All consumer-oriented businesses today know that they must be active on social media to stay relevant. As a result, social media marketing has overtaken traditional advertising as the prime channel for connecting with potential customers. Indeed, many organizations now believe that social media is by far the most effective marketing channel.
Influencer marketing can be critical for an effective social media marketing campaign, or more broadly, for any omnichannel marketing strategy you are implementing. Influencers dominate the day-to-day of every social media platform because they have built massive followings, and the brands they endorse can benefit substantially from those followers.
Building an influencer marketing campaign requires thought and planning to make the collaboration effective. Let’s explore the benefits of influencer marketing and how your business can employ the latest strategies and tools to maximize the benefits.
The Ultimate Guide to Influencer Marketing for Business
The benefits of influencer marketing
You may wonder why you should bother paying influencers when you can just launch your own posts across multiple social media platforms. The answer is simple – you will get substantially better results through an influencer.
According to a recent survey, social media users are far more likely to trust and rely upon recommendations from family, friends, and influencers than they are on brand-created content. And it’s not even a close race: 61% of users trust friends and influencers versus 38% who trust brand content.
Influencers also can be more cost-effective than more traditional lead generators. For instance, in the healthcare and insurance industries, it’s not uncommon to pay up to $100 per qualified lead to lead generation companies. In contrast, many digital marketers have a baseline rule of one cent of spend per influencer follower.
Typical influencer pricing ranges from $500 per post for influencers with less than 10,000 followers to over $10,000 for influencers with more than a million followers. A $10,000 influencer post costs the same as 100 qualified leads at $100 each. But 100 leads is a paltry 0.01% of a mega influencer with one million followers.
Of course, not every follower will see or interact with every post, so engagement rates will still be below. But typical engagement rates range between 4% for smaller influencers to around 1.4% for mega influencers, substantially above the 0.01% comparison point. So, it doesn’t take much to see the potential of influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing can also build your potential client base far more rapidly than using traditional methods. It’s crucial to grow your own following on social media platforms, and many automation tools are available to help. But this can still be very time-consuming, so why not use the followings that social media influencers have already built?
Maximizing your influencer marketing spend
Marketing is a critical part of your company’s budget, and you should try to make the most of each tool, partnership, and strategy. And the first step towards maximizing your budget is having the right accounting methods in place to plan effectively. When it comes to choosing tools for payments and accounting, you should look for important features such as simple invoice templates and the ability to easily customize those templates so you can avoid hiring an accountant.
And just as you must carefully optimize your business tools to maximize their usefulness, so too must you carefully build your influencer marketing program. You don’t want to overspend when you could be strategically cutting marketing costs. There are several tips to keep in mind when adopting influencers into your marketing strategy.
Know your target audience
A step you need to take before starting an influencer marketing campaign is understanding your target market. Knowing your prospective customers can help you decide what platforms will give you the best results and narrow down your list of potential influencers.
For example, the younger your demographic, the more likely you will want to focus on TikTok, Snapchat, or other short-form, highly visual platforms. As your audience ages, you can consider generating content for YouTube or Facebook. Understanding your target audience also helps determine the type of marketing you will want to do. Will you need a short-form video? Deep content? Challenges? Giveaways?
The best way to gain these insights is through customer analytics. According to one survey, 63% of millennials are willing to share personal data if it means getting personalized offers, so there is no shortage of data available for analysis. And if you don’t know what your potential customers respond to, you’ll waste time and money on influencer marketing.
Select influencers carefully
While it can be tempting just to pick influencers with massive followings or release a barrage of posts on the hottest new platforms, these approaches are unlikely to be successful. Instead, you need a targeted approach to maximize your investment in influencer marketing.
When selecting influencers, you need to make sure that they actually reach your target audience in sufficient numbers. It doesn’t matter if an influencer has a million followers if only 10 of them would ever be interested in what you have to sell. So there are times when influencers with much lower followings can be more effective for your campaign, particularly if you both have a particular niche interest.
You also should look at average engagement rates for your prospective influencers. An influencer may post twenty times a day and endorse a variety of brands, but if no one is paying attention, it doesn’t help.
For a quick and easy way to identify a broad group of potential influencers, you can look to the platforms themselves. Many platforms have tools for connecting businesses and influencers, and naturally, numerous businesses have sprung up around to link influencers and companies together.
It never hurts to be ahead of the curve concerning social media marketing trends. Whether you are one of the first entrants on a new platform or the first to put out the next viral challenge, being proactive and creative can help you create better influencer relationships.
This does not mean you should obsessively follow every fad. Keep in mind what types of efforts will work with your potential customers. For example, have your followers jumped into audio-based social media? Then maybe you want to get in touch with a Clubhouse influencer.
Thinking creatively about your influencer relationships can give you a leg up on the competition. Recently, some companies have successfully partnered with animal social media influencers for a social media takeover that speaks to their target demographics. Never be afraid to try something different!
Don’t ignore the basics
All the influencer marketing in the world won’t help if you don’t have a solid platform for potential customers. And one of the most important elements you must focus on is the speed of your website. An influencer may get a customer to your website, but it is up to you to keep them there.
Frequent social media users have plenty of options to choose from, so site load speed is critical. According to web developer and online marketer Nathan Finch of Best Web Hosting Australia, a load time of under five seconds is ideal:
“We all want a fast website that doesn’t lag,” says Finch. “The modern customer is spoiled and anything longer than 5 seconds is way too long. With mobile accelerated pages that is even more important.”
Use your influencers wisely
Social media influencer marketing has become a necessity for modern businesses. But it takes more than just a personality with millions of followers to craft a successful influencer marketing campaign for your brand. If you can find the right influencer and partner them with the right content, and you have a winning combination.
Guest author: Lee Li is a project manager and B2B copywriter from ShenZhen, China, and is currently based out of Singapore. She has a decade of experience in the Chinese fintech startup space as a PM for TaoBao, MeitTuan, and DouYin (now TikTok).