Updated: May 24
From just 1.7 billion US dollars in 2016 to 16.4 billion US dollars in 2022, influencer marketing has grown remarkably in the last decade, with a growth rate of almost 128.8% per year on average.
Welcome, dear reader, to the world of influencer marketing! A place where anyone with a large social media following can convince us to buy anything from a bottle of vitamins to a subscription for dog grooming services.
Jokes apart, influencer marketing is a serious business that has taken the world by storm, and while the concept of "influencers" may have seemed silly and foreign just a few years ago, it's now an integral part of any successful marketing strategy.
So, whether you're a marketer looking to dip your toes in the influencer pool, a business owner looking to increase your brand's reach, or just a curious reader who wants to know more about the world of social media fame and fortune, this complete guide to influencer marketing is for you. This well-equipped blog by Design Process consists of everything from benefits to types, strategies, examples, tips, and everything in between.
Let’s get started.
What is Meant by Influencer Marketing?
In today's world, consumers are constantly bombarded with ads and promotions, making it difficult for brands to stand out from the crowd. That's where influencer marketing comes in. By partnering with people who have a genuine connection with their audience, brands can cut through the noise and reach potential customers in a more authentic and human way.
These influencers are more than just a marketing tool; they are real people with unique stories and perspectives. By collaborating with them, brands can tap into their followers' emotions and build trust by aligning themselves with someone who shares their values and interests. It's this personal connection that sets influencer marketing apart from other forms of advertising and makes it so effective in today's digital landscape.
Whether it's a celebrity endorsing a luxury product or a micro-influencer sharing their skincare routine, influencer marketing has the power to bring a human touch to even the most impersonal products and services.
By leveraging the power of social media and the personal touch of influencers, brands can create campaigns that feel less like ads and more like genuine recommendations from a trusted friend.
What are the Examples of Influencer Marketing?
There are many examples of influencer marketing campaigns that have been successful.
One of the most famous examples is the collaboration between Nike and Michael Jordan. Nike signed Michael Jordan as their brand ambassador in 1984 and released the first Air Jordan sneaker in 1985. The partnership has been extremely successful, with the Air Jordan brand becoming one of the most popular and profitable shoe lines in the world.
Another example is the collaboration between Calvin Klein and Kendall Jenner. The campaign featured Kendall Jenner wearing Calvin Klein clothing and posting photos of herself on Instagram. The campaign was a huge success, with the photos receiving millions of likes and shares.
Influencer marketing benefits
There are several influencer marketing benefits that make it an attractive marketing strategy, but to name a few, here are the following:
Increased brand awareness
When you partner with influencers, you can tap into their loyal and dedicated followers, which can help increase brand awareness. As influencers have spent time building their audience, they have already established trust and credibility with their followers, making their promotion of your brand or product even more effective. By leveraging their reach, your brand can potentially be seen by a wider audience than through traditional advertising methods alone.
As consumers, we often turn to influencers for advice and guidance on products and services. They are seen as experts in their respective fields, and their endorsement of your brand can significantly improve your credibility. When influencers share their positive experiences with your product or service, it can help build trust with potential customers and increase sales. It's like getting a recommendation from a friend you trust and respect.
Influencer marketing is a powerful tool to reach specific audiences that are most likely to be interested in your brand or product. By partnering with influencers whose followers match your target demographic, you can tailor your message and make it more relevant and appealing to potential customers. This targeted approach can lead to better engagement and a higher return on investment.
Small businesses often have limited budgets for advertising, which is why influencer marketing can be a cost-effective solution. Instead of investing in expensive traditional advertising, partnering with influencers can help you reach a targeted audience with a smaller investment. Influencer marketing allows small businesses to leverage the power of social media and the personal connection that influencers have with their followers to promote their products or services in a more organic and authentic way.
By leveraging the power of influencers, you can increase customer engagement with your brand and create a buzz around your products or services. When influencers promote your brand, their followers are more likely to engage with your content, leading to increased likes, shares, and comments on social media. This not only helps to spread the word about your brand but also creates a sense of community around it.
Influencer Marketing Strategy in 5 Steps
It may sound like an easy job to create an influencer marketing strategy, but with an overwhelming number of social media platforms, each with a different set of demographics hanging out on them, it can be really overwhelming to manage your influencer marketing strategy well.
Just like any other marketing tactic, it also requires deliberate planning, and here are 5 basic steps that you can consider while creating your own influencer marketing strategy.
The first step in creating an influencer marketing strategy is to find influencers who align with your brand and target audience. You can use influencer marketing platforms, social media searches, or reach out to influencers directly to find potential partners. Once you have a list of potential influencers, you need to understand their payment structure.
Influencers may charge a flat fee, require free products or services, or work on a commission basis. It's important to understand the different payment structures so that you can create a budget and negotiate with influencers effectively.
Prepare Your Budget and a Management Strategy
Influencer marketing can be a cost-effective strategy, but it's important to set a budget before you start. This will help you prioritize influencers and allocate funds appropriately. In addition to a budget, you need to establish a management strategy to ensure that your influencer campaign runs smoothly. This may include assigning a dedicated team member to manage influencer relationships, setting up a system to track influencer performance, and creating a communication plan for all parties involved.
Brands that are planning to do it all on a larger scale must look to hire an influencer marketing agency to avoid falling short without the required expertise.
Decide on Campaign Goals and Messaging
Before you launch your influencer campaign, you need to decide on your goals and messaging.
Generally, the most common goals of influencer marketing strategies are increasing sales and building brand awareness. However, instead of creating such broad targets, one may consider breaking these huge goals into smaller milestones.
This will help you create a campaign that is aligned with your brand and resonates with your target audience. Messaging should be tailored to the influencer and their audience and should communicate the benefits of your product or service in a way that feels authentic and relatable.
Once you have identified potential influencers and set your campaign goals, it's time to establish influencer outreach. This involves reaching out to influencers and pitching your campaign to them. Influencer outreach can be done through email, direct messaging on social media, or an influencer marketing platform. When reaching out to influencers, it's important to personalize your message and show that you have done your research on their brand and audience. Also, check the following details:
Are legit by scrolling through their followers lists and engagement in the form of likes and comments?
Do they have experience from scrolling through their previous posts and content?
Do they already post things related to your service or products?
Review and Alter Your Strategy
Once your influencer campaign is launched, it's important to review and refine your strategy as needed. This may involve tracking influencer performance, adjusting messaging, or reallocating budget to top-performing influencers. Regular review and refinement will help you maximize the impact of your influencer marketing campaign and ensure that you are achieving your goals.
Types of Influencer Marketing
Some of the most common types of influencer marketing include:
Sponsored content involves paying an influencer to create content promoting your brand or product. This can be in the form of social media posts, blog posts, or videos. By partnering with an influencer who has a large following and an engaged audience, you can reach a wider audience and build brand awareness.
Product reviews involves sending an influencer your product to review and promote to their followers. Influencers are seen as experts in their field, so their endorsement of your product can improve your credibility and increase sales.
Giveaways and contests
Giveaways and contests are popular ways to increase engagement and brand awareness. By partnering with an influencer to host a giveaway or contest featuring your brand or product, you can reach a wider audience and build buzz around your brand. It's important to make sure the giveaway or contest aligns with your brand’s values and target audience. This way, the influencer's followers who participate in the giveaway or contest will be more likely to become loyal customers.
It involves paying an influencer a commission for each sale made through their unique affiliate link. This incentivizes the influencer to promote your product to their followers, as they earn a commission for each sale.
Four Types of Influencers
Mega influencers are social media stars with massive followings, often exceeding one million followers. These individuals are typically celebrities, athletes, or other public figures who have built a significant following through their fame or talent. They have a broad reach, but their engagement rates tend to be lower due to their large following. Collaborating with a mega influencer can be expensive, but it can help generate a significant amount of brand awareness.
Companies that sell high-end products or services, such as luxury fashion brands, high-end cars, and expensive jewellery, can benefit from partnering with mega influencers.
Macro influencers have massive follower count ranging from 100,000 to 1 million followers. They're often niche experts, influencers, or celebrities who have built a strong online presence within their field. Macro influencers can help brands reach a larger audience while maintaining a high level of engagement with their followers.
Companies that target a broad demographic and want to reach a large audience can benefit from partnering with macro influencers.
Micro-influencers have followings ranging from 10,000 to 100,000 followers. They're often everyday people who have built a loyal following based on their content or personality. Micro-influencers are highly engaged with their followers, and their recommendations can carry significant weight. They're often seen as more relatable and trustworthy than their larger counterparts, making them a popular choice for brands seeking to build a deeper connection with their target audience.
Companies that sell niche products or services, such as vegan makeup or sustainable fashion, can benefit from partnering with micro-influencers.
Nano influencers have followers of fewer than 10,000 followers. They're everyday people who have built a small but dedicated following based on their passion or expertise. Nano influencers are highly engaged with their followers and are often seen as trustworthy and relatable. Collaborating with a nano influencer can be a cost-effective way to reach a highly targeted audience with a message that's authentic and genuine.
Companies that are just starting and have a limited budget can benefit from partnering with nano influencers.
The Most Popular Influencer Marketing Platforms
There are several influencer marketing platforms that businesses can use to find and partner with influencers. Some of the most popular platforms include:
Aspire is a popular influencer marketing platform that offers a comprehensive suite of tools for businesses of all sizes. The platform uses machine learning to help businesses identify the most relevant influencers for their brand and provides tools to manage relationships with influencers. Aspire also offers features for campaign management, content creation, and performance tracking.
Upfluence is a tool that offers a range of tools for businesses to manage their influencer marketing campaigns. The platform provides features for influencer identification, outreach, and relationship management. Just like Aspire, it also includes tools for campaign management, content creation, and performance tracking.
Additionally, Upfluence offers an AI-powered content analysis tool that helps businesses ensure that their content is compliant with advertising regulations.
Grin is another influencer marketing platform that focuses on helping businesses build long-term relationships with influencers. Just like the above two tools, this platform also provides tools for influencer identification, outreach, and relationship management, as well as campaign management and performance tracking features, but additionally offers a range of tools to help businesses measure the ROI of their influencer marketing campaigns.
Limitations of Influencer Marketing
While influencer marketing can be an effective marketing strategy, it does have its limitations. Some of the most common limitations include:
Influencer marketing can indeed be an expensive investment for businesses when working with mega or macro influencers who have a larger audience reach and more significant influence. They can charge exorbitant fees for their services, making it challenging for small to mid-sized businesses to afford their services. It is crucial for businesses to carefully evaluate the cost-benefit ratio of such partnerships to ensure that their influencer marketing strategy generates a positive return on investment (ROI).
Trust is a crucial aspect of influencer marketing as it directly affects the relationship between the influencer, the brand, and the audience. Influencers who promote products they do not believe in can damage their credibility and reputation with their followers, which can ultimately impact the brand's reputation as well. Therefore, businesses must partner with influencers who align with their brand values and have a genuine interest in their products.
When it comes to influencer marketing, one of the biggest challenges for businesses is finding the right influencers to partner with. While partnering with micro and niche influencers can be cost-effective, it may not always guarantee a wide reach or high engagement.
Tips for Working with Social Media Influencers
Working with social media influencers can be a rewarding experience for businesses. Here are some tips to help you work effectively with influencers:
It's important to choose influencers who align with your brand's values and message. This will ensure that their audience is more likely to be interested in your product or service, and it will also help to build credibility with potential customers. Plus, you do not want to work with people who may negatively impact your business’ image.
While it's tempting to partner with influencers who have a large following, it's not always the best approach. It's important to consider the quality of their followers, their engagement rate, and how well they align with your brand. An influencer with a smaller following but a highly engaged audience that matches your target demographic may be more effective than a mega influencer with a large but disinterested following.
It's important to create an agreement outlining the scope of work, expectations, and compensation for the influencer to eventually eliminate the scope of any kind of miscommunication in the future.
Influencers are more likely to partner with businesses that provide value to their audience. Consider offering free products or exclusive discounts to their followers. This will make their partnership with your brand more appealing and can help to increase engagement and sales.
Before reaching out to influencers, research their past partnerships and their audience demographics. This will help you determine if they are the right fit for your brand and target audience. It will also help you personalize your outreach and make a stronger connection with the influencer.
Influencer marketing can be a powerful marketing strategy for businesses looking to increase brand awareness, drive sales, and improve credibility. By choosing the right influencers, developing a clear strategy, and tracking your results, you can effectively leverage the power of influencer marketing to grow your business.
If you're looking to take your business to the next level, it's time to partner with Design Process. As a D2C growth studio, we specialize in helping businesses like yours scale and succeed online. And as part of our comprehensive suite of services, we also offer expert influencer marketing strategies that can help you reach new audiences and boost your brand's visibility.
Till then, see you on the other side of socials.
Further Reading - From Likes to Solutions: Social Media for ECommerce Customer Service