2020 Digital Marketing Insights on Influencer Marketing
The digital world has become more competitive than ever, making it essential that business owners and decision-makers are able to harness the right tools and strategies to build their brands. Digital marketing offers a broad range of such solutions, including influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing is actually a subset of social media marketing, and it involves the endorsement by or product placement with recognised influencers. These influencers may be social media celebrities, but they may also be recognised thought leaders within specific industries.
By partnering with influencers, you are able to gain a number of benefits. One of those is access to their pool of followers and fans. However, you also gain greater authority within your industry and better brand recognition. Influencers are usually recognised as possessing expert-level knowledge within a specific field, and if they endorse your product(s) or service(s), it can bring a greater level of credibility, recognition, or acceptance.
With that being said, influencer marketing has changed a great deal from what it once was, and in 2020 and beyond, you’ll need to follow some specific strategies and tactics to get the most out of this digital marketing method. In this guide, we will explore some of the most critical digital marketing insights related to influencer marketing that you should know.
- Know the Type of Influencer You Need: You’ll find that the world is filled with influencers, but they vary considerably from one to another. For instance, an individual with decades of experience in your industry, but a blog following of only 1,000 people might not be as worth your time and money as someone with less experience, but an Instagram following of 10,000 individuals. You need to know the type of influencer that you want to work with here. Generally speaking, the more popular the influencer, the more it will require to form a partnership with them.
- Explore the Types and Benefits: While there seems to be a direct correlation between influencer follower number and the benefits of working with that influencer, it’s not always an even trade. You’ll find nano, micro, macro, mega, and celebrity influencers out there, each of which builds on the size audience of the previous one. For instance, nano influencers usually have under 5,000 followers, while celebrities may have millions of followers.
The challenge here is that the larger the audience, the more diluted it will be for your marketing efforts. Out of 1 million people, only 10,000 or so might be interested in what you’re offering. However, out of 500,000 followers for someone specific to your industry, you might find 100,000 who are very interested in your product or service.
- Use Micro Influencers as Testers: Going full-scale with an influencer marketing campaign can be daunting and costly. However, if you test it first with a nano influencer or two, you’re able to remove some of the uncertainty and help maximise ROI. Testing with nano influencers allows you to:
- Target people from your specific audience
- Gain feedback on your influencer marketing campaign and/or digital collateral
- Gauge consumer reaction to your campaign/collateral
- Gain an advantage by allowing nano influencers to utilise their own creativity when creating digital content for use in the campaign
- Gain actionable intel about how your brand or product can be used in the real world
- Know Your Goals: The goal of your influencer marketing campaign(s) will affect the type of influencer you choose, as well. For instance, if you want to build brand awareness, it might be best to partner with a macro influencer on Instagram or TikTok. However, if you wanted to increase purchase intent, a micro influencer directly related to your industry on any channel might be a better choice. The most common goals with influencer marketing are brand awareness, product consideration, purchase intent, sales, and loyalty.
- Know What You Want from Influencers: It’s not enough to make influencer marketing part of your overall digital marketing strategy. It’s essential that you have a plan for how those influencers will benefit and build your brand. To do that, you must know what you want out of an influencer’s actions – you must have a plan that underlies all of your efforts here.
- Vet Influencer Audiences: Just because an influencer has sway in your industry, or seems like a good fit for your product or service, that doesn’t make it so. You need to delve into that influencer’s audience and discover key elements that will affect your success (or lack thereof). For instance, you’ll want to know the following:
- Number of followers
- Where most of them are located
- Primary gender
- Average age
The best place to get this information is from the influencer’s account itself, but they should also be able to supply you with key metrics about their audience to help you determine whether or not it’s going to be a good fit.
- Know Your Position in the Industry: Before you launch an influencer marketing campaign, make sure that you know your position in the industry. This should inform all of your digital marketing efforts, including influencer marketing. For instance, are you the underdog? Are you the small but scrappy upstart transforming an industry mired in the mud? How do your customers perceive you? Tie that into the creative collateral used in your digital marketing campaigns and influencer messaging.
- Go Beyond Static Images: Static images are great. They can be used just about everywhere, from Facebook to Instagram, and can be repurposed for use in any number of other mediums. However, if you really want to gain the most value from your influencer marketing efforts, make sure that they can (and will) create more dynamic content. Video is the single most viewed type of content today. Make certain that your influencers support vertical video and peruse samples of their past video efforts to get an idea of the quality they produce.
- Know the KPIs You’ll Measure: How will you measure the success of your influencer marketing campaign? How will you judge its effect on your other digital marketing efforts? Make sure that you know the KPIs you’ll use to measure the results you see. Some of the most common KPIs include the following:
- Overall ROI
- Referral traffic
- Follower increase on social media channels
- List growth
- Reach and awareness
- Timing and Trends: While influencer marketing can be beneficial at any time of year, it can greatly augment your efforts during specific times. Common examples include holidays and annual events. For instance, McDonald’s enlisted the help of social media influencers to help spread the word about the company’s Halloween campaign, “Trick. Treat. Win!”, which involved working with 20 influencers to post and share blogs about themselves enjoying meals from the fast-food restaurant. Other common examples of great times to use influencer marketing include New Year’s Day, Christmas, Saint Patrick’s Day, Easter Monday, Labour Day, bank holidays, and Saint Stephen’s Day.
- Beyond Special Dates: While influencer marketing can be tied into specific events and dates during the year, they can also become part of your standard digital marketing strategy throughout the rest of the year. However, in order for this to be effective, you need to think about a few things, including:
- What type of content could influencers create to support your campaigns throughout the year?
- How effective would continued influencer support throughout the year be for the brand?
- Do you know of any influencers who are already fans of your brands that might be able to holistically support your efforts?
- How can you work with these influencers throughout the year to help connect the dots between different elements of your digital marketing plan?
- Know the Best Channels: When it comes to influencer marketing, not all channels are created equal. In 2020, Instagram is the king, but it’s not the only player in town. Both TikTok and Twitter are increasingly popular. Facebook is also worth considering. And, if you’re in a B2B vertical, LinkedIn may be the right choice for you. Other platforms of note include:
- Break Out of the Social Media Norm: Most influencer campaigns occur almost completely on social media. However, that’s not the only option and, depending on your industry, it might not be the smartest decision for your brand. Blogs, particularly when written and run by industry experts and thought leaders, can also offer you a lot of traction, and they can allow you to add long-form text content to your marketing collateral for additional value.
- Think about Podcasts: Podcasts have been around for a long time now, but they’re finally beginning to gain significant traction. They might not fit your idea of a conventional influencer, but podcast founders and hosts can have tremendous sway over their audiences. By working with podcasts, you can position your brand correctly, expose new audience members to your offering, and do so in ways that the competition is not.
- Repurpose Your Content: All the collateral created for use with and by the influencer throughout the year should not be tossed aside. In fact, it should be repurposed for use within other areas of your digital marketing efforts. For instance, can you reuse that video on your website? In a blog? On social media? Can you rework those blog posts into other content that will expand your reach and resonate with your audience? Here are a few examples of where and how you might be able to repurpose specific types of influencer-related content:
- Product Pages: Images of influencers using or interacting with your product in some way can be reused on product pages either on your website, or on other reseller sites, like Amazon and more.
- Ads: From Google AdWords to Facebook ads, you can and should repurpose influencer-related imagery to help improve your campaigns’ ability to generate attention and incite curiosity.
- Email: Email marketing can be supplemented with influencer-created or related content to build brand recognition and loyalty, to encourage your recipients to learn more or to engage with your brand, and for other needs.
- Paid Media: Influencer marketing allows you to tap into that individual or company’s following, but you can and should make that creative content pull double or triple duty. In addition to the repurposing tips we mentioned previously, you should also use that content in paid media. The right image, video, and/or text content can offer a lot of traction through paid Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter ads if you know how to utilise the tools each platform makes available to you.
- Test It First: Before you start repurposing content without any rhyme or reason, it’s important that you do some testing first. Qualification testing will help you determine whether the content is well-suited to your intended task, which audiences to target with which images, whether you need specific copy with particular images or video, and more.
- Maintain Control: While working with an influencer allows you to benefit from their audience and reach, it’s important that you remain in control of your brand. The way to do this is to ensure that you have the ability to review and approve any content the influencer creates prior to it going live. Make sure that the influencer agrees to submit images and video content, as well as any text that will be used with the collateral for your approval. Note that not all influencers will offer this, so it’s best to find out early on.
- Consider a Long-Term Relationship: Often, brands and influencers partner for very short durations – to support a specific digital marketing campaign, for instance. However, you (and the influencers you work with) can gain greater value by partnering together for longer periods. This can help to lower your costs while improving ROI, ensure that you’re working with a partner who understands your brand’s needs and goals well, and gain access to deeper product and market insights. However, not all influencers will want to create such relationships, so choose your partners with care.
- CGI Influencers: When you think about influencer marketing, chances are good that you imagine human beings marketing to other human beings. H2H marketing is the general trend here, but you cannot neglect the rise of CGI influencers. These are artificial characters generated by computer animation programs, but they can have big impacts on your success. For an example, look no further than Lil Miquela.
- Be a Good Match for Influencers: A lot of focus is put on making sure that influencers are a good match for your brand, but you must also understand that influencers look for things in the brands they work with before signing a contract. Make sure that your company measures up, or you might find that your ideal influencers aren’t willing to play the game. Some of the most important factors in whether an influencer will agree to work with your brand include the following:
- Relevance to their brand and audience
- Perceived authenticity and trust surrounding your brand
- Whether they already use (or want to use) your product
- Creative freedom
- Communication and professionalism
- Long-term relationship potential
- Social good/charity support done by your brand
- Make Sure You Have the Rights: Before you do anything with any influencer content, make sure that you have the digital rights to it. This can be time-consuming, so it might make sense to stipulate in your influencer agreements that any content created with your logo or any brand collateral, including products, that you own the digital rights to said content and can use it in future efforts. This is actually very common, and you’ll find it in the agreements you sign with most social networks and other platforms.
- Use Specific Landing Pages: You cannot afford to send all the traffic generated by your influencer marketing campaign(s) to your homepage or to a specific product page. Instead, send it to a landing page created specifically for the campaign. On that page, have a form to collect visitor information, encourage opt-in for email marketing or your newsletter, and more. This allows you to track where your visitors are coming from, where they go on the website after the landing page, and then make strategic decisions about your campaigns based on that data.
- Segment Your Leads: As visitors are generated, you need to make sure that you segment them properly. Each customer will be at a different point in the journey, even if they all stem from the same influencer’s actions. By segmenting your leads, you gain the ability to personalise your efforts and reach them better.
- Support the Customer Journey with Additional Content: Again, each customer’s journey is unique, and you need to ensure that you’re able to support them after the influencer’s post encourages them to take action. Other elements of your digital marketing strategy come into play here, such as downloadable reports or ebooks, email marketing, additional social media marketing through branded channels, and more.
- Know How AI Is Shaping the Industry: Artificial intelligence, or AI, is affecting all parts of the digital marketing world, and influencer marketing is no exception. AI can make it easier to find the right influencer, can help to weed out fake followers and bots, and can even help to increase the ROI you see from your efforts. These benefits can be achieved through AI-powered technology like image recognition, natural language processing, and more.
- Safeguard Yourself Against Regulation Violations: In many ways, the Internet has been a lot like America’s Wild West, but that’s coming to an end. New rules and regulations safeguarding consumer privacy, data usage, and even accessibility are now in place, and it’s important that your influencer marketing campaigns adhere to all regulations in order to avoid potentially damaging repercussions.
Continue reading to explore three bonus digital marketing insights to help improve your success with influencer marketing in 2020 and beyond.
- Measure Influencer Results: It doesn’t matter who you partner with or how many followers they have if you don’t measure your results. Everything must be measured, and you need to go beyond just tracking traffic from influencer posts to your landing pages. Where do visitors go after that? How much has audience interaction expanded? What other channels are seeing growth too?
- Continually Improve: Like other elements of digital marketing, there is no such thing as “once and done” with influencer marketing. Strive for continuous improvement with influencer marketing – choose the right influencers, create the right content, support your audience in new ways. It’s all about growth and change. Regularly benchmark your efforts and results against your KPIs and be prepared to change KPIs if you find that certain metrics no longer hold as much value for your brand.
- Use the Right CRM: Finally, make sure that all of your digital marketing efforts, from email marketing to influencer marketing, are supported by the right CRM. A customer relationship management platform can automate mundane tasks, help you drill down and unearth important insights, and build stronger relationships with those who matter most to your brand. However, not all CRMs are the same, so you must be able to make an informed decision here.
Influencer marketing is a unique arm of digital marketing. It allows you to reach and interact with audiences well beyond your own followers in interesting and novel ways. However, like content marketing, website design, email marketing, and all of your other online efforts, it must be done correctly, or you will not see the results that you need. If you’re struggling to master influencer marketing, or even unsure of how to get started in the first place, we can help. Contact Emarkable today by calling us at 01 808 1301 to schedule a consultation with one of our specialists and learn how we can support your success.