It is an undeniable fact that a social media presence is an integral component in any successful marketing strategy. Its reach helps brands offer their services on a local and global scale, entice potential clients, and initiate smooth and engaging communication through content.
One prominent and very successful form of digital marketing is influencer marketing. Influencer marketing is defined as “a type of social media marketing that uses endorsements and product mentions from influencers—individuals who have a dedicated social following and are viewed as experts within their niche.”
Influencer marketing is a billion-dollar industry with 80% of marketers finding this strategy effective. In 2019, for instance, nearly two-thirds of marketers also increased their influencer marketing budgets. What differentiates influencer marketing from other marketing strategies is its basis and reliance on the pre-existing relationship between the influencer and their followers.
Determine your audience and platform before finding an influencer
Understanding your target audience is the first step in influencer marketing. Influencers are found across all aspects of media—beauty, travel, photography, food, fitness, and more. Interests also vary across all demographics; understanding engagement with your content will guide you towards the right influencer.
Finding the perfect platform to market your brand is the next and very important step. According to Media Kix, the top five most strategically important social media channels are Instagram (89%), YouTube (70%), Facebook (45%), Blogs (44%), and Twitter (33%). Influencers market products in various ways depending on their social media platform and follower demographic. Analyzing trends in social media usage will help you align your industry with an influencer who can successfully market their product to their audience. Go where your target audience is active and that is where you will see results.
Promoting relatability and authenticity
What makes this strategy successful is that these influencers are everyday people who share their honest passions with their loyal following. Utilizing the platform of influencers to market your brand can help bring your campaign down to a relatable level and reach a wider audience. Only 1% of millennials surveyed said they don’t trust advertisements because they see them as inauthentic. Another 33% of them browse through blog reviews prior to purchasing anything, looking to authentic reviews instead of highly sensationalized ads.
One of the main reasons why brands turn to influencers instead of A-list celebrities is because more followers does not necessarily mean more engagement. Research shows that when an influencer’s followers increase, their likes and comments (engagement) decrease. Those with 1,000 followers or less usually receive likes 8% of the time, compared to the 1.6% engagement of an influencer with 10 million followers. Consumers have more trust in other consumers and it is shown that micro-influencers generate 60% more engagement than an average celebrity influencer.
Consumers are attracted to relatable and down-to-earth people; A-list celebrities and large influencers have such a high status, which is often seen as unattainable, therefore making them lose their relatability.
Influencer marketing has proven local and global success
Let’s take the example of Dunkin’ Donuts, which turned to nano-influencers (influencers with 1,000 to 10,000 followers) for help when they were looking to rebrand as a “coffee-first” company and promote their new espresso beverages.
A single sponsored Dunkin’ post shared by Vanessa Lace, a nano-influencer with 3,000 followers, gained an engagement rate of 26.1%—five times more engagement than what an average campaign receives. Dunkin’ tapped Vanessa and other nano-influencers to create authentic and relatable posts that would appeal to the sensibility of these influencer’s loyal following. Their captions were positive, energetic, and consistent throughout all posts, and used hashtags such as #sippingisbelieving and #phillyrunsondunkin. Through this strategy, Dunkin’ was able to target over a million of their followers and racked up over 20,000 likes and 900 comments from only 25 posts, reaching a total engagement of 5.2%.
In the local scene, influencer marketing is also commonly used to promote beauty products, restaurants, travel destinations, and more. One of the most tapped influencers in the Philippines is Wil Dasovich, a Filipino-American model, TV personality, and YouTuber. His vlogs are witty and engaging and range from topics such as his travels, relationships, and even discussions on various social and political issues.
Dasovich has garnered almost 3 million YouTube subscribers and nearly 800,000 IG followers because of his entertaining, engaging, and honest content that resonates with his viewers and followers.
Because of his wide reach, many brands have tapped him to become their brand ambassador, one of which is Snicker Oats in 2018. Dasovich’s content for the brand generated 54,000 of the 70,000 social engagements of the entire campaign. What made this campaign successful was Dasovich’s “cross-posting” on several platforms. He had agreed to post on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but also included a complimentary feature on his YouTube channel, which gained 2 million views.
Influencer marketing is not just a business strategy but it is also an industry in itself. There are companies that provide you with opportunities to become an influencer and companies that help you find a suitable influencer for your brand. It looks like both this strategy and industry won’t be going away anytime soon, which is why understanding influencer marketing, how it works and its benefits, is essential in ensuring your business’ success.
- Written by Mica Magsanoc