How We Use Influencer Marketing To Growth Hack For Our Clients
So long as you haven’t been living under a rock for the past few years, influencer marketing has certainly popped up on your radar. You may have shrugged it off as some new-age trend, but if you take a closer look, you’re in for a pleasant surprise.
Ninety-four percent of those who used influencer marketing believe the tactic to be effective.
In traditional marketing techniques, brands pummel their audience with ads and promotional offers in order to drive sales. In theory, there’s no problem with this, except for the fact that we’ve become blind to this type of messaging.
It’s natural for something to become less effective after being beaten to death. That’s exactly what happened to these traditional marketing techniques we all know and love. No need to worry folks, influencer marketing is here!
What exactly is influencer marketing?
Shall we start with the textbook definition of the term? Influencer marketing is the process of developing relationships with influential people who can assist you to increase the visibility of your brand, product or service.
In short, we’re utilizing influential people and their audience to funnel people into our own brand. These are people who’ve built trust with their following already, so when they start promoting things in a ‘genuine’ way, people eat it up (assuming do it right). This is a great way to reach a highly targeted group of people with a relevant brand or product they’d naturally be interested in.
TapInfluence did a study last year and found that influencer marketing generates a whopping 11x the ROI of traditional advertising techniques. This is a reputable study that paints a great picture of today’s marketplace. Things are changing FAST and it’s time to shift your focus, don’t get stuck on old techniques simply because it’s what you’re used to.
So, what’s the ROI like for your average influencer marketing campaign? Burst Media completed a study to find out. The results? Influencer marketing campaigns returned an average ROI of almost 700%…
81% of people considered influencer engagement to be effectuve or very effective
Why makes influencer marketing so powerful?
Think about it, if a trusted source recommends a product, it’s far more powerful than the brand tooting their own horn. It’s obvious that the brands themselves are going to talk up their products, but when someone people trust start recommending it, it’s a whole different ballgame.
Here’s a quote from Francesca Cruz (she’s the VP of sales at TapInfluence) that sums things up quite nicely:
“Great content is expensive to create and yet it rarely gets seen because most companies publish it on their own channels. Brands end up paying for distribution and content creation. Influencer Marketing, however, delivers both content creation and distribution for a much cheaper price, is more authentic, more engaging and drives ROI at an order of magnitude greater than all other forms of digital media.”
Sure, people have no idea whether or not someone’s recommendation is genuine, or if they were paid, but that’s simply part of the game. Influencer marketing is still in its infancy, so there’s endless room for creativity in each campaign.
It’s also dramatically underpriced compared to other marketing techniques, but this won’t stay true forever. Google Adwords was once underpriced and look at it now, people in most verticals struggle just to break even. The same thing will inevitably happen with influencer marketing which is all the more reason to jump on it NOW.
What are the different types of influencer marketing?
We could break things down into many different categories, but I think it’s best we stick to just two for the sake of simplicity, earned influencer marketing and paid influencer marketing.
- Earned influencer marketing – leverages existing relationships between individuals and companies with no monetary compensation. Often times, however, the influencer get’s exposure in return, therefore further boosting their own influence, or they may receive free products from the brand.
- Paid influencer marketing – typically involves monetary compensation or some form of sponsorship deal. Sometimes a brand will offer services instead of money, which in our eyes, also falls under the paid category.
There are many different types of influencers out there. Pretty much any celebrity can be considered an influencer (most of them are doing paid sponsorships in some way or another, either on YouTube, Instagram, TV – pretty much anywhere you can imagine).
Instagram has certainly cracked down on blatant endorsements by celebrities, but that just means they have to be a bit more subtle and fly under the radar. Here’s ant example of Scott Disick shamelessly promoting FIJI Water in one of his posts.
Obviously, things don’t stop at celebrities. In fact, celebrities are often reserved for big brands with, you guessed it, big budgets! Don’t worry, there’s no short of influencers out there. They come in all shapes and sizes so finding some that fit your budget is never an issue.
Here are a few different types of influencers that are out there:
- Bloggers – these influencers often provide a lot of value to their audience, so naturally, they have a very loyal following. Finding bloggers that review products is quite easy. This makes for natural looking campaigns that often yield an extremely high ROI.
- Social Media Influencers – you can find these folks on every social media platform that currently exists. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and Snapchat are the big players, but you’ll also find influencers on platforms like Slideshare, Periscope, Musical.ly, and Pinterest. Lucky for us, there are a ton of marketplaces where we can find influencers on each platform (here’s a regularly updated list of (influencer marketing platforms and marketplaces)
- Journalists – who said journalism was dead? Journalists can now utilize their influence on both digital and print publications. Every top magazine and news outlet out there is willing to run paid placements, it’s how they survive. It’s as simple as reaching out to The Wall Street Journal or The NY Times with a good offer and content that fits naturally into their publication. The more readership and long-term recognition they have, the higher their standards are going to be for who they accept (in reality, nearly anyone can get accepted with the right pitch).
- Vloggers – people LOVE consuming video content online. This makes vloggers a prime candidate for product placements and brand recommendations. A lot these people are celebrities in the eyes of their followers, even if they don’t have any real talent at all. Online video will continue growing in popularity for years to come, making vlog influencer campaigns quite a lucrative endeavor.
What are some tips and tricks to avoid failure?
Things are not always so black and white with influencer marketing. Creativity and research are a big part of the game here. As an example, there are a ton of female models on Instagram, most of them receiving 80%+ of their comments from other females.
One might think that this is a great opportunity to market their brand to a female audience, however, that’s not the case. You see, even though most of the comments are coming from women, the majority of their followers are going to be men. If that’s the case, why are most of the comments from women? It’s because women are more vocal, especially on other women’s posts.
This gives the false impression that they have a large female-based following. It’s extremely important to do your research and manually look at their followers. You don’t want to end up marketing to the wrong audience due to lack of research (this happens more often than you’d think).
Here’s another tip, and this is a big one, small-scale influencers ALWAYS beat large-scale influencers when it comes to getting a good return on your investment.
Why is that? Well, Instagram’s recent algorithm changes affected the reach of large-scale influencers. While their posts used to consistently reach 90% or more of their followers, they now only reach a small fraction of that, similar to how Facebook fan pages work (however, they still reach a far higher % of their followers compared to Facebook’s algorithm).
Posts often reach only 4-5% of followers now for accounts with 100k+ followers. If we look at the reach of small-scale influencers with 20k followers or less, the reach is closer to 60-70%. Nowadays, you’ll see the smaller guys getting far more engagement than people with 10x their following, it’s just the way things work going forward (until the next algorithm change…).
This is why we run campaigns using several small influencers versus one large influencer. If you partner with ten people that have 10k followers, your reach will be far greater than partnering with just one person sitting at 100k followers. In order to see the ROI we’re looking for, this is absolutely necessary.
My final tip is actually a tool I recommend, it’s called TweetReach.
The free version is all you need to properly analyze Twitter accounts and see how many people they’re actually reaching with their tweets. This is a great way to avoid phony influencers who bought their followers. It’s quite easy to tell by simply looking at their engagement. Go for Twitter influencers with highly engaged audiences that retweet regularly, this is where your gonna get the most bang for your buck.
This post isn’t meant to sell you on influencer marketing, it’s meant to bring awareness and help you understand it better. If you have any questions about influencer marketing or some tricks of your own, let us know in the comments below!