Influencer Marketing | Glossary

What is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing is a type of social media marketing in which businesses and organizations partner with individuals with a significant social media presence. The goal is to boost brand visibility, drive sales, and build a positive, trusted, and trendy image through tactical marketing campaigns.

By leveraging their popularity on various platforms, influencers can make recommendations in front of a sizable audience.

Generally, in this type of marketing, businesses choose influencers in important target markets. That often involves particular demographics or groups of people with similar interests. This can help existing brands reach new potential customers or allow start-ups to establish themselves quickly.

In many ways, it’s the modern-day social media equivalent of a celebrity endorsement.

How Does Influencer Marketing Work?

Research Influencers: First, a company or organization needs to find the right person to promote their product or brand. This can be done in-house or through a marketing or public relations firm. Identifying the right person for the job is the most important step, as this individual will represent the company or product. The vetting process is generally thorough and thoughtful because finding someone who can match the company’s vision and values is imperative.

Negotiate: After a company has identified the person — or a few people — they would like to work with, they contact the influencer, and negotiations begin. This is the point where it’s determined whether the relationship has the potential to be viable or not. If it is, meetings usually determine if everyone’s personalities and goals are on the same page.

Establish Guidelines and Transparency: When the negotiation process trends in a positive direction, it’s important to establish guidelines, expectations, and an understanding of transparency rules before moving forward. Adhering to the laws and ethics concerning ad placement is essential, along with clear expectations of how the campaign will be run.

Create a Campaign Strategy: Once a relationship with an influencer is in motion, a campaign strategy is developed. The result depends on the scope of the campaign and where the product or brand is in its lifespan. If it’s a new product launch, for example, the influencer might do a review, make a recommendation, or offer a tutorial on how to use the product. If the product is already established, the influencer might tailor the marketing more directly to their base. Influencer campaigns also allow an easy avenue into trends, such as the growth of video on social media over the past few years.

Measure Results: Tracking analytics and metrics is an essential aspect of the campaign. Using resources and programs to track the data and using that information to measure the results allows companies to evaluate their goals. Traditional data tracking methods, such as Google Analytics, can be helpful, but many influencer marketing software services are specialized to track these campaigns. Developing goals and measuring results are mandatory to ensure money is not wasted.

Decide Whether To Repeat: At the end of a campaign, a company and the influencer determine whether they will continue to work together or part ways. Sometimes, a campaign intentionally runs only once. Other times, the first campaign is a test run for establishing a long-term relationship.

How Companies Choose Influencers

Follower Count: The biggest (and most obvious) metric to look at and consider is how many followers the influencer has on each platform. It’s not the only consideration, but the value of an enormous following is significant.

Volume: How often do they post? There’s a sweet spot between creating enough content to keep engagement up and posting so much that a campaign could get lost in the shuffle.

Demographic: What audience does the influencer speak to? After answering that question, it’s easy to assess if that audience is one that a company or brand wants to reach.

Personality: What is the influencer’s personality like, and do their values reflect the company"s values? How influencers present themselves — as well as past and future behavior — will affect the companies they partner with.

Originality: Some influencers rise to fame through gimmicks and fads, but others are truly original and interesting voices on crowded channels. Identifying influencers who reach people because what they say shines is an important path for companies to take.

Past success: If the influencer has engaged in marketing campaigns for other companies or brands in the past, those should be evaluated. They will likely be able to provide data from past campaigns, but just spending time reading or watching them reveals a lot.

Risk: Some people carry more risk than others. Here are a few questions to consider: How did the influencer rise to internet fame? How have they treated people in the past? Have they been involved in controversy? Having a bit of an edge can sometimes produce results, but poor behavior can cause a public relations nightmare.

How Effective Is Influencer Marketing?

According to the Harvard Business Review, the influencer marketing industry reached $16.4 billion in 2022. For that same article, the Review analyzed thousands of influencer marketing posts on the Chinese social media outlet Weibo. The study found, on average, that a 1% increase in influencer marketing spending resulted in an increase in engagement of 0.46%, meaning there was a noticeable return of positive data from spending money on these campaigns.

Advantages of Influencer Marketing

Influencers achieve popularity because people look up to them or they’re infatuated with their lives. They have a lot of clout in certain communities, and their followers sometimes mimic their behavior and style.

Influencer marketing helps brands expand their visibility and credibility, seem more authentic and relatable, improve their online presence, increase sales, and get attention from a target audience.

It can also be a cost-effective way to market, as traditional advertising campaigns can be pricey.

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