I truly can’t remember a time when I was not under the influence. Under the influence of advertisements and imagery and being told all the cool things I “needed” then proceeding to run to my parents and nagging the shit out of them.
I remember being a little kid and seeing all of the very attractive kids playing with barbies in the commercials, to seeing the ‘Got milk?’ ads on iconic (again very attractive) celebrities with a milk mustache, to seeing my Spice Girls in Pepsi commercials (even though I will forever choose Coca Cola but since they drank Pepsi, maybe I would too), to eating sugary as hell cereal (shout out to Lucky Charms & Smacks) and on the back of the box, boom...another ad. An ad to entice me into something else I “need” or want or can’t live without. Born in 1989 and I truly can’t remember a time where I was not constantly being bombarded by the power of imagery, very attractive individuals to idealize, and products or services.
On that day...
On the 6th of October, 2010, everything changed. Without us knowing it, our lives would never be the same. Instagram was born (dun dun). Within 3 months, 1 million users signed up to this image sharing platform, giving users the new freedom to be anything they wanted to be. They could perform and project any image they wanted. They could even become #instafamous and become...an influencer.
So what’s an influencer?
When it comes to marketing, an influencer is an opportunity to grow one’s brand. It is someone who has a good following, and is able to partner with a variety of brands to convey their story, product, or service, and increase their brand’s reach and sales typically through a personalized code or discounted offer.
Influencers can be seen as the creative director behind the curated images they produce. They communicate the brand’s message with a synergy between their own voice and the brand’s to build trust with the consumers and influence the relationships with their followers.
For us Marketers, Instagram paved the way to a new channel of opportunity and what we now know as influencer marketing. Yet the fundamentals of marketing remain the same:
Build brand distinction
Tell a story
“The main value prop of influencer marketing is really to tell a relatable, distinct, and entertaining brand story that cuts through the usual advertising noise.”
Säinas continues with a noteworthy point “It is a bit naive to assume that influencers can drive reach. At this moment in time, there are very few data points that actually support that argument. So rather, the way you should look at it is to drive a good story, to generate a good story, an engaging story, a relatable story.”
The Influencer Breakdown.
It seems like everyone nowadays wants to become an influencer. Data shows these are these distinguishing characteristics make up a successful influencer:
Influencers who post consistently, have social proof, are liked and are kind, have authority (through brand partnerships and links) and come up with their own entertaining style to convey messages, will all contribute to the following categories they will end up in.
80% of influencers income, comes from sponsored content and only 29% of influencers are asked for their opinion on content direction. Yet in order to build a successful influencer / brand relationship, it’s important to make sure both parties are happy. Here’s the top 5 things that bother influencers and could hinder your relationship:
Creative Freedom: If you are trusting them to promote your brand, why not put a little trust in their creativity? You may very well be pleasantly surprised. And if you are not happy with the outcome, ya lived and learned.
Late Payments: Treat them like your own employees. Would you pay your Marketing Manager late? I didn’t think so.
Short Deadlines: Deadlines need to be met but no one wants to be blindsided. Give them some time to get their creative influencer juices flowing.
Last Minute Changes: No one likes putting in all the effort into a project and then last minute having to completely go another direction (although this is bound to happen at some point). Just try to not make it a pattern.
Brands Who Don’t Have A Clear Brief: VERY IMPORTANT HERE. If you do not have a clear campaign, with a clear objective, why are you reaching out to an influencer? It’s always important to ask yourself what is the influencer marketing objective? What is the value of the marketing message? How much creative freedom can we give the influencers?
For your campaign it’s always important to establish the following:
Product magic - why should people care about your product / service?
How many influencers (by which category listed above)?
Your influencer budget
Influencer campaign objective - what do you expect them to do?
Terms & Conditions
How to get the right influencer?
It’s important to research and find the right influencers for your brand. Obviously we are all aware of fake accounts so just because someone might appear to be “the one”, it’s always wise to use a tool like Hypeauditor to gain more insights into the influencer. Hypeauditor is an “Industry Standard Analytical Platform for transparent & fraud-free influencer.” Hypeauditor can not only help you discover influencers with targeted audiences you need, you can get a clear analysis on their audience and engagement, and download in-depth reports.
A piece of advice I learned from Siim Säinas, if the authentic audience percentage is under 30% (meaning their audience is made up of real people not fake accounts), it’s a safe bet to go with them and run your campaign. If it’s higher than 30%, it’s risky because your campaign is being seen a bunch of phonies. You can even see how successful certain influencers were with past campaigns.
All these insights will provide you with the right information you need to make a qualitative decision on picking the right influencers.
More than Instagram
Never forget Facebook, Tiktok, Youtube, Twitter, or LinkedIn. You can always create an influencer campaign geared towards a Youtuber who could also post on a multitude of channels. All channels for your campaign ideally should be in sync - earned, paid and owned should all work together and build off one another. Start to think about your social measurement from the objectives and then approach the channel based on that.
In order for your campaigns to be successful, Siim Säinas says you ideally want to have 10-15 influencers on a campaign. Although there have been cases of campaigns being successful with just a couple of influencers, it is a rare scenario.
Wrapping It Up
Influencers are here to stay for a while. Instagram brought the bombardment of imagery and ads with attractive people to the next level from when I was a youngin'. For us marketers, influencer marketing is a huge opportunity for growth if done correctly. There’s a time and a place for everything. Once your brand is ready to build an influencer marketing campaign, with the right objectives, research, and influencer, your ROI is sure to get the #glowup.