Ever heard of influencer marketing? If you're here for this post, I'm pretty sure you've at least heard it mentioned once or twice. Maybe you know it as product placement in movie with celebrities, maybe you don't. That's awesome if you have, and irrelevant if you haven't! I'm going to break it down and explain why it is going to be incredibly important to your business in 2023 and beyond!
What is Influencer Marketing?
Lets start with defining a the most obvious term - Influencer.
An influencer is someone who can influence others, which is a pretty simple answer. A social media influencer is somebody who uses their following on social medias to help influence consumers to buy products, use services and more! These influencers can be anyone from Serena Williams, Lebron James or Beyoncé to your average suburban mom with a couple thousand followers! Influencers go pretty far back, one of my personal favorite examples is Billy Mays and the products he endorsed!
Influencer Marketing is when brands pay the influencers to promote their offering to the influencers followers, which often significantly outnumber the brands follower counts. The follower count often defines the influencer as either as micro or macro-influencer. But there's other types of influencers as well such as celebrity influencers and nano-influencers!
Lets dissect the difference between these two and benchmarks to be considered one of these categories!
Hubspot defines a Micro Influencer as an individual with between 10,000 - 75,000 followers on a social media platform! This can range however, as Later defines a Micro Influencer as an individual with between 10,000 - 100,000 followers!
Typically the micro influencers have smaller followings, yet are well known in their niche and have high engagement rates for audiences. These influencers are likely to be the most cost-effective as promoting a product to 10,000 followers will likely be significantly cheaper. Part of the upside to micro-influencers is that their followers are much more likely to trust their product recommendations more and can make more effective sales when comparing sales and follower counts.
Later also defines a Macro Influencer as an individual with between 500,000 and 1 million followers! This is a huge jump in follower count, but may not have a huge jump in engagement rate. Fear not however, because this doesn't mean your influencer campaigns are less successful, there are just significantly more people factored into the results!
Other types of influencers
Nano influencers are those truly localized influencers and have less than 10,000 followers on social media. These influencers often have the most trust between them and their audience! This leads to higher conversion rates and eventually a higher return on your investment into the influencer! Not to mention the significantly discounted pricing from the next group of influencers mentioned, this group is often willing to work for reasonable amounts - just make sure you don't lowball them. These influencers can also go a bit above-and-beyond to try and not only impress their clients, but also to grow their own following size and reputation.
Celebrity Influencers are the famous folk that have huge followings, most of the time consisting of well over 1 million people and who are widely recognized across multiple industries. Partnering with these influencers can often act as social proof that your business is legitimate since celebrities are so well known, and depending on who it is incredibly trusted by the general public. Just make sure your chosen celebrity partner's values align with your brand/businesses! A great example of a celebrity influencer is
I got to chat with Michela Troia who is the Influencer and Digital Marketing Specialist from The Dufrense Group to discuss some influencer strategy, key performance indicators (KPI's) and most importantly, whether influencer marketing works!
I guess it's pretty rude of me to not properly introduce the guest author - Michela is a digital marketer based out of Winnipeg, Manitoba and was notably the valedictorian for the Asper School of Business class of 2022! She previously worked at Callia flowers as the Junior Sales and Partnerships Specialist before joining The Dufrense Group in her current role where she leads their affiliate and influencer marketing channels! Now that you know a bit about her, lets dig into our chat!
Michael: When selecting an influencer to work with, what are the key metrics that factor into your decision of who to work with? (ex. Follower count [micro vs macro influencers], niche, content type, etc..)
Michela: "In order to figure out which metrics should be considered when deciding who to work with, I think you first need to create/review your influencer strategy!" Says Troia.
"If the goal of your program is to capture content that can be re-purposed across, your website, and other digital channels, then I would suggest that you consider the relative aesthetic of the influencer's feed, their overall experience with photography and videography, and what it would cost your brand to create the content yourself." This lends itself to the idea of planning who you work with very strategically!
"If the goal of your program is to get in front of new customers, generate leads, and raise brand awareness, then I would recommend looking for macro-influencers with larger followings and strong engagement rates. I do want to caution though that you should always look at more than just follower and engagement metrics - the niche the influencer is in, the type of content they are known for, and their credibility should always be considered too."
Michael: Which metrics are most important when measuring influencer success?
Michela:"Again, this really depends on your strategy. If you are going for more of a content approach, then I would monitor channel lift to see how your sales, traffic, and general social media metrics improve when influencer content is re-purposed across channels."
"If you are looking at building awareness and attracting new customers, I would consider the engagement rate of sponsored influencer posts, the traffic influencers drive to your site, and the conversions/leads that result from it."
Michael: Does you think influencer marketing really works, and if so what do you forsee for 2023?
Michela"Yes, influencer marketing absolutely works! In fact, if done correctly, you can see over a 10% return on your investment. Although it is still a relatively new phenomenon to many brands, truly taking the time to build a robust influencer program will allow companies to reach new customers and create a community of brand loyalists." Michela makes one of (if not her best) point here - creating a community is the best way to create trust with your clients/customers, and in turn they can become influencers! At the very least, they can vouch for your product with real life experience to others!
"There is a common misconception that you have to be a certain type of brand or have a younger target audience in order to have a successful program, but that is not the case at all! The influencer community is full of all types of creators, the hard part is just determining which creators will work best for you and your brand. I promise it is a lot easier than you would think and is absolutely worth your time!"
How much should I be paying for influencer content?
Depends on whether you are aiming for a large return on the influencer content in sales volume, or if you are hoping to increase your presence. The latter isn't always trackable in as detailed of a way, so it can be slightly harder to measure.
The type of influencer you are partnering with is also a determinant of price. Celebrity influencers can cost a LOT because their names carry a lot of weight, whereas your local nano-influencer isn't going to cost nearly as much! You can continue to drive costs down if you employ performance bonuses, tiered fees or by gifting product to the influencers instead of paying cash (this doesn't always work - content creation is work after all). A hybrid model where the influencer is paid a flat fee and is also given the incentives for performance bonuses if they hit specific benchmarks or engagement goals.
So what's to come for 2023?
Predictions for 2023? My boldest prediction prediction is that influencer activity is going to be spreading far beyond Instagram where influencers are predominantly right now. With the explosion of TikTok and BeReal, as well as traditional platforms like billboards, paid ads and so on, I find it nearly impossible that influencer marketing is going to spread far beyond Instagram.
Fun fact (or not, depends on your stance): Would you believe the platform that has the highest return on investment (ROI) isn't Instagram, but is actually Facebook??
I also think that Micro-Influencers are going to have a significantly larger impact on their audiences than celebrity or macro-influencers, mainly due to the level of trust that they have built up with their audiences! These influencers will likely bring back the largest ROI on their services for much more affordable budgets.
My final prediction is that you are going to turn your employees, friends, customers and more into influencers without even realizing! These are your most powerful influencers too - they have real-life recommendations to their friends and family based on real life experiences! Beyond that, if say you are a clothing company, people seeing your customers wearing your brand can influence others to make that purchase and start wearing your brand!
Influencer marketing is around and here to stay - make sure you incorporate it into your 2023 strategy and planning. Your brands growth could explode with the right influencer campaign!