- Influencer marketing is here to stay. Beauty, business, and tech influencers, among others, can help businesses to reach what can be difficult demographics.
- Savvy brands recognize consumers want honesty and are using transparency and openness as a differentiator in influencer marketing campaigns.
- Great influencer marketing campaigns include content that is compelling to your target audience, authentic to the storyteller’s voice, and delivers in-line with your overall business goals.
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Influencer marketing: The A to Z guide on getting started and calculating ROI [episode transcript]
Hailley: Hi everyone! I’m Hailley Griffis and this is The Science of Social Media, a podcast by Buffer. Your weekly sandbox for social media stories, insights, experimentation, and learning.
Brian: Welcome to episode #116, I’m Brian Peters and this week are going in-depth into one of the most popular and arguably effective marketing strategies for so many businesses – and that’s influencer marketing. And though influencer marketing isn’t new, it can be tricky to navigate and we hope to solve that for you today.
Hailley: Influencers have the potential to be both effective advocates for your brand as well as opportunities to tap into niche markets that can be difficult for your business to reach. I’m excited to chat about all of that and more.
Brian: As always, a warm welcome to the show. Let’s kick it off!
Part I: An introduction to influencer marketing
Influencer marketing isn’t new.
Long before the industry coined the term, consumers have looked to experts for guidance or inspiration.
Think about William Shatner for Priceline or Catherine Zeta-Jones for T-Mobile or Mark Wahlberg for Calvin Klein. All of these are influencer marketing campaigns in their own right and helped to drive millions of dollars in sales.
Hailley: Today, influencer marketing takes many different shapes and forms, especially in an era where social media stars are born overnight.
The term “influencer” encompasses a wide variety of socially savvy experts. Beauty, business, and tech influencers, among others, can help businesses to reach what can be difficult demographics.
Brian: One thing you need to know about influencer marketing is that it’s here to stay.
For business taking the wait and watch approach, we suggest that you reconsider. Consumers trust recommendations from a third party more often than a brand itself.
In fact, studies show that 70% of millennial consumers are influenced by the recommendations of their peers in buying decisions over brands.
Hailley: When you align with an influencer, not only do they bring their audience, but they also bring their audience’s network as well.
Because of the loyal nature of their audience, an influencer has the ability to drive traffic to your site, increase your social media exposure, and sell your product through their recommendation or story about their experience.
Brian: And it’s important to note here that we’re not necessarily talking about getting expensive celebrities like the Kardashians to endorse your brand.
Sometimes the best influencers are already in your community. They have a small, but highly-engaged and fiercely loyal following. These are the influencers that will make the biggest impact on your brand in the long run.
Hailley: A robust influencer marketing strategy will often include macro-influencers, micro-influencers, brand ambassadors, brand advocates, and even your employees (yes, they’re influencers, too!).
The right influencer marketing strategy will allow brands to understand and optimize the performance of the right group of influencers, at the right time, to meet their goals.
Brian: Which is a perfect segment into how to get started.
Part II: Getting started with influencer marketing
The first thing to know about influencer marketing is that it’s not about you, it’s about the consumer. And more importantly, about building trust with the consumer so that they buy from you more than just once.
As influencer marketing becomes a central strategy for brands, maintaining that trust requires authenticity and honesty.
Hailley: Savvy brands recognize consumers want honesty and are using transparency and openness as a differentiator.
Brands are doing things like social media takeovers with influencers for a more authentic experience. This removes the brand’s control of the content, but helps to increase performance of the campaign.
So not only is it trust between the brand and consumer, but the brand and influencer as well.
Brian: Exactly, so it’s essential that you start with an understanding of who your target customer is.
A common mistake brands and agencies make is to decide first the type of influencers they would like to work with.
Instead start with who your target audience is and then work your way back from there. Identifying influencers that fit into your ideal description.
Hailley: There are really 4 places to find influencers for your brand. Google, databases, networks, and marketplaces.
- Google: A manual process of typing keywords, scanning webpages for contact info, and then keeping track of the info in spreadsheets. I would also lump social media into here – manually searching social channels and hashtags for relevant influencers for a given topic.
- Databases: Do website scraping for you, pulling publicly available data. These are good places to start but be prepared to spend time vetting each influencer and communicating with them directly.
- Networks: In the middle of Google/social and databases. A network is like an agency that has relationships with the influencers, but will require that you go through them to reach out.
- Marketplaces: A marketplace often offer the best of the four options by pulling in real-time information, along with avoiding the middleperson to connect directly with influencers.
Hailley: There’s no right or wrong way to find influencers for your brand. The key is identifying people that align with your values and customers. Which leads us to types…