Influencer marketing has exploded in the past few years, more than doubling in market size from 6.5 billion in 2019 to $16.4 billion in 2022. This is partly fueled by the rise in popularity of short-form videos on platforms like TikTok and Instagram. Suddenly the preferred length of content is roughly the same as a brief TV commercial.
However, influencer marketing is also effective for long-form videos, especially if you have a product that requires some consumer education or demonstration. Or, your product could be a small part of a larger video – for example, a food product might be featured as an ingredient when a cooking influencer shows how to make a recipe.
But influencer marketing is still a relatively new process for many marketing executives at small or mid-size companies, especially if there is a limited budget for marketing. However, this is also an opportunity – influencers come in all levels of popularity and often charge based on their following size. A micro-influencer (one with between 10,000 and 100,000 followers) may still be affordable for brands with less robust budgets. In fact, most brands can find an influencer who fits their particular budgetary needs.
Getting started with influencer marketing brings new opportunities, but it can go wrong in some situations. To get the best results from your influencer marketing campaign, consider these Influencer Marketing Do’s and Don’ts:
Do Make Sure Everyone is on the Same Page About Your Goals
Setting well-defined SMART goals for your project benefits both you and the influencer/s you end up hiring. If you aren’t very clear about what you want, your influencer will find it harder to help you, and you’re less likely to reach your goals. Even executives sometimes forget to narrowly define their goals, and this can be a hindrance to achieving them.
Once you have a list of objectives, share them with potential influencers. Ask if they think they can help with this, if they’ve assisted other brands with reaching similar goals, etc. However, you should also remember that the influencer is only part of the equation – your marketing team’s support also has a large effect on how well the campaign goes. If your in-house team needs additional help, consider working with an outside digital marketing agency like Digital Delane.
Don’t Waste Time on the Wrong Platform
Before beginning your search for an influencer, it’s important to identify the right platform. It doesn’t matter how many followers someone has on Instagram if your target audience isn’t spending time on Instagram, or Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, etc. Taking time to dig into the demographics of each site and learn where most of your target market hangs out will save you time and money. After you’ve identified the best market, then you can begin seeking influencers whose pull is all or mainly on that platform. (Today, many influencers are popular across multiple platforms, but most have the largest amount of fans on one site.)
There are also specific benefits to each social media network if you find that several have similar sway with your target market:
Instagram is the most-used social media platform for influencer marketing. However, that makes it a crowded market, so you may have to pay competitive prices for the influencer you want. Additionally, it doesn’t have a strong use pattern with teenagers or users over the age of 45, so if you’re hoping to reach these groups, it may not be the best choice. The user base is fairly evenly split between men and women.
With more than 3 billion downloads, TikTok keeps rising in popularity. Its focus on mostly brief videos makes it a good medium if you’re visualizing an influencer using your product on camera. TikTok users are highly engaged, with an average time on the app of 10.85 minutes. More than a quarter of its users are between the ages of 13 and 17, and about two-thirds are younger than 24, so it’s a good place to reach teens and Gen Z. Keep in mind that most users want to be entertained, so you and your influencer should talk about how to make the placement fun and less like a sales pitch.
YouTube has 2.1 billion monthly active users, and about 62 percent of Americans use it daily. It appeals to a broad range of ages from 15 to 55 and older, and the audience skews slightly more toward men (56 percent) than women (44 percent). This platform is great if you have a long-form video in mind or want to use an educational approach with your influencer.
Twitter has the broadest appeal with users between the ages of 25 and 34. Around three-quarters of users are between 18 and 49, but teenagers’ use of the app has declined in recent years (mostly in favor of TikTok). Many users have expressed an interest in using the site to get news, so if you’re hoping to work with an influencer on a current-events tie-in, Twitter may be a good place to do that.
Twitch has about 140 million unique visitors each month, so its numbers are smaller than most other networks. However, its market is heavily interested in gaming, so if your product appeals to gamers (games, accessories), it’s worth a look. The user base is about 65 percent male and 73 percent of users are younger than 35. Some brands do well with Twitch influencers who also have a following on YouTube or Twitter, and can get the message out on multiple channels.
LinkedIn is a solid choice if you have a B2B product or service. Just under 60 percent of users are between the ages of 25 and 34, while less than 3 percent are older than 55. Ideally, you’ll want to choose an influencer with relevant expertise in a subject related to your brand. Alternatively, if you’re working on positioning a person as an expert (your company’s owner or CEO, for example), setting up a deal where they work with an influencer on LinkedIn may be useful.
Do Focus on Finding the Best Influencer for Your Product and Target Market First
It’s easy to focus on price, especially if you’re a CMO who has to stretch every penny of your marketing budget. Hey, most of us have been there! But the good news is that there are a lot of influencers in most niches, and it isn’t hard to find multiple options that fit your budget. So to start your search, it’s better to focus on finding the right candidates, then narrow down the list by budget.
Some questions to consider when deciding on the best influencers for your brand:
How niche is your product or service?
How niche is your target market? This and the first question are important because they help you decide how narrow to go in your search. In most cases, you’ll get more bang for your buck if you choose an influencer with a small but niche audience that lines up very well with your own target market. However, this does not work as well for brands with more broad appeal.
What is your product’s unique selling proposition (USP)? This is particularly helpful when choosing influencers because you may be able to find an influencer who already spends a lot of time discussing a problem or situation that your product or service is perfect for. Spending some time on an influencer’s comment sections will also provide insight into what their audience wants.
Would you rather have a lot of visibility (a high number of users seeing your product) or less visibility with an influencer who is particularly beloved in a small, specific market? This goes back to your goals. If you just want to raise brand awareness and increase recognition of your brand, the first option may be better. If you have a goal to quickly improve sales, the second option might be preferable.
Do Look Carefully at the Profile of Any Influencer You’re Considering
It’s easy to get hung up on audience size alone, but this can be a mistake. Instead, look deeper into the profiles of your shortlist.
If you see that someone has a lot of followers, but a relatively low engagement rate compared to that audience size, consider it a red flag. Some of those users may be bots or purchased fans, and therefore not potential customers for your product.
Choose a post, observe the number of likes or comments, then divide it by the user’s number of followers. Next, multiply by 100 to get your percentage rate.
If this number is lower than 2 percent, it’s probably best to move on. If it’s higher than 5 percent, you should definitely consider hiring the influencer if they meet your other criteria.
It’s also important to ensure the influencer’s demographics and psychographics mesh with your target market. Individual audience data isn’t public but the influencer should be willing to share these stats with potential partners. If not, you may want to move on.
Last, think about the content. Does it fit well with your brand personality? If the answer is no, you might consider if another influencer on your list is a better match for your brand.
Don’t Be Tied Down by Old Ideas About Advertising Your Brand
We’ll say it again: Influencer marketing should not look like a traditional commercial. You don’t want your influencer to come off like the spokesperson for a used car lot or a celebrity trying to sell you shampoo (and they probably won’t want to do that either). Today’s influencers are popular because their target market sees them as more relatable and authentic.
What does this mean? Unless your company is an extremely serious B2B brand, you don’t necessarily want to have the most polished, professional piece of content possible. Keep these tips in mind:
Yes, you should use good lighting and professional editing techniques, but it’s fine to do jump cuts – some of the most popular videos on TikTok rely on these for brevity.
Your influencer may not want to use a specific script. It can be hard to let go of control this way, but often the influencer comes off as more authentic if they speak off the cuff.
Instead of insisting on a script, it may work better to provide the influencer with a list of selling points to include and require final approval of the finished product. This allows you to still ensure quality control while giving the influencer enough creative control to produce content that will play well.
There’s a fine line between breaking the rules and looking like an amateur. Having the assistance of a professional content producer from a digital marketing agency like Digital Delane can help you ensure that you stay on the right side of that line.
Influencer marketing isn’t just for the big brands. In today’s market, it can benefit companies of all different sizes, but you’ll need to find the right influencer for your objectives. If you need help with this process or other aspects of influencer marketing, please contact Digital Delane for a free consultation.