with influencer marketing is the Federal Trade Commission’s policy about sponsored content. The FTC has enforced rules and guidelines about marketing and letting viewers or readers be aware when the content is sponsored. Take this very seriously so that you or your influencers won’t get into any trouble.
Understand that there are inherent risks that come with partnering with influencers. You have to understand that you’re letting a flawed human being represent your brand, and you have to be prepared to handle any situation that occurs.
Guest author: Andrea Bernice Roth is a freelance writer and photographer from Long Beach, California. She co-manages an artists’ collective with her friends to encourage photographers and other creative minds to showcase their talent. This free-spirited adventure junkie loves riding waves in Malibu and traveling to seek out the world’s best surf spots.