Social media has become a new horizon of digital. These digital platforms that were initially created for socializing are now the most impactful digital marketing tool. According to the stats, 90.4% of Millennials, 77.5% of Gen X, and 48.2% of Baby Boomers are active social media users. On average, each user spends about 3 hours daily on these online platforms.
Recently, social media has introduced the world to influencer marketing. It is a digital version of celebrity endorsements that have the capability to drive a significant amount of traffic. But, what is the secret behind it?
Well, to find out, keep reading on!
What Is Influencer Marketing?
Any personality having a huge following on social media networks can be considered as an influencer. Another definition could be: a person who has an influence on the behavior of his/her followers can also be classified as a social media celebrity or an influencer, in other words.
Social media influencers can be anyone from a famous to a common man who got famous for some odd reason and from a famous fashion model to a simple house who cooks mouthwatering cuisine.
Every dollar spent on influencer marketing generates $6.50 for the business on average. Furthermore, 80% of digital marketers consider IM as an effective tool, whereas 89% think that it is equal to or even better than other marketing channels.
Social media campaigns are now considered incomplete without including social media influencers. A 9-year-old boy named Ryan Kaji has earned around $32 million because of his youtube channel and brand endorsements. He has a youtube page with around 27.5 million subscribers where he uploads videos of toy unboxing and reviews. In short, social media has turned into an influencer marketing hub.
Why Are Social Media Influencers So Impactful?
Let us burst your bubble: social media influencers are more effective than celebrities, and they cost significantly less.
There has been a shift in recent years from traditional media to social media. Now, the brands are looking to reach the younger generations: namely the millennials and Gen Z, but they are more inclined towards digital media.
According to the stats, 98% of Gen Z own a mobile phone; therefore, access to the internet is at their fingertips. And around half of the generation Z has a screen time of around 10 hours daily. That is just huge! These numbers literally make traditional television irrelevant.
Another significant factor is that around 71% of Gen Z likes watching ordinary people in ads instead of celebrities. This is the main reason why social media influencers are so useful for digital marketing because they are, after all, ordinary people. The youth relates to these people and consider them trustworthy. There is a perception about a celebrity that they endorse any product or service just for the sake of money; you might have seen diabetic celebrities in soft drink commercials in the past, but now that the audience has groomed, such advertising is considered deceptive.
On the other hand, social media influencers are seen in a completely different light – although they also charge for endorsements as well. The reason is simple: a social media influencer will most probably be endorsing a product related to their domain.
Digital marketers have noticed the trend and instantly cashed on it. The numbers suggest that by the end of 2020, the influencer marketing industry can reach up to $5 to $10 billion worldwide.
Types of Social Media Influencers
According to the number of followers, social media influencers are divided into these categories:
These influencers have the least numbers of followers, which usually ranges from 10,000 to 90,000. You can hire them for very less, but again you will need to consider the fact that they have a limited reach.
With a decent amount of followers, macro-influencers can get your campaign the spotlight it really needs. These influencers have hundreds of thousands of followers and are mainly related to a specific domain that might be of cooking, healthy lifestyle, technology, etc. you will have to pay a significant amount to get their services,
Mega -influencers have millions of followers; it won’t be wrong if we call social media celebrities. They will charge you a premium price for the endorsements, but the reach of your campaign will be out of this world.
Usually, they are hired by luxury brands to get their message enforced on social media platforms.
How to Maximize the Marketing Efforts?
Normally, celebrities are the first choice of brands when looking for an influencer. But in this case, more followers don’t necessarily mean better reach. Social media influence marketing is not about fame or luxury; it is about reliability and likeability.
People relate to social media influencers and look up to them for advice. We are not just making this up by ourselves; we have numbers to support our claims. On average, 70% of the YouTube subscribers value the opinions of the influencer over that of traditional celebrities.
Here are some of the tips to maximize your share in the influencer marketing hub.
Choose Your Influencers Carefully!
Selecting a perfect influencer might sound easy, but in reality, it’s not even close to it. We recommend brands to follow the following steps when they are shortlisting for the perfect candidate:
- Analyze your brand, your audience, and the message you want to deliver.
- After you are done with the first step, set your goals for the ad campaign.
- Always select an influencer who shares the same persona as your brand. Moreover, the followers of that influencer should be your target audience. Otherwise, you will be wasting your marketing resources.
- After you are done shortlisting, take a brief look into the previous campaigns that your chosen influencer has done in the past. And was that campaign a success or not?
Choose your influencer wisely because it will leave a mark on your brand; therefore, you can’t afford to risk choosing the wrong guy.
Determine Which Social Media Is Best For You
No matter how similar they appear, every social media platform is different and unique. A brand needs to figure out where they want to spend their digital media budget. A wrong selection would cause a brand some serious money.
Again a digital marketer needs to conduct a survey and find: On which social media network platforms is the target audience on? Here are some general guidelines that may help you select the medium best suited for you:
- If you have launched a tech-related product, go blindly for youtube; no brainer.
- If you are a lifestyle brand as a clothing line up, Instagram will do wonders for you.
- If your message is social, then Facebook and Twitter might be the mediums you need.
One thing more: always select the influencer after you have decided on the marketing channel. The social media influencer you have chosen may have a low following on that social media platform. Your marketing will not be effective.
Develop Strong Bond with Influencers
You need to foster a deep relationship with the influencer you are working with. You may be paying the influencer, but treat him/her as a loyal customer. Surprise him with special gifts, samples, new product packages, discounts, and everything you can do.
This act will add emotion to the reviews and endorsements that it will look paid at all. These small gestures make influencer marketing effective. And at the end of the day, the more natural the endorsement looks, the better it will be for the brand.
Always Go For Long-term Contracts
Long-term contracts are beneficial for both the brand and the influencer as well. Changing influencers every now and then will kill the entire purpose of the influencer marketing.
Stick to the same influencer and invest in the relationship so they stay committed to your brand. Remember it is a competitive environment and other brands may be trying to hire him. Losing an influencer to a competitive brand is not good for brand image.
Set Your Budget and Keep a Track of ROI
A brand needs to set a separate budget for social media influencers. A marketer needs to hire influencers while keeping many aspects in mind.
- Can your brand afford the selected social media influencer?
- It is going to be a long term contract; will the brand be able to sustain the costs?
Moreover, a brand should monitor the effectiveness of the campaign and should always have a record of what worked and what didn’t; this helps in future marketing campaigns.
Collaborations with Content Creators
Recently, brands have started collaborating with social media content creators. In short, it is the digital variant of product placement advertising.
These content creators have a massive following and millions of views on each video. Collaborating with these social media content makers, your brand will earn some valuable reach. After all, younger generations like watching ad-free content, and product placement will do fine because it is not disruptive.
Wrapping It Up!
In a nutshell, investing in influencer marketing is the way forward, especially in an era where everyone is glued to their screens. Be it Kanye West’s yeezy line for Adidas or Dwayne Johnson’s collab with Under Armour, influencer marketing has always generated high ROI for the brands. In other words, investing in the influencer marketing hub has become essential.
There is no doubt that influencer marketing is the new fire power in digital marketers’ arsenal. However, perfecting an influencer ad campaign takes a lot of effort and marketing skills. From choosing the perfect influencer to setting up KPIs for the campaign, your team needs to be open to new marketing tactics and ever ready to experiment with different social media networking sites. You never know which experiment turns out to be a hit.
Author Bio: Tahha Ashraf is a Digital Brand Manager at Techxide, a popular digital agency. He loves chipping in creativity and ideas that are worth execution. He loves to build brand persona and strategies that are poised to skyrocket the brand’s success. He writes and read poetry in his free time.