Famous people increase brand recognition.

Second thoughts? Try this.

Let’s assume that the first thing that pops into your mind when someone talks about Nike is the logo. Beyond the tick symbol and ‘Just Do It’ tagline, what’s the second thing that comes to mind?

Right?

Jordan’s deal with Nike in 1984 cemented what the world already knew but hadn’t yet entirely accepted. Brands need celebrity endorsements to create marketing momentum. If you take a trip down memory, you will notice that influencer marketing is as old as the crown that once sat on King George III’s head!

However, until the 2000s when social media exploded, influencers were either mainstream celebrities or fictional characters created for brand ambassadorship.

Ever since social media went from being a buzzword to potentially the single source of truth (and fake news), the word “celebrity” took a new meaning. It’s why the word “influencer” in the year 2020 has more levels than every Super Mario game combined.

Five popular categories of social media influencers

  1. Thought leaders: Industry movers and shakers who have carved a niche for themselves in specialized areas, backed by experience and proven successes.
  2. Bloggers: Dedicated content producers, including podcasters and YouTubers with a dedicated audience that they have won over through quality and consistency.
  3. Sensations: Social media’s crowd-pleasers who went viral at some point, and now they continue the momentum by posting regularly.
  4. Micro influencers and nano influencers: Segmented social media influencers who have an engaged audience with niche communities; it’s not always about getting a celebrity endorsement.
  5. Journalists: Media personalities or highly successful reporters and feature writers who have entered the social media world with a bang.

Each of these social media influencers is a celebrity in their unique way. But unlike old-school celebrities, they bond with their audiences by continually staying in touch, and more importantly, delivering quality content.

Now, unless you’ve been living under a rock or returning after a decade of digital detoxing, you may know that social media influencers play a decisive role in marketing your business to people. No matter which industry you belong to, being endorsed by an influencer can reap unprecedented rewards.  

Just so you know, the influencer marketing industry was already an $8 billion industry last year.

Let’s look at:

Two recent influencer marketing success stories

Dunkin’ 

Dunkin’ joined forces with nano influencers when they released their new espresso line. Users, with around 1K to 10K followers, shared their coffee experiences on the Instagram world.

Here’s what happened:

  • 21,975 likes
  • 965 comments
  • 5.2% engagement rate

Kiehl’s and Traackr

Kiehl’s and Traackr’s award-winning influencer campaign saw them reaching out to one of the popular micro influencers, Anna Newton, a UK lifestyle blogger, to launch their new product – the Ultra Facial Cream. And they gave her complete creative autonomy to promote authentic content about their brand.

See how it paid off:

  • 40% return on investment in the 48 hours
  • 48% higher engagement rate than previous product mentions
  • Kiehl’s no.1 best-selling product in the UK

Five ways that influencers can impact brand value

Engage the right crowd to promote brand awareness

If there’s one thing that social media influencers are good at, it’s finding the right group for the right occasions. So, if your company is yet to be established in customers’ minds, getting micro influencers to be the voice of your brand can give it a proper boost. If you’ve found your audience and are looking to fuel engagement for your products, the influencers can make the right kind of noise.

With their superior ability to tell a story, you can sell your brand to the customers in memorable portions.

Use authenticity to strengthen brand values

Influencers don’t rise to the top because of how original they are. It’s because of authenticity. They don’t pretend to be someone else. Even if they try to, they can’t sustain momentum long before the cracks appear, and the truth comes out. Contrary to popular belief, audiences on social media are incredibly attentive. When dealing with paying or prospective customers, they can sniff out a marketing influencer with a fake personality a mile away.

They look to inspire people by sharing honest opinions and perspectives about their experiences with products. They bring out their personality and let customers understand the business their eyes.

Go higher on search rankings

Everybody would love an impressive search engine ranking. But the question is – do the search engines love you enough? What matters to make that happen are quality content and links that point towards your online brand presence.

By going with brand advocates like macro influencers, you can check both those boxes. Their existing social media presence, coupled with authentic content production, can get very friendly with search engines.

Types of social media influencer campaigns

  1. Guest posting can work both ways – you can publish or promote content on the influencer’s social platform or the other way around
  2. Sponsored posting – you get what you pay for
  3. Strategic giveaways are incentives for influencers to talk about your brand to their followers
  4. Discount codes are perks that influencers can offer their fans and followers
  5. Social media takeovers are a brand’s way of letting the marketing influencer to communicate through your social platforms for a limited amount of time

Increase hot leads and impact conversions

There are no debates on whether influencers have the power to generate a significant number of sales conversions. There never was. Social media influencer marketing happened because of its first success story. Whatever that was, you can bet that it has to do with some mighty sales numbers.

When social media influencers get vocal about your products, the salespeople are the happiest lot.

Even if a part of the target audience doesn’t start their purchasing journeys, you can be sure that your company has their attention.

It may just be a matter of time before these people turn into your paying customers.

How to ensure that you maximize influencer ROI

  1. Set a clear sales, awareness, or engagement objectives
  2. Select an influencer best suited for your brand size, mission, and revenue goals
  3. Decide whether the influencer gets creative freedom or not
  4. Get them to review your product

How to find the right influencer

It can be a daunting task unless you know the finer details of what you’re looking for. To give you a heads up, here are ten questions you should look for while picking a marketing influencer.

Are they influential enough?

It’s the first question that you should ask – do people value and respect their opinions enough? Is that enough for you to bet on their ability to showcase your brand in a positive light?

Is their audience relevant?

If the influencer’s audience is completely different from yours, the odds of turning interactions into engagement or leads into conversions can be abysmal. You don’t have to bet any more. Instead, you can select based on criteria like size, age, and mindset of the audience

Do they use the same social media platforms?

You know where your audience reaches out to you. If it’s Facebook, get an influencer who’s popular on Facebook. If it’s Instagram, well, look no further than Instagram. But if you’re looking to increase a low-engagement channel, then that’s a different choice

Are they transparent about what they do?

The FTC established clear guidelines for influencers in 2017 on how business dealings must be disclosed. Today, it has become increasingly crucial for brands to get this cleared with influencers before marketing your products.

Don’t take a chance when you can be 100% sure

Why would you? Social media is so enormous that you may get lost in the maze of finding suitable influencers. But there is firepower, in the form of social media marketing automation tools, for you to zero in on the right person. You can unearth valuable information on which influencers are likely to deliver your message successfully.

Many such tools tend to work on a freemium pricing model, which means that you can use the free features to do all the basic research. But if you want to get it 100% right, you can pay a small cost and get a wide variety of influencer discovery features.

Top 5 tools to select the right influencer

Social Animal

We won’t lie, this is a bit awkward for us too. But we are great at this. With Social Animal’s Influencer search, you get a cutting-edge analytics engine that does all the work. Simply type in the keywords of your choice, and our filters will swiftly go through every relevant influencer you can think.

You can also choose how you want to evaluate them too. Options to sort the number of followers? Done. See the content they share? Sure! Filter between micro-influencers or verified influencers? Of course!

We also share Daily Digest emails with updates on popular Influencers for the alerts you’ve created.

Would you like to take it for a test ride on the social media superhighway?

Yes!

Again, we won’t lie to you. Other tools do some of what we can. But we feel confident about our impact (and pricing), so here goes:

Build your brand’s trust factor with Influencers!

Get started today with a 14 day risk-free trial. (No credit card required)

TweetDeck

Although specific for Twitter, you can go deep-dive on finding the right influencer.

Klear

Set realistic targets and search within your networks for suitable brand advocates.

Kred

Better understand social media marketing metrics and measure the impact of influencers

With Gen Zs and millennials forming the bulk of customers across industries worldwide, it’s a scramble to keep the sales and marketing pipeline flowing. In that sense, irrespective of the type of marketing strategy you put forth, you may not get the desired ROI.

The current COVID-19 reality

Did any brand see this coming, and proactively plan to keep their sales and marketing activities afloat?

Even today, companies lag in the race to their customer’s wallet and mind space. But it is more vital than ever before to keep connections strong. Your customers are the lifeline to your business. By using social media influencer marketing, you can meet and surpass their expectations for uninterrupted engagement. Trust and confidence are emerging as powerful guiding factors for customers to stay loyal to brands. With influencers, you can keep your company fresh in the minds of people in a positive way.

If you need more proof, the Global Web Index survey recently reported that over 80% of US and UK customers had consumed more content during this pandemic.

Consumer behavior cannot be underestimated. Even simpler influencer blog posts can make a world of a difference.

The hype of influencer marketing is real.

And there’s no denying that the world is moving towards a digitally-fluid future. From work from home and AI-powered mobile retail to automated healthcare, there’s enough reason to believe that your customers will have fewer opportunities to interact with your brand in the real world. It’s not as though you can shake their hands at industry events or brick and mortar stores!

In the future, influencer marketing is a relationship you look back on as one of the moments when your business reached the next level.

As a future-ready brand, it should be high on your mind right here and now.

Author

Christy Bharath is a writer, with 13+ years of content marketing and branding experience. He helps clients tell their stories across industries like Banking, Retail, Healthcare, IT Services, etc. He also trains writers to help them generate authentic and creative content. Christy is a birdwatcher, and he tweets @contentbirder.

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