Marketers for the past few months have been talking about Influencer Marketing. A LOT. Is it a hot digital marketing trend, the future or a buzzword?

Will influencers change the digital marketing industry as we know it? Probably not. It’s not going to replace the value of social, paid or content marketing because influencers can’t exist without them.

So, why all the fuss? Several influencer marketing case studies and successful examples have shown that brands usually benefit from their relationship with influencers as they build a fertile basis for sales.  Influencers marketing can help marketers increase metrics like brand awareness, loyalty or engagement. In some cases, it can even help impact consumers’ purchasing behaviors.

How does the influencers’ market look like today?

The global influencer market is now worth over $1 billion! It is rewarding top influencers with cross-border opportunities to expand cultures and personal brands. For the lucky ones that have over 100,000 fans, the average pay for a single post is estimated at $763.

Instagram is one of the social media networks where influencers have shown their impact. Over the past year, brands have spent more than $1billion on Instagram influencers alone, according to Mediakik, which tracked the number of sponsored posts on the platform. This figure is expected to double by 2019.

Some marketers are even willing to pay more than £67,000 per video post with a YouTube influencer. The price is rising to £75,000 for a single Facebook post by a celebrity influencer, according to Rakuten Marketing.

Some marketers are even willing to pay more than £67,000 per video post with a YouTube influencer, rising to £75,000 for a single Facebook post by a celebrity influencer, according to Rakuten Marketing.

Who can be considered to be an influencer?

An influencer can be anyone that has the power to influence others within their social sphere. Influencers can be TV, YouTube or radio personalities, artists, influential buyers, retailers, or people, such as journalists or industry professionals (among others).

The definition of an influencer is “an individual who has the power to affect purchase decisions of others because of his/her (real or perceived) authority, knowledge, position, or relationship. In consumer spending, members of a peer group or reference group act as influencers.” In this sense, influencers can impact the success or failure of a product by using it or shunning it.

An influencer can be anyone that has the power to influence others within their social sphere.

Influencers can be TV, YouTube or radio personalities, artists, influential buyers, retailers, or people, such as journalists or industry professionals (among others).

The definition of an influencer is  “an individual who has the power to affect purchase decisions of others because of his/her (real or perceived) authority, knowledge, position, or relationship. In consumer spending, members of a peer group or reference group act as influencers.” In this sense, influencers can impact the success or failure of a product by using it or shunning it.

According to DestinationThink!, influencers can be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • audience demographics (language, countries, interest of the audience)
  • market reach (how many people the influencer will connect with),
  • independence (no vested interest in the product)
  • the frequency of impact
  • expertise
  • persuasiveness
  • thoroughness (the extent to which influence is exerted across the decision lifecycle).

Clearly, social influencers enjoy their relationship with their online fans. They want to create are authentic experiences for their fans as well as provide a return on investment for the brand.

There can be two types of influencers: micro-influencers and macro-influencers. Within the macrosphere of digital influencers, the top influencers have millions of followers on multiple social media platforms. They may be celebrities in other entertainment industries. Micro-influencers, on the other hand, have smaller numbers of followers, lower fees, but usually, they have high engagement and great conversion as they have a niche audience.

Why brands trust influencers?

As the Head of strategic partnerships at Time Inc, Lillian Betty said: “it’s about brand identity, keeping the right sort of company and ensuring your brand is being shown in its best light with the best partner.” What brands get through Influencer Marketing is the sense of closeness with the target audience and positive brand favorability. Social influencers usually become ambassadors for the brands and help them build a relationship with their desired audience.

Lately, we are seeing more Fortune 500 companies as well as new brands committing to more long-term campaigns with creators, as they are the future of brand awareness and user acquisition. As it was so truly stated by Charlie Xavier (aka WOLFIE)- YouTube comedian with over 8 million followers on social, “we’re finally in a place where major brands have now completed their “proof of concept” campaigns and will be shifting a massive piece of their budgets to influencers.

Influencers act as social proof. If an influencer uses, for example, a specific brand of lipstick, it is more likely for their audience to give them a try as well.

Influencers through social channels provide fans with a less passive experience than the typical ads. People get engaged with the personality of the influencer and love his/her content. Click To TweetSince people are not bombarded with just short promotion-heavy shots, they gradually evolve genuine emotional depth and connection with the brand as well.

Now, let’s dig into some of the best case studies of influencers marketing!

Kourtney Kardashian & Pretty little thing

Kourtney has 59.9m followers. She is one of the most influential and recognizable people worldwide. She is a macro influencer and has promoted a lot of beauty and clothing brands. She always adds the hashtag #ad when has the call to action “shop”.

Smaller brands can totally benefit from building relationships with influencers.

Ritta Kelly & Circcell

Ritta is a model living in Seattle. She has around 1700 followers on Instagram. She can be considered a micro influencer on beauty and fashion industry as she has a very good engagement and super nice content. For Circcell, she seems like a really good fit because Ritta has the right audience for the brand.

Badoo and micro influencers

I do love this influencer marketing case study! In 2016, Badoo launched an in-house Influencer Marketing division, focused on connecting Badoo with social influencers (and their audiences) around the globe. Based on the job description for a Digital Influencer Marketing lead, Badoo has established a number of territories and run several social media campaigns.

Using several micro and macro influencers per country, Badoo has been on fire!

Dell

Dell is a brand that you would not normally believe to have this type of digital presence. Nevertheless, in the past six years, Lauren Mauro, the director of both consumer PR and influencer relations at Dell, has developed a multi-tier influencer approach for Dell that scales from celebrity name brands to small regional bloggers. With all of them, Dell puts the relationship at the heart of the tactic.

Lord & Taylor

A popular influencer marketing case study by Influencer MarketingHub is the one of Lord & Taylor. Retailer Lord & Taylor partnered with 50 influential fashionistas on Instagram and had each pose wearing the same dress. The dress sold out by the end of the weekend, and it gave the brand a chance to introduce their Design Lab Collection to potential customers, who followed these influencers.

So, now that everything is bright and clear…

How would you evaluate an influencer and find the perfect match for your brand?

First of all, you should make a research and conclude to the 5-10 micro-influencers based on their niche, engagement on their posts and audience size. If you have a budget, then you should make the same list with macro-influencers.

Go ahead and contact them! Talk with them about your vision and get proposals on possible partnerships (costs per post, per article or vlog, insta story, cost for a giveaway campaign). Make sure to ask for some analytics on their engagement or if they have available data from past partnerships.  

Remember, influencer marketing should gradually become part of a longer-term strategy. Probably you will not see amazing results from the very first post or mention. Be patient!


To conclude

Influencer marketing was a big trend and marketing revolution in 2017! Case studies definitely have proved this. This will continue in 2018.

Brands have found a way to reach their audience without being too aggressive.

The ultimate challenge for established brands will be localization and how to connect local influencers with global brands on a larger stage. What I firmly believe is that influencer marketing can be risky. This is not a marketing tactic to be followed without any other strategy or activity in mind. Influencer marketing is probably the part of the digital marketing world that has the least amount of measurement and reliability, so to put all your eggs in one basket may not be a bright idea.

Evi has years of experience in digital marketing and community building for innovative tech companies. Her passion is to grow businesses by highlighting their true value and mission.