What Is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer Marketing is where you use an individual’s influence to amplify your business message or campaigns. This can be through a number of mediums. It is a relationships based co-operation, and not just solely a monetary partnership. The popularity of using influencers in marketing campaigns has increased rapidly over the past 18 months. It is now the fastest growing customer acquisition method for digital marketing according to Influencer Marketing Hub and is used in both B2C and B2B businesses.
According to the Influencer Marketing Hub’s 2017 Study, there has been a +325% increase in searches for ‘influencer marketing’ over the previous year. This would likely be a term searched by brands, agencies and the influencers themselves. Articles and advice pieces like how to use influencers, how to measure the ROI on influencers, and how to become an influencer have increased dramatically, indicating that while this is a relatively new and emerging marketing aid, it’s most certainly a popular avenue for people to explore.
Who And Where Are The Influencers?
An influencer can be from a multitude of industries, and generally have a voice or presence that is trusted by their peers and/or colleagues. Traditionally, an influencer would have been somebody from the media such as a journalist, radio presenter, and TV presenter or a celebrity. Their career and recognition within their industry presented them a platform to discuss and debate topics, businesses, brands and trends. However, due to the rise in digital media, and specifically that of social media, an influencer can now also be found across platforms like blogs, online magazines or news websites, podcasts, and on social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Usually for marketing purposes, influencers are split into two groups;
The major influencer : These are people like celebrities, industry experts and social media gurus with social media followings in the hundreds of thousands to millions
The micro influencer : These are generally up and coming individuals in their fields, like new actors or musicians, and social media experts with thousands to tens of thousands of social media followers. It is important to note however, that while micro-influencers’ followers are fewer in number, the loyalty and engagement they inspire has been proven to be higher than the major influencers, averaging around 8 percent, compared to 4 percent for those over one million followers.
How To Find Your Influencers
Your Industry Experts
One of the first places to look for influencers for your business is within your own industry. Is there a business owner or personality who creates conversation in your area of expertise? Whether it be through guest blogging on other sites, through their social media, or through presentations and key note speeches? If an individual is very ingrained into the tapestry of your industry, it’s worth getting in touch with them to explore opportunities in which you can collaborate on together.
Print Magazines and Newspapers
Whether you read local newspapers or national magazines, there is a good chance that many of the articles written within the pages are by the same author. Traditionally, journalists were contacted time and time again with ideas for articles and features. These journalists have recognised that not only do they have a voice and an influence within the pages of the media they write for, they can now communicate these products, services and recommendations through their own personal channels. This often equates to journalists having quite a substantial following on social media, and further opportunities like book deals, being interviewed on podcasts and guest blogging for other sites follow suit.
Online Magazines and Websites
Again, much like traditional print journalists, digital content writers and bloggers are recognised as being influential in their field, particularly those with large social media following and a solid reader base. They will often have either their own website or blog that they produce content on, or write for third party websites and online magazines.
Social media has been one of the biggest drivers of influencer marketing and the growth in individuals associated with being an influencer, particularly on Instagram has grown exceptionally. Many social channels will have an option to explore keywords or keyphrases, and you can use these to begin your search for influencers. It can be a bit of a rabbit hole, and can often be time consuming, so if you are manually looking for influencers that are related to your field, set a time cap on it, as well as an amount of influencers to pull into a spreadsheet. The more research you do of course, the more you will find relevant people and luckily channels like Instagram will throw up relevant profiles that are dependant on your search algorithm. It’s also worth going through your competitors’ social profiles to see who they are following, and who follows them, as well as the influencers followings and followers.
One of the most prolific type of influencers is of course the celebrity. From actors and actresses to musicians and even reality TV stars, celebrity influencers are used across a multitude of industries. Whether they are endorsing a product via a live demonstration on their social media, hosting an event on behalf of the brand, or their partnership is integrated into a range of marketing materials such as case studies, quotes and more on websites, social media and newsletters, celebrity partnerships, when done well, can be highly beneficial.
If you grow tired of manually searching for influencers, there are some tools out there that can help. More often than not the tools are a premium, and you have to pay to utilise them, but they do offer samples of the software, or have free versions that provide you with a small, but helpful, amount of information. Some of the best tools we use at Anicca Digital are;
Their database is a living breathing network of influencers, where they can connect with a community of PR, marketing and public affairs professionals to enrich the content they create and develop the relationships they rely on. In short, they have a directory of journalists and bloggers/influencers complete with email addresses, social media outlets, and more.
- Followerwonk (Twitter only)
With Followerwonk, you can find influencers and individuals who are talking about a specific topic frequently within their tweets. It even has an option where you can search for keywords or phrases within their bios, so for example, searching ‘marketing expert’ or ‘technology journalist’ would bring up the twitter profiles of those that have these exact phrases in their biography. It is also a great indicator on HOW many people are talking about your specific topic of search, so you can get involved in those conversations.
Buzzsumo is a platform to discover engaging content and outreach opportunities. It will show you the popular content that people are talking about and sharing via social media, and therefore the influencer profiles that can amplify that content. Not only is this a great platform for finding influencers, but content ideas as a whole!
Crowdfire gives Twitter users a more efficient way of managing their accounts. Built with the initial aim to answer the often-asked question, “Who unfollowed me on Twitter?”, Crowdfire has now matured into a holistic friend management platform. Their most powerful aspect for influencer marketing is their insightful “Copy Followers” feature (Twitter only) that can show and replicate the followers of competitors or influencers themselves. Obviously to a degree there will have to be some manual monitoring of this tool.
Assessing Your Influencers : The Truth
While they are in a minority, some websites and bloggers may enhance their stats, especially if there is free product/sponsorship to be gained. There are also countless software or ‘bots’ that they can pay to inflate social media following. So, how do you know if they are telling the truth…?
- What is their social media following? Look at both the numbers and specifically who is following them.
- Do they get any retweets/comments on social media?
- Do they respond, and how do they respond?
- Is their social media following significantly lower than their monthly traffic to their website?
- If this is the case, ask yourself then what is driving traffic to their social media or their website?
- Is there any interaction on their site and do they push out their latest posts?
- Do people leave comments, whether on the site itself or via social media?
Your Aim Is Link Building
How do you know if your target media is worth earning a link from? By assessing the following:
- Domain authority;
- Monthly traffic;
- Social media following;
- Website/blog interaction.
Domain authority (DA) assesses the backlink profile of a target website on a scale from 1 to 100 and backlinks from sites with a high DA are more valuable*. However, before determining this, you need to assess not only your own website’s domain authority, but that of your competitors and the influencer peers themselves.
- National news outlets – Typical DA of 75+
- Regional news outlets – Typical DA 50+
- Bloggers- Typical DA 20-40+
- Trade media- Typical DA 20+
*Ahrefs, which is the tool we use for backlink and authority data changed the way it calculates domain authority at the beginning of 2018. This resulted in a large drop in domain authority and affected all websites. This sudden drop in domain authority has no connection with how the website ranks in Google. Ahrefs are just continually changing the way they calculate this metric.
Your Aim Is Brand Awareness + Social Voice
How do you know if your influencer has the right reach or tone of voice?
- How many social media outlets do they have?
- Is it unique content on each, or is it the same message pushed out automatically?
- What is their engagement like, do they get retweets, do people comment on their content?
- Does the influencer follow up with replies?
- Who else is the influencer working with across social media? Are they relevant to your audience?
How Much Should I Be Paying An Influencer?
As mentioned, influencer marketing is a relatively new venture, and because of this, there are no industry standards or benchmarks when it comes to charges and budgets. At present, an influencer themselves will give a price based on their involvement in the asset creation (photography, video, written content, sound bites, etc) and how long it will take them to create. They will also factor in their audience, and their average engagement.
On a positive note, however, agencies, brands and influencers themselves are always looking for ways to simplify and understand the minefield that can be influencer budgets and there are advice pieces for influencers on how much their peers charge, giving brands a ballpark for them to work with. Again, this depends on both the industry, and the audience and reach of the influencer.
Marketers are willing to pay more than £67,000 per video post with a YouTube influencer, rising to £75,000 for a single Facebook post by a celebrity influencer, according to Rakuten Marketing’s research. Brands are also prepared to splash out £53,000 per Snapchat post by a big name influencer. Researchers from Instagram scheduling tool HopperHQ analysed the 1.2 million posts scheduled through the platform and compiled the first ever Instagram “rich list”. They claim Selena Gomez earns around £424,000 per post and Kim Kardashian earns around £385,000 per post. British blogger Zoella reportedly earns around £10,800 per post.
Far from looking to rein in their spending, 23% of marketers plan to increase their influencer spending by 30-50% over the next year. However, 38% of marketers say they are unable to tell whether influencer activity actually drives sales while 86% are unsure how influencers calculate their fees.
It’s worth noting that some influencers will work for product but expect to pay anywhere from £50 up to six figures depending on the influencer.
How Do I Assess The ROI Of An Influencer?
How you actually analyse the success of an influencer campaign is one of the most popular questions we’re asked when it comes to this type of marketing. Our answer is just like every other campaign; using SMART GOALS.
Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Realistic. Time Based
Rather than just ‘views, followers, or sales’, add some numbers to your KPIs. Perhaps it’s 10% more social media followers over a period of 3 months, 10% more visitors to the website, or even an amount of downloads or data capture. You could also measure it on brand buzz and how many conversations, engagements and comments an influencer campaign generates. Ensure you have a way to track any activity, from UTM links to specific discount codes should you be using influencer marketing to sell products or services. That way, you can easily integrate your influencer marketing campaign within any current reports, and have those numbers as a baseline for any future activity moving forward.
An Example Of Successful Influencer Marketing: Anicca Case Studies
Anicca Digital has worked with Deichmann shoes for a number of years now, and in 2017 were tasked on identifying relevant influencers to promote the ranges, and special collaboration ranges, via their own social media and through advice pieces on Deichmann’s blog. Our work caught the eye of the UK Search Awards, and our Deichmann campaign for the Ellie Goulding collection that launched in the Spring and Autumn of 2017 was shortlisted for an award for ‘Best Integrated Campaign’.
We put together an integrated campaign that consisted of press release pushes, content creation for the website, newsletters and social media, plus an influencer marketing ‘unboxing’ campaign whereby we chose some key fashion influencers filming themselves umboxing and talking about the new Ellie Goulding range. Of course, hiring Ellie herself to be the face of the campaign was a great piece of influencer marketing in itself that we embellished on! Over the campaign we got 39,753+ views and 5584+ likes.
Another influencer used to promote the A/W17 range was Love Island’s Gabby Allen. Deichmann’s target audience for their instagram are aged 18-30, predominately female and very fashion conscious and we felt that Gabby would be a perfect representative of the brand. Our target was to increase awareness of Deichmann through the influencers, and help to put them on the map when it came to affordable yet fashionable shoes.
We organised a social media only campaign with Gabby in which she would post stylised images of herself wearing Deichmann shoes and boots. As you can see in the below graph, the image pictured that Gabby posted of her wearing boots from Deichmann generated a significant amount of new followers on the Deichmann instagram. It also garnered much engagement and attention, with her followers interacting with the post, tagging their friends in and positively commenting on the boots. Not only did this help to increase Deichmann’s social following, but attributed direct sales of that exact boot on the day, and the days that followed.
So, as you can see, influencer marketing is a growing sector and because of this, there is no real industry standard for things like how influencers work out their prices or average budgets for specific businesses at the moment. Hopefully within the next year or so, we will start to see this levelling out, and with this, a more defined structure and benchmarks we can use within existing marketing campaigns. Celebrity management agencies have started to take note, and will represent influencers on their books too, and there are lots of advice pieces on various websites with ‘calculations’ for how much an influencer should charge. In terms of budget however, for now, influencer marketing is solely determined on your KPIs and what you want to achieve for your business, as well as how much you can realistically afford within your budget. It’s certainly been proved to be a powerful tool for brands and businesses, and when done well, is a very effective way to reach your target market in a creative way.
Do you want to find out how influencer marketing could work for you and your business? Get in touch with Anicca today and talk to one of our experts.