Influencer Marketing 101
51% of marketers believe that they acquire more customers through influencer marketing than through other digital marketing channels.
It was predicted that brands will allocate at least $10 billion on influencer marketing in 2020.
You are not alone if you are curious to know more about this particular, and rather popular, form of digital marketing these days. It seems uncomplicated if you already know who influencers are and what they do. But did you know that there are different categories of influencers? The real challenge lies in choosing the right kind of influencer for each stage of your brand’s product or service.
Now let’s break down the terms involved.
Firstly, who is an influencer?
Simply put, influencers are content creators on social media who wields influence over their followers. They are generally experts in a particular niche, i.e., a specialised segment of the market for a particular product or service. For example, Marie Kondo, owner of KonMari Media, Inc., is a tidying expert and an influencer with a massive following. She has the power to influence millions with the KonMari Method™ and other cleaning and organisation tips.
What is Influencer Marketing?
It is a form of social media marketing that involves collaborations between brands and influencers to promote products or services. It builds on top of the influencers’ community and reaches a wide range of audiences in an organic way. It is the digital equivalent of the traditional word of mouth marketing.
Why do brands invest in Influencer Marketing?
Unlike celebrities, influencers gain fame because of their high quality content and proven expertise in their niche. They regularly come up with fresh and innovative ideas that are bound to keep their social media followers highly engaged. Since they have a tightly knit community, their opinions are held in high regard by their followers.
According to a market study, internet users said that they trust user-generated content, which includes posts by influencers, 50% more than traditional media such as ads. 82% of internet users are also likely to follow influencer recommendations.
It’s not surprising that brands will want to leverage this impactful relationship between the influencers and their community. The brands can also take a step back from creating the content as it is generally handled by the influencers themselves. The influencers might even have a fresh perspective on how to handle the promotions.
Influencer marketing thus increases the visibility of the brands and their products or services, and strengthens the credibility and trust as well. These reasons alone are sufficient to convince brands to start investing in influencer marketing. But how do you choose the right influencer for the job?
There is no shortage of influencers on social media nowadays. You need to consider how focused their niche is, how engaged their followers are and of course, the total number of followers. You also need to decide on the budget your brand can afford. Another important factor is knowing what your goals are. Do you want to increase brand awareness or drive attention towards your latest product? Do you want to increase sales? Do you want to increase people’s trust in your brand?
How do you categorize the influencer space?
There are different ways of categorizing the influencer space. You could initially focus on the kind of work that they do. There are bloggers, vloggers, photographers, gaming influencers etc. If you are releasing a new game, gaming influencers who are established on a social media platform such as Twitch would be a better choice than a photographer with a large Instagram community.
Regardless of the type of content they create, you also need to see how far their reach goes. For example, you might want to focus on a smaller group of people to increase your sales or alternatively, you might only want to introduce your products to as many people as possible to boost awareness. To understand more, let’s talk about the different categories of influencers on the basis of their follower count.
These influencers are generally celebrities. They can be singers, actors, television hosts etc. They have at least a million followers but they do not necessarily stick to a particular niche. As a result, their community may include members with different interests and opinions. For example, Jennifer Aniston can be considered a mega influencer with over 35 million followers!
Brands that have a large budget and who want to reach a lot of people in one go may consider a mega influencer. These influencers might not be able to influence their followers to buy your products but they can surely make an impact because of their fame. If chosen correctly, your brand can be successfully associated with a celebrity figure. But it also becomes easier to get a bad reputation if there is a slight mistake, owing to the high visibility associated with a celebrity account.
Macro influencers have between 100,000 and a million followers. Unlike the celebrity status that most mega influencers boast of, macro influencers gained their fame through their online presence alone. They can help you reach a large crowd as well as focus on the topic which got them famous. Since they built their social media community from the ground up, they are also knowledgeable about what kind of content works well with their audience. While mega influencers can take on a range of product promotions, macro influencers tend to be wary of products which do not fit well into their specialisation.
For example, an upcoming beauty brand might find it effective to promote their new products through an influencer who got famous by sharing their makeup routines. The brand can then reach a large crowd to build brand awareness and also increase sales. The cost of advertising through macro influencers is less compared to mega influencers but it is still expensive
This category of influencers have between 10,000 to 100,000 followers. They have good knowledge of and are typically experts in their niche. Since they have a lesser number of followers than macro influencers, the engagement rates are typically higher. Amazon’s audiobook platform, Audible regularly conducts influencer marketing campaigns with micro influencers. The photographer Jesse Driftwood had less than 100,000 followers at the time he was approached for one such partnership.
Like macro influencers, they are aware of what content works best for their followers. They may also have some experience working with brands. Micro influencers are your best bet if you expect good quality, standard content on a smaller budget and your goal is to increase conversions.
Nano influencers have between 1000 to 10,000 followers. Their followers typically know them personally and include friends, relatives, acquaintances etc. They have the highest level of engagement compared to all other types of influencers owing to a tightly knit community.
Though most of the nano influencers may not have experience working with brands or creating branded content, your brand may be able to get good deals considering the lesser cost associated with their work.
- The engagement level increases as the number of followers decreases.
- The audience tends to trust the influencers’ recommendations more as the promoted products become more relevant to their niche.
- The credibility of the promotion increases as we go from Mega to Nano influencers.
- The cost of advertising gets lesser from Mega to Nano influencers.
- Depending on whether your goal is to boost awareness or increase sales, you can choose an influencer of a particular category or even multiple influencers if the cost per influencer is less