What’s all this nonsense about social media influencers anyway? As a business owner, you might not have a lot of free time to follow too many influencers yourself. And it’s why a lot of businesses fail to see the value in them. But there is incredible value with influencer marketing.
There are some absolute turds out there making millions on YouTube. If only you had thought of coining the “Cash me outside” phrase or thought to rap about Taco Bell like the “Island Boys.” (If you’re stumped by those, look them up. You won’t be disappointed.) But, just so we’re clear, we’re not talking about aligning your business with those whack jobs unless maybe you’re Dr. Phil or Taco Bell.
If you know your core target audience well enough, then you know which influencers they’re following and watching online. Those are the influencers that can help turn eyeballs into conversions for your business. Here’s what social media influencers can do for your bottom line, along with some tips and advice to ensure you align your business with the best-fit players on the web.
Why Social Media Influencers Are So Important to Businesses
Word of mouth is likely still the most common marketing strategy, according to many experts. Social media’s ability to recreate word of mouth in the aggregate makes sense, considering the fact that it has been extremely successful for several brands and influencers alike. The best part is that both companies and influencers have shown to benefit from continued growth in influencer marketing.
At this point, the undeniable power of influencer marketing can’t be disputed. A strong influencer marketing plan might be exactly what a company, looking to improve consumer trust, brand recognition, and other benefits ordered.
Your content production could very well be your influencers. They make native advertising that tends to resonate more with customers, resulting in improved advertising performance and overall conversion rates. Here are other benefits of tapping into this phenomenon. Tapping in to use their megaphone for your own business, could net HUGE results.
- Influencers Can Improve Brand Awareness: Reach a large number of people you wouldn’t traditionally have access to with one well-executed brand endorsement.
- Influencers Will Provide Vast Visibility & Reach: If you feel your visibility is limited, including regionally or demographically, a social influencer campaign can vastly improve your efforts by putting a megaphone on your message, product or service.
- Influencers Help your Brand Build Trust and Authority: When someone who already has an established brand or notoriety endorses your brand, it can significantly build trust and authority in your brand.
- Influencers Can Effortlessly Reach Your Target Audience and Ultimately Drive Key Purchasing Decisions: You can’t reach 50k people with your CTA, but your influencer partners can!
- Influencers Connect your Brand to Millennial & Gen Z Consumers: If you need to reach a younger demographic, social influencers are THE way to deliver your message.
- Influencers Provide Long-Term Benefits: The right influencer partnerships can grow into long-term business strategy collaborations, with a host of evolving benefits.
- Influencer Relationships: Make friends with the “cool kids” on the internet, and you’ll always have a cool, reliable partner in marketing.
- Influencers Set Trends: Social influencers are often the thought-leaders and trend-setters of big movements and viral content. Tie onto one of these stars, and you’ll be headed for stardom right along with them.
- Influencers Drive Conversions: Social influencers don’t just promote your brand. They also have the unique ability to tell people to “buy now.” That kind of conversion power is hard to find anywhere else.
- Influencers Are Great for Lead Generation: If you need to surge fresh leads into your sales funnel, social influencers are a great way to do it. They can introduce new products and services to their audiences and continue to promote them in subsequent content series to not only generate leads but also push them through your funnel.
Meet Steph: Steph’s optometry office is off to a great start with social media. But she’s just landed a partnership as a retailer for a new brand of eyewear, and she’s not sure how to go about promoting it specifically. She needs to speak to an audience who wears glasses, who loves new trends and who seeks out the latest styles. Steph wonders if partnering with a social media influencer can help promote this new line. But she’s not sure how to go about finding the right online sensation.
Understanding the Different Types of Social Influencers
Not all social influencers are created equal. And some have far greater audiences than others. But it’s those distinctions that make them perfect business collaborators, with the potential to target niche audiences at various investment price points. Here is a helpful breakdown highlighting the different types of social influencers out there making names for themselves.
Nano influencers typically have fewer than 10k followers. These guys may seem like small potatoes, but they can be great partners for your business. The cost or investment to work with nano influencers is much smaller than some of the others with millions of followers. But you still have access to a captive group of viewers with one well-placed ad or influencer endorsement.
Micro-influencers tend to fall into the follower headcount of 10k-50k. So it might cost a little more to invest here than with the nano influencers. But again, you’re capturing the attention of up to 50k viewers with a well-placed call to action or ad.
Mid-Tier influencers have 50k to 500k followers, which most consider to be the sweet spot. This powerful group of regular content creators is well-trusted by their followers and subscribers. Your brand can enjoy a wide reach and better engagement with this type of influencer than with nano or micro-influencers.
Macro influencers have a better following, usually between 500k and 1M enthusiasts. If you need quick sales and have immediate CTAs to promote, this group of influencers is your best bet. With this many followers, they’re key opinion leaders and command authority when they endorse products and services.
Celebrity and Mega Influencers
The celebrity or mega influencers are the top dogs in influencer-land. They typically have more than one million followers. But the distinction here is that these players tend to be more famous than they are influential. So you’ll buy Lady Gaga’s brand of makeup because, well, it’s Lady Gaga, not because she’s convinced you her mascara is any better than the Kardashians’ line.
These types of influencers are the ultimate brand loyalists and super fans of a particular brand. You’ll likely find Tesla enthusiasts, for example, building a following around content related only to their Tesla electric cars. Another example are the advocate influencers with cooking content related to the Blackstone Grill, the Wal-Mart brand of flat top grilling equipment and accessories.
Blogging and Vlogging Influencers
These influencers are some of the early adopters who have used blogging, vlogging and social media to make a name for themselves. Just search YouTube for “van-lifers” and get lost in a sea of content contributors who vlog and blog about their van life excursions. In establishing their own “brands,” they curate a following that may align with your business, even if the niche itself doesn’t pertain to you. Those van life influencers often promote “green” products, supplements and some of the latest tech products.
Travel influencers are some of the most popular. And there are sub-niches within this category, including solo travelers, family travelers and global travelers. But these guys usually are great for businesses that can invite these jet-setters to experience their product, service or venue directly.
Beauty and Fashion Influencers
There is no shortage of beauty or fashion influences on the web. These contributors specialize (or claim to) in skincare, makeup, hair care and beauty advice. You may not be in the beauty business yourself, but if you’re targeting women consumers who care about their appearance or enjoy health and beauty tips, aligning with one of these influencers will allow you to have a captive audience.
Meet Austin: Austin’s nutrition and supplement side of the business needs a little help to drive online sales and awareness. He’s wondering if he should hook up with a social media influencer to help promote some of his all-natural products. But he’s not sure how to measure the influencer’s audience with his own. And Austin needs some kind of benchmark to make sure he’s making the right choice with the influencer he chooses.
Factors to Help You Find the Right Social Influencer for Your Business
When looking to identify which influencer makes the most ROI sense for your marketing plan, you don’t necessarily have to go for the YouTuber with the most followers. Here’s how you can organize your social influencer search and understand the driving factors behind the success of each type.
Look to Align Target Audiences
Don’t just reach out to any influencer for collaboration and sponsorship. Be smart about selecting a contributor who has a regular following of people that aligns with your buyer personas. Sam the Cooking Guy, for example, has a healthy mix of men and women followers, with his witty banter and hilarious antiques in the kitchen. But he often promotes products like razors, Raycon earbuds and subscription services because his audience is interested in convenience and the latest trends.
Platform Expertise Matters
You might decide to partner with a YouTube influencer, even though your business doesn’t have its own robust YouTube channel. You can use the influencer’s expertise to help grow and improve your platform performance.
Like we mentioned in the beginning, there is a lot of garbage out there. And just because an influencer has a following doesn’t mean he or she is good for business. Clickbait may help them make a buck, but consumers are savvy to the inauthentic content. So avoid it at all costs and focus on finding the authentic content contributors out there.
Achieving Campaign Goals with Influencer Power
Like with every other aspect of your social media marketing, you’ll want to establish goals for any influencer partnership. What is it exactly that you’re hoping to achieve with a collaboration? Are you looking to increase brand awareness or drive bottom-line sales? Set these goals upfront and discuss them with your chosen influencer to ensure consistency in your effort.
Questions to Ask Before Selecting a Social Influencer
Before you run an ad on television or launch a Google Ads campaign, you ask yourself a series of questions. Treat the social influencer selection process the same way to help you determine the value of the collaboration.
- What is the ROI potential?
- How many new viewers or users can you reach with the partnership?
- How valuable is the social influencer’s audience, i.e., how much would you pay traditionally to reach them?
- How do the benefits compare to other ad investments or partnerships you’ve explored?
Challenges to Consider with Social Influencer Marketing
The most difficult-to-grasp aspect of social media marketing for businesses is that influencer partnerships may be quite hard to quantify. There are several schools of thought and possible reasons for this. However, the most likely explanation appears to be that companies don’t know how to connect their influencer marketing efforts to hard sales data. As a result, many firms are still concentrating on metrics like reach and followers.
The risk of associating with influencers who have inflated follower counts is another consideration that your company should be aware of ongoing. It’s really simple to purchase followers nowadays. It’s also simple enough to buy accounts with follower counts centered around niches that the purchasing influencer doesn’t target any longer. This may result in a decrease in overall engagement and put your brand image at risk.
When you’re ready to officially take the next step with your social media marketing, consider working with an influencer. And if you still need help carving out the best plan, let the Awareness Business Group help!