Brands can gain various benefits from influencer marketing. However, insufficient knowledge of this strategy will lead the efforts down the drain. Discover how to effectively implement influencer marketing into your digital strategy with our comprehensive guide to influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing has become a go-to marketing strategy in the digital age. Brands are interested in collaborating with these social media figures for many reasons, from increasing sales to entering a new market.
The rise of influencers in the marketing realm has much to do with prevalent social media use among people of all ages. Social media has become integral to daily life. It is no longer just a means to interact with others or a place to share pretty pictures.
People use social media as a source of information. Content on social media helps them understand specific topics better and even aids them in making purchase decisions. Influencers become one of the most popular sources of information because they are considered knowledgeable in their respective niches.
Brands must find influencers that fit their campaign designs for reaping the benefits of influencer marketing. The suitability depends on the campaign’s topic and the targeted outreach.
This guide will comprehensively explain the benefits of influencer marketing, the types of influencers, influencer campaign strategies and ways to measure the success of your campaigns. It will also tell you about recent case studies and the future of influencer marketing. Here's what we'll cover:
Influencer marketing refers to a marketing approach involving collaboration with an online influencer, a figure with a bold online presence — usually on social media platforms.
Brands typically work with these influencers to promote their products or services. Influencer marketing is also a great way to enhance brand awareness in new target markets. Some influencer marketing campaigns are more obvious than others.
How did influencer marketing come to be?
Influencer marketing has deep roots in celebrity endorsements. In 1882, actress and producer Lillie Langtry appeared in an advertisement for Pears Soap. Only eight years later, American model Nancy Green was hired as the face of Aunt Jemima, helping it retain its reputation for over a century. Then in the 1950s, several actors acted in the Marlboro Man, creating a "trendy and masculine" image for smoking. The advertisement was a huge success — so much so that the campaign lasted until 1999.
Today, celebrity endorsements are everywhere. Here are just a few examples — Justin Bieber with Calvin Klein, Billie Eilish with Nike, H.E.R. with L'Oreal Paris, Harry Styles with Gucci, and Selena Gomez with Our Place.
The transition to utilizing social media influencers began when social media became massive while mainstream media started losing its appeal. As some people began garnering attention from the public and grew a following on social media, brands saw the chance for promotion through these people.
This digital marketing approach develops over time as social media use becomes more rampant. Around half of the world’s total population is using social media, and the number is expected to grow as smartphone penetration reaches rural areas.
People can spend 2.5 hours on average on social media every day, whether to scroll through interesting posts or interact with their friends and family. Moreover, social media apps are more varied nowadays with their specific characteristics.
Instagram, for example, is a great platform for sharing photos and short videos because of the way it is built. Meanwhile, you can use blogging apps like WordPress and Wix, if you want to share your opinion in a longer written format.
This new age of digitalization can be confusing to some because of the diverse options and rapid speed of information. However, it allows talented people to create communities based on their niches. These influencers have the kind of “expertise” people are looking for if they want to know more about certain topics.
Because they are considered experts in their niches, their words are more substantial for the followers. Brands see this as an opportunity to engage with their audience in their marketing efforts.
Benefits of influencer marketing
Influencer marketing has become a highly popular digital marketing strategy to use in recent years. Marketers choose this approach because they can reap various benefits, including easy access, wide options of niches, and cost-effectiveness.
Accessible regardless of business sizes
Businesses of any size can comfortably fit influencer collaborations into their marketing budget. Big brands with bigger marketing budgets can work with influencers with many followers on their social accounts.
However, it doesn’t mean that small businesses are left out. For instance, micro and nano influencers, who are currently on the rise, provide more affordable options than their bigger counterparts because of their small scope. These types of influencers are more likely to fit the budget of small businesses.
Although micro and nano influencers have smaller follower counts, their influence can be more potent compared with bigger influencers.
The smaller follower counts allow them to interact with their audience on a more personal level. As a result, they can build in-depth relationships with their followers. Followers become more devoted to influencers that they think are close to them.
Easy reaching to niche markets
Brands that encounter difficulty reaching niche markets can receive big help from influencers. Influencers form communities for like-minded people. They deliver certain types of content, attracting audiences interested in those genres.
Influencers can help cultivate brand awareness among their followers by mentioning the brand’s name here and there in their content. They can even nudge their communities to try out products simply by demonstrating their own product use.
However, the process of looking for the right influencers to achieve this feat takes work. The brand must check a potential influencer’s followers, not only the count but also the types of people following said influencer.
It is also necessary to browse the influencer’s posts to see the variety of content they make. Checking the comment section is also helpful for brands to understand the interaction between the influencer and their followers.
Building brand credibility
About 37% of people trust social media influencers more than brands. They likely perceive the brand’s promotion as inauthentic because financial gains largely motivate it.
On the other hand, influencers are viewed as people that genuinely care about making sure consumers choose their products wisely because they are consumers too. People share a sense of proximity, especially with influencers with similar interests and backgrounds.
Brands can help build their credibility by collaborating with influential social media figures. They can increase people’s trust in the brands. Using an authentic influencer campaign to reach the target audience is better because people are looking for genuine brand reviews.
Businesses, especially the small ones, find it challenging to fund paid ads because the costs keep rising over the years. In a way, influencer marketing becomes an alternative to keep advertising costs down.
In digital paid ads, brands rely on others (e.g., social media algorithms) to pass their messages to the audience. As a result, they may or may not reach the target despite already paying the high advertising costs.
Influencers cater to specific types of people. Recruiting an influencer gives the brand more control over the type of audience they want to target. Furthermore, some influencers do not charge little for collaborations as they see it as an opportunity to get broader coverage. Ultimately, the cost highly depends on the type of brand promotion and the audience size.
Unlimited information-sharing potential
Social media is a convenient marketing tool because information can easily get viral. It is because social media has a sharing feature. You can easily repost someone’s content on your account and even cross-post that content to another social media platform.
Users may share content creators’ posts with their followers if they think the content is interesting or will be beneficial to their followers. If they are also invested in the shared content, the followers will pass the information to their own peers. It can happen repeatedly and very rapidly.
This digital “word-of-mouth” system can be very effective in helping brands gain traction quickly. Fear of missing out (FOMO) is a widespread phenomenon. People do not want to miss out on the latest happenings on social media. Hence, they will likely check out viral brands.
More content diversity
Every business entity has a limitation in marketing content production. The business may be running out of ideas about the best way to engage audiences due to the lack of research time or of technical skills to produce new types of content.
Working together with influencers is like outsourcing marketing officers. Brands can give the influencers freedom — within certain boundaries, of course — which will allow them to get creative with content making. Influencers may even prefer to get this type of collaboration deal.
By offering this level of independence, influencers can come up with authentic content. Furthermore, influencers understand their communities better than the brand. They know just the right way to make people engaged.
These days, people want to make decisions with their money smartly. They will look for information online to ensure they spend their money wisely. Influencers become valuable sources of information because people respect their authentic opinions on brands.
People’s purchasing decisions are driven by their favorite influencers’ opinions. About 41% of buyers reported purchasing certain products because they received recommendations from influencers on social media.
Successful case studies
There have been many successful implementations of influencer marketing in recent years. A business unfamiliar with influencer marketing or needing help coming up with a campaign idea can benefit from looking at case studies of how other, more established businesses have employed the strategy to great effect.
These three case studies show how influencer marketing has delivered a sizeable result for top brands.
Nike's 'What Are You Working On?'
Nike's 'What Are You Working On?' campaign is a prime example of successful influencer-driven marketing. It is an online video series that aspires to reveal global works-in-progress as seen through the eyes of athletes forging new paths outside of their sport.
The Oregon-based sportswear behemoth collaborated with NBA superstar LeBron James for its 24th episode of this long-running series. The episode explores LeBron's effort to pave the way for the next generation in his hometown Akron, Ohio.
Besides LeBron, the series follows the story of rapper Megan Thee Stallion's journey to becoming a global icon through sacrifice and discipline as she prepares for her international tour in 2022.
The goal of #BeYourOwnBOSS was to encourage millennials to "take charge of your own life." The campaign officially launched on January 26, 2022, featuring over 200 talents who posted pictures of themselves wearing the signature BOSS hoodie on their social media accounts as part of their personal BOSS stories.
The top model Adut Akech, the rapper SAINt JHN and the dancer Maddie Ziegler were all part of the worldwide #HowDoYouHUGO campaign on multiple channels. However, it was most successful on TikTok, where a dance challenge attracted much attention and generated significant engagement within the brand's target demographic.
Both of these campaigns were regarded as HUGO BOSS's most successful. The two campaigns garnered 1.9 billion impressions and 75 million engagements across all social media channels.
Adidas x Léna Situations
French influencer Léna Mahfouf famously known as Léna Situations, distinguished herself via her candor, revealing herself without makeup and tapping into the world that resonates with younger generations.
She also often discusses the importance of diversity in the fashion industry, the power of social media and what she enjoys most about being a member of Generation Z.
Mahfouf's global presence has led to remarkable opportunities, such as being named to French Forbes' 30 Under 30 list and being covered in The New York Times.
Her most notable campaigns were her collaborations with Adidas. The 25-year-old YouTuber and blogger teamed up with Adidas to release her "We are team Situations" collection, in which she designed four different sneakers for her followers. That was not her first time working with the German company. In 2021, she was the face of Adidas's "Step Into You" campaign.
Types of influencers
Influencer marketing has become increasingly commonplace in the digital marketplace, with analysts predicting that over 86% of US companies will use influencer marketing by 2025. There are many ways influencers can contribute to a brand strategy, as many brands are discovering that influencers can provide benefits that traditional advertising may lack.
The great thing about working with influencers is that no matter how large or small your brand is or what audience you're trying to reach, there is a large range of influencers that can suit your purposes. What’s important is understanding how the size and appeal of an influencer contribute to your strategy.
The Nano Influencer
Nano influencers with 1,000 to 10,000 followers make up the lower tier in terms of audience size. Despite their smaller follower numbers, nano influencers often have more engaged audiences than their larger counterparts. It allows the influencer to build deeper relationships with their followers since their community is more tight-knit and intimate. As such, these influencers are most likely to earn followers' trust.
As these followers tend to view nano influencers as authentic, they tend to support whatever recommendation the influencer may suggest. The brand can quickly gain attention and sales if you find the right nano influencers who like and support your product or services.
An example of a top-ranked nano-influencer on Instagram is Jill Smokler, a family and lifestyle creator who has around 9,600+ followers. As an entrepreneur, bestselling author, motivational speaker, and community builder, she is a worldwide talent with a lot to offer.
Her blog Scary Mommy is one of the most influential parenting blogs that provides parents with high-quality content. Forbes Magazine named her one of the top parenting influencers of 2017.
Another good example is Kalan Laws, a model, athlete, actor, and fashion influencer in Houston, Texas, with 9,600+ followers. As the brand ambassador for Southern Gents and Hattitude, he shows off the brand’s stylish products to his close-knit user base.
Using nano influencers to promote your brand can cost between US$10 and US$100 per post. A campaign with a limited budget may benefit from collaborating with them since the cost-per-post is generally lower.
The Micro Influencer
The follower count of micro-influencers ranges from 10,000 to 100,000. Usually, they collaborate with brands and promote niche-related products. Influencers in this category tend to be highly active and vocal in their respective area of expertise.
A partnership with a micro-influencer may cost more than one with a nano-influencer, but it is still relatively affordable. Instagram posts will cost brands between US$100 and US$500. The small size of the micro-influencer community still allows them to form close relationships with their followers while still achieving high engagement rates.
Working with micro-influencers is an excellent choice if your brand values authenticity. They post original content, engage with comments, and their followers often take their recommendations more seriously. Considering their size, however, they may still hold a higher standing and place in their circles than micro-influencers.
Gemaén Taylor, with over 67,000 followers on Instagram, is one of the top fashion micro-influencers. He was voted South African GQ’s Best Dressed Men in 2019 for his good looks and excellent fashion sense. SunglassHut South Africa, 4th Street Wine, H&M, Elemis, and Consol glass are some brands he has partnered with because of his high engagement rate on Instagram.
There is also Krista Aasen is one of the top micro-influencers in the home decor category, with more than 25,700 followers on Instagram. She creates decors and printable materials for decoration as well as house makeover ideas.
Her first book, Creative Wood Letters, was released in 2018. The book contains creative ways to make beautifully decorated letters using different materials, including maps, vintage book pages, photo transfers, and paper flowers. Aasen is known for her collaborations with businesses, big and small, with services and products relevant to home decor.
While there are many benefits to micro influencers, their small follower numbers may make them less effective at increasing widespread brand awareness. It is also essential for brands to keep in mind that some influencers may buy bots to push them into the micro-influencer category. Make sure to verify the authenticity of micro influencers’ followers before working with them.
The good news is that tools such as Viral Nation_Secure can help you track influencers' social accounts’ history to verify their authenticity. It can also compare influencers with other similar talents to give you a frame of reference for their growth.
The Macro Influencer
Macro-influencers are usually masters in their field of interest and have between 100,000 and one million followers. Their large following is significant for established brands, but they are obviously more expensive than smaller influencers, costing between US$5,000 and US$10,000 per post.
Macro-influencers help brands reach a wide audience with specific interests because they're popular for what they do. These influencers can range from any type of profession or circle, from musicians and actors to sportspeople and socialites. Usually, their content focuses on one interest despite having a larger audience.
Macro-influencers reach many more consumers per post due to their broad reach. Collaborating with these influencers will help you achieve a successful influencer marketing campaign that requires exposure and engagement.
Alina Gavrilov is one of New York’s top fashion macro influencers. She's a lawyer turned fashion blogger with over 104,000 Instagram followers. She calls herself the "Blazer Queen," showing off her daily classic and feminine style with 9-to-5 outfits for young working women to use as inspiration.
The Indian tech blogger Akash Paul is another macro-influencer on Instagram. His specialty is sharing tips and tricks for Android phones. With over 554,000 Instagram followers, Akash is one of the top tech influencers sharing videos about the best phone applications and other phone hacks.
Despite the high number of followers, macro-influencers often struggle to build personal connections. Considering their massive follower size, these influencers can only respond to comments or direct messages.
The Mega Influencer
To reach the highest tier of influencers, mega influencers require more than 1 million followers on their social media platforms. Costing at least US$10,000 or more, they are exclusive to brands with large budgets.
If you want your brand to be well-known among many people, you should use mega-influencers. As mega-influencers have large communities, they can reach a diverse audience with a wide range of demographics.
Even though they are expensive, they can provide the most exposure in a single post. It will save you time from dealing with a lot of preparation and training beforehand since they are well-trained in influencer campaigns.
Suppose you want to increase consumer awareness or the credibility of your brand, and have a massive budget. You can target mega influencers, such as Zoe Sugg, Chris Burkard, Chiara Ferragni, and Huda Hattan. These influencers have a large follower base, so when a specific audience begins to relate to your brand through these influencers, you can establish a loyal follower base.
Different types of influencers have strengths and weaknesses, and each brand has to choose the influencer type that suits its needs. Brands don’t always have to collaborate with mega-influencers to gain better reach.
In fact, partnering with smaller influencers can produce better results than working with large influencers, depending on your marketing objectives and your brand's values.
Finding the best influencers for your campaign
The best influencers can leverage their dedicated fanbases to appeal to your brand. However, marketers everywhere dread the PR nightmare after someone finds unsavory matters hiding in their chosen influencers’ old social media accounts.
Whether it is something as simple as a shady comment or as disastrous as a criminal allegation, an influencer can have their image ruined at any time. Frequently, they can bring your brand image down with them.
So how do you choose the right face for your brand while avoiding certain doom? Thanks to modern technology, there are many things you can do.
Find an on-brand talent
Whatever your image is, someone needs to represent it to your primary audience. Almost all influencers have their communities that may or may not fit into your target demographic, so you’ll need to take both their online persona and audience into account.
An easy way to do this is by finding out popular influencers on social media. Consider looking through platforms that your target audience is likely to frequent the most. For example, TikTok and Instagram creators are ideal targets for beauty brands, as 82% of beauty audiences follow their influencers on Instagram and over 89% of TikTok audiences purchase products seen on the application.
Take careful note of hashtags and trending topics on each platform, and compare the performance of multiple creators that may appeal to your brand.
Study their background
After finding your potential influencer, perform an in-depth background check on their accounts. You may be tempted to scroll through recent posts in the year and call it a day, but there have been many public instances of people finding problematic social media posts from a creator's old account.
Luckily, you won't need to comb through the entire internet to make sure your influencer’s record is spotless. Tools like Viral Nation_Secure can help you track a creator’s previous posts and social media activity, thoroughly vetting talents effectively.
VN Secure can audit potential influencers’ backgrounds in less than a day, compare profiles with other influencers, and even monitor various social accounts for extra security. It can also help you manage your relationships with influencers by screening their behavior and assessing risks based on your main concerns.
If you’re on the lookout for your potential influencer, make sure you know exactly who you’re shaking hands with when you bring your first contracts to the table.
Keep a close eye
Influencers represent your brand, thus whatever they do online will affect how you’re viewed in the long term. Even if you’re confident of their track record, they may need help in avoiding potential conflict or bad press.
When collaborating with influencers, be sure to give them as clear PR guidelines as possible. They should understand the importance of your collaboration and how people view them. Occasionally, you may also want to check their social media posts, providing guidance in interactions when necessary.
However, try not to be too controlling – they likely know how to better navigate their audience than you may think.
Deciding your most effective strategy
Like most marketing, influencer marketing requires a deep understanding of the brand and its goals to create a perfect strategy to achieve them. These strategies are further complicated by involving the influencer themselves, who may have their own approach to content creation and branding.
It’s important to collaborate with your influencer in deciding which strategy will work for you. Here are some questions to ask when choosing your next move.
Define your target
When working with an influencer, be clear about what goals you want to reach. What target demographic are you aiming for? What are your key performance indicators (KPI)? What do you expect to gain from your collaboration? What kind of persona do you expect them to project for the brand?
Most influencer campaigns aim to reach a broader audience and capitalize on the creators’ influence in the market. Communicating these targets with your influencer can lead to a healthier collaboration in the long run.
Determine your influencer’s reach
Beyond your target, you should also understand your influencers’ capabilities. It’s crucial to consider how well your brand will appeal to its primary audience, as well as how much engagement they have with that audience in the first place.
While bigger creators may have deeper ponds, some brands benefit more from personalized pools of audiences that smaller creators surround themselves with. Understanding where your influencers’ appeal and demographic lie can change your entire approach to marketing.
Decide the approach to your collaboration
Individual influencers will have different approaches to content, but you’ll need to decide whether those approaches work for you.
Understanding overlaps and differences between your audiences is the first step in deciding your strategy. If you’ve chosen an ideal influencer, your audiences will largely overlap, but you may also tap into a new audience with more specific tastes.
After analyzing both audiences, you can narrow down the shared values between your brand and your influencer. What do both of your audiences care about? How can your brand serve your influencer’s audience? Dedicating time and effort to communicate these values in your collaboration’s messaging will leave a more lasting impression compared to simply tacking on your brand to the influencer’s name.
For example, the streaming service CuriosityStream enlists a vast range of video and audio content from different creators. The service’s collaboration with Nebula creators like Sarah Z leads to the creation of humorous and insightful video essays about media and fandom, while collaborations with historical content influencers like Step Back produce more serious analyses of anthropological events.
These customized collaborations appeal to different niches of Curiosity Stream’s larger target audience. While they all share the platform’s values of knowledge and curiosity, they have interests that are messaged in personal ways for the influencer’s audiences.
With the creativity of the digital age, the different types of collaborations you can have with a given influencer are limitless, but here are some common collaboration activities you can try:
Gifting: Products-based brands can gift their goods to influencers and have them briefly cover it on their feeds.
Event coverage: Services or entertainment brands may benefit more from event coverage, leading influencers to talk about their subject and attract more attention.
Videos & Takeovers: Alternatively, brands can opt to let influence try their hand at creating content for them, allowing them to take the reins of their social media or content for a short time.
Recognizing the success of an influencer campaign
The most important part of any influencer campaign is knowing whether you’ve succeeded or not. Depending on the size and scope of your influencer, they may be able to bring engagement to your brand’s content, but that doesn’t guarantee you’ve achieved your goals.
It can be difficult to measure the success of an influencer campaign compared to a traditional one. After all, while you may not see immediate sales, the widespread awareness may be worth the future investment. Consider these things when evaluating the success of an influencer campaign:
After establishing your key performance indicators previously, you can simply view them as a measurement of your success. KPIs should aim to be specific and measurable, so indicators like increasing website traffic, generating new leads, or merely bringing up brand awareness may suffice.
Some of these can be measured from statistics, such as website traffic. Others may need more traditional approaches, like providing regular surveys to measure awareness. Whatever way it’s measured, success or failure should be founded on clear criteria.
Using social media impressions and tools
Social media platforms often have built-in systems to measure the impression or engagement an influencer brings. Monitoring impressions (the number of times people have viewed your influencer’s content) can be worthwhile in tracking how far your reach is.
A better approach is to look at how often people engage with the comment, whether it’s in the form of comments, shares, likes or reactions.
However, be careful not to treat social media impressions or engagements as direct sales. Ambivalent or negative responses may lead to more shares and engagement, but they probably won’t sell your product or services in the long run. You'll need to monitor how people interact with your brand content. Make sure your influencer is giving the best impression to the right leads.
Measuring UTM parameters
Consider providing influencers UTM (urchin tracking module) parameter tools to measure the success of their campaigns. This little code not only lets you measure traffic, but also gives you vital information on where that traffic comes from, what viewers are more likely to click, see advertising and marketing mediums, and other key data.
This information lets you know just how well your collaboration is coming along. Knowing how often an influencer’s audience engages with a brand can help narrow down the significance of their contribution. It also helps to let your influencer know how well their audience is receiving the collaboration.
How to engage your audience like an influencer
Now that we've discussed what influencer marketing is, the role of influencers, its benefits types, and influencer campaign, let's explore the steps you need to take to attract your target audience like an influencer.
Step 1: Find your niche and create brand’s your personas
The first stage in developing your brand into an influencer that attracts many people is to establish your brand's niche and persona. Building audience personas also helps you tailor your messaging and content to the specific needs of your target demographic.
If your brand has a strong persona, it will catch people's attention. As a result, the proportion of valuable visitors, leads and customers to your business will increase.
To build your brand's personas, you must also know which persona is most suited to your brand and which is the most appealing to people.
You can establish the brand's personas by doing research, surveys, and interviews with a wide range of people, including customers, prospects, and even people who aren't in your contacts database but might be similar to your target audience.
For example, you can develop your persona by asking questions like:
Who are your typical customers?
Why do they buy your service or product?
Who do you envision when creating a product?
What can you offer them that no one else can?
The next step is to use what you've learned to conclude your target audience based on your questions and answers, then use those conclusions to create at least one primary persona.
Your personas can help you better understand your current and potential customers. You also will have an easier time catering your content, messaging, product development, and services to your target demographic's preferences, habits and worries.
Step 2: Determine your target audience and select a social media platform
Once you've established your persona and niche, the next step is selecting one main platform to focus your content on. Each platform has different preferred formats and different audiences.
The platform you choose should align with your audience's demographics and interests. To determine your target audience, conduct market research. You can start by identifying your target audience's age, location, gender, interests, and behaviors. Then, choose a social media platform that aligns with your audience's demographics and interests.
You can compare the different platforms' demographics to understand better which would best serve your needs. For instance, if your target demographic consists mainly of people in their twenties or thirties, then Instagram might be the best for you. If your target audience skews older, Facebook is likely your best bet for reaching them.
Finally, consider your content format preferences to determine which platform is the best fit for your brand's message and goals. Formats are fundamental because different formats are suitable for different types of content and platforms. If your audience responds well to videos, then it may be a good idea to focus on creating video content on a video-focused platform, like TikTok.
The type of product or service you are offering also affects the platform to use. For example, if you are a fashion brand, platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, which focus on visual content, may be more suitable. However, if you offer a service that requires more explanation, a platform like YouTube may be more appropriate.
When deciding which platform to use, you can also look at your competitors and see which platforms they use successfully. Analyze the channels they're using and look for consistency in their use of different online mediums.
Step 3: Create a content strategy and be authentic
After identifying a target audience and which platform you want to use, you can begin formulating a content plan.
To gain sway as an influencer, you must consistently deliver superior content that establishes your credibility in your chosen industry.
Therefore, you should plan how and what to communicate with the audience. For example, you should outline what type of voice or tone of your content, the publication schedule and components for creating online content in advance, such as text, graphics, etc.
However, most importantly, you need to have faith in the quality of the material you publish or the effectiveness of the services you promote. If you don't believe in yourself, persuading others to follow your lead will be difficult.
A successful influencer campaign also relies heavily on honesty and authenticity. Influencers that are distinct and unique will get a lot of respect from their fans.
Authentic influencers do not simply promote businesses or services because they have been paid to do so. In reality, they may have discussed the product or service before the brand sought them for collaboration. And they may continue to discuss it after the campaign ends and they are no longer paid.
As a result, authentic influencers have maintained their reputation despite their spectacular climb to prominence. Their fans regard them as trustworthy sources of helpful advice and unbiased reviews of products they've tested.
Step 4: Interact with your audience and listen to your critics
As previously mentioned, before you can begin selecting and optimizing your social media platform, you must first define who your target market is.
Identifying your ideal audience is the first step toward developing a loyal fan following that passionately supports your endeavors.
As a result, influencers usually only appeal to a small section of the population rather than the general public. That’s why responding to your audience's feedback and inquiries is essential to connect with them.
If your audience provides you with positive feedback, take the opportunity to thank them, reinforce your brand's image, and show your appreciation.
You shouldn't let a critical remark instantly depress you if you receive one. Many of your followers will judge how you respond to criticism. The relationship can often be salvaged, and even new business acquired in such cases.
Step 5: Maintain consistency
It is not enough to merely create high-quality content. If you're just starting as an influencer, consistency is one of the most critical factors in expanding your reach on social media. Your job profile, ethics, and commitment to your branding will be defined by your consistency, especially if you are already a recognized influencer.
Consistency on the platform does not imply posting several times every day. For an influencer, consistency can be represented in a variety of ways. You may, for instance, maintain consistency between your aesthetics and style since your followers can separate you from other influencers who produce content in the same vein.
Maintaining consistency in your message delivery is crucial for building rapport with your followers. It also raises the likelihood that your name and product will reach a much wider audience, brands, or companies who are drawn to how committed you are to delivering continuous content.
Indeed, the popularity of influencer marketing shows no signs of slowing down. Year after year, innovative social media sites, content formats, and brand-customer interaction strategies are introduced. These are the next trends in influencer marketing to keep an eye on.
Affiliate programs will pivot toward relying on influencers
In the past decade, traditional affiliates, such as blogs or magazines, mostly belonged to traditional publishing. They would be posted to respective sites for demonstrations, tutorials, and critiques of products.
Yet, this marketing program is shifting now. These days, influencers recommend things to their audiences, but only ones they have tried and genuinely like. They want to refrain from turning off their fans by endorsing something they don't fully support.
Influencers frequently provide anecdotes, examples, and calls to action when advocating for a product. In some cases, influencers can guide their followers in buying, from initial interest to final decision. Plus, they do it all in an authentic, individualistic fashion.
Both businesses and customers stand to gain from this innovative approach to affiliate programs. Companies will save money on marketing costs and consumers will appreciate the added convenience of having their favorite influencers' recommended products linked directly from their websites through the use of affiliate links.
The popularity of video material will rise
The public has an insatiable need for visual content. Customers have plenty of options, yet they still need to satisfy their craving for video. With this trend, marketing teams will look to influencers, as many favor video-based social networks like TikTok and YouTube over text-based ones like Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook.
According to NeoReach's Creator ROI Report, successful influencer marketing efforts are driven by companies on video platforms such as YouTube and TikTok. Thousands of FTC-compliant videos were published in Q1 2022, and sponsored creator material was liked more than 107 million times regardless of campaign type.
Both short and long-form video content continues to rule influencer marketing campaigns and social media trends on a global scale, regardless of industry or influencer level.
Influencer campaigns will increase live shopping
In 2021 and 2022, live shopping exploded in popularity by an average of 76% worldwide and this trend is only expected to grow. Promoting brands through live video and interactive content, influencers and other key thought leaders will continue to do so on their preferred social media channels.
According to data, live stream shopping is quickly becoming the most popular way to make purchases on social media. As a result, live stream shopping tools and partnerships have emerged on platforms including Amazon, Facebook, TikTok and Instagram.
For example, Instagram introduced a feature called "live shopping” in 2021, which enables users to make in-stream purchases. The company promotes this format as attractive since it gives users a more engaging means of exploring and purchasing things.
Influencer marketing will emphasize more in diversity and representation
Diversity and equal representation have been gaining more and more attention in recent years. This representation naturally progresses into influencer marketing.
Influencers from underrepresented communities often have insightful things to say about diversity and inclusion. For instance, Asian-American Olivia Sui posted a headline about the Atlanta shooting with an obvious emotional reaction to the targeted violence.
The Colombian-American Jo Luehmann, a former minister and educator, spoke out against white supremacy, for LGTBQ+ rights, and in defense of women's and gender equality.
Since Grammy nominee SZA spoke out against racial profiling at Sephora, the cosmetics giant shifted its priorities to place greater emphasis on diversity and representation.
A staff member at the Sephora’s store in Calabasas became suspicious of the artist's behavior and summoned security to see if she was planning to steal anything.
After SZA shared her story on social media, the incident became widely known under the hashtag "Shopping While Black" (SWB). Leslie Jones, a comedian, also vented her frustration and outrage online on behalf of her makeup artist, who had a similar racial profiling incident at Sephora.
Sephora now produces a large amount of user-generated content from men, women, the LGBTQ+ community, people of Middle Eastern, African, Asian descent and other groups who have been underrepresented in the cosmetics industry in the past.
We can see from the Sephora case that today's customers and influencers or leaders scrutinize advertising campaigns and corporate messages for bias. Brands will have to work even harder in the future to eliminate any sense of exclusivity from their corporate cultures.
Nano and micro-influencers will flourish more
The majority of nano and micro-influencers did not see a decline in engagement rates, according to the influencer marketing benchmark study for 2022. The conversion rates of these influencers are higher than average, and that's on top of the engagement they generate.
Brands may get more out of their influencer marketing spending by concentrating on nano- and micro-influencers with strong relationships with their target demographics. This is especially true when the talent is relatively unknown and has yet to be exploited commercially.
In addition, compared to working with a single mega influencer, brands that employ micro-influencers for user-generated content receive more content from a greater number and variety of content creators.
Influencers are now a crucial part of the marketing ecosystem. While they have their own risks and challenges, they offer a wealth of connections and opportunities for many brands.
More and more tools are being developed to help marketers find and manage the best influencers for their brands, and it’s important to be able to keep up with these recent developments.
As internet use becomes more widespread and people's attention spans shorten, it's more important than ever to establish your brand as a trustworthy ally for your target market. With the tips and tricks you’ve learned, your collaborations with the influencers may just be the bridge your company needs to connect with your true audience.
_About the author
Viral Nation is a new media innovation group that powers the social ecosystem through integrated solutions that align strategy, talent, media, and technology. As pioneers in the influencer space, Viral Nation is comprised of a full-service creative agency, a creator and athlete-influencer representation agency, and a technology division creating modern marketing solutions for the social media age.