Influencer Marketing: Strengthening Your Brand Message and Reach
An analysis to make your campaigns more effective. Read this before you run your next campaign.
Much has been written about the impact of influencer marketing on creating brand awareness and increasing brand reach. Like a fashion fad, most businesses brands have jumped into the foray. It is now common to see celebrities and influencers endorsing products and services, and most businesses claim that they have received ample ROIs to keep continuing with the tactic. In fact, more than 23% of businesses plan to increase spending on influencers.
Normally, influencer marketing works in the following ways:
- Sponsored post or endorsement: Here you can see the influencer claiming to use the product and highlighting the features.
- Reviews: An influencer will review the product and express their opinion. Most unbox videos on YouTube fall in this category. This works well if the influencer is given a free hand to describe both the pros and cons, otherwise, it does not carry the authenticity. Reviews by experts are also used in the software industry during the launch of SaaS products.
- Takeovers: Instead of an influencer promoting you on their platform, they takeover on your platform. This is excellent if you want to build brand authority.
- Collaborations and giveaways: This form works well when two business verticals are in the same genre, for instance, health foods and gym gear or outdoor gear and clothing. This works very well for B2B genre too.
(You can read detailed examples of each type of campaign here)
Celebrity As an Influencer
Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty campaign (Sep 2017) was a stupendous success, but the reasons behind the runaway success were many.
- Timing: The launch coincided with New York fashion week.
- Outstanding product: Rihanna was personally using the products as showcased in the video and attending fashion week events in those products.
- Market gap: The Fenty Beauty product line filled a market gap.
- Outreach: Rihanna herself outreached to beauty bloggers and influencers, which led to a voluntary network of micro influencers endorsing the product.
For most brands getting all the above elements right is tough. The toughest is coming up with a product that fills a market gap. And next, it’s not easy to find celebrities with as much stature as Rihanna with that level of commitment and involvement. Thirdly, most businesses do not have such deep pockets.
Yes, as shown in this research published by eMarketer consumers expect celebrities to endorse products, and expect brands to be endorsed by influencers. Yet, we have plenty of examples of celebrity endorsements gone wrong and this can affect brands adversely.
Macro influencers are influencers who are passionate about a subject and have at least 50,000 or more followers on a platform. The type of campaigns that you run with these influencers is mostly, endorsement and sponsored content. If the follower reach is over 100,000 takeovers are a good idea.
DMIOA believes that people with at least 1700 followers and 10-15% engagement is a micro influencer. Like macro influencers, they too are passionate about their subject. Micro influencers have the advantage of having more engagement on their groups. They work well with collaborations and giveaways. They may not always need payment.
We all know that influencer marketing is extremely popular and an influencer endorsement work wonders for brand exposure. New brands are eager to identify influencers and encash on their popularity.
You can also take the approach of Glossier’s founder and CEO Emily Weiss who recently said in an interview with Kara Swisher that she considers ‘every single person to be an influencer.’ It’s a mindset that has paid off; Glossier boasts a $390 million valuation. (Source: Recode Decode)
|Subject authority||Maybe (like beauty, hobby)||Yes||Yes||Maybe|
|Budget ($)||> 100,000||Between 100,000 to 15,000||Between 15,000 to 1000||None|
|Constructive platform engagement||Occasional||Medium||High||Hign|
Beware of Fake Influencers
Influencer marketing has been so successful that businesses are putting a lot of money into it. As a result, it has become an industry where each person with around 1000 followers is pretending to be an influencer. However, before you identify your influencer, separate the wheat from the chaff. Follow the identified influencer for sometime observing the listening tactic (not under your brand name).
- Unnatural spike in follower trend.
- Check for engagement on the platform in the form of opinions and conversations. Just a ‘good’ or ‘great’ does not count as an engagement.
- Look out for the topics and tone. Controversy may or may not be good for your brand. It’s for you to decide.
- Test their knowledge of the niche by asking relevant questions on the platform.
- Do not dole out money immediately. Test their integrity. See if they ask the right questions. After all, you want your brand to be associated with integrity.
Recently, there has been a backlash by businesses particularly small businesses because in their opinion each and every influencer tries to wriggle too many benefits from them, most of which may not be beneficial for them. For instance, CVT softserve sells ice-cream at $4 each. There is not much of a margin with that kind of amount. He got too many influencer requests, hence the backlash.
Picture Credit @cvtsoftserve/Instagram
SWOT Analysis of Influencer Marketing
When you do a SWOT analysis of influencer marketing, you’ll notice that major success of your campaign depends on the influencer that you choose.
Before you zero down on an influencer, plan on what you want to achieve. It could be any of the following:
Having an objective in mind helps identify the right influencer. For instance, if your marketing objective is brand retention you would not mind a bit of controversy. Next, identify how you will measure the effectiveness of the campaign. Here are some suggestions.
Ask yourselves the following questions:
- Did my reach increase? [Are more people visiting my website?]
- Did my brand awareness increase? [Are people talking about my product or are they asking questions about my product?]
- Am I getting ROIs? [Did I get back the money invested in terms of cash and time]
- Is the audience relevant [Are more consumers buying or registering on my website]
If you run campaigns that cover any 2 features above you are likely to get success. Additionally, it would make sense to create a network of influencers on all levels to keep the momentum going.
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