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October 16, 2018

What is Influencer Marketing?

Author: Kristen Bachmeier

Influencer marketing is nothing new, but it has recently become a buzzword in the marketing world. Influencer marketing combines old and new marketing tools, taking the idea of a celebrity endorsement and integrating content marketing and social media marketing. The main difference between influencer marketing and a traditional celebrity endorsement is that influencers do not have to be a traditional celebrity, it doesn’t require traditional media outlets, and it usually involves a collaboration between the brand and influencers. So, how does influencer marketing work, and is it right for your business?

Who is an Influencer? What Makes an Influencer?

Influencers can be found anywhere online. What makes them influential is their large following on the web and social media, and the engagement of those followers that will make them purchase products or services that they recommend.

Influencers typically garner large followings on YouTube, Instagram or have their own blogs where they produce content. While there are plenty of fashion bloggers and Instagram models with millions of followers that are making their living promoting products, those are not necessarily always the best people to work with your brand.

Some examples of some of the top influencers on social media are: YouTube vlogger Casey Neistat posts daily videos on his YouTube channel to over 10 million subscribers, who has done brand deals with Nike, Samsung, Google, and Mercedes Benz. He also won GW’s “New Media Star” Man of the Year award. On Instagram, one of the most fashion influencers is Chiara Ferragni who has 15.1 million followers and has collaborated with brands like Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Tommy Hilfiger and was even featured on the cover of Vogue.

The “Micro-influencer” term refers to influencers who have anywhere between 10,000 to 500,000 followers, have highly engaged audiences and usually operate in a specific niche – and can be highly effective when you find the right influencer to represent your brand. Micro influencers may be harder to identify then larger influencers that are more visible, but by taking the time and research to find someone you can see great results. An example of a micro influencer in a niche would be Jen of the Pretty Neat Living Youtube channel who makes videos for stay at home moms and housewives and has worked with brands like Nordstroms and Trader Joes. For any brand trying to target moms, it can be beneficial to work with an influencer that has a following in that specific niche.

How to Get Influencer Marketing Right

Influencer marketing should be honest and authentic. You should take the time to identify an influencer that will promote your product because their personal brand aligns with your brand’s message, and whose followers will find your product or service useful.

There are many ways to leverage influencer marketing for your business, including:

  • Guest Blogs
  • Sponsored reviews
  • Video content
  • Social posts
  • Podcasts
  • Affiliate links

The content you produce should be a collaboration between your brand and the influencer. If the influencer you work with is a blogger, a guest blog post is a great way to work with them. If the influencer your working with is primarily on social, and you’re trying to grow your brand’s social media, using Instagram posts, or an Instagram story takeover would be a smart move. If you are working with a video blogger, you could create video content to be featured on your company’s YouTube channel and be featured on the influencer’s channel as well.

What Not Do in Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is not a way to simply cut costs for your marketing efforts. Influencers are realizing their worth, so many of them are charging high sponsorship fees to feature products on their platforms. There isn’t a set pricing for sponsorships for influencers, but on Instagram, they typically charge $1,000 per every 100,000 followers for a sponsored post and roughly $2,000 per 100,000 subscribers for a sponsored video on YouTube. So, for a huge influencer with a million followers, you could be looking at a $10,000 fee for a simple social post.

You should consider what your returns would be for working with an influencer and allocate an appropriate amount of budget and find someone to work with that falls within those parameters. But most importantly, you shouldn’t try to identify someone with many followers and simply pay them to promote your product on their platform. Identifying the right person to represent your brand is the most important part of creating an authentic and effective message through influencer marketing.

The Ultimate Goal of Influencer Marketing

The ultimate goal of influencer marketing is advocacy. Whether it’s through influencer marketing or other sources like word of mouth, online reviews, social proof – people will take into consideration the recommendation of a trusted source when choosing a new product or service. With the highly connected nature that social media and the internet has given us, it has opened up a whole new world of how people search for these recommendations of products and services. Creating a great influencer marketing campaign takes time, research and transparency but when done right can create highly effective results for you.

Kristen Bachmeier

Kristen Bachmeier is Atilus' Director of Operations and helps to oversee all client accounts and day-to-day operations. Kristen also has a background in digital marketing, and has been working in the digital marketing space since 2012.

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