April 12, 2024

The Ins-and-Outs of Influencer Marketing

The Ins-and-Outs of Influencer Marketing

Influencer Marketing is an effective social media marketing strategy, using influencers to grow your audience and boost your sales like never before.

Written by

India Thakar

Senior Designer & Marketing Specialist

In a society where who you are and who you know matters most, having the right people market your business is critical.

Influencers, content creators, KOLs, Blue Checks and more.

Social media has created a new category of personas in our society who are valued most by their internet audiences. 

Certainly, any individual with a mass following on social media has the resources to allow your business’ products or services to reach a larger audience. But with varying opinions on the validity of social media, the type of audience an influencer has established, and the quality of content they create, hiring one to sponsor your business could help or hurt you in the long run. 

What is an “Influencer?” 

According to Merriam Webster’s definition, an Influencer is “a person who is able to generate interest in something (such as a consumer product) by posting about it on social media.” 

The definition does not include any specific metrics for qualification, such as follower or like count, but having a substantial user base most certainly helps. 

By generating a large user base on social media, content creators are able to influence their audience’s opinions because of the attraction and interest they have incurred. They have the power to set trends, give hot takes, skew perspectives on societal issues, and influence purchase decisions. 

Most influencers, like us everyday people, have a niche industry or line-of-work which they specialize in, such as fashion, fitness, business, beauty, and the list goes on. This niche allows them to connect with their target audience on a specific level, while heightening the opportunity to secure brand partnerships within this industry.

By the way, partnerships are one of the most popular and valuable means for KOLs to earn income. So, if the price is right, and your products hit their liking, most individuals will be just as happy to work with you as you are with them. 

How can You Use Influencer Marketing to Grow Your Business? 

A simpler way to understand influencer marketing is to perceive it from an angle you already understand: celebrity brand endorsements. Like influencer marketing, celebrity endorsement deals use the influence and popularity of different celebrities to market a brand’s products.

For example, let’s bring back some of the most famous celebrity brand endorsement deals over the last 30 years. 

First, we have Pepsi, perhaps the pioneers of the celebrity endorsement partnership. Between 1980 and 2005, Pepsi signed contracts to create commercials with a star studded cast, starting with Michael Jackson, and including Ray Charles, Britney Spears, Beyonce, and more. 

In 2003, a 16 year-old track star signed an endorsement deal with Puma. The young runner went on to become an 8x Olympic World champion, and is none other than Usain Bolt. After a few renewals, the contract has continued after his retirement in 2017. In total, the deal has generated Bolt a total of $83 Million, and it’s fair to say that Puma has gotten their money’s worth, too. 

Most recently, we were gifted with the Cera-ve Super Bowl commercial featuring Michael Cera. It is fair to say that no one will see the lotion brand the same!

What is so different between celebrity endorsement deals and influencer marketing? While social media sensations are utilized for their celebrity-like appearance in their niche industry, the main differences are:

  • Influencer marketing is more broad and affordable, allowing brands to find an influencer who works for them 
  • Influencers typically create their own content with your products / services 
  • Influencer marketing is typically done on a smaller scale

Although many content creators have amassed a huge audience of followers, most are still far away from the level of fame of Beyonce. In this way, influencer marketing is more affordable and feasible to businesses, while being more specific to the business’ target audience. Brands have a multitude of content creators to choose from based on price, relativity, and relatability to their audience. 

Finding the Right Person for Your Products

We know that using influencer marketing is a worthwhile strategy for showcasing your products and services, however, how do you know who is the best choice for a partnership? 

Finding the right KOL to work with for your business is critical. One mistake that many businesses make when choosing partners is basing their decision off follower and like count. This oversight can result in grave results, placing businesses into debt over a deal that did not generate the expected results.

However, there are factors to consider when choosing an influencer for your business: 

  • Niche over Numbers: Choose a content creator based on the relevancy of their niche, rather than solely on the numbers of followers, likes, or streams they have incurred. Check out their list of followers, subscribers, and connections, and see if the individuals in their audience overlap with yours. 
  • The Higher the Likes, the Higher the Price: When deciding how to invoice clients for their partnerships, influencers leverage their social media account’s numbers to establish prices for their services. The higher the numbers they have for followers, views, likes, subscribers, etc, the higher the price they are able to charge each business. 

For example, if someone has 100,000 followers on Instagram, they may charge a brand $1,000 per Instagram post, and $2,000 per Instagram reel. However, a nano-influencer with 15,000 followers might charge $200 per post, and $500 per Instagram Reel (prices vary on content quality, negotiation, niche, etc)

To leverage their budget, it is intelligent for brands to look at their options for partnerships and choose accordingly. If working with a nano-influencer proves profitable, the brand can always work their way up to affording one with a larger following in the future.

  • Location: How will your partnership work out if the majority of the influencer’s audience lives in Australia, but you only ship your products within the US? 

Checking the location of their audience can save you from wasting your time on a worthless partnership. Although content creators are commonly most popular in their home country, they often generate an international community, too. The best way to learn about someone’s audience on social media is to check their Audience Demographics, which we get into in the next section. 

  • Content and Creativity : While almost all influencers create their own content, only so many can deliver high quality photos and videos for your brand. Some shoot on cameras, while others shoot on iPhones. Some use mics, and some don’t. However, depending on your product and service, the audience you’re trying to reach, and the creative personality of the individual,, sometimes quality does not matter as much.

    This, of course, is up to you to decide. Scrolling through the content that they have already created will give you a solid idea of the type of post they would create for your brand, but you can always reach out to them or their team to ask any questions on the outcome of the content.

Data Matters: Looking into Account Statistics 

Perhaps the best method of evaluating whether working with an influencer would be beneficial to your brand is to analyze their account statistics. Whether it's Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, or LinkedIn, each platform provides users with a data report on how their account is performing. Here are some statistics to request from a potential partner when evaluating a partnership opportunity:

  • Engagement Rate: This includes likes, comments, shares, and saves relative to a user’s total followers. A high engagement rate indicates that the content creator’s audience is highly interested in their content, rather than solely following them.

  • Reach and Impressions: Reach is the number of unique users who view an account’s content, while impressions are the total number of times their content is displayed. These metrics can help you evaluate how many people are exposed to an individual’s posts, and the potential they have to gain new audience members.
  • Click-Through Rate (CTR): CTR measures the percentage of people who click on a link in a post compared to the total number of people who simply viewed the post. A high CTR indicates that the content is compelling and relevant to an individual’s audience. For a brand, this number means the number of people who could potentially click on your partnership’s ad, maneuvering to your business’ account or website.
  • Post Performance: Analyze the performance of individual posts to understand what types of content resonate with your audience. Look at the performance of individual posts from the influencer to understand what types of content resonate with their audience. You can overview likes, comments, shares, and saves to determine which posts perform best.
  • Audience Demographics: Understand the demographics of the influencer’s audience, including age, gender, location, and interests. This information is incredibly useful in allowing you to evaluate whether their audience will be interested in your business’ products or not. 
  • Conversion Metrics: Information such as leads generated, sales made, and other actions that followers can take from viewing a social media account let you evaluate the actual conversion rate that your brand might encounter in the partnership. 

By analyzing these metrics, you can gain valuable insights into each potential partnership opportunity you encounter, and choose to work with the influencers whose accounts resonate best with your brand.  

Influencer Marketing in Action! Examples:

@notyourammaskitchen on Instagram

This content  creator, AK, creates high quality Instagram videos of him making traditional Indian dishes. Crafting videos that are both cinematically striking and drool-worthy, AK would be a worthwhile partnership for a business like Spicewalla, who sells a variety of spice mixes perfect for AK to use in his videos.   

@nawuskiii on Instagram

This video creator and nano-influencer, Nawu, shares beautifully-shot videos of his everyday life, and tech unboxing. Due to the filmmaker style of his videos, Nawu would be a great choice to work with for any tech or camera accessories brand, such as Neewer, which he filmed utilizing their camera suction mount!

@themomtrotter on Instagram 

This supermom, Kay, documents her family’s travels throughout the world on Instagram. Vlogging about both their nomadic visits and motherhood during this untraditional lifestyle, Kay would be a great influencer to partner with for any businesses who are focused on mothers being their target audience. For example, the app Peanut, might pay Kay to make a video showing how the app can be used to make friends with other moms!

@analiscruz on YouTube

Analis creates fitness based content focused on helping women become stronger and healthier through weight training. She already partners with GymShark for workout clothing, but as she also documents how to fuel her body, a strong partnership for her would be with Kos, a nutritional plant-based protein powder.

@haleypham on YouTube 

Haley is a distinguished lifestyle and book vlogger who has been on YouTube for quite some time, within this time amassing over 3 million subscribers! Since she reads (a lot!) a great partnership for Haley would be with an independently owned book shop, such as The Strand bookstore in NYC.

@littletinyegg on YouTube

Kristen Vardanega makes a variety of fine artwork, from paintings to ceramics, and more. A strong potential partnership for her, due to her line of work, would be with the paint brand, Windsor and Newton. 

In Conclusion

Influencer marketing is, hands down, a strategic marketing move for your business. At the end of the day, people want to buy products and services from the people they admire. What can be more powerful and influential than the trust and curiosity that your favorite social media content creators protrude? 

Securing an influencer marketing partnership could help your business to skyrocket – as long as you take the necessary steps to choose the right person for your brand, your business can shine online.