Think of the last time a friend of yours went on and on raving about a product. Even if you hadn’t heard of that product or weren’t previously interested, this influenced you to think about buying it as well. This thought process is exactly why influencer marketing works. Behind this phenomenon are the social media influencers themselves.
Who are social media influencers? Influencers are users on social media who can use their authenticity and reach to promote products, services, or campaigns to their followers. Simply put, they influence their audience to believe in your brand and products because of their credibility. Influencers are typically given samples that they show off on social media or are compensated with money to promote a brand or product on their social media platforms. Examples of posts influencers make include Instagram stories, sponsored blog posts, and YouTube videos. There is not a set number of followers needed to be a social media influencer. Influencers can range from micro-influencers who typically have a few thousand followers to celebrities with millions of followers.
Micro influencers have been taking over the influencer marketing scene. Their rise has shown that the number of followers doesn’t matter the most, it’s the level of engagement. Micro influencers usually range from having 1,000 to 100,000 followers. Since their audience is typically smaller, they have closer relationships with their followers because they are able to interact with them more frequently. When an influencer is able to comment and message back their followers, their audience feels special and appreciated. A benefit of working with micro influencers is the low cost. Since their reach is going to be lower, they don’t expect as much compensation as a macro influencer would. Using macro influencers is efficient for increasing your brand’s reach. But if you want to receive more engagement and advocates for your brand, micro influencers are the right move for you. The image below shows the statistical benefits of using micro influencers.
Bloggers have also had monumental success in influencer marketing. They drive 16 times more engagement than paid media and “mega influencers.” People gravitate towards blogs to find reviews on products and when they find a blogger they connect with, they follow them. The blogger will usually have more videos or articles on products related to what the consumer was looking for. Finding a blogger with the same niche as your brand to work with is beneficial because they can recommend your products in their articles or videos.
In today’s market, consumers are looking to be able to trust products and the brands behind them. People no longer view advertisements as reliable. 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations. Only 33% trust advertisements. This is where influencer marketing comes in. Influencers are able to share their personal stories about why they love your brand and how it’s changed their life for the better. Consumers don’t fall in love with products, they fall for the story behind it and what the brand stands for. When the consumer genuinely feels a connection with a brand, they are more likely to keep buying from it.
Influencer marketing also drives engagement about products and brands. It allows consumers to interact directly with the influencers (especially if it’s a micro influencer) and ask questions about the brand and products. Also, consumers can share posts from influencers and tag their friends in the comments, leading to even higher engagement.
When debating using a social media influencer for your brand, it is vital to find the right fit. The right influencer for you should share your vision, be genuinely excited about your brand, and have the same target audience as yours. Your first step in finding an influencer is that they need to have the same niche as your brand. For example, if you are a brand that sells fitness gear, you should be looking for an influencer who is active and passionate about fitness. Their posts about your brand will be relevant and attract the right audience. It’s important to look at their engagement as well. You can find the level of engagement by looking at the percentage of followers who like, comment, and share their posts. This is a clear indicator of whether their audience is enjoying and looking at their content. Influencers with smaller followings have been shown to have higher engagement. Influencers with less than 2,000 followers have an average engagement rate of 10.7%.
Reach is also something that should be considered when finding a social media influencer for your brand. While follower count doesn’t matter as much as one would think, it’s important for the influencer to have a minimum number of followers to achieve the reach your brand needs. Keep in mind that as reach goes up, engagement typically goes down. Finding the balance in between the two determines the success of using that particular influencer for your brand. The aesthetic of influencers’ pages is also a key to success. Their page is now representing your brand and you only want quality accounts spreading the word about your brand and products. Look for pages that use high quality pictures and an appealing aesthetic. Also, if they are promoting a large number of brands and products, your brand could be overlooked by their followers. Their interest in your brand needs to be authentic and if they promote any and every brand, their followers will not view yours as special.
So now if your brand is interested in finding an influencer, what do you do next? Finding a social media influencer manually can be time consuming and requires a lot of research, but there are tools to make your search easier. There are plenty of websites that use software to narrow down your search and make it simple to find the perfect influencer for your brand.
Klear has the largest available database of influencers that can easily be searched by category, location, and network. In addition to finding influencers, you can use their software to look at the analytics of influencers you’ve hired, including influence, engagement level, and true reach. You can manage your influencers and also monitor your brand’s performance. This software supports Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Buzzsumo isn’t used strictly for influencer marketing, but there is a section of their website that can be used to search for influencers. It allows you to search for key influencers in any topic area or location. From there, you can analyze, follow, and see what content influencers are sharing.
Finding your influencers is important, but so is maintaining relationships with them. Traackr specializes in influencer relationship management. It provides a tool to organize your influencers in one place so that you can readily track conservations and activity.
The use of social media influencers has increased each year and with good reason – it works. People are looking for connections with brands and influencers provide the perfect opportunity to form these connections. Finding an influencer with high engagement, an ideal amount of reach and a passion for your brand can reap so many benefits for your company.