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Is Influencer Marketing Worth the Hype?

With over 59% of marketers saying they plan on increasing their influencer marketing budget, it’s almost impossible to ignore. What is influencer marketing exactly, and is it a tactic that will work for your company?

What is Influencer Marketing?

Say you’re looking into a product. Your friend recommends a product, but then you see an advertisement for a similar product, but a different brand. Which brand are you more likely to go with? If you’re like most people, you trust and value your friend’s opinion over a company’s cold advertisement. When an influential person on social media vouches for your company, it’s similar to a friend recommending a product. Their opinion is far more valuable and credible than any advertising campaign you can possibly run.

Influencer marketing isn’t just a buzzword anymore —  it’s a critical piece to a product-based company’s digital strategy. Influencers are people with a large social media following in a particular niche market. Influencer marketing helps your business tap into an existing community of engaged social media followers, who also match your buyer profiles.

What’s the Difference Between Celebrity Endorsements & Social Media Influencers?

We see celebrities endorse products all of the time in both commercials and on social media. Perhaps the most important difference between endorsements and influencer campaigns is this — authenticity. Consumers know when they’re being sold to. When we see commercials, we understand that a celebrity had signed a contract, to promote a product, while sticking to a script.

On the other hand, social media influencers have spent a lot of time (and money!) to build their brand and following; the last thing they want to do is alienate their followers. They care about the content they create and take precious care of it.  Although there is typically some sort of agreement in place, social media influencers have more control over what they will share with their followers and how they share it.

How Does it Work?

  1. Map Out Your Goals

Everything in your company’s marketing needs to start with knowing where you’re going. Think about what you’re trying to accomplish with your influencer marketing campaign. Here are some examples of goals you may have:

  • Increase your company’s visibility to a particular target audience
  • Promoting a new product
  • Gain backlinks and increase website traffic through bloggers
  • Gain feedback about a new product line
  • Reach a new audience
  1. Identify How You’ll Measure Your Efforts

Measuring influencer marketing campaigns can get a little fuzzy if you’re looking to track sales. One of the best workarounds is to provide a special discount code and monitor how many people use it. Example: MARK10 for 10% Off.

There are several key performance indicators that will help you measure the impact of your influencer marketing:

  • Your audience growth on social media
  • Website traffic
  • Referral or direct traffic (found in your Google Analytics)
  • Video views
  • Engagement
  • Profile views / reach
  1. Pick Your Social Media Platforms

Which social media platforms do you want to enlist the help of influencers? Instagram, YouTube, or perhaps their blog? Whichever you choose, make sure you update your profile frequently, in anticipation for an increase in social media traffic.

  1. Research & Find Relevant Influencers

Finding the right influencers is critical to your campaign’s success. Their content, tone, and personality should align with that of your brand’s. It’s important to feel a synergy with them, as they are the ones representing your brand to their mass followings. Using a platform like Influence.co can help easily search and reach out to relevant influencers. They even have a builtin integration to your site’s analytics. Best part? They have a pretty solid free plan, too.

  1. Decide What You’ll Offer

Many influencers are happy to receive free product in exchange for their content and time, but other more influential users might require some money. On average, businesses are making $6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing. Less than 30% either just break even or fail to make a profit. It’s a great opportunity to expand your brand awareness into audiences you want as your customers. So figure out what you can offer that is both valuable and in demand with your customer.

  1. Reach Out to Them!

Be genuine when you reach out to them. Make your message personal, and be clear that you want them to collaborate with your brand because their content is awesome.

Is Influencer Marketing Right for Me?

It’s up to you to decide whether influencer marketing is the right fit for your company. You can always start with a small group and monitor the results to test the waters. Have any more questions about influencer campaigns? Give us a call! 

Chalease is the Marketing Manager of Iron Springs Design. A creative juggernaut with a knack for creating mind-blowing digital strategies, social media campaigns, and branding initiatives, she's helped small businesses produce powerful results and attract not just customers, but loyal fans.