It may seem like influencer marketing came out of nowhere — just a few years ago, it was a tactic no one had heard of. Then, suddenly, it took the world of social media by storm.
In fact, influencer marketing has a long history. It began in traditional marketing as celebrity endorsements. Now, in the digital age, it revolves around big names and influential personalities — at a time when practically anyone can have a voice on social media.
Unlike in traditional marketing, influencers can have an audience of just a few thousand people. Anyone who is an expert in a particular niche or whom others consider an authority can be an influencer. To take advantage of their status, influencers promote products, services, or even entire brands in exchange for freebies, discounts, or monetary compensation.
Is Influencer Marketing Worth It in 2020?
Influencer marketing was one of the most popular social media marketing (and, indeed, digital marketing) tactics in 2019. But is influencer marketing still relevant in 2020? To answer that, we need to look at the state of influencer marketing today.
Brands are continuing to pour money into influencer marketing. In fact, they will be spending as much $15 billion by 2022. The reason for such high spend is that influencers are becoming both more abundant and more effective. Plus, they are now present on all major social media platforms, albeit to varying extents.
When you put it like that, the answer as to whether influencer marketing is relevant in 2020 a resounding yes.
How Much Does Influencer Marketing Cost?
So, is influencer marketing worth it? Definitely. But can you afford it? Also yes! Even the smallest businesses can find influencers within their budget.
Having said that, it can be difficult to know how much you can expect influencer marketing to cost. This depends a great deal on how many followers the influencer has. Twitter is the most economical platform — a post from an influencer costs around $2 for every 1,000 followers. Facebook is the most expensive at $25 per 1,000 followers. Blog posts from influencers are more expensive than any social media platform, at around $60 per post for every 1,000 views.
How to Do Influencer Marketing on a Budget
As we’ve seen, any business can use influencers, even those with very limited marketing budgets. Whereas you may need to rule out celebrity influencers, can you see great success from micro-influencers. First, though, you need to have a strategy in place.
Step 1: Determine Why You Want to Do Influencer Marketing
As you’re on a budget, influencer marketing is unlikely to transform your company over night. However, it can bring you closer to meeting your goals. Picking one main goal for your influencer marketing campaign will allow you to work with the influencer to tailor posts to meet the specific goal. Common goals include improving brand awareness, increasing social media engagement, and selling more of a particular product or service.
Step 2: Figure Out How to Use Influencer Marketing for Your Brand
There are two main ways to use influencer marketing: affiliate marketing and unboxing.
The first involves the influencer publicly recommending one of your products or services or your brand as a whole. You will need to provide the influencer with a custom URL or discount code to include in sponsored posts. This makes it extra easy to track how much traffic the influencer is driving to your website.
The second option uses video (perhaps even live video) or just images to show the influencer interacting with your product. You can again include a custom URL — this will help users who see the post to find the product.
Step 3: Decide on a Budget
After this, you need to figure out how much you can afford to spend on influencer marketing. In addition to paying a flat fee per post, you have the option to pay per impression or engagement, give the influencer a commission from sales, or promote the influencer’s own offerings on your social media pages and website. Finally, depending on the value of your products, a freebie or a discount on products may be sufficient compensation.
Step 4: Draw Up an Influencer Marketing Contract
Send influencer marketing proposals to all the people you’re interested in working with. It is essential you make every proposal unique; otherwise, it’s unlikely that influencers will pay the proposals any attention — particularly if they receive many requests. Mention why you want to work with them.
Once an influencer accepts, you’ll need to draw up a contract. This should specify compensation, length of the initial contract, how you will communicate, and anything else necessary to ensure the process runs smoothly.
Step 5: Create a Collaboration Workflow
The next step is to lay out a workflow for creating content. Your content needs to be on point if you’re going to see success from influencer marketing. The best option is to collaborate with the influencer on every piece of content. This will ensure that the influencer creates posts that are relevant to your target audience and suit your brand image but that still have plenty of the influencer’s personality.
Step 6: Distribute the Content
There’s no need to rely on the influencer’s social media pages alone — always share the posts to increase reach. You can even repurpose influencer content in places like your blog, website, or email newsletters.
Step 7: Measure Success
Once your influencer campaign is up and running, it’s critical to measure its performance to judge its success. You’ll need to decide what metrics to use according to the goal of the campaign. For instance, if you want to grow brand awareness, look at increase in followers or the use of branded hashtags. For increasing sales, look at how many new sales come from the discount code or custom URL.
You may like to start out with a few influencers and then continue working with just the one who brings you the best results. If you’re on a particularly tight budget, assess how influencer marketing compares to your other digital marketing efforts in terms of ROI. This will tell you if you should keep using influencer marketing or if you’d better focus your investment on another activity.
Step 8: Adjust Your Strategy
You should also use the results of your early influencer marketing campaigns to determine how to run the subsequent ones. If none of the influencers you originally chose resonated with your audience, assess why that may have been. Was their personality a poor fit for your brand? Are their followers too different from your own?
Alternatively, you may find that you need to tweak the content rather than changing the influencer. Is there something you could do to make your posts more interesting or useful to your target audience?
How to Find Influencers for Your Brand
Lastly, you need to know how to find influencers who are the perfect fit for your brand. There are a few things to take into account to make the right choice.
1. Consider Your Audience
An influencer needs to resonate with your audience. It’s no good basing your choice on who appeals to you — it’s essential that your audience will respond well to the message. Look at your social media analytics or even ask your followers questions to find out more about their demographics and psychographics.
Remember that it’s always useless to try to appeal to everyone. This will only mean your message becomes diluted and less effective. Instead, limit targeting to people who will actually be interested in your brand.
2. Look at Reach and Engagement
It’s often possible to connect to an audience beyond the influencer’s followers. This is reach. Influencers can tell you how much reach their posts have by looking at their analytics. A high reach is a big plus.
You should also favor influencers with high engagement from their audience. It’s useless to hire an influencer who has tens of thousands of followers but who only receives a handful of shares on posts. You’d do better to choose someone who has just a few thousand followers and engagement in the hundreds on every post.
3. Find a Match in Image and Values
The influencer you pick needs to share your values and have a similar voice to your brand. This will mean your target audience can trust the influencer and the partnership won’t feel forced.
4. Use an Influencer Marketing Platform
Once you know what you’re looking for, head over to an influencer marketing platform to search for potential candidates. This is much more efficient than searching directly on social media. It also allows you to set criteria, such as cost, size of audience, and industry.
Check out what each influencer is currently posting. When an influencer’s feed has almost entirely sponsored content, you can expect engagement to be short lived — followers quickly tire of purely promotional posts. Pick someone who has plenty of organic posts mixed in. Also make sure the influencer doesn’t have any posts promoting one of your competitors!
If you want to expand your audience while presenting your brand as a reputable company, increase your number of followers on social media or visits to your website, and ultimately gain more sales, influencer marketing is a great choice. Whatever your budget, there’s a solution for you. Using a micro-influencer and starting with just a few posts can allow even the smallest companies to participate in influencer marketing.