The Evolution of Influencer Marketing

February 4, 2022 | influencer marketing

What Is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing is a form of social media marketing that utilizes products and endorsements from fellow influencers who possess a committed social media presence and is considered experts within their field. At a more fundamental level, influencer marketing works well because of the great amount of trust that has been built by the social media following, along with recommendations that serve as social proof to your specific brand potential customers. 

What Is the Current State of the Influencer Marketing Overall Landscape? 

If you think back to 2014, you’d recall how it was way easier to stand out from the competition as it is now. In 2014, you would consider yourself lucky if you were featured on Instagram’s featured page. If you were able to look distinctive enough, then your chances of becoming an influencer were much higher. After receiving enough brand partnerships, many have been able to transition their social media influencer marketing into a full-blown full-time career. 

For example, if you were to look at Rosie Clayton’s Instagram feed, what would pop out the most would be her colorful outfits and dresses along many colorful walls. There was a time that VSCO’s tone filers that were unmuted were super popular, and Rosie Clayton’s highly saturated photos stood out. She works with numerous brands all around the world and she fits them into her aesthetic. 

However, times do change. As a nation, we are influenced by what we see and aesthetics aren’t any different than that. Bright images are common now along with careful food popped up against captivating backgrounds. What happens when the average look of influencer marketing no longer becomes unique, what happens next?

It was predicted by Taylor Lorenz in an Atlantic article that a more ‘authentic’ trend would transpire driven by social media’s youngest users that attempts to return Instagram to what it used to look like when the feeds only consisted of friends. Lorenz stated the following, “While Millennial influencers hauled DSLR cameras to the beach and mastered photo editing to get the perfect shot, the generation younger than they are largely posted directly from their mobile phones.”

To be a fashion influencer among the younger demographic, it might not be necessary to solely rely on the perfect shot pictures. Instead, it’s suggested that limited editing and casual poses are now becoming more embraced on the feed. It’s substantial to remember that the article covered a group of Instagram young users. The shift that has occurred over the last five years should indicate that the only constant about influencer marketing is changing. 

What Is the Value of Influencer Marketing? 

Even though Instagram influencer marketing is considered to be a familiar strategy, various other networks are also growing specifically for influencers. According to Adweek, by 2020, the industry was set to reach about $10 billion worth. Other social media platforms such as Youtube, Snapchat, and Tik Tok have their own set of influencers with various demographics. 

The influencer marketing agency, Mediakik surveyed marketers at the end of 2018 to capture what their feelings were on influencers for that current new year. It was gathered that 89% stated that the ROI from influencer marketing is better or comparable to other social media channels. When influencer marketing is compared to digital media, it was found that influencer marketing delivered 11 times higher ROI than digital media. 

 

When influencer marketing is compared to paid media, it was discovered that brands earn about $2 for every $1 spent on Adwords compared to $11.69 per $1 spent in EMV on influencer marketing. Of the individuals that were surveyed, 89% of individuals stated that the ROI from influencer marketing was better or comparable to other social media networks. The same survey indicated that 65% of marketers did plan on increasing their budget by 2019. 

How to Create an Influencer Marketing Strategy?

Similar to other marketing tactics, an influencer marketing program will take planning and targeted marketing.

How to Find Influencers and What to Pay Them

Similar to many other strategies, research is the first step. Choose the platform you would like to focus on first. It’s always a possibility to expand your other social media platforms at a later time. When you are first starting, it’s ideal to stick to one. Ideally, it’s expected that your brand should have a presence on the chosen social media platform or you’re looking to expand it. 

If you are unsure of how to start, social listening is a great tool that can assist you in identifying where the individuals are located that discuss your brand and industry. From there, it’ll be easier to find the most influential individual voices in your industry on every social media platform. The current industry you are in matters a great deal when planning the influencer marketing strategy implementation. Fashion and beauty brands shine on Youtube and Instagram. Just like the video game industry commands Twitch. 

During your research stage, look more into the type of influencers you are interested in. Are you interested in celebrities that have a massive following? Or are you more interested in micro-influencers with less than about 2,000 followers? Maybe you’re more interested in the 5-10k follower range. Whatever your preference is, it will help decide your overall budget. 

Another factor that varies greatly is compensation. So be sure to research common rates for those specific influencer types. For example, micro-influencers tend to be more focused on a couple of topics and generally accept products. Some micro-influencers work independently while other micro-influencers are represented by a network or agency. It’ll be essential to think over the expected ROI of your social influencer marketing campaign. 

As you dive into your research process, it’s suggested to calculate the overall contributions of influencer marketing to the overall marketing goals. One of the approaches might be to compare the actual expectations for influencers and though it might seem like you’re judging the value of influencers, the compare and contrast approach is crucial. Ultimately, research is key and you will find yourself returning to that aspect frequently.

Set a Management and Budget Strategy

The next step is creating a budget. It’s imperative to also factor in the planning, executing, and reviewing of your overall influencer marketing program. When you are in charge of running a successful influencer marketing campaign, it’s essential to note that it won’t be a simple set-it-up-and-go type of strategy. 

This strategy will involve careful monitoring along with follow-up. Another form is an automated ad strategy which will require more of a hands-on approach to fully cultivate the relationships. If you require a more extensive pool of influencers, it’ll be ideal to hire an influencer marketing agency that’s able to do adequate coordination and research. 

Decide on Goals and Message

Two of the most common reasons for using influencer marketing are to increase sales and elevate brand awareness. Instead of setting your time on broad targets, start by honing in on what your brand’s needs are. Maybe you strive to increase your customer base to a younger demographic. 

Or maybe you want to skip trends and instead utilize influencers to discuss your brand values. Influencers can reach extremely specific audiences. Instead of relying on millions of followers, influencers will help secure a target audience that is more likely to engage with your specific content.  

When your influencer content can feature a more personal narrative, it helps differentiate your brand from the rest. Remember that your message is just as important as your goal. Determine how you would like to structure your overall influencer marketing campaign and message to stick to your goal. 

Influencer Outreach: How to Contact Influencers?

As mentioned before, research is vital. Once you acquire a plan that is centered around your goals, the type of influencers you’d like to target, and your network, it’s a great idea to go back to researching how to find the appropriate influencers to work with. Keep in mind the following:

  • Does the influencer post about similar things to your brand or service?
  • Are they legit influencers? When there is a poor engagement ratio, follower count, and spam-like comments are huge signs of a fraudulent social media account. 
  • Has the influencer worked with similar brands such as yours before? Depending on the type of influencer you’re searching for, an experienced influencer will acquire a press kit with their portfolio. You can also utilize Twitter analytics tools to identify possible influencers that will fit all of your brand campaigns. 

The next step is deciding how you’ll reach out to them. For micro-influencers, you should be able to reach out directly to them by sending a direct message on the social media platform. For more established influencers, search their profile and there should be contact information for business inquiries in their bio. There might also be a website that indicates brand partnerships. 

Review and Refine Your Strategy 

Even if you have an ongoing influencer marketing strategy, you should still acquire prearranged dates where you’ll be able to measure the progress. The next step you would want to do is track your campaign by different metrics. If you are aiming for more sales, giving out tracking links or affiliate codes is a simple way of viewing how much is being generated from influencers. 

Final Takeaway 

Influencers are here to stay, but the world of influencer marketing operates and looks much different than it did five years ago. We can just imagine how it’ll look five years from now. With any social strategy, it’s pivotal to be ready for change. Remember, research, set a budget, determine your goals, find your influencers, and review and revise. You got this!

References:

https://sproutsocial.com/insights/influencer-marketing/

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Tiarsha Harrison is originally from the Bronx, New York, and has been living in Boca Raton, Florida for 15 years. She is a published freelance writer, whose work can be viewed in various magazines online. Tiarsha is a sweet, witty, and vivacious soul who loves her family, friends, and those around her. In her free time, Tiarsha enjoys spending time with her 1-year-old Morkiepoo, Prince, dancing on a ministry team, listening to many Youtube videos and sermons, and spending time with her family and friends. Her favorite quote is, “Our fingerprints don’t fade from the lives we touch.” She truly believes that.

By Tiarsha Harrison
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