Why Influencer Campaigns Matter for Brands Big and Small
What is an influencer and how it might just be the marketing magic you need
From a marketer’s perspective, one of the greatest challenges can be getting in front of your target audience. Instead of making them jump through hoops (i.e. hoping they’ll visit your website after seeing info about your brand on a billboard), you want to get in front of them where they already are.
Increasingly, ‘where they already are’ is social media.
Your brand should and probably is advertising on the major social media platforms. But there’s another way to find your target audience in a voice that’s deeply authentic: influencers.
Any of you who are active on social media probably follow an influencer or two. The phenomenon is especially apparent across fitness, parenting, design, fashion and food; but there are influencers covering pretty much every industry.
An influencer is a person who can sway their social media followers. It doesn’t necessarily mean they have millions of followers, but they are looked to as knowledgeable in a given arena and as authorities on new products or trends – making them an ideal messenger for brands.
With that in mind, unless your brand already has a very direct line to your target audience, your consumer isn’t on social media, or you’re not looking to gain new customers, you should be activating an influencer campaign.
Influencers’ audiences directly align with brands’ target consumers.
A well-executed influencer campaign can connect a brand to an audience of people who are already interested in your product or industry, are likely to try your product, and who trust the influencer as authentic.
Indeed, last year, EMarketing reported that 84 percent of brand marketers planned to launch one influencer campaign within the next year.
So what questions should you ask yourself when considering an influencer campaign?
Are there active influencers relevant to my industry? Generally, the answer to this question is yes. If your industry is incredibly niche or your target audience is elderly, you’ll want to do a lot of research to uncover whether your demographic is active on social media. Otherwise, it’s pretty much guaranteed that your audience is on social media. If they are, you can leverage influencers to attract their attention.
Is my product or service hyper-local? It doesn’t do much good to partner with a national influencer if you only deliver your product in the Denver metro area. But there may be relevant influencers whose audiences are mostly in Denver. An influencer should be able to show you information about their followers’ demographics, which will help your brand determine whether it’s worth partnering.
Should I partner with influencers who have massive followings? We’re conditioned to believe that bigger is better, but that isn’t always true when it comes to an influencer’s following. A mid-size influencer with, say 20,000 followers, could be a far more effective brand partner than an influencer with millions of followers. That’s because their audience is more heavily engaged; they’re really interested in the topic that influencer covers — so they’re more likely to comment, click, and purchase.
Do I have a budget? Sometimes, brands can pay influencers in product for their role in a campaign. (Regulated industries like cannabis and alcohol will need to check their industry-specific rules around giving away product.) Increasingly, though, influencer campaigns require some budget to execute. In general, the greater the audience of the influencer, the higher their cost to engage will be.
Just like with any marketing endeavor, identify goals and metrics to ensure that influencers understand what you want from them. When executed properly, influencer campaigns can have a huge impact on public awareness of your brand, and, ultimately, on your business’ bottom line.