First of all, what are influencers? And what is influencer marketing? At inzpire.me, we define influencers as people who create content that's consumed by an audience that goes beyond their friends. They earn a dedicated following by producing and publishing creative content in specialized areas, such as fashion and food, across their social media channel(s).
Influencer marketing is a form of marketing that relies on an influencer to help attract customers and clients. The influencer collaborates with a brand and markets the brand's product or service by giving it personalized context, while driving the brand's message to a larger market (ie. the influencers' audience and their audience's network). In other words, you could say that influencer marketing is a word-of-mouth strategy at scale.
In order to fully leverage influencer marketing and include it in your marketing strategy, you need to understand the influencer's value proposition - distribution, credibility and content.
As an advertiser, you’re always searching for cost-effective distribution channels to reach your audience. Distribution is how you get your message out to your target audience, whether it’s through paid advertising, PR or sales activities. An influencer has an audience, and by definition, has distribution. However, there are other varying factors to consider, such as the size of the audience, the channels an influencer uses to reach the audience and the engagement they generate.
Most marketers fall into the trap of believing that working with an influencer who has a larger audience is better, but those who work with niche influencers with a smaller audience will, in many cases, generate better results at a lower cost. The size of an influencer's audience should be evaluated together with the engagement they generate through likes, comments, video views and the quality of the content they create. And though niche influencers have a smaller audience, their audience might be more dedicated to them and could oftentimes give you a better ROI.
When working with influencers, you are buying access to their distribution.
Any marketer would agree that word-of-mouth is the holy grail of marketing. The impact of having someone else recommend your product or service is more valuable than you speaking highly of your own product or service. Consumers trust recommendations from third parties more than the brand itself because third party recommendations give a more personal feel to a product or service. This makes influencer marketing incredibly influential and powerful.
Influencers may have varying degrees of credibility based on how commercial they are, what brand collaborations they accept and how well matched they are with brands. Influencers who write personal stories about their genuine experience with a product is more trustworthy than someone who gives straight positive reviews of a product.
So keep in mind that finding influencers who are passionate about your product and who fit your brand image is critical for your, and the influencer's, long-term success.
When working with influencers, you borrow their credibility.
Over time, it has gotten increasingly difficult to capture the attention of potential customers. Most marketers can relate to the challenge of creating enough quality content for use across distribution channels. Influencers have the ability to create compelling content that is engaging to their audience while associating your brand with that content. This scales the amount of quality content you can access without having to pay for expensive photo shoots or productions.
Naturally, you will have to gain permission from the influencer to use the content they create about your product in your own channel(s).
When working with influencers, you are buying quality content creation.
For more influencer marketing insights, check our our blog.