Premiere Creative’s Approach to Influencer Marketing
It feels like there’s a new white paper about Influencer Marketing services getting thrown around on the internet every 20 minutes. As a discipline and profession, marketing is absolutely rife with buzzwords that swell in their frequency of use before dying out and being replaced. A lot of people in the industry believe that Influencer Marketing falls into that category. At Premiere Creative, we’ve worked with eCommerce clients over a broad swath of industries to explore all possible channels for driving revenues. We began dipping our toes into the world of influencer marketing a few years ago with one simple question in mind: is this fun new form of marketing a true and reliable method for driving client growth online? Or is it just a flashy new toy that provides dubious value and will eventually die out?
Several years and many successful influencer marketing initiatives later, we are happy to say influencer marketing is no joke. We have leveraged the power of influential individuals on Instagram, Facebook, and other social media channels to drive brand awareness, social platform growth, and gross revenues for online eCommerce clients. But before we go into our Influencer Marketing philosophy and best practices, it’s important to put the practice of influencer marketing in context. What exactly is influencer marketing? When is it beneficial? For whom does influencer marketing make sense, and what are the key success metrics? Read on to understand more.
Understanding Influencer Marketing in 2019: A Snapshot
Influencer marketing is any effort on behalf of a client to leverage an influential person’s audience online. It uses top content creators – who specialize in a specific niche and have cultivated a specific audience – to help brands build awareness, increase traffic, and drive sales online. It is essentially an effort to leverage popular content creators and reach their audience. Influencers come in all shapes and sizes. From Twitch – the video game streaming platform – to Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit, and everywhere else where people congregate online, content creators with large audiences hold sway. And brands are starting to notice.
82% of consumers surveyed in a recent study say they take recommendations from social media influencers seriously. In an even more telling study by the Digital Marketing Institute, 86% of women use social media for purchasing advice. Additionally, 6 out of 10 teenagers follow the advice of influencers like Jake Paul, Kendal Jenner, and the like over traditional celebrities. These stats all say the same thing: social media platforms like Instagram and YouTube play a significant role in the buying decisions of American consumers. It’s no wonder that brands and agencies are increasingly investing in influencer marketing programs. In fact, the influencer marketing industry is expected to balloon up to $10 billion by 2020.
This explosive growth points to the widespread use of influencer marketing in the marketing mix for advertisers and brands. 89% of businesses say their ROI from influencer marketing campaigns is better than or comparable to more traditional digital marketing channels. Additionally, top-line revenues notwithstanding, 71% of marketers report that customers and traffic derived from social networks are more highly qualified than other traffic sources. Advertisers are quickly seeing the potential of influencers to drive optimal marketing outcomes. But anyone can see that potential and decide to tap it. What is actually involved in initiating an influencer marketing campaign? And how does one identify the influencers that are right for their brand?
Different Types of Influencers
If you’re looking to drive success through any form of digital marketing, understanding what makes your brand different and planning your marketing programs accordingly is essential. This is especially true in the world of influencer marketing. Every brand is different and requires a unique approach when it comes to leveraging influencer audiences. The first step is to understand what types of influencers are out there, identify the right type of influencer for your brand, and plan a campaign accordingly. Let’s start running through a few different types of influencers.
There’s a bit of debate around the actual definition of a micro-influencer. For the sake of simplicity, let’s stick to Instagram. Some publications define anyone with between 10k-100k followers as a micro-influencer. Others believe that a micro-influencer is a user with less than 30k followers. That seems conservative to us – so let’s split the difference and say that a Micro-influencer is another with between 10k-50k followers on Instagram. The actual followership threshold isn’t that important. In essence, micro-influencers tend to have very small and engaged followers. While a lot of marketers seek out influencers with millions of followers, partnering with a micro-influencer drives engagement far more efficiently.
YouTubers and vloggers are having a moment right now. Whether or not the vlog – or video blog – format will remain popular in the coming years is unclear. What is clear, however, is that popular vloggers like Jake Paul, the Dobre Brothers, Cody Ko, and Casey Neistat have sizable and engaged audiences. Brands have been able to leverage the diverse (and typically young) audiences enjoyed by these innovative content creators to their advantage. Imagine that you are the marketing manager for a cosmetics brand like Revlon. Initiating an influencer marketing campaign with a popular makeup tutorial YouTuber like Michelle Phan would guarantee a high volume of eyeballs on your product. You would see a consequent spike in impressions, searches, website visits, and sales as a result.
Celebrity influencers are people who are traditionally famous and have massive followings online. The extent to which these people are recognized makes them prime candidates for companies with big budgets. Tapping the audience enjoyed by a popular celebrity online is a great way for brands to gain some authority and recognition online. A few months ago, Proactiv skincare made Kylie Jenner their official spokesperson: “The Face of Proactiv.” As a well-known company with deep pockets, partnering with Kylie and gaining access to her 150,000,000 Instagram followers was a fantastic strategic move.
Key Opinion Leaders
Key Opinion Leaders are highly-respected experts within a given field. For instance, a Key Opinion Leader may specialize in anything from Vietnamese cuisine, to Bikram yoga, makeup application, or technology. If your business is looking to attract a very specific set of customers within a specific field, partnering with thought leaders to do influencer marketing initiatives can be a game-changer.
KOLs are usually present on many channels. From social media networks to trade publications and blogs, the opportunities to create relevant content around the wisdom of industry thought leaders are pretty diverse. Let’s say you’re running a company that creates renewable clean energy. Running an influencer marketing campaign with a technologist like Elon Musk may help promote your brand to interested consumers.
Influencers come in all shapes and sizes. Picking a direction with the types of influencers you’d like to work with is a practice in measuring tradeoffs. For instance, if you decide to exclusively work with micro-influencers, you’ll be able to tap their small and highly engaged audiences and drive some clout. The downside, however, is that you won’t have access to the larger audiences of larger and better-known influencers. Understanding the types of influencers that are available for partnerships is an important first step. The next step is actually finding the right influencers, and developing a framework for measuring your campaign’s success.
Finding Influencers for Your Influencer Marketing Campaign
The process of finding the right influencer for your campaign is relatively straightforward. That said, there are some tips and tricks you can employ to find the influencers who are perfect for your brand. Here’s a list of ways to find the right people.
Social media networks like Twitter and Instagram also provide ways to find influencers. What hashtags do people generally use when they create content relevant to your brand’s products/services? Searching for those hashtags and cherry-picking the best posts from the most relevant influencers is a great trick for finding new people. You can also search keyword phrases, see who other influencers are tagging in their posts, or read comment sections to identify users with the most authority who are talking about your industry.
Reading blogs is another fantastic way to locate influencers. It doesn’t matter if the influencers you glean from blog posts are the authors, the publications for whom the authors are writing, or the people/ entities mentioned in the blogs. By reading the thoughts of other people in the industry, you can zero in on the names of interesting potential influencers to partner with.
Unsurprisingly, there is a ton of software, like Dovetale, that can help businesses navigate through various stages of an influencer marketing campaign. There’s attribution software that helps marketers track the extent to which consumer actions taken on a webpage are the result of an influencer marketing campaign. There is creative software that helps influencers shoot, edit, and optimize micro-content. And most importantly for this discussion, there is software that helps marketers cut through the cacophony on social networks to find the absolute perfect influencers. Influencer search software allows you to granularly search using specific criteria. You can narrow your search down to people within a certain follower range, age, gender percentages of their audiences, and much more.
From our tiny yet mighty offices in downtown Millburn, New Jersey, Premiere Creative’s team of digital marketing experts leverages marketing software, Google search, and social media networks to lock down the best influencers for our clients. The goals of our campaigns have varied pretty widely. From direct response sales to brand awareness campaigns, and everything in between, our expertise has allowed us to build fruitful relationships with both influencers and clients interested in their services. That’s what makes us New Jersey’s top influencer marketing agency.