WHY YOUR BRAND NEEDS INFLUENCER MARKETING
Why Your Brand Needs Influencer Marketing
“Influencer Marketing” is a big buzzword in marketing circles these days, and it’s becoming a major marketing force in hundreds of industries as a new generation of consumers begin to interact with digital media in influencer-driven ways.
It’s a fascinating blend of old and new marketing techniques, taking the time-honoured idea of a celebrity endorsement or a trusted friend’s product recommendation and placing it into a modern digital marketing/social media marketing campaign. Influencer marketing is a partnership between a brand and a creative individual with their own platform – a relationship that will benefit both parties – but unlike traditional celebrity endorsement campaigns, most influencers aren’t famous outside of their chosen social media platform, and many are just ordinary people when offline.
What makes an influencer different from an ordinary person, however, is their ability to affect the purchasing decisions of an audience, due to their knowledge, authority in their niche, or relationship with that audience. Influencers also exist within specific niches, and actively engage with their audiences – those niches could be gaming, fashion, beauty, technology, athletics, or anything else that people like to follow and engage with online.
That influence within specific niches means influencer marketing can be an incredibly effective tool to make sales for your brand – read on to find out more!
What is Influencer Marketing?
At its core, influencer marketing involves a collaboration between a brand selling a product or service, and an influencer with an audience. The campaign may be intended to direct sales, or it may even be a longer-term strategy designed to subtly build brand recognition over time, but the key facet is the collaborative aspect. It’s a partnership.
One example of an early influencer marketing campaign involved popular YouTuber PewDiePie, who collaborated with the makers of the horror film As Above, So Below – a horror film set in the Parisian Catacombs. He made a video series involving a series of challenges in the catacombs that he had to complete, in partnership with the film, and, since the content and theme fit so perfectly with his 27 million subscribers, the videos did phenomenally well, receiving almost double the number of views the film’s official trailer did.
It doesn’t just work for online celebrities with huge followings, either – influencer marketing has become such a huge buzzword in the past few years because it works at all levels, relying on affinity rather than just audience size. Simply put, the better-matched a brand’s campaign is to an influencer’s audience, the more successful the campaign.
Influencers exist in every industry, and on most online platforms, and many of them don’t have millions of followers, like PewDiePie or the Kardashians have. Most are successful because they’ve built a reputation for expertise in their fields, and for making engaging and popular social posts. They’re the most informative, entertaining, or exciting content creators in a specific niche, and their opinion on what products or services are worth spending money on is trusted by their audience for that reason.
What To Do In An Influencer Marketing Strategy
There are a few things to consider when planning an influencer marketing campaign to ensure it’ll be a success. First off:
Consider your approach to influencer marketing.
What are you hoping to achieve with the campaign? What sort of brand are you representing, and what sorts of demographics are you hoping to appeal to? Are you marketing a brand with strong visual appeal, or something that would perform better in more writing-centric platforms?
Make sure you’ve got a strategy for the campaign, with deadlines, schedules and a budget. Allocate time to collect data and do research, and make lists of the influencers you’d like to work with. Having a schedule ahead of time makes it much more likely that your marketing campaign will go to plan, and even though this can be difficult while working collaboratively, it’s an essential framework for getting the right results.
Decide how you’re going to find influencers to work with
You can search for influencers organically through Google, although with some new and fast-changing platforms like TikTok, influencer lists and articles may become out-of-date quickly, so make sure you’ve got the most up-to-date data. You can also subscribe to a platform to get an idea of the influencer landscape there over time, but this is a fairly time-consuming strategy, so our recommendation is always to work with an influencer marketing agency. An agency will have the databases, tools, expertise and existing relationships needed to quickly choose the perfect influencer for the job!
Integrate the campaign with your other marketing efforts
Influencer marketing is a fantastic marketing type, but like all things, it works best as part of a coordinated effort. Integrate your influencer marketing campaign with your PR schedule, or with a timed release of a product, to help generate maximum positive publicity and move the needle as much as possible.
Remember, it’s a partnership
Working with influencers is always collaborative and rarely works out if the brand stifles the creator’s creativity. Trust in your partner’s experience and knowledge of their audience.
What NOT To Do In An Influencer Marketing Strategy
Don’t simply find someone with a big audience and offer to give them money to promote your brand
Influencers of all stripes are people who have spent countless hours and incredible effort building their reputations and audiences, and they’re very unlikely to agree to promote something that doesn’t fit their image or that’s likely to rub their audience the wrong way. Simply choosing influencers for audience size is unlikely to work – and remember, your goal is to influence buying behaviour from that audience, so it’s much more important to choose an influencer based on engagement and fit for your brand.
Do You Need An Influencer Marketing Agency?
You could theoretically run an influencer marketing campaign yourself, but it’s a big, complex task that requires plenty of research, knowledge and relationship-building. The success of a campaign is often a matter of experience, contacts and industry expertise applied over a long time, and it can often be downright impossible to do all that while still running the other facets of your business effectively.
However, if you outsource to an influencer marketing agency, you’re paying not just for their hard work, but for all that knowledge and industry experience as well, making it an investment that will pay off time and time again.
An influencer marketing agency will be able to help you by sourcing the best possible influencers to cast in your campaigns, putting together a professional campaign plan with your business objectives and goals at the heart of it, and managing the campaign from start to finish to make sure those objectives are met.
They’ll be able to provide a clear brief to the influencers, and provide them enough creative freedom to do their best work while still producing an authentic, effective brand collaboration, and can maintain clear lines of communication throughout so you don’t need to fret over checking emails every five minutes.
The Advantages of Influencer Marketing Agencies
An influencer marketing agency like Sociably has extensive contacts in the industry and strong pre-existing relationships with influencers that can be drawn on for time-efficient and effective casting in campaigns. They’ve got experience and expertise in planning campaigns and building effective strategies, and have the time, manpower and specialist tools to dedicate to this fully.
If you’re ever unsure what to do, you can always talk to an agency for advice, too – Sociably are run by passionate influencer marketing experts and will always be happy to help you with any problems you’ve got.
If You Really Want To Do It Yourself, Remember:
- Doing your own influencer marketing is possible, but it will take your time away from the actual business, and can be very costly in terms of effort.
- Building a relationship with an influencer from scratch can take time, and it’s important to choose the right ones. An agency has already done this, saving time and effort.
- You’ll need to build a good knowledge base before beginning the campaign, including in influencers, different types of content, platforms and channels, as well as which influencers will work best for your business’ needs.
Contact Sociably Today
If you’d like to know more about what an influencer marketing agency can do for you, or how best to market your brand through influencers online, get in touch with Sociably today. We’re a leading influencer marketing agency because we understand the subtleties and complexities of the influencer marketing landscape, and can handle your campaigns from inception to end result.
You can reach us at any time on +44 (0)20 3488 1770, or by using the direct message form on our Contact Us page.