Influencer Marketing – Comprehensive Guide With Examples (2021)
Influencer marketing has become one of the biggest and best ways to reach new audiences and increase sales. In the last few years, the influencer industry has exploded and is offering marketers wonderful opportunities.
These days, influencer marketing has become a bit more difficult to navigate, but we’ll guide you through the process. We’ll discuss the different kinds of influencers that are available to marketers as well as why this marketing works. We will also show you the steps you need to take for a successful influencer marketing strategy.
Let’s get started, shall we?
Is Influencer Marketing Worth It?
This question can be easily answered when you look at research that was done into it. The Influencer Marketing Hub did a survey in 2019 and found that influencer marketing can be extremely profitable. Many companies are earning about $5.20 for every dollar that they spend on this marketing strategy. Some even report making $20 or more – that is indeed very lucrative. Of all the companies that tap into this marketing approach, only about 25% do not manage to make any revenue.
The industry is expected to have reached a worth of $10 billion by 2020. Back in 2018 already, the return on income from influencer marketing was very high, as could be seen from the above numbers. About 65% of marketers planned to increase their budgets to boost influencer marketing in 2019, and it reflects the success of this digital marketing strategy.
Brand Ambassador Or Brand Influencer?
It may sound like these two terms are the same, but there is a difference between a brand influencer and a brand ambassador.
An influencer is someone who has a loyal following in a specific niche or industry. They engage with their following regularly and can influence their purchase decisions. There are actually different kinds of influencers, such as celebrity influencers, key opinion influencers, social media influencers, blog influencers and micro-influencers. We’ll discuss this in more detail a bit later.
An ambassador, on the other hand, is a person who is hired by companies to help them achieve their marketing goals. Those goals can be boosting sales and increasing brand awareness. Brand ambassadors are under contracts that can last up to years. They will represent the brand and its associated lifestyle. It is not necessary for a person to be an influencer before they are selected as ambassadors. However, the more fame a person has, the better.
We will be focusing on influencer marketing and won’t discuss brand ambassadors in this article.
Just What Is Influencer Marketing?
If you’re still a little unclear on exactly what influencer marketing is, we’ll break it down for you. Essentially, this kind of marketing has a social media focus that uses product mentions and endorsements from people who have a loyal and dedicated following. These people are called influencers because of the sway they have with their followers.
Influencer marketing is successful because these people are trusted by those who follow them on social media. They are seen as experts in their chosen niche or industry. If an influencer vouches for your brand, their following will trust and support you as well.
When this kind of marketing started a few years ago, it was a lot easier to stand out. Now, the influencer marketing world has become incredibly competitive.
Let’s take a quick look at the different kinds of influencers you can expect to deal with.
These are famous people who have huge followings that are normally in the millions. They are known across more than one industry and widely recognised. Celebrity influencers can be successful in influencing many different target audiences.
Even if a celebrity influencer isn’t particularly invested in your niche, they can still give you a boost in brand recognition with promotions. These influencers are able to effectively reach large numbers of people.
You can build a varied influencer marketing strategy around a celebrity influencer with plans for blogs, online ads, television advertisements and social media. As long as they’re promoting your product, your brand will gain benefits.
An example of a good influencer marketing strategy is when Amazon and Khloé Kardashian partnered up for her baby shower. She has more than 90 million followers and Amazon’s clients recognised her immediately when they sponsored her baby shower.
Key Opinion Influencer
They are also known as KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) and are admired experts in specialised topics. Such an influencer could be in any field such as interior design, make-up application or even healthy living.
If you are looking to target an audience in a very specific field, you’ll benefit from roping in a KOL. They have a lot of knowledge and have proven to their following that they know what they’re talking about. If they work with your brand, it will be assumed that you have their seal of approval.
A bonus to using one of these influencers in your influencer marketing is that their audience is specifically the audience you want to reach. Working with them will involve academic journals, ads, blogs and social media posts.
Social Media Influencer
You will find that these influencers are popular and famous on social media platforms. This can include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and more. They often have millions of followers. The industries in which these influencers are active are varied – everything from travel, fashion and beauty to cars, diets and workouts can be their industries. That’s great news for any influencer marketing strategy because it won’t be hard to find an influencer to work with.
The kind of work you do with the influencer will depend on the platforms that he or she is active on. For Instagram, photos and short videos work well. On YouTube, a long-form video might work much better. If you’re using Facebook, a live video will work really well too.
Contests and giveaways also work like a bomb on social media so they should be considered for your strategy.
This is a slightly different kind of influencer and will likely be used by fewer influencer marketing teams. However, they are still very valuable with thousands (sometimes millions) of followers supporting their blogs.
Working with these influencers is also different and will likely be focused on written content. You could write a guest post for them or ask them to blog about your brand.
The final entry on our list is surely not the least popular of the bunch. Micro-influencers are more modest but still holds a lot of power with their followers. They’ll usually have fewer followers – not millions – but these followers will be very loyal.
Micro-influencers have a lot of engagement, which is always great in the world of influencer marketing. If you’re looking to create more personal relationships with your audience, micro-influencers are ideal.
Creating An Influencer Marketing Strategy
Right, so now that you know what influencer marketing is about, it’s time to show you how to go about building a successful strategy.
As with any marketing strategy, influencer marketing will take a lot of planning and dedication. It’s not as easy as sending freebies to influencers and expecting them to tell everyone how awesome your brand is.
Find The Ideal Candidate For Your Influencer Marketing Plans
The first step is research. You need to identify the network you will be using at first. Once you’ve had success, you can expand your plans. But it’s a good idea to start small and grow over time.
The platform you’ll be using should be one where you’re already active or looking to be active on. This will require research about your audience to be done. Where does your target audience hang out when they’re online? That’s where you want to be.
Also, consider your industry when you choose your network. Twitch is awesome for the video game industry but not so good for beauty and fashion. For those industries, YouTube and Instagram would be better platforms.
Once you’ve got your platform sorted, you have to start searching for influencers. At this point, you will also decide what kind of influencer you are interested in working with.
Next, you’ll have to look at your budget and how you’ll compensate your influencer. The influencer marketing world isn’t cheap, but you can make deals that benefit all involved. Some influencers work independently and others use agencies. Some will want monetary payments while others will be okay with products and other forms of payment.
On average, the price per post by an influencer is about $270. Micro-influencers will charge about $83 per post if they have less than 1 000 followers. However, the numbers are likely to change so proper research is necessary. Celebrity influencers will obviously be a lot more expensive.
You should also be determining your expected return on income and how you’ll be calculating your success. It will be important for you to monitor your progress carefully. If you want your influencer marketing plans to work, you need to keep a close eye on its performance. Influencers are only human and can make mistakes. They can also fall behind if they’re juggling more than one client, so you’ll have to keep contact with them to have a good idea of what’s going on.
Choose Your Influencer Marketing Goals
Of course, this should go without saying but we’ll say it anyway – you need to have a clear picture of your goals. In most cases, influencer marketing is used to boost sales and brand awareness. Those are great goals to have but you should not limit your strategy. While you’re at it, you can grow your customer base as well. Brand values can also be discussed and shared with your audience.
When you have your goals, you’ll notice that the way you want your influencer to handle things will be affected. Without obvious goals, the influencer will be confused about what you need from them. When you’ve given them enough information though, they’ll know just what kind of content to create. Influencer marketing is what these people do best, after all.
Now that you’ve determined what it is you’ll do, you can reach out to your chosen influencers. You’ve got your influencer marketing plans, network and goals figured out, it is time to get the influencer on board.
To be sure that the influencer that you choose is the real deal, take a look at their profile. Are they sharing content related to your brand and industry? Do they engage with their followers and vice versa? If an influencer has a bad follower to engagement ratio, they’re probably fraudulent. Has the influencer worked with similar brands to yours in the past? You’ll do well to pair up with a seasoned influencer.
You could reach out to the influencer in a number of ways. Most likely, you’ll find their contact details on their profile bio. Avoid trying to reach out in the comments sections. It’s not likely you’ll get very far. In some cases, influencers have websites where they can be contacted.
Establish Your Influencer Marketing Expectations
Great, you’ve found your influencer and you are ready to get the ball rolling. Now, it’s time to review all the expectations you have. Keep in mind that it is very likely that the influencer has his or her own processes in place for how they operate. You’ll have to be clear with what you want from them and what they can expect from you.
For example, a celebrity influencer may never speak directly to you while a micro-influencer will.
Have all expectations written down and agreed upon as well as signed by you and the influencer. This is for everyone’s peace of mind. A contract will protect both parties and make sure your influencer marketing strategy doesn’t fall apart or experience problems.
Reward Your Influencer
Nobody should be expected to work for free and that includes influencers. You have to reward them for their time and effort. This can be done in the form of money, free products, samples and coupons. Make sure that the contract states clearly how payment will be done.
Review Your Influencer Marketing Strategy
You have to determine specific dates on which you will review your strategy. Tracking your results is vital, as mentioned earlier. There are several ways in which you can do this. If you notice that something isn’t working, don’t be shy to make changes. And don’t be disheartened if your plans didn’t work. Keep trying – not all influencer marketing strategies work the first time around.
Here’s a breakdown of how you can measure the results of your influencer marketing:
Watch out for all forms of engagement such as likes, shares, retweets, comments, direct messages, reposts and mentions. This will show you what people think of your marketing strategy.
You’ll want to know just how many people are actually seeing the content that is being shared. Views are usually the best way to determine this.
It is possible to use social listening and surveys to find out if your influencer marketing campaign is working. Your site traffic and social media engagement should also indicate how well things are going.
The clicks that the influencer’s content gets will lead somewhere – your website, a signup form or your social platforms. Use those destinations to monitor if you’re getting the results you desire.
When it comes down to it, you want your influencer marketing strategy to have real results and that’s where conversions come in. You can calculate this on your websites by dividing your conversions by your overall visitors. There are also many tools out there that can be useful.
Return on Investment
This is likely very important and will make or break how successful a campaign is in the eyes of the brand. You can easily calculate this by dividing your benefit by the cost of your influencer investment.
If brand loyalty was your goal then you’ll want to see a spike in followers. Keep an eye on your statistics and you’ll be able to see if your strategy is paying off.
Google Analytics is a good idea if you want to track the traffic that has been directed to your website. It is also useful for tracking the number of leads that were converted.
If you’ve had a contest, for example, you could look at the number of people who took part. A discount code could be one way to determine that number. Then, examine how many people used the code. You can also provide your audience with a specific URL and track the performance from there.
It can be a little bit complicated but once you’ve got your head around it, you can easily see if influencer marketing has been worth it for your brand.
Need some inspiration? We’ve got you covered! We’ll look at a handful of examples of influencer marketing done right.
Influencer Marketing Examples To Be Inspired By
This is a food producer of food that is environmentally-friendly and all-natural. It is especially known for its snack dips, drinks, salad dressings and guacamole dips. They partnered with a whopping 60 influencers to create more brand awareness.
The niches of these influencers ranged from lifestyle to parenting and food. They produced original content and enjoyed an increase in sales.
GOODFOODS had 3 ‘themes’ that each had recipes associated with it – dame-day traditions,
Thanksgiving celebrations and Christmas/Hanukkah customs. By appealing to the masses with their delicious recipes, the brand was able to drive their sales higher than before. Links to their website were shared and they directed people to the shops that carried their goods.
With so many influencers invested, more than 2 000 pieces of content were created. These included videos, photos, blogs and social media posts. GOODFOODS was able to generate over 70 000 online engagements. This influencer marketing campaign also had a conversion rate of more than 40% on some platforms.
This water brand had a very successful influencer marketing strategy that involved only one influencer, Danielle Bernstein. She has a fashion blog called We Wore What and you wouldn’t think that water and fashion go well together.
This campaign would prove you wrong.
Danielle and Fiji Water came together and created Bodyworewhat, a campaign that offered 8-minute workout videos with her and Eric Johnson, a personal trainer.
The water brand showed its commitment to keeping people who want to stay fit hydrated. It’s a fairly simple idea but worked well here. This just goes to show you that you don’t need to go overboard or be fancy. Just give your audience what they want.
This shoe brand also went wide with their influencer marketing plan. They involved more than a hundred micro-influencers in their campaign. The brand found fans who were already sharing quality content involving their boat shoes and invited them to create content for their official Instagram page.
This simplistic approach was a success because user-generated content speaks of trust and loyalty. People love to see brands be used and praised by normal people.
The high-end footwear and accessory brand used their ‘LR Ambassadors’ to promote their products. These ambassadors included painters, writers, florists and other creative ladies. Loeffler Randall said the women were ‘cool girls doing cool things’ and this resonated with their audience.
The brand shared profiles of their ambassadors on their company website as well as photos of them wearing their products. These photos were shared on Instagram with a brand-specific hashtag, #LRambassador.
Because they kept things simple, they were successful. Although our examples are all fairly simple, it doesn’t mean you can’t think outside the box. In fact, we encourage it. Be creative and be original and you’ll see your influencer marketing strategy reach all the goals you set out for it.
Influencer marketing is here to stay and now that you know how it works, you have a world of possibilities to play with. As long as you plan it carefully and give it the attention it needs, this kind of marketing can have fantastic results. It can take a while to get ‘right’ but don’t rush it. If you fail the first time, learn and adapt. Don’t give up and stay determined. You’ll get there eventually. In the meantime, feel free to check out our blog – we share a lot of advice on digital marketing you’ll love.