INFLUENCER MARKETING EXPLAINED: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW – A BLOG BY ISHANA LUTHRA

I recently came across an interesting interview of Natasha Lekwa, the influencer marketing and social media editor at Snapchat. She insisted that if you’re a B2C brand, influencer marketing is the next big thing online.

The reason why you should read this is because, as per research in 2017:

–         70 percent of teenage YouTube subscribers trust influencer opinions over traditional celebrities. (source: Thinkwithgoogle)

–         86 percent of women turn to social networks before making a purchase.(source: Alistdaily)

–         71 percent of consumers are more likely to make a purchase based on a social media reference. (source: Alistdaily)

You ought to know about this marketing strategy! Let’s understand this step-by-step.

WHO IS AN ONLINE INFLUENCER?

An influencer is any person with a large fan-base specifically oriented towards a particular interest. The influencer can be a blogger, a Facebook page owner, an Instagram account holder or similar with a large following and social media reach. He or she could have multiple interests that he or she posts about. For example, fashion, sport, travel, food, holidays, weddings, skincare or just anything under the sun.

For instance, Selena Gomez, a well-know fashion influencer has over 133 million followers on Instagram. On an average, her posts on Instagram and other social media handles, gets engagement running upto 7 million in number almost each time. That’s a whopping number, which we cannot ignore!

WHAT IS INFLUENCER MARKETING ALL ABOUT?

These influencers have their newly found celebrity status over social media. People take their advice and recommendations very seriously.

When a brand engages an influencer to recommend their product or service, it brings direct or indirect business for the brand. The brand also gets social followers on its social media channels. They are regarded as credible and a verified product or service provider.

This is influencer marketing. And of course, influencers charge their price to do this or barter with brands partially too.

CASE STUDY: CAN A SMALL BRAND USE INFLUENCER MARKETING?

Yes, most definitely. It works like a charm for micro brands.

My recent experiment was with a clothing brand in India and a social media influencer. The client’s brand I consulted with was essentially looking at effective marketing within their budget. The brand had a small marketing budget, so we struck a deal with the influencer to barter for products plus a small fee. Yes, there were to’s and fro’s with the deal to go through, but we cracked it!

Soon after, the social media influencer posted a couple of times for the brand’s products and the results were phenomenal. The brand got over 200+ new followers on Instagram over a period of 2 weeks, multiple product queries, potential customer database and brand awareness.

It’s important to note that we chose a small social media influencer, who was a newbie blogger with about 3000+ followers on Instagram. And the clothing brand was a startup with limited reach and customers.

WHAT DOES A BRAND REALLY GET – APART FROM SALES?

Of course, influencer marketing can drive sales. Direct links to the brand’s website or online store can get a couple of sales.

But other than this, there are a couple of things which are noteworthy:

–         Social advocacy: Even though paid, when someone talks about your product or brand – it sends a good message about your brand.

–         Credibility: It builds trust in the credibility of your product or service by manifolds. Research shows, if you go out telling people how wonderful your product or service is, chances are you’ll convince them 2 out of 5 times. If the potential customer discovers positive content about your brand on somebody else’s social media profile, their chances to buy are higher.

–         Your brand becomes a verb: Have you heard people saying, “I’ll Uber it up to your location!”? Well, that’s what a brand becomes when it becomes popular over social media – a verb.

–         Influencer responds to potential clients: When your product or service is talked about by the influencer on their social media pages, their audience base might have questions about the experience the influencer had while using the product or service. This Q&A session, builds trust in a prospective customers mind, and the decision to purchase becomes easier for them.

HOW TO FIND AN INFLUENCER?

Influencers are of three types: mega influencers (celebrities), macro-influencers and micro-influencers. If you are a startup or small enterprise; I recommend working with a micro or macro influencer.

Most people ask me, how to find one. It’s simple – Google your industry trends for 2018 and the top results will tell you, who is the most influential writer in your domain. Next, find them on Instagram or Facebook.

Another way is to do a hashtag search. Suppose if you have a skincare brand, search #skincare on Instagram. See the top posts by influencers and follow them. Next drop them a message for collaboration.

You also need to be careful of fake influencers with followers which are not real. We don’t want to be talking of collaboration with an influencer whose accounts are managed by bots increasing the follower count. Do we?

The list is long when it comes to methods to identify the right influencer – with better and more refined tools available these days.

ARE THERE RULES TO USE INFLUENCER MARKETING?

Tad bit of rules. If you are asking an influencer to endorse your product, make sure you mention #XXXXPartner in their posts; where XXXX is your brand name. Or write (ad) in the brackets in your text. This is mandatory especially in the US markets as a guideline by the regulating authority, FTC.

In other countries such as India, Malaysia and South Africa, there are no such rules by the regulating authority.

Nevertheless, it is better to be safe than sorry. Have a hashtag #ad in every such post done for your brand. It just keeps your marketing plan safe from any regulatory issues.

Some brands might consider the idea of influencer marketing to be unethical. But then brands also pay celebrities to endorse their products in commercials.

FINAL TAKE:

Trying influencer marketing can be a great idea. It can generate good revenue and brand awareness. It turns out to be cheaper than many paid advertising strategies too. And my only little disclaimer would be, to each is its own with multiple intrinsic factors. 

For a long term source of influence, it is essential you choose the right influencer. It’s like having a brand-soulmate. And you don’t want to go wrong with that!

So, happy influencing!

Share your thoughts with me on info@pattraco.com.

To your growth,

Ishana Luthra



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