What is Influencer Marketing? A Detailed Guide for 2021

What is Influencer Marketing? A Comprehensive Guide

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Influencer marketing has become a very talked-about term in the online domain. It has also proven to be one of the most popular forms of digital marketing for different industries.  Influencer marketing can be defined as a type of digital marketing campaign that involves individuals who can drive the target consumers towards a certain brand and its products and services. 

 

They enable consumers to make purchasing decisions regarding a product or service. These individuals are believed to have superior knowledge of the products they promote. This makes them eligible to promulgate brands and niche items on various social media platforms. 

 

Today we are going to delve deep into the elements of Influencer Marketing. But before that, let’s see what industry influencers have to say about this trend of Marketing. 

 

Influencer marketing is one of the most popular marketing strategies for many brands and marketers. It is a successful way to reach out to and get involved with online audiences. the quality and authenticity of the content are the basis of a successful influencer marketing campaign.influencer marketing is a very powerful marketing tool with a better return on investment (ROI). 

Shane Barker

 

“Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers.”

            Seth Godin. 

 

 

This applies to all marketing modules and especially Influencer marketing. In this module, you find products for your customers and promote them through influencers for the utility of your target groups.

 

 

Today any digital marketing knowledge is incomplete without understanding the nitty-gritty of influencer marketing. Businesses leverage the popularity of a certain individual who has a mass following on social media platforms. This helps in the exposure of the business and creates strong goodwill for that brand. 

 

 

Influencer marketing campaigns heavily rely on the reach of the particular individual and the expertise they possess in that specific field.

 

There are other factors as well that shape up the influencer marketing programs to the optimum. They are the demographic and cultural factors that you have to consider. You need to have a keen discernment of your target audience to be able to leverage the benefits of an influencer to the maximum. 

 

You must understand the wants, preferences, income, education, the gender of your target consumer, to be able to drive influencer marketing campaigns successfully. 

 

However, you also have to consider the attributes of the influencer to make the maximum impact. They should be admired and there should be no controversies surrounding them to make the best use of influencer marketing. 

 

Some statistics to help understand the immense efficacy of this module of Marketing.

 

Influencer marketing is such a popular way of promoting your products and services that it catapults your business to great status in a very short period of time. We should look at some of the statistics that help to understand why influencer marketing is in vogue. 

 

  • In 2020 more than 6% of the companies have plans to invest over a million dollars in this type of digital marketing.  

 

  • According to Go Pardot (2017), influencer marketing is a coveted digital module for promotion with 94% of industries wanting to have an effective campaign strategy. 

 

  • This age of the millennials has given rise to the importance of influencer marketing as well. According to research, over 65% of teenagers trust influencers more than celebrities who endorse products. 

 

  • Some Statistics say more than 45% of consumers depend on the opinion of influencers before making a purchase decision. In some cases, the recommendation of influencers outweighs the suggestions of friends and relatives. You can understand how effective influencer marketing can be from this alone. 

 

Influencer marketing is also regarded as one of the most effective ways of online customer acquisition methods. The influencer marketing industry is expected to reach 10 billion by 2020 and will grow even further if the trend is anything to go by. 

 

Difference between Influencer Marketing and Celebrity Endorsement

The lines between influencer marketing and celebrity endorsement can appear a bit blurred at times. After all, celebrities are influencers who advocate the use of certain products, services, and brands. People who idolize these celebrities often opt to choose those products and services, thereby facilitating the celebrity endorsement strategy.

 

However, there is a subtle difference between the two forms of marketing. As proven through statistics, teenagers prefer to trust influencers more than celebrities for brands.

 

The difference is influencers are often regarded as experts in the field of content promoted on different social media channels. Influencers also interact with the target consumers and create a rapport with their followers. That aspect is missing in the case of celebrities. 

 

Also, influencers are a part of the community of regular common people. This helps to connect with these influencers because people trust them to provide transparent information regarding products. 

 

For Influencer marketing, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest can be regarded as some of the major platforms where you can leverage the benefits of collaborating with influencers to the optimum. 

 

The intrinsic nature of these social media platforms is such that followers can easily connect, interact, and build camaraderie with their influencers. 

 

 

Types and elements of Influencer Marketing Campaigns

 

  1. Competitions

This is a very popular type of influencer marketing where influencers organize competitions for their followers and fans. They are asked to complete a certain task and on completion influencers evaluate the performance. Then. the winners are given prizes comprising of products and/or services the influencer promotes on their channel

 

  1. Giveaways

Giveaways are not exactly competition but it’s a way of promoting a new or existing product in an even greater way. It is also one of the most effective means by which influencers facilitate brand promotion and marketing. Giveaways can be free as the name suggests or can be given in exchange for certain details.

 

In this, an influencer creates content on the features and specifications of a particular product. They also speak of its advantages and the various ways in which it can help the target audience.

 

After the content has been viewed, influencers ask for certain call-to-action like subscribing to the newsletters, entering an email ID, liking, sharing, and commenting on a post. 

 

They can also hold certain contests and ask questions relating to the content they have posted. A few winners are selected and the price is declared. This helps to solve three major issues for businesses, especially small and medium scale enterprises.

 

It helps to create impeccable brand awareness by making the products accessible to people. That opens up huge chances of sales and customer acquisition. 

 

And lastly, it is a great way of word-of-mouth publicity where people who have tried out your products will definitely recommend it to their known communities in the circle. That is when your product t delivers as per promise. 

 

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  1. Discount Coupons and Promotional Codes

Influencers who are associated with certain products and services are provided with promotional codes and discount coupons. Discount coupons are a great way to engage potential and existing customers to make purchasing decisions about a product and service. 

 

All of you must have received discount coupons and promotional codes in your email, a copy, or SMS marketing. It is also very much used for influencer marketing campaigns.

 

Influences provide the link to the products and services and once you avail of these products, you are given a certain discount once you apply the coupon code or promotional code as given by the influencer. 

 

  1. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing and influencer marketing are two different forms of digital marketing techniques. However, these two can be incorporated together to form a winning online marketing campaign. 

 

Influencers from several niches can provide you with information regarding products. They can be ebooks, subscriptions to a certain application, and promotional codes and coupons. 

 

Once you click on the link given by the influencer, they get a certain amount as commission. Since influencers are purported to provide authentic transparent information regarding products and services, people buy products and services through these links. This constitutes a great form of influencer marketing campaigns.  

 

  1. Sponsored Blogs and Social Media

Sponsored blog posts and sponsored social media content constitute some of the main elements of influencer marketing.

 

Today, we are aware of the immense impact of blogs in the digital medium. It is a great resource for people B2 B-related as well as consumers. Blogs are also the most sought-after for any kind of detailed information.

 

Sponsored blogs are those that speak of a brand and its benefits. They perfectly delineate the different products and services available from that brand. There is a clear depiction of the distinctive features and traits of these products and services.

There are blogs for certain niches written by industry experts. They can mention a brand concerning the content they provide. Here, authority leaders whose blogs are sponsored by businesses promulgate their products on their site.

 

Sponsored blogs can be a great way to get traffic to the website of a business. It also greatly facilitates the sales funnel because influencers can help inspire confidence in people to buy the products. 

 

Sponsored social media and YouTube content

Businesses will always look to find their target consumers in the various social media platforms available. And, let’s face it social media is a place where you will invariably find your target consumers. 

 

Every online consumer is present in one or more of the social media channels available. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, LinkedIn are some very eminent social media channels. It is almost inevitable that your focus customer is present.

 

With stiff competition in every sector in business, you need a certain distinguishing strategy that will bring in your uniqueness. That will compel your online consumers to perceive your product differently than the rest. This is where the impact of influencer marketing comes into play.

 

Businesses collaborate with influencers to produce and promulgate the products through innovative social media content. Influencers are extremely creative and come up with some of the most unique and remarkable ideas to promote your product. YouTube is a great platform in this regard.

 

From the viewpoint of influencers, they have to be certain that the products they are promoting are genuine and deliver the promises made by the business. 

 

The reputation of an influencer is always at stake when promoting a product. Therefore they should take proper measures to understand in depth the business and its services and only then proceed with any agreement.

 

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  1. Guest Blogging

Just like these other methods of influencer marketing campaigns, guest blogging can be considered a key option that helps to build brand recognition and goodwill.

 

In Guest blogging, you first need to find influencers who regularly write blogs in your niche market. You can contribute to their blog space. 

 

Create blog articles and post them on their website. This will help you to tap into a great audience base and increase the potential for success in the online domain. 

 

Moreover, once you create in-depth articles and post them on influencers’ websites or blogs. People impressed with your knowledge will want to find out more about your business. They will naturally and automatically end up on your website. 

 

You can also ask if these influencers considered thought leaders in their specific domain will write for you on your website. This will also bring in consumers from their staunch follower’s list.

 

Sites like Medium, Huffington Post regularly post articles from different writers who are capable influencers. They can drive traffic to these websites in a huge way. 

 

  1. Brand Advocates

Brand Advocates are common people who have experienced great benefits from using your products and services. Their appreciation is genuine and they provide honest feedback as well as publicity for your company. They are the ones who swear by your products consistently.

 

You can always engage such brand advocates as influencers for your marketing campaign. They have to be enterprising with an affable attitude. 

 

You have to offer them very good incentives. Improve your engagement as well as rapport with them. Remember, they are the main factors for the prosperity of your business.

 

Honesty and truthful dissemination of information to them can go a long way in sustaining your business in the long run. Do not take your brand advocates for granted. 

 

Once you collaborate with this brand advocate they would distribute videos, images, infographics, how-to, write-ups relating to your brand on different channels. 

 

Since they are common people they resonate with other social media users. In this way, brand advocates can play a very efficient role in influencer marketing campaigns for your business. 

 

  1. Question Answer Sessions

Question-answer sessions undeniably create a lot of curiosity and provide great results when done appropriately. Influencers can conduct question-answer sessions to boost brand recognition. 

 

This also helps to get a better perspective on the influencer as well as the brand they are promoting. It propels businesses to understand the pulse of the target consumer and what can be beneficial to them. You consolidate the trust factor in this way. The brand thus establishes itself as a prime business in its specific market. 

 

The Indian Scenario

 

In the Indian context, influencer marketing has reached great proportions. Whether large business organizations or small, medium-scale enterprises, they have been able to promote their business considerably through great influencer marketing.

 

Humane stories affect the human mind positively. Therefore brands should leverage influencer marketing to promote slice-of-life stories that would impress the viewers.

 

Some great examples of influencer marketing in India have been Himalaya that collaborated with lifestyle bloggers for or facial wipes. 

 

Another example is Paytm Marketing that partnered with travel enthusiasts and lifestyle influencers who depicted the advantages of having a Paytm account to book railway tickets with alacrity.

 

 

What constitutes the Influencer Marketing Strategy? 

 

  1. Assess Your Goals and Objectives

This is the first step for any marketing endeavor. You have to determine why you want to indulge in a certain type of marketing activity in the first place. 

 

For influencer marketing, your goal should be to increase the recognition of your brand and consolidate your position as a top contender in your niche market. 

 

You can also have the goal of improving conversions by giving incentives to target consumers. And it can be as simple as trying to understand the impact of your brand in the social media circle. 

 

  1. Create a buyer persona

Another very important aspect of all of this is understanding who you are catering to. When you engage influencers for your marketing activity, you have to perform thorough research on what their target consumers are. Then determine whether their consumers are the specific set of people you want to reach out to. 

 

Perform a buyer persona that is really very simple and effective. It is a fictional representation of the people you want your brand to be visible to. The age group, gender, education qualification, job designation, salary constitute important factors in this respect. 

 

  1. Identify the appropriate social media channel for influencer marketing

The next step is to understand the nature of the different social media channels. Determine your influencer channel by analyzing your buyer persona. This will give you an idea of where to find your target group. 

 

For example, if you want to talk to audiences from the age group of 16 to 25 you can opt for Instagram as your main influencer marketing channel.

 

Suppose your niche business is interior design. You want to cater to the age group of 25 to 40 years, you can choose Pinterest as your primary influencer channel. 

 

  1. Budget Determination

You will also have to take care of the budget as it is supremely important. The entire process of content ideation, strategy, planning, implementation, and execution will need a certain amount of money to be able to perform to its optimum.

 

You have to pay your influencers and you need resources and a judicious budget to fulfill your revenue goals. Therefore, considering these aspects, you can choose one or more social media channels to promote your product. 

 

  1. Set rules for influencers

You have to formulate an agreement and set the rules by which your influences will abide by when promoting your products. You should delineate the terms clearly to avoid any ambiguity and confusion later on. 

 

  1. Identify the proper influencers for the promotion of your product

After you have determined the different terms and conditions, you will have to scour the different digital media channels. Find out the appropriate influencers. 

 

They are primarily responsible for the exposure and visibility of your product. Therefore, you have to be very careful in choosing influencers who will have a great reputation among their followers. 

 

  1. Collaborate with your influencer to create a proper strategy. Organize your schedule.

You have to create a proper strategy for influencers to disseminate content. Describe clearly when you want your influencer to publish content regarding your product and brand. 

 

There has to be proper coordination between you and your influencer. You should set the time, tone, voice of your product, and convey it to your influencer. Also, provide them with the details of the support desk in case they want to clear any confusion. 

 

To build up curiosity you can ask your influencer to provide a sneak peek of the content they intend to provide to their audience before the actual publishing of the content. All these techniques help to create engagement and build interest. 

 

  1. Make use of the tools and Setup metrics

Today social media comes with a variety of tools and metrics that can help you to create more focused content. They also help you to organize, maintain, and manage your influencer marketing campaigns to expedite the process of engagement. 

 

The different elements are likes, shares, mentions, comments. Metrics are traffic to your website, engagement with webpages, page visitors, heat maps, CTR. They can help you to determine how your product is doing in the social media community.  

 

  1. Evaluate your performance

Evaluate your performance with diverse campaign tools. Analyze the data you get about your key performance indicators incisively. Google Analytics, Instagram, Twitter data analysis, landing pages, hashtags, social mentions are great examples to evaluate your performance. 

 

  1. Communicate the strong points and the areas of improvement to your influencer. 

Make a detailed report of your performance. Notice how much website traffic you are getting, your conversion rates, page views, internal linking success, and backlink performance. 

 

Once you’ve made a thorough analysis of these factors, communicate the findings to your influencer. Depict the strong points and convey the areas where you need improvement. 

 

Chalk out a plan with your influencer, brainstorm about what could create even more optimized campaigns. Set your new plan into action. 

 

Conclusion

Here, you have a definitive guide to influencer marketing. It is a comprehensive detail of how you can leverage the immense benefit of social media channels and influencers to create a great impact in the online web space. 

 

Influencer marketing is extremely popular today because of its nature of getting great returns with relatively less cost of acquisition. It also helps to get a great leap in fulfilling the overall marketing goals of the business. 

 

The innate benefit of influencer marketing is the trust consumers have in influencers. This helps to sustain businesses for a longer period. All of this points to the fact that influencer marketing is here to stay. 

 

The only prerequisite is that influencers have to be honest in disseminating information about a product they are promoting. If you generate good content with honest information, influencer marketing can be vastly successful. This can lead to a boost for both the business and the influencer.

A mass communication post-graduate, an SEO content writer, and a researcher. I have always been passionate about writing. As an avid reader of fiction and nonfiction, I love blogging and storytelling. Alumna & Content Writer at IIMSKILLS.
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