As we approach 2020, influencer marketing is probably the one goal that, for many entrepreneurs, came to mind at least once as a viable business idea.
But what is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing entails a marketing practice that focuses more on the influential people within a specific niche than the public itself.
In short, it is a form of social media marketing whose aim is primarily that of getting valuable and relevant testimonials to endorse a specific product or service.
Nowadays, it became a common practice among business owners, and statistics certainly back up its effectiveness:
- Businesses are making $5.20 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing;
- The average influencer marketing campaign yields more than a 430% ROI;
- 67% of business owners plan to increase their influencer marketing budget in the future.
What are the different types of social media influencers?
The only discriminating factor by which we can classify influencers is their audience. Starting from the most-frequent and least-expensive ones to work with, we have:
- Nano-influencers → Categories whose audience size is between 1k and 10k followers. Despite the numbers, nano-influencers are today’s digital equivalent of the word-of-mouth practice.
Hence, they can turn out to be particularly useful for those businesses that have tight budgets but don’t want to prevent themselves from reaching specific market segments, and more often than not, they yield particularly high engagement returns.
- Micro-influencers → In this category we find profiles with an audience of 10k — 50k followers.
As of 2020, they’re the most sought-after category, primarily among retail brands. That’s because of two reasons:
– They have the ideal range of followers for many retail brands whose goal is to exploit new markets;
– They experience pretty high engagement rates, which allows them to easily connect with their audiences.
- Mid-tier influencers → With a follower count set between 50k and 500k, mid-tier influencers are thought leaders within a specific niche. Although their audience size is ampler compared to the other two categories we’ve so far outlined, their following is still engaged and easy to communicate with.
Most of all, their leadership oftentimes turns into pickiness, mostly when it comes to partnerships. Since they have established themselves within a really defined box, it’s hard to convince them to endorse products or services that are not strictly related to their expertise. But since it prevents bad cooperations, this can only be good news for marketers and other business owners.
Nonetheless, mid-tier influencers represent a huge addition for brands who want to considerably amplify their reach and ROI.
- Mega-influencers → this category is represented by people who bypass the traditional “niche expertise” and are globally-recognized icons.
With a follower count of more than 500k users, mega-influencers come with a hefty price tag attached, but their cost is more than compensated by the fact that, within such a partnership, you’re guaranteed to reach an amazing number of social media users which not only pays the whole investment back in no time, but also results in a huge brand awareness plus.
What to consider when choosing the right influencer?
As you probably already knew, choosing which influencer to partner with is no easy task, but it yields a tremendous advantage in terms of profitable business relationships, engaged customers, and ultimately more sales.
It’s a win-win for you, your partner, and your following.
However, there are some major considerations that you should keep in mind when making the choice to invest in the influencer marketing space.
- What’s the goal you’re trying to accomplish?
Before making your pick, be aware of what you’re trying to get through reaching out to an influencer.
Is it more awareness?
More engagement on your own website?
Or just flat out more sales?
Knowing where you want to go is the first step towards making the right pick.
- Is the influencer relevant to your niche?
This is the main reason why bigger influencers don’t always equal bigger results.
One of the best measures for you to consider, when choosing an influencer to work with, lies upon the relevance that he/she has with your already-existing audience.
The ideal should be trying your best to impress your people by developing strong collaborations with niche-related figures that they admire and look up to.
- Is the influencer budget-friendly?
Influencers don’t give you anything in exchange for nothing.
That’s why budget is definitely a major player as it pertains to influencer partnerships.
It is estimated that on the most influencer-friendly platforms (Facebook and Instagram), the average influencer would charge about 25$ for every 1.000-follower chunk, while on Snapchat, the same milestone usually amounts to 10$.
Of course, the overall price tag can vary considerably based on both the influencer’s demand and his/her relevance within a specific industry.
- What reach can he/she guarantee you?
When talking about reach, we refer to the number of people that could potentially see his/her content. It takes into consideration not only the influencer’s number of followers but also the people who might see the content through search results or recommendations.
The higher the reach, the better; however, it’s a matter of balance, which always brings us back to the amount of money you’re willing to invest.
- Is he/she authentic?
This one is tricky.
Authenticity, when paired with influencers, refers to a variety of factors that must be paid attention to before choosing to reach out to someone.
It’d be irresponsible, for instance, to consider someone an influencer just because of one’s audience size.
Among the many social media platforms that exist today, Instagram represents by far the prime example of “fake it until you make it”, and its heap of fake accounts is just one of its many insidious pitfalls that, as a business owner or marketer, you should be mindful of.
Three variables that can help you have a clearer idea of how authentic someone’s profile might be, are:
– Have a quality check → Would you praise a certain influencer for the quality of his/her content? Does his/her profile look visually appealing?
– Verify the engagement rate → Is the number of likes, comments, and shares under their posts reasonable enough, especially compared to their overall number of followers?
– Certify the comment section’s quality → It’s his/her comment section full of bots and automated messages?
A “clean” comment section is a sign that the influencer cares about cultivating a healthy community and welcomes constructive comments, while simultaneously weeding out poor, low-quality, bot-generated answers.
If an influencer doesn’t block out any type of spammy comment, it might also be an indication about the fact that such influencer is somehow more pleased with keeping a higher follower count than he/she is with developing high-quality engagement and interactions.
Are influencers worth the investment?
With the traditional marketing models slowly (but surely) fading away in favor of social media sponsorships and paid ads, relying on influencers to spread the word about your brand seems like the next logical step.
If you’re not into influencer marketing, you should probably give it a shot and see how it works out for you.
However, as we’ve outlined in this article, it’s essential to choose wisely and be precautious with our picks.
Regardless of the partnership’s length and objectives, influencers should be the end result of a strategic and meticulous decision-making process: there is no room for chance, and if you’re thoughtful about who to reach out to, what to say, and how to skillfully create a win-win situation for both parties involved, this strategy will only pay dividends.