Influencer marketing has become one of the most successful forms of marketing today. It is believed to be the most genuine and authentic way of marketing. Consumers do not like overly sponsored content, and would most likely skip ads on various platforms. According to Infolinks, half of the internet users never click on online ads and 35% click on less than five ads per month.
Influencer marketing helps bring out the brand’s message in a more organic way. Therefore, influencer campaigns have better engagement and response rates as compared to paid advertisements.
Influencer marketing grew drastically during the pandemic, as influencers were the only ones who could create content on their own at home. Additionally, the public was consuming a lot of content on social media while they were stuck at home during the lockdown, so influencer marketing was the most effective way to reach them. For instance, Danish Sait’s YouTube following increased to 5,00,000 at the peak of the pandemic.
The most popular platform for influencers and consumers right now is Instagram. TikTok was an upcoming platform in India and was gaining popularity as it reached consumers in tier 2 and tier 3 cities as well. TikTok saw a 45% increase in influencers in 2021. However, the banning of TikTok led creators to move back to Instagram and YouTube. Similarly, Khaby Lame, an Italian influencer took to social media during the pandemic with life-hack videos. He gained around 300 followers in May 2021 and currently has 78.7 million followers.
Delzeen Marolia, Head of Operations of Influencer Management at Schbang talks about 6 things brands must do to optimise influencer marketing.
1. Have a clear-cut objective
In order to sell your brand’s narrative, it is important to know exactly what you are talking about. So, define a campaign objective from the beginning and set your target audience. Be it a launch campaign, which you need to get the word out or be it targeted to a particular audience. This becomes important to ensure that the influencers are aligned with the strategy and message of the campaign.
2. Aim for long-term engagements
Including influencer marketing in all campaigns will make it look more of a natural alliance than a force fit or one-off occurrence. Working with influencers on a long-term basis spread across a longer period of time also helps build a relationship between the influencer and the brand. This will also lead to the influencer’s audience thinking that they actually use the product or service.
3. Micro or mega Influencers?
A decade ago, influencer marketing was limited to celebrities and a few bloggers. However, the space has drastically changed, especially during the pandemic. This is because influencers were the only ones who could continue to make content at home and social media consumption increased. There are multiple categories of influencers from micro (usually between 1000-10,000 followers) to mega influencers (over a million followers).
An increasing number of brands are exploring collaborating with micro-influencers for a number of reasons. While they have a smaller follower base, it allows for a higher engagement rate as they still make an effort to interact with their followers and respond to comments or DMs. In this sense, micro-influencers are more effective to reach a niche audience or a specifically targeted audience group. It is also cost-effective as they are more open to working on a commission-based model and charge a considerably lower amount than macro/mega influencers.
However, the type of influencer chosen by the campaign depends on the kind of reach brands are looking for in a particular campaign. This relates back to point one, of having a clear-cut campaign objective. For instance, a mega influencer would fit better into a launch campaign where the main aim is to get the word out to a large audience. The objective is to reach a niche target group or increase sales through coupon codes, or a location-based campaign, then micro-influencers would be more effective. In many cases, a mix of mega/macro and micro-influencers works well, with mega/macro influencers getting the views and micro-influencers getting the engagement/sales
4. Identify the best fit for your campaign
Influencers have different audiences and serve different demographics. It is important to identify which influencers work best for your brand. It is also important to consider the voice of the influencer and whether it is a natural fit for the brand/service or product that a campaign is promoting.
There are platforms that give insight into analytics for influencers. These include audience demographics, growth of followers over the years, interest areas of the audience and brand mentions. One of those platforms is Qoruz which is an influencer search engine. Another platform is BuzzSumo, which helps in identifying influencers and evaluating their strengths and value to the brand. Similarly, SocialBlade gives insight into subscribers, earnings and ranking on YouTube and Instagram.
5. Give creative control to influencers
An influencer is someone who has spent considerable time building their brand. So trust that ability.
Now that you have identified the right influencer for your camping, let them take creative control over the project. Overly branded content does not perform well, so it’s best to let the influencer create content in their own style. This also ensures that each influencer’s content piece looks different from another influencer’s. However, it is extremely important to be specific with your requirements and mention all mandates in the beginning to avoid reshoots and delays.
6. It doesn’t end with the campaign
As part of the campaign, the brand may take on multiple influencers. However, some will perform better than others, just cause they may connect with the brand more. Therefore, it is important to track the performance of each influencer as it helps in identifying which influencers work best for your brand and bring the highest ROIs.
While giving the mandate to multiple influencers, track the performance of each influencer after the campaign is complete. This is a crucial step in identifying which influencers work best for your brand and bring the highest ROIs.
In conclusion, influencer marketing is here to stay. In order to capture its full potential, it is important to make it look as natural as possible and identify what works best for your brand and its requirements. While it is essential to align influencers to the brand’s narrative, influencers must be given creative freedom to make content.
While Instagram and YouTube remain the most popular platforms for influencer marketing, other apps like Roposo, Trell and ShareChat are slowly gaining popularity. However, they do have a long way to go to be considered for brands to make the shift.