Heard the term "influencer strategy" thrown around but not exactly sure what it means? You've come to the right place! Influencers have become an increasingly huge part of branding, marketing and social media - and, if they're the right fit for your brand, can be one of the most effective ways to advertise.
It's important to understand that influencer strategy, like many things in the marketing and creative industries, is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Read on to get the low down on who influencers are and how they operate, so you can get a sense for whether they'd work for you.
What are influencers?
Influencers are kind of like 'micro-celebrities', and typically have a wide and impactful reach through their platforms. They use social media to build and grow their personal branding, and usually have loyal and strong followings. Due to the nature of social media, influencers can grow their platforms quite quickly, especially through connections and brand sponsorships - meaning they are a great asset to have when trying to spread brand awareness and reliability. Like word-of-mouth, influencers tend to have a pretty influential impact on their following, making them an effective tool for promoting your brand at an affordable cost. The influencer ecosystem consists of brand marketing, digital marketing, content marketing, talent management and PR - all of which combine to influence the success or failure of an influencer strategy.
A Social Media Influencer (SMI) is a social media user who has established credibility in a specific industry, granting them access to a specific community or audience, which they can persuade by virtue of their authenticity and reach.
Influencer marketing is a form of marketing that focuses on influential people, rather than a certain target market. Influencer marketing is rooted in the aim of the content and message being disseminated by the influencer, focusing on individuals who have influence over potential customers. Influencer marketing orients marketing activities around these influencers, and centres a brand's marketing strategy accordingly.
Influencer content signifies as a testament that the influencer promoting the brand, service or goods values such (similar to an endorsement, but perceived to be more authentic).
So, what kind of influencers are there and what does that mean?
There are several different ways influencers an be categorised - by followers, by industry... the list goes on! That's why defining your ultimate goal is super important when selecting which influencer to collaborate with (as different influencer groups will have different effects), and also assessing whether it's the right move for you.
The next thing to do is determine what you're trying to get out of the partnership.
If you're looking to grow overall brand awareness, bigger influencers have a wide reach with posts that are likely to end up trending (like making it onto the Instagram explore page, and so forth).
If you're wanting to boost longer term sales or get your business up off the ground, smaller influencers tend to come across as more reliable and personable (not to mention they are lower cost!).
If you're trying to attract new customers, larger scale influencers will help spread the message you're trying to communicate.
If you're wanting to target a specific audience (which is typically more effective for increasing sales and attracting long term customers), then finding influencers who engage with your desired audience is extremely important.
This step of understanding what you want to get out of the partnership will put you into one of two categories: 1. trying to communicate a specific message/image, or 2. trying to engage with a specific audience.
Unlike traditional celebrities, influencers are generally considered to be more relatable and reachable - like more of a friend than a celeb. This means that the advice they give is more likely to resonate deeper with audiences, and can be deemed as more trustworthy than mainstream celebrities. The smaller the following base of an influencer, the more targeted/niche the audience is going to be. This is super important to keep in mind when you are deciding what kind of influencer to use and again when deciding which specific personality to use.
It's important to remember that when an influencer and brand collaborate, they can become synonymous while the partnership lasts (and most times even after it has ended). This means that when someone sees your brand, they will associate it with the influencer promoting it (and vice versa). Although this is intended to positively impact your brand, there is potential for it to have the opposite effect. For example, if the influencer you are tying your brand becomes involved in something controversial or negative, it can mirror onto your brand - ultimately damaging it rather than boosting it. The audience that your influencer appeals to (and perhaps doesn't appeal to) will also impact how your brand is perceived by consumers, so make sure you do your due diligence before choosing an influencer.
But which should I be using?
Choosing the right type of influencer for your brand and desired goals is essential for maximising the benefits! There are plenty of ways to categorise influencers in order to determine what kind of impact they have and who it reaches, but don't worry - we'll lay it out in the simplest way possible! We've split it up into 2 categories...
What kind of influencers there are and who should be using them
Luxury, activewear, beauty, hospitality and retail are the top 5 brand categories that use influencers the most, with the 4 best performing platforms being Instagram, Youtube, Snapchat and Facebook. Listed below are the common associations each platform has - which is a also a rough indicator for where your brand might fit.
Instagram: loyal following, wide reach, shareable
Youtube: deeper connection, longer time limit
Snapchat: mostly teens, reaches in the moment (instantaneous)
FB: short video content, widespread
Tiers of influencers
Influencers can be categorised in general groups based on the number of followers they have - which is a great indicator of what kind of audience they have, the effect their brand sponsorship or collaboration will have, and a good estimate for how much you should expect to pay.
Nano influencers (500-2K followers)
Mega (1M +)
The 3 golden rules:
Tailor content for specific platforms (Youtube videos should have a compelling and eye grabbing hook, Instagram posts should be modern, chic and trendy, and so on)
Strike the correct balance (you know your brand the same way influencers know their audience - so set guidelines and even a criteria but let the influencer have some freedom or input so that the content is as authentic as possible)
Use influencers as brand ambassadors (the more content you create with a specific influencer, the more genuine it will feel to the audience)
Where do I start?
So, you have all the information now, but if you're still not sure where to start, don't worry. Social media is super vast and deceivingly complicated, so we've created to packages that are designed to create a huge impact at an affordable price. We've created these starter packages for small budgets where we hold your hand through the process, however, if you need a more targeted approach and want to hand over your social media or influencer campaign to us for a more comprehensive service - all you have to do is contact us for a quote.
The Basic Curator - $500 per month
This package is our basic guidelines to kickstarting your social media plan, and is great for businesses that are just getting started in the world of social media and need some help navigating it. This package is set on a monthly basis, and although we have a recommended approach, we can customise the plan so that it's tailored to suit you and your brands needs. Using your images, we can curate up to 12 posts per month (with the order, captions and hashtags included) in a colour palette suited to your brand so you have one less thing for you to worry about! We also track your progress to see what's working best, and how you can improve and continue to grow your brand.
The Luxe Curator - $1000 per month
On top of everything provided in the Basic Curator package, TLSE will curate imagery and post 3-4 static Instagram tiles per week for you - so you don't even have to lift a finger! With this package, we also research optimum post times, audience research and hashtag research to ensure you are getting the most out of your social media.
If you're in need of some help with something more specific, our downloadables might be what you've been searching for. From targeting the right audience to creating engaging content, we have 11 different guides to help you figure out what you've been stuck on.
If influencer marketing seems like something that could benefit your brand or you simply want to learn more about it, don't hesitate to reach out. Contact us here for a helping hand!
WORDS | Brittany Ross