Ever bought a cream because the stunning Deepika Padukone claims to have used it?
You have also been entrapped my friend. Not to worry, though, about 90% of the population also is.
Numerous times I would simply splurge on items that I did not need or were too expensive just because my hero used it.
Is this really sound logic? Maybe.
This goes to prove the long-lasting effect of influencers. They have become the most effective tool for a brand. It started as TV ads, but it has now taken over the internet.
Influencers like Bhuvan Bam, Smriti M, etc. have gone from rags to riches due to this. Celebrities are using their fan following to significant effect. You too could become a famous influencer one day. All it takes is the passion for succeeding.
If old singers and 60-year-old comic grandmas can do it. Why can’t you?
Who is an Influencer?
If you can influence someone to buy a product, you are an influencer. As simple as that!
A growing concern among the YouTube fraternity is that more and more reviewers are being forced to give positive reviews due to them being on the payrolls of companies. Once the trust is lost, it is incredibly hard to win it back. Only associate with someone whose integrity is unquestionable.
Ajey Nagar, aka Carryminati, serves as a model for influencers. His content is unique and honest. He even became famous for criticizing a faulty product of his sponsor. This honesty leads him to become more popular and build a better brand. Always focus on building an audience first, the brand will follow.
Here are some top influencers from India-
- Fashion- Santoshi Shetty
- Travel- Mohena Kumari Singh
- Food- Sarnesh Golia and DilSeFoodie
- Comics- Kanan Gill and Kenny
- Fitness- Mrunal Jain and A Ranveer
- Photography- Siddarth Seema and Amit Khanna
Follower count is important, but so is a user engagement and the ability to convert to buyers. A large number of followers doesn’t mean better influencer automatically. There is more to it than meets the eye.
Check out my article on 6 Unexpected Ways Influencers on YouTube can Make your Life Better
It is the collaboration between a brand and famous public figures on the internet to promote a product.
The audience is more likely to trust content creators in the same niche as the product.
You will not trust a fashion influencer claiming that Oppo has the best selfie camera. But, if Technical Guruji endorses a product like that, you would naturally trust him more.
People are no longer willing to buy Maggi because Hema Malini says it is healthy. They do not trust SRK when he says Byju is the best. People have moved on from that.
Why Influencer Marketing?
- TV, Radio etc. are dead in case you haven’t heard. More people watched the Avengers movie last year than the number of people who watched at least 30 minutes of TV a day. All good things must come to an end, be it SRK’s movie career or TV.
- Word of Mouth: This is a powerful tool which propels brands and influencers to build huge empires that the public adore.
- Social Proof: This is when everyone is doing something you tend to believe is the solution and blindly follow it.
- By 2025 at least 80% of the marketing budget would be spent on influencers.
- A rising trend is the usage of micro and nano influencers who have about 10k-20k followers but get huge conversions. They are like Sachin – size may be small, but the power is tremendous.
- At least 10% of the marketing budget is spent on Influencers. Learn how to allocate your budget to get maximum gain.
- Influencer marketing has grown over 1500%, according to google trends.
- There are a lot more exciting facts that prove influencer marketing is the next big thing.
- The most important reason is you have personally experienced how effective it is.
What is the difference between Brand Ambassador and Influencer?
Brand Ambassador are usually legally contracted employees of the firm who are expected to be representatives of the brand. They usually have a long-term contract and are expected to deliver certain results. They are not allowed to use the competitor’s product at any point in time. You will never see Dhoni drinking Horlicks or Cristiano Ronaldo wearing Adidas shoes.
An influencer, on the other hand, has no contract and is only recommending it to the audience with no contractual obligations. They are also free to associate with other brands.
Take Apple, for example. The official brand ambassador is Shah Rukh Khan. He works closely with Apple in their social initiatives and is part of their delegation to events. He works extensively to build the brand image.
Amy Jackson, on the other hand, simply posts a picture of her using a product (see the above pic). Her association with Apple ends there. There are no more obligations. She is free to move on to other avenues. Learn about Decoding Instagram Algorithm to Increase Free Instagram Followers.
How to Find Influencers?
These methods apply to mainly marketing influencers on Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
Check out my article on tips for partnering with top YouTube influencers
1.Monitoring top hashtags
This method is one of the most effective ways to find the right influencer. Set up a twitter feed and follow key hashtags and events. Some user’s tweets will repeatedly pop on the top. Check out their content. Make sure you note the engagement level. Check if it is consistent and organic. You can find Nano and Micro-influencers this way.
If you take #hindirap for example, Yoyo honey Singh and Nikkita are consistent performers.
This method is suitable for small influencers. All content creators list their profile and portfolio to be viewed by companies. You can approach them directly on the website.
2.Use Buzzstream and Buzzsumo to find the top influencers in various fields.
3.Check out blogs of the target audience and see who they are following and praising.
4.Contacting marketing agencies that connect you with influencers. This option is expensive and should be only the last choice.
Pro tip: While contacting, make sure each mail is personal. The influencer should feel valued. Provide information about your company and product so it can be verified. Make sure you clearly state what benefits the influencer would get out of this.
More and more companies are working towards having outcome-based contracts with influencers, like the famous Tiktok influencer RIAZ. He gets paid on the amount of buzz and engagement he is able to generate for their campaigns. This way, the influencer takes more effort as collective growth becomes the focus now.
Check out my article on Interesting Examples of Social Media Influencer Strategies
Check out my article on Demystify Influencers in Social Media to Grow your Brand
How to find the right Influencer for your brand?
There are over a million marketing YouTube influencers. There are over 250000 marketing influencers on Twitter. Wondering how to choose the right one? You can find the best ones using this simple technique.
Three R rule
Influence consists of three parts:
The influencer creates content that is relevant to your product line. Their field of work is the same as yours. Their target audience is well defined and matches yours. Working in the same field adds credibility to their opinion.
For example, Intrepid worked with a bunch of vegan influencers to launch their Vegan Tours in India. They collaborated with many influential bloggers like Erin Ireland, who is a vegan. See how they choose someone within the same field and target audience.
She visited many Veg restaurants and home cooks in India and posted about that on her page.
Reach is the number of potential buyers you would be able to connect with through this post. The range is mostly dependent on the number of followers. You can even get influencers to collaborate to increase their reach.
See how in the boost ad they have both Dhoni and Kohli. Collaboration helps in diversifying the target audience.
Resonance is the potential to draw engagement. Larger follower count is pointless if the users are not receptive. A study found that Micro and Nano level influencers enjoyed higher engagement and more trust. These markets have substantial untapped potential. Ask for their previous campaign results to get a better understanding.
Let us say a company is looking to sell Ayurvedic face masks. Some, like Sai Pallavi, a renowned advocate against cosmetics, would be a better fit than Deepika or Katrina. The reach would be further for Sai Pallavi as her opinion carries weightage in that sector. People are likely to buy it and recommend it. Word of mouth would spread like wildfire.
Know your target audience
There is no point in advertising to everyone. Select a well-defined target audience to get maximum ROI.
You need to market to the right people using the proper means. There is no point in selling a bat to Vishwanathan Anand and a chessboard to Dhoni.
Learning to market to your most profitable user is a vital skill.
An excellent way to do this is to think from the perspective of the buyer. Understand what he is looking for in a product. This method is also known for developing a buyer persona. It is vital to understand the buyer to succeed.
Look for trust
Trust is everything in this business.
The trust between the influencer and the user is vital. Building trust on the internet can be tiring, having an influencer who already has it makes your job easy.
You will not buy a product if you do not trust the source. The trust is crucial in conversions.
One way to measure trust is to check for user engagement. Especially shares and comments can give you a good idea about faith involved.
As you can see, all the content I post is liked by my subscribers. It shows I can provide useful content wanted by my users.
Go for a consistent Influencer
The content and brand image of the influencer must be consistent. The influencer must have his own identity. As you can see, my YouTube channel picture across videos has consistency.
The tone of your campaign and the influencer should match. You cannot have Lata Mangeshkar promote rap songs and Badshah promote Carnatic music. It is essential to see your vision matches the influencers.
Watch out for sponsorship saturation
Saturation is one of the most significant issues faced in digital marketing and influencers, especially.
Keep an eye out for how often influencers are sharing paid posts. If it is too often, the engagement rate is likely to drop in the future. Look at the organic, non-paid content to judge the quality of an influencer.
YouTube recommends one in five posts be paid posts. This hack makes sure you can retain your followers.
Keep an eye out for bot accounts
“The smarter we get, the more criminal we get”. The latest trend amongst celebs is to buy Instagram followers from vendors. These are mostly fake accounts for the sole purpose of promoting the celebrity. Instagram has come down harshly on this, and even celebs have gone on to be banned. A recent case is being investigated by the Mumbai police that claims 50% of followers of two popular heroines are fake.
How to work with different kinds of Influencers?
Micro-influencers are prominent members of various media. They have a sizeable following. You can ask them to post a review or experience using your product. Due to the well-defined nature of the followers, you will be able to engage well with content shared to the user. Avoid simple pictures as they are not suitable. Short videos work great. Learn how to market short videos yourself.
Ayesha Billimoria is a good example. She makes small videos of her training in her sponsor’s products.
PRO TIP: USING INFLUENCERS AS PART OF CSR INITIATIVES
With the onset of the corona, various global corporations are doing their part in helping out communities in a variety of ways. If you do some charity or social work, you got to show off to the world, don’t you? More and more influencers are willing to be part of various companies’ CSR initiatives as it is a good chance for them to boost their image, and you will get free branding as well.
A classic one stone two mangoes situation.
These people have a massive fan following. They also do not have a well-defined target audience. They are widely recognized and hence can help you take your product to the masses. Popular everyday products are suitable for these influencers. They are often expensive and offer low ROI.
You can post on social media, or even print and TV are good options. You are looking to associate their name with your product only. You can also sponsor an event the celebrity is likely to attend.
Shah Rukh Khan promoting Byju’s is a good example. Although Shah Rukh Khan is an actor, he succeeds due to his millions of followers.
Bloggers usually have their site or write in popular sites like Medium.com. They have thousands if not millions, of subscribers. Their ability to reach puts them in a league of their own. You can either ask to be mentioned in a post or sponsor an entire post about your product.
A whole post is the right choice if you are looking to increase your reach. Mention of your products in an article also works well. You can give them a special discount voucher to mention. This way, you can track the number of conversions. This is called affiliate marketing.
Amit Agarwal is an excellent example of a blogger influencer. He has grown from nothing to the top blogger in India. He is a professional blogger and Tech guru. He is known for his unique writing style. Check out his blog Labnol for good ideas.
Key Opinion Leaders
They are experts in super-specific niche markets. These people shape the course of that field.
Elon musk is the KOL of space tourism. Bikram developed a brand of yoga, so he became the sole authority on that.
These usually do not influence. They are particularly expensive for marketing. If you are lucky enough to work with them, you can go crazy with your ideas. They are the sole leaders of this space. Whatever they say will be followed religiously by their followers.
While working with influencers, it is vital to arrive at a campaign strategy along with your team. Give the influencer important product information and critical brand image guidelines. Necessarily give an outline with which the influencer can use. Do not curb the creativity of the influencer also. Make sure to provide him with the avenues to avoid and rules to follow.
Now that you have a fair idea as to how to work with influencers let’s move on.
Decide campaign expectations with Influencer
This step is critical in deciding the direction of your campaign. Different brands have different goals. You could look to generate sales or build a brand identity.
Make sure to clearly define the salary, number of posts and any other essential details. Sign an influencer contract to avoid any problems in the future. Note that this is not a binding legal contract. Any party may choose to withdraw at any point.
Measuring your campaign success
This process again mainly depends on the goals you set. Make sure all your goals are measurable. You want to know if the campaign provided the expected results or not. Here are a few of the key metrics you can use.
If you have provided a link to a site or a blog, this is useful. Look at the total number of clicks generated due to this post. Note this does not equate to revenue generated. It does create a good buzz around the company.
This metric is the most important stat. The whole point of spending money on marketing is to generate revenue. You can provide a coupon code or direct link to keep track of conversions.
ROI is basically the relationship between the money you spent and the money you made. Higher the ROI and more the success.
- Follower count
If you are looking to increase followers on your social media handle, this can be an essential goal.
Expected future Influencer marketing trends
- Rise of Nano influencers has been due to their ability to generate huge revenue from their devout following. Their fans are even more hardcore than Salman Khan bhakhts.
- The rise of alternative platforms like TikTok, Pinterest will soon become vital and may take over Instagram’s market share.
- Rules will become stricter concerning influencer marketing.
- Investment in long term Influencer partnerships
- Becomes the primary avenue for marketing
Marketing and influencing are all about creativity.
Learn how to stay ahead of the curve and beat the competition.
Influencer marketing is the next big thing in marketing. It is fun and going places now that people have realized its humongous potential. Just like Rajnikanth’s popularity, influencer marketing’s reach has no bounds.
Check out my article on designing the perfect ad to increase clicks by 10x.
This article talks about marketing with an influencer. It explores the potential and reach of this channel. It also gives examples and insights into how to choose and work with influencers.
It gives some tips to increase ROI.
Which strategies did you like the most and would love to hear more about? Do drop a comment below. You can also post down your queries and I’d be happy to help!
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Brand Ambassador is usually legally contracted employees of the firm who are expected to be representatives of the brand. They typically have a long-term contract and are expected to deliver certain results. They are not allowed to use the competitor’s product at any point in time. An influencer, on the other hand, has no contract and is only recommending it to the audience with no contractual obligations. They are also free to associate with other brands. To know more about influencer marketing, read this article Epic formula for using influencer marketing platform.
Find the right influencer for your brand by using the simple technique of Three R rule.
- Relevance: The influencer creates content that is relevant to your product line. Their field of work is the same as yours. Their target audience is well defined and matches yours.
- Reach: Reach is the number of potential buyers you would be able to connect with through this post. The range is mostly dependent on the number of followers.
- Resonance: Resonance is the potential to draw engagement. Larger follower count is pointless if the users are not receptive.
Influencers have a massive fan following. There are different types of influencers, such as:
- Micro-influencers: They are prominent members of various media. They have a sizable following. You can ask them to post a review or experience using your product.
- Celebrity influencers: These people have a massive fan following. They also do not have a well-defined target audience. They are widely recognized and hence can help you take your product to the masses. Popular everyday products are suitable for these influencers.
- Bloggers: Bloggers usually have their site or write in popular sites like Medium.com. They have thousands if not millions, of subscribers. Their ability to reach puts them in a league of their own. You can either ask to be mentioned in a post or sponsor an entire post about your product. You can easily Find top instagram influencers to skyrocket your marketing.