One Size Does Not All An Influencer Fit
Updated: Aug 24, 2021
Influencer Marketing is a billion-dollar industry that continues to grow. According to influencermarketinghub.com, this industry has grown from $1.7 billion in 2016 to $9.7 billion in 2020 with a projected increase of $13.8 billion in 2021. In recent times, as many persons have been forced to adopt technology to stay informed; gain or keep their competitive advantage and for a general sense of community, more and more brands and businesses are turning towards influencer marketing as a key tool and strategy.
Larger and more established organisations have delved into the world of endorsements, brand ambassadorships and sponsorships for quite some time. However, the rise of digital and social media has meant that smaller businesses can now benefit from a similar structure through influencer marketing. The same source notes that their 2020 survey showed that the percentage of brands that have a separate budget for content marketing has increased to 59% and 75% of them intend to dedicate a budget to influencer marketing in 2021.
· Create more awareness for your brand/business.
· Promote engagement to your respective digital and social channels.
· Encourage increased consumerism of your product/ service.
Hubspot has provided statistics that give further insight into the world of influencer marketing.
80% of marketers say influencer marketing is effective, and 89% say it works just as well (if not better) than other marketing channels.
71% of marketers say the quality of customers and traffic from influencer marketing is better than other sources.
49% of consumers today depend on influencer recommendations for their purchase decisions.
Influencers often bring with them the opportunity for a much more personal touchpoint to
their audience. In fact, their followers may share a special affinity with them, feeling as if they know them very well even though in reality they may have never met. This is because influencers often share much of their personal lives via their social media platforms as a key mechanism to attract like-minded followers. We will explore this a bit later in our push and pull factors.
While many elements are often considered when selecting the correct influencer for your brand, one often reigns supreme. How many followers does the person have? The general school of thought is, the more followers an influencer has, the greater the pool of potential persons to be influenced. This even stands to reason when it comes to niche influencers, those who are focused on a particular topic/ category, as it stands to reason the larger the following will translate into a greater return on the influencer investment.
How Do You Know an Influencer Is a Right Fit?
When sourcing influencers for our clients, we ask ourselves 3 key questions.
1. Can this person influence behaviour or are they popular?
While the two complement each other, it cannot be assumed that someone who is popular can influence behaviour. A high follower count, we have found, does not necessarily correlate with high engagement nor to persons adjusting their behaviour or exercising their buying power on the say-so of the person. A key reason for this leads us to point #2.
2. Are they an authentic match to the product/service?
Will persons believe that they are genuinely using the product, or will it come across as being forced? I am more likely to try something new and outside my comfort zone based on a genuine testimonial from someone rather than an unnatural and staged sales pitch.
E.g., It a known fact that your influencer select has a particular preference for alcohol and it is not the one your company makes.
3. Are the brands aligned?
Influencers have their personal brand, that is what attracted their followers in the first place. Do their core brand values align with those of your brand/products or service? Is this someone you would want to represent or be associated with your brand?
E.g., Your brand is eco-friendly dishes and your influencer select can be seen via their social media platforms frequently utilising single-use items.
Based on the answers to these questions we then match our influencers to the brands that best fit them.
While influencer marketing sounds glamorous, with the more successful ones enjoying all-expense paid trips and complimentary products; it is hard work!
How does an influencer, become an influencer?
We describe this as the push/ pull factor of ‘influencerism.’
The Push Factor –
These influencers post continuously so they are always top of mind and present on their various platforms. They usually share their lifestyle via their profiles encouraging persons to follow so they too can be a part. Influencers who attract their followings via a push factor can have less engagement but a significant number of views.
The Pull Factor –
These influencers endear their followings to them either by ethos, pathos or lagos. Persons are attracted to their content because it appeals to them on an ethical, emotional or logical level. These individuals may not post as frequently but their postings often include substantive content. These are the influencers you want.
How Do You Know when an Influencer is a Right Fit?
A key determining factor in establishing whether an influencer is a right fit for your brand resides in their follower demographic. Does this reflect your ideal target audience? Are these the persons who stand to benefit the most from your product or service? Will these persons have a natural synergy to your product or can this be deemed a ‘hard sell’ for your influencer. Attempting to force a round peg (your influencer’s audience) into a square hole (your product or service) will yield no results for either party and can have the opposite desired effect.
So now the hard work is over, and you have narrowed your influencer pool and selected the one(s) who will best fit your purpose.
What do you do now?
Once selected, here is how we suggest you work with your influencer for best results:
Have a signed agreement. Do not leave it up to them to decide things like how many times they should post nor the platform (s) they should focus on. This agreement should have a clear start and end date and list all requirements of the contractual period.
Provide clear instructions. What are the key selling points on your product or service that you would like them to highlight? Include any appropriate hashtags as well as the correct names and spellings for any associated pages that you would like them to connect through their postings.
Talk Money. Influencer marketing is a billion-dollar industry, and many persons are full-time influencers. Ensure that your payment structure is comparable to industry standards (yes, there are industry rates for influencers) and takes into consideration the value and frequency of any product that they may be endorsing.
Dos and Don’ts. Share what is acceptable and expected behaviour from your influencer especially during the contractual period. (Here is where a synergy of influencer and brand values is key.) E.g., If endorsing an alcohol brand, ensure that your influencer promotes responsible drinking and does not engage in irresponsible behaviour while under contract. Be sure to state here if there are any competing brands that the influencer should stay away from to minimise the risk of confusing the audience.
Measure it. Nobody wants to make an investment and then not be able to measure the returns. What are the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that will reveal if your influencer has done what you intended for them to do? This could be measured via the movement in followers and engagement on your brand’s social media pages, the movement of your product or the engagement of your service.
Be fluid. Do not force a script. A healthy mix of curated content by the client as well as organic posts from the influencer is a sure-fire way to attract the right kind of attention. Allow the influencer to incorporate your product or service sympathetically into their already established lifestyle. Remember, authenticity is a key factor in influencing.
When it comes to influencer marketing, thinking outside the established is advisable. Traditional influencers while still very much viable have now made room for several other categories of influencers. These include the micro and nano- influencers (mentioned before) as well as kidfluencers and virtual influencers. Whatever your brand, there is a category of influencers and like-minded followers waiting for you to engage.
Stay au courant with the trends and technologies. Avoid placing all your eggs in the same basket.
There are numerous platforms available and in use outside of the traditional and established. Do the research and determine where your ideal audience lives. Match that to influencers who are already doing great work in that space, cross-reference it against your brand values and you will find your right influencer fit.
If niche influencer marketing is your selected route, the more diverse your influencers the greater net you are casting to appeal to a wider audience. What remains key here and of great importance is that the values of your influencer and your brand values align, creating the perfect partnership.