Social media influencer marketing is a powerful digital marketing strategy that can create quick sales conversions, increase brand visibility and drive genuine engagement for your company.
Influencers are people who affect and inspire others through social media platforms. Companies can work with influencers to build name recognition and brand awareness among consumers through the already established relationships social media influencers have with their followers.
Why Do Brands Work With Social Media Influencers?
Working with social media influencers is a beneficial marketing strategy because of its high return on investment, low barrier to entry and increased branding capabilities. Because of this, according to Digital Marketing Institute, 71% of marketers plan to increase their influencer marketing budget in the next 12 months.
Influencers are the new word-of-mouth marketing strategy and are now the fastest growing online customer acquisition method. Not only that, 49% of consumers report they depend on influencer recommendations to make a purchase. Influencers clearly have the ability to sway people into responding to a call to action and bring in more sales and conversions for your brand.
Influencers present their content as if they have close relationships with their followers, creating a feeling of loyalty and genuine authenticity among their fan base. This dynamic helps a sponsored post to appear more earnest and the follower is more likely to trust and buy into the advertisement, making it an effective strategy to create relationships with a consumer base and drive sales. A few statistics that speak to the success of partnering with social media influencers follows:
- 40% of Twitter users say they’ve made a purchase as a direct result of a tweet from an influencer.
- For every dollar invested on influencer marketing, companies received an average return on investment of $5.78, making influencer marketing extremely cost-effective.
Four Types Of Social Media Influencers
1) Mega Influencer: These influencers have over a million followers. This is most likely who you think of when you hear the term “influencer.” These types of influencers are often celebrities. They have huge, diverse followings and their fame creates an immense amount of exposure for your paid social post. Typically, their fame carries to international audiences, and people are aware of these influencers without being directly interested in them. These influencers are the most expensive and are incredibly hard to reach due to their high demand. Businesses use these influencers for quick results, increased brand awareness and new launches.
2) Macro Influencer: Macro influencers have from 100K-1M followers. These influencers are content creators who have become famous within a specific category, for example, chefs, podcasters, beauty gurus and vloggers. Because of their larger number of followers, the price tag for working with these group of influencers can be quite high. Typically brands with large budgets looking for quick results will work with macro influencers.
3) Micro Influencer: These individuals often have between 10K-100K followers. They are considered trusted experts, and while they do have a large following, they tend to have genuine engagement with their followers. They are often highly sought after, give companies the best return on investment and have a lower price tag than other influencers. Companies often spread their influencer budget among micro influencers to decrease risk and increase brand visibility among niche audiences.
4) Nano Influencer: Nano influencers have between 1K-10K followers. They tend to be experts in niche categories and have a very engaged following with authentic relationships. This type of influencer is ideal for small to mid-size businesses, as they are more cost-effective than this with larger followings and will occasionally work for free to help build up their followers.
How To Refine Your Influencer Strategy
It’s important to understand what you hope to gain from marketing through social media influencers; you need to know what your ideal consumer will respond to.
1) Know your target audience. For any marketing strategy, you need to know your target audience to promote to. If you have multiple demographics, you might eventually need more than one social media influencer – but focus on your top-selling consumer base first.
2) Know your target audience’s interests, who they follow and which social media platforms they use. Once you determine the ideal consumer you aim to appeal to, do an analysis of what topics and people appeal to them. This will ensure the influencer you choose will be effective and relevant to your brand. It is also essential to understand the social media platforms your key demographic groups engage with to make sure your post is readily visible to your audience.
3) Budget. Set your budget for social media outreach; this will help narrow down the types of influencers you can afford and the frequency of their use. There is no denying that large, expensive influencers can do tremendous things for your brand, but they may not be a sustainable model or cost-effective for your company.
How To Find The Right Influencers For Your Company
Once you have a broad picture of what you want your social media strategy to look like, it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty of finding specific influencers. Influencer marketing auditing tools to project and measure influence along with due diligence and looking out for red flags can help you locate the best influencers for your brand.
Looking at these four factors will give you a sense if the influencer’s followings are real, loyal and socially engaged.
1) Follower count. This is the number of people that subscribe to an influencer’s social media updates. The number is easy to find on users’ profiles across social media platforms. If an influencer has excellent content, but few followers, then your promotion will not be as visible and will not increase your brand awareness or sales as quickly.
2) Engagement. Likes, comments and shares give a strong indication of whether the influencer genuinely has a loyal following and can influence people to act. An influencer with a massive audience but little engagement won’t have an influential reach. It also suggests their followers may have been purchased; neither type is a positive one to be associated with.
3) Values. Choose an influencer that has consistently shared similar visuals, voice and values as your brand. Just like a standard company, influencers need to establish consistent branding in order to effectively share their message with their audience. Influencers with inconsistent branding tend to have a larger turnover in followers, less loyalty and lower overall engagement.
4) Overexposure. Avoid sponsorship spammers. Be aware of influencers who have already partnered with many other brands; this creates sponsorship saturation where the advertisement doesn’t resonate with the audience and is seen as ingenuine.
Online Tools For Influencer Auditing Marketing
Finding influencers, checking followers and monitoring engagement rates is a lot of work, but don’t fret! There are many online influencer auditing and search tools that will find, analyze and quantify influencers for you, so you can focus on the strategic and creative aspects of your influencer marketing plan.
Online social media influencer auditing tools verify if an influencer is right for your brand, confirm they have an active audience and provide you with marketable insight on the demographics of their audience. It’s essential to verify a social influencer hasn’t falsified their influence through purchasing followers and engagement; your company won’t receive the desired results from a fake audience.
According to the Statista, “The average share of influencers involved in fraud in 2020 was 55.39 percent.” While the majority of this fraud was related to inflating engagement and follower figures, it does highlight why it’s important to look at influencers from all angles.
Experiment with these online influencer auditing tools to help find and analyze whether an influencer is authentic and right for your company.
- Followerwonk is free a Moz product that helps you discover influencers on Twitter by analyzing trending hashtags and influencers; it also cross-references their tweets, bios and profiles with the usage of keywords to see if it matches your company branding. Followerwonk allows you to compare influencers, track their growth, see when their followers are most active and view their locations as well.
- HypeAuditor is the leading Instagram social media auditing tool. It finds top trending Instagrammers ranked by the number of engaged followers and keeps track of influencer’s previous rankings. HypeAuditor shows you the main topics the influencer posts about, their audience’s geographic location and age and the estimated authentic engagement.
- Buzzsumo has an influencer auditing tool that allows you to discover influencers and evaluate influencer data. Their software finds emerging influencers in a specific field or location and gives you a synopsis of their average engagement rates and their projected engagement rate for their follower count to compare to.
- Social Bond is an Instagram-centric metric tool that allows you to search influencers and see influence ratings based on followers vs. average engagement rates per post. It even allows you to peer into the influencer’s audience demographics.
- Sprout Social is a Twitter-centric influencer auditing tool that helps you identify trending hashtags and Twitter influencers. It analyzes an influencer’s Twitter followers and gives you side-by-side Twitter profile analytics, including their growth over time.
It is clear that influencer marketing is here to stay and can be quite beneficial to your business. For more information on how to create an influencer marketing strategy, locate the best influencers for your brand and measure the results of your partnership, refer to this article by Brooke Koster.