First, what exactly is influencer marketing? We’re glad you asked! Influencer marketing is better understood through example than it is through a Google search. Do you have a particularly impressionable friend? You know the type – whether they’re trying to work out which dressing they’d like on their salad, or seeking fashion advice, this friend will always look to those he or she respects for guidance. Influencer marketing is the attempt to leverage that sort of consumer behavior to a brand’s advantage. Influencer marketing is the practice of using an influential person’s status online to sell products and services.
Whether it’s a young 13-year-old teenager or a woman in her 40’s, influencer marketing can resonate with a diverse spectrum of people. The idea is very simple. Certain people online have massive followings of devoted fans. Think of Kylie Jenner. It would not be inaccurate to say that a material percentage of teenage girls in 2019 follow Kylie on Instagram. Moreover, they look up to Kylie as a style icon and feel a personal connection to her. They take seriously any product that Kylie uses, and are likely to buy products that make them more like Kylie. A version of this influencer/ consumer relationship exists with any demographic you can name. Young men interested in cooking, for instance, may feel a deep connection to Binging with Babish. As such, any product used in the YouTube cooking star’s videos is likely to wind up on his follower’s Amazon wish lists. Such is the power of influencer marketing.
At the risk of oversimplifying, an influencer is anyone online who holds influence over a certain audience. An Influencer has a loyal base of followers that feels deep respect and closeness to them. The influencer can be a classic Hollywood star, an Instagram or YouTube personality, a brand, or even a pet. For any entity online to be an influencer, the only requirement is his/her/its/their audience is extremely engaged, enthusiastic, and connected.
The first step for any effective influencer marketing undertaking involves finding an influencer with the right audience. It’s almost like dating or buying a pair of jeans; you have to find the perfect fit. An appropriate audience is critical to making influencer marketing work for you. An influencer’s number of followers may seem attractive, but if the audience isn’t engaged or composed of the correct demographic, then its size doesn’t matter.
In addition to finding influencers with the right audience, it is equally important to find an influencer that is within your budget. Let’s say you’re a small cosmetics start up that has sold a couple thousand dollars worth of lip liner. Chances are you won’t be able to afford Kylie Jenner for an influencer partnership, perfect though her audience may be. Ideally, the influencer you develop a partnership with already knows about your company and uses your services. If finding the right influencer and audience is like dating, the goal is also the same: to build a partnership that’s lasting and healthy. Basically, you want to find someone that’s going to empower you to success. You want your influencer to believe in your product so that their audience will too.
The metrics used to measure success in influencer marketing vary based on the nature of the initiative. For instance, if your influencer marketing campaign sought to drive sales of a certain product, you would use ROAS (Return on Ad Spend), Total Sales, and other sales metrics to measure success. If your brand uses influencer marketing to grow brand awareness and followership on a certain platform, then audience growth metrics would define success for the imitative. In both cases, using custom URLs, exclusive promo codes, and initiative specific hashtags allow for measurement around the influencer campaigns.
Influencer marketing ultimately works because you’ve found something special; not just between your company and the influencer, but between the influencer and his or her followers. If your brand connects strongly with both the influencer you’ve chosen and his/her audience online, the campaign is likely to be successful.