What is an Influencer and How Can They Work With Me?
An influencer is a person with a dedicated and highly engaged following on social media. While follower counts may vary, their followers trust them wholeheartedly, especially when making purchase decisions.
Influencer marketing is similar to celebrity endorsements. You provide compensation to an influencer for them to post a positive review and/or product mention on their social accounts. The post is typically done in the influencer’s style and voice to match their typical tone. This keeps them genuine to their audience and helps your brand integrate into their ecosystem.
While influencer marketing is most popular on Instagram, it is rising in popularity on TikTok and more niche sites, like Twitch for entertainment companies.
Chart Source: eMarketer
As you can see in the chart above, marketers are planning to engage influencers more and more. The statistics backing up these decisions are impressive. According to Influencer Marketing Hub:
Influencer marketing is expected to grow to be worth $13.8 billion in 2021. Due to COVID creating more business online, the influencer industry jumped in 2020 and has continued to grow.
Businesses are making $5.78 ROI for every $1 spent on influencer marketing.
90% of survey respondents believe influencer marketing to be an effective form of marketing.
67% of brands use Instagram for influencer marketing.
1,360 Influencer marketing-focused platforms and agencies entered the market in the last 5 years alone.
How Do I Work with Influencers?
It’s important to conduct a lot of research and ask yourself questions when developing an influencer marketing strategy.
What is your goal?
Are you advertising a sale or new product? Are you looking to increase your follower count? Are you launching a new platform, like a brand TikTok account, that you want to promote?
It’s also important here to define who exactly you are trying to reach in order to pick the best influencer for you.
What platform do you want to advertise on? This may depend on the influencer and/or your goals, but determine if you want to be on Instagram, TikTok, Youtube, etc.
What follower count are you looking for?
Do you want a celebrity, or a nano- (less than 10k followers) or micro-influencer (10-100k followers)?
Are you looking to reach a niche audience? If so, a nano- or micro-influencer may be perfect for you, since these people are typically regarded as experts in their space.
According to Influencer Marketing Hub, Influencers with 15k followers have some of the highest engagement rates on all platforms.
What is your ideal message? Remember that an influencer will likely want to put it in their own voice, to resonate with their audience.
Know that due to Federal Trade Commission rules, they will need to tag #ad #sponsored #partner. You can also create your own hashtag for influencers you hire – like #localsocialmediapartner – to go along with FTC requirements.
What is your budget? Do you have a budget, or do you just want to provide free product?
Because this is a new industry, compensation rates can vary widely. It’s important to define your budget in the beginning to make the process seamless.
You could also decide to engage influencers to have commission-based affiliate marketing links for your site. 9.3% of United States influencers said affiliate marketing through links and promo codes was their top source of income.
Once you have influencers in mind, do your research:
Is this person already following you? Are there any influencers following your brand?
Do they work with brands similar to yours or competitors?
Do they post content that relates to your business?
Examine their engagement rate by looking at like and comment amounts to make sure their high follower count actually engages and isn’t just made of bots.