Have you ever bought a product because you saw your favourite cricketer or actor use it?
I am guilty as charged here. Numerous times I would simply splurge on items that I did not need or were too expensive just because my hero used it.
Have you bought Nike shoe just because Virat Kohli uses them? You are not alone the whole world is doing it.
Just recently I bought a packet of boost just because Dhoni said it was the secret of his energy. I thought if Dhoni says than it definitely must be true. If it is good enough for Dhoni, then it is for me as well.
Is this really sound logic? Maybe.
But, did I buy it definitely yes. I have been doing since I am 8 years old. This realization 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. There are many marketing influencers in India. Influencers like Bhuvan Bham, Smriti M, etc. have gone from rags to riches due to this.
Every celebrity is now an influencer. Everyone from Virat Kholi to Ranveer Singh to Badshah have taken 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.
What is Influencer Marketing?
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 if Alia Bhatt says Oppo has the best selfie camera. Well, no one in the right mind would get tech advice from her! If Technical Guruji endorses a product, 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.
I am not saying actors are not fit for endorsing. They have also carved a niche for themselves. Amy Jackson is promoting Apple and Burberry here. Notice how she is promoting products that she uses(Air Pods). Even though she is promoting a tech company, she gets credibility by doing so.
Why Influencer Marketing?
- Traditional ads are not as effective anymore. Customer fatigue has set in. Customers have lost interest and trust. An innovative and unique strategy is required to capture the user’s attention.
- Influencer marketing works because it uses tactics that work.
- Word of Mouth
- Social Proof
- Fan mentality
These tactics succeed in the current scenario. People are naturally inclined to trust their friends and colleagues than some paid actor.
- More than 66 % of retailers use Influencer marketing. This stat goes to show its popularity.
- At least 10% of the marketing budget is spent on Influencers. Learn how to allocate your budget to get maximum gain.
- A survey found that 34 % of Instagramers purchased a product just because a blogger or influencer recommended it.
- 89 % of marketers mark it as the most crucial avenue to market.
- 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.
Who is an Influencer?
It is merely someone who has the power to influence someone. No two influencers have the same attributes. Each is unique and has a niche.
There are many influencers out there. It is crucial to associate with influencers who share your vision.
An influencer must:
- Create original content.
- Have the same target audience and ability to influence them.
- Must be able to build trust.
- Build an active community and drive engagement.
- Maintain credibility among peers.
The last point is especially vital. Technical guruji has become a sellout. He has lost his credibility. His followers no longer trust his opinion. He took payments to give favourable reviews to Samsung. It is now challenging to build that trust back again. Many YouTubers have been affected by the loss of faith.
Ajey Nagar, aka Carryminati, serves 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.
Kendall Jenner is the highest-paid marketing influencer on Instagram. She has a passionate 108 million followers.
She rakes in over a million dollars per post. She is associated with the top fashion and lifestyle brands like Chanel and Lauder.
Influencers have penetrated almost every field out there. From travel to food and fitness, they have spread to every branch. Learn more about How to rock Influencer Marketing on Instagram.
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 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.
What is the difference between Brand Ambassador and Influencer?
- Brand Ambassadors work under contract to achieve some goals.
- They are usually long term and have fixed commitments like attending events.
- They are not allowed to use any of the competitor’s products.
- They represent the company anywhere they go.
- An influencer has no long term contract.
- Has no signed deliverables
- Is free to use any product.
- Do not represent the brand.
- He or she is just a user of the product with no legal ties.
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.
How to Find Influencers?
These methods apply to mainly marketing influencers on Instagram, Twitter and Youtube.
- 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 tweet 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.
- Use HUB.com
This method is suitable for low-level influencers. All content creators list their profile and portfolio to be viewed by companies. You can approach them directly on the website.
- Use Buzzstream and Buzzsumo to find the top influencers in various fields.
- Check out blogs of the target audience and see who they are following and praising.
- Contacting marketing agencies that connect you with influencers. This option is expensive and should be only the last choice.
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.
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 Sachin Tendulkar of influencers 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 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 the is looking for in a product. This method is also known as 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.
Now that you know how to choose an influencer let us move on.
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.
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 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 work 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 KOL of space tourism. Bikram developed a brand of yoga, so he becomes 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 lets 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 more the success.
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
These influencers have great potential to generate sales. They have a small but devout following.
- New channels to market
Instagram is the leading market avenue as of now. Other sites like Tik Tok and Pinterest are slowly rising. They are soon to take over a sizable chunk.
- Rules will become more strict concerning influencer marketing.
- Investment in long term Influencer partnerships
- Becomes the primary avenue for marketing
Marketing and influencing are all about creativity.
This article covers the basics of the marketing strategy for influencers. I would love to hear about your feedback on this article or my blogs in general.
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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.
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