Contributor, Wynn Corliss, Chief Operating Officer of Metigy
Influencer marketing is quickly becoming one of the most talked about marketing strategies. With its ability to generate an 11x higher return on investment (ROI) compared to traditional strategies, brands are increasingly turning to influencers to drive brand awareness and source unique content.
For small businesses looking to delve into the world of influencer marketing, knowing where to start can feel overwhelming. While some simply don’t understand the value, others are unsure of how to effectively engage with influencers, and many feel confused by the evolving regulations around paid ads.
However, the impact of influencer marketing is too big an opportunity to miss, especially for American SMEs. Here, we explore why influencer marketing is a key medium for small businesses, and how it can be used effectively.
Know thy audience
Social media and the digital world is an oversaturated market so a highly targeted audience is key to success.
If you don’t know who your audience is, you can’t give them what they want.
Whether you’re targeting baby boomers, millennials, sports fans, new parents and every intersection in between, it’s best to drill down into audience demographics to increase engagement.
You may have already built your customer personas, so this can be used as a foundation for your influencer strategy.
Otherwise, you can use native social media analytics to better understand your audience demographic, including who they are, where they are located, what they care about and how engaged they are.
It’s been reported that Kylie Jenner charges more than US$1 million per social post.
But not all businesses are targeting the masses or have such huge budgets. Most can achieve stronger results using localized, smaller influencers at a reduced cost.
Research reveals that micro-influencers, with between 4,000-10,000 followers achieve the highest engagement rates at an average of 4.34 per cent. The engagement rate typically drops as the follower count increases, and for influencers with above 250,000 followers, the engagement rate generally hovers at around 2 per cent. The message here is that more doesn’t necessarily guarantee strong results.
The foundation of any great marketing strategy is clearly defined goals, and influencer marketing is no exception.
Your first step should be to define the objective of the campaign: exposure, brand awareness, feedback, or direct sales. This will directly relate to how you engage with an influencer, as well as defining the direction of the strategy.
Once your objective has been defined, work with the influencer to set up tactics to measure success.
We did this during a recent influencer campaign here at Metigy. Our goal was to raise awareness of our new Creative Services that provide SMEs with access to graphic designers. Given our objective was brand awareness, we ran a week-long competition with three influencers offering users the opportunity to win a three-month unlimited plan of the service.
Thanks to this campaign, we grew our social media following by 11 per cent, and increased our content interactions by nearly 12 per cent. Analysing the results, we were able to target and engage a new audience to align with our key campaign objective. While there are many ways to measure a campaign, the key to success is being guided by a clear set of objectives.
Build long-term relationships
Today, it’s easier than ever to find the right influencers for your brand. There are many dedicated platforms such as AspireIQ or Upfluence that can help you with this process, and using a platform will save you a lot of time and hassle.
Once you’ve found your perfect influencer, cultivate the relationship.
Over time, they will be a valuable brand advocate. After you’ve run a couple of campaigns, it will take less work to execute as you’ll both understand each other’s brands and needs. As you establish a mutually beneficial relationship, you may well be able to negotiate a better price too.
Drawing on our own recent influencer campaign as an example, we narrowed the choice of content creators down by ensuring our vision, purpose and messaging aligned. Each influencer offered a strong and unique brand, but all shared the same goal of inspiring others to take the leap and start their own business.
These influencers, as small business owners themselves, related to our mission and felt deeply connected to our cause. This brand alignment helped us to create and sustain lasting relationships with these influencers because ultimately, all parties were working towards a shared vision.
Influencer marketing is becoming one of the biggest trends in digital marketing, with 93 per cent of brands now using influencer marketing. With more than a billion people actively using Instagram each month, and close to double that on Facebook, the emerging influencer marketing channel is becoming a key battleground for driving brand awareness and sourcing unique content.
Wynn is Metigy’s Chief Operating Officer. Wynn started his career with Cumulus Media, the second-largest radio broadcast company in the United States. Within two short years, he worked his way to Vice President of Digital Operations which made him responsible for digital operations/execution/strategy for over 450 US radio stations. Since leaving Cumulus, Wynn has spent time working with several digital/marketing startups helping them streamline operations and grow their distribution.
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