Influencer Marketing 101: “Turn strangers into friends, Turn friends into customers, And then… do the most important job: Turn your customers into salespeople” – Seth Godin – Flipping The Funnel
A Brief Recap of Influencer Marketing
Influencer Marketing is the process by which a company uses so-called ‘influencers’ to facilitate the process Seth Godin outlines in the quote above. An influencer is anyone who, through actions or opinions, is able to shape the perceptions or behaviors of others. Most brands nowadays work with influencers for one key reason: influencers have already turned their audience into friends. This is arguably one of the hardest things to do as a brand. Even with the most whole-hearted intentions, brands often come across as ‘sales pitchy’ in the perception of the audience. Influencers have evaded this problem by selling themselves and not a product, but they are often willing to work with brands they like.
Over at Semeon, we have worked with hundreds of brands and helped them identify key influencers with our Customer-data analytics. While is it just a small part of what Semeon Insights is capable of, it is has been essential for the brands we work with to build value. In this article, we are going to distill some key insights we have uncovered over the years.
The Data Behind Influencer Marketing
If you think ads are a great way to reach customers, think again. There are now 198 million active Adblock users around the world and this number is on the rise. Not to mention that Marketing-inspired word-of-mouth generates more than 2x the sales of paid advertising, and these customers have a 37% higher retention rate.
Furthermore, brands are currently seeing an average ROI of $6.85 for every dollar spent on influencer marketing. One of the reasons is that there is a large supply of influencers with few brands using them.
Lastly, search for influencer marketing is on the Rise. Don’t be late to the trend: paid endorsements by online influencers are now used by 52% of online marketers.
Finding the Right Influencer
They come in all shapes and sizes: celebrities, industry experts, journalists, trendsetters, decision makers, etc… Each one has a set of attributes that bring different value to the table. For instance, celebrities have a lot of fans, but bloggers have a lot of followers (There is a difference). A lot of people admire celebrities but a lot of people trust bloggers. Celebrities are usually very expensive while bloggers are sometimes the opposite. If you don’t have enough money to hire a celebrity, don’t worry, it often isn’t the best choice. You will get a lot more bang for your buck if you have a niche and find an influencer who aligns with your industry. This will also solve the problem of figuring out how to get an influencer to work with you: alignment is the number one reason why an influencer works with brands. See the image below for the others:
A couple of tips to make sure you influencer is legitimate: make sure their channel content and general sentiment look and feel good. Furthermore, make sure the tone of voice, demographic, and geography of influence is in alignment with your brand.
Once you have found an influencer, what next?
Firstly, Know why you want to work with an influencer. Do you want to increase brand product awareness? build a social following? provide damage control? build trust and credibility? There are many valid reasons, but you have to know the ‘why’ in order to know if the campaign was a success.
Secondly, Build a relationship. An Influencer is not a pulpit so do not treat her/him like one. Respect that they need to have creative control over their content and audience and do not impose too much. Once that is understood, it is time to Engage. Invite them into the office and brief them on what your brand stands for and the message you want to convey to his/her audience. Develop ideas with them, collaboratively. They know their audience; you know your brand. Ensure that the campaigns’ key messages and brand narratives are clear. Agree on an implementation plan and formalize the agreement. Once the campaign is underway, make sure you compare the results to the ‘why’ you created in the steps above.
If you achieved what you wanted to, then keep on using this influencer. If you didn’t perhaps it is time to move on. Note: make sure you try and quantify the ‘why’. It tends to be qualitative but you need to prove that the campaign worked with data. Metrics is an entire post in itself so I will redirect you to a great article here.