Influencer Marketing is the world’s fastest-growing marketing method. Nearly 40% of marketers say they are now dedicating a budget for influencer marketing, and 80% report that influencer marketing effectively impacts their business goals.
Now a billion-dollar industry and the future of online advertising, influencer marketing is here to stay. But if you’ve never used it before, you may have a few questions.
How do I achieve ROI? Where do I find influencers? How much does it cost? Where do I start?
At TRIBE, we've worked with over 8,000 companies across different sizes and industries. Based on our research and real experience, we’ve put together a guide to get you started. From finding the right tools to developing a strategy, and measuring your campaign return on investment (ROI), consider this your ultimate guide to influencer marketing.
What Is Influencer Marketing?
In its early days, influencer marketing typically involved brands paying for the endorsement of one celebrity influencer – or garnering dozens of influencers with large followings. Now, more businesses have shifted their influencer marketing strategy from ‘macro’ influencers with 100k+ followers, to influencers with smaller followings, confirming all signs that ‘micro-influencers’ are the next big marketing opportunity.
A ‘micro-influencer’ is someone with 3-100k followers on their social accounts. They’re authentic, passionate content creators with small but loyal followings – everyday people who produce beautiful content and engage with their audience.
Instead of paying for the endorsement of one celebrity influencer – or garnering dozens of influencers with large followings – marketers can now harness hundreds of ‘micro-influencers’ to celebrate their brand, authentically.
Micro-influencers know their content, they know their niche, but most importantly, they know their audience. This makes the recommendations of micro-influencers not only genuine and authentic, but targeted towards a particular market – this focus is perfect for small businesses, online retailers and side hustlers who are trying to reach a specific audience.
“A ‘micro-influencer’ is someone with 3k -100k followers on their social accounts. They’re authentic, passionate content creators with small but loyal followings.”
How Does Influencer Marketing Work?
Influencer marketing can work for businesses of all shapes and sizes, whether you’re a start-up looking to grow your awareness and following, or a big brand wanting to launch a new range or drive sales of a specific product. Typically, brands would approach an influencer and pay them to create content promoting their products. The influencer would then post the content and share with their social media following – usually Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Traditionally, a price is negotiated and paid to an influencer before the content has been crafted - usually based on the creator’s following size, not the quality of the content. However, platforms like TRIBE are content-first, enabling brands to view all proposed content before they spend a cent. Once they decide they want to purchase a post, they agree on a fee before it’s published by the influencer on their social media channel. Fees for influencer marketing posts generally vary by following size.
Creating An Influencer Marketing Plan
With 47% of consumers now using Adblock technology, influencer marketing is by far the quickest and most-efficient way to generate premium content from the customers it’s designed to engage. A successful influencer marketing strategy can rapidly build brand awareness and turbocharge growth for your business.
To get started, first ask yourself these key questions…
WHY SHOULD YOU USE INFLUENCER MARKETING?
In a study by The Keller Fay Group, 82% of people said they were highly likely to take the recommendation of an influencer they follow. And, according to a large-scale survey by Collective Bias, 70% of millennials prefer products endorsed by non-celebrity influencers.
Consumers are drawn to micro-influencers, because they are relatable, interesting and trustworthy – real people promoting the brands and products they already use and love.
Micro-influencers are proven to have higher engagement rates than celebrities. While big celebrities may cast a wide net, there is a good chance that majority of their audience won’t be into your brand - most followers are passive observers, rather than active participants in their content.
In contrast, micro-influencers have dedicated audiences who are specifically interested in their content. A survey by Makerly confirmed that a 3-10k following is the “sweet spot” for influencer marketing, as from this point, engagement rate is shown to decrease as audience size increases.
Micro-influencers’ audiences are highly engaged, dedicated and ready to act on their recommendations. This authenticity and influencer–consumer trust is the driving force behind influencer marketing.
WHAT IS YOUR CAMPAIGN OBJECTIVE?
A clear campaign objective is essential, as it communicates to creators exactly what you want from them.
Planning out your strategy and clearly defining your objective is the first step toward generating unique, engaging content for your brand. There are endless ways brands can utilize influencer marketing, it’s just about figuring out which one works for you.
Consider what you want to achieve: is it about driving sales? Building your brand identity? Do you want to engage your core target market, or reach consumers who are unaware of your product?
A clear, concise brief is key to receiving high-quality content. This could be visual inspiration through your mood board, a link to a page, a discount code, a caption that builds awareness and engagement – anything that gives creators a clear picture of what you need them to provide. Check out this blog on how to write a kick-ass brief.
HOW DO YOU FIND INFLUENCERS FOR YOUR CAMPAIGN?
Some brands choose to approach influencers directly using tools like BuzzSumo. Other brands may find it more time-efficient to use a platform like TRIBE to create a brief and invite influencers to submit their content.
Using the latter approach, brands can look through the submissions to pick and choose the perfect posts and micro-influencers for their campaign - receiving stunning content upfront without committing a cent.
HOW DO YOU MANAGE INFLUENCER RELATIONSHIPS?
Influencers are great at using their own creative channels to amplify a brand’s message in a way that works for their followers. When sifting through submissions, it’s important to treat your creators with kindness and respect – it's a collaboration after all!
You’re dealing with existing and potential customers, so make sure to build and nurture your influencer relationships by providing constructive feedback and responding promptly.
If you’re not receiving the content you want, the simplest tweak to your brief could radically transform the content that your campaign is inspiring.
Measuring & Reporting On Influencer Marketing Campaigns
While last year saw significant growth in the influencer marketing sector, most brands are still behind when it comes to measuring and understanding the effectiveness of influencer marketing.
At the end of 2017, 76% of marketers said that the biggest influencer marketing challenge for 2018 would be determining their campaign ROI. In fact, 90% of marketers in the study said that they only used engagement rates to measure the success of their influencer marketing campaigns.
Alongside engagement rate and cost , ROI metrics such as word of mouth, sentiment, operational ROI and affiliate link tracking have changed the way marketers are now able to assess, track and analyze the success of their campaigns.
In 2019, these lenses will not only give brands more insight into what works for their target market, but allow them to optimize future influencer marketing campaigns to ensure peak performance.
1. ENGAGEMENT, REACH AND WORD OF MOUTH
It’s no secret the reach and engagement are two of the most common metrics when assessing ROI.
The highest organic engagement is generated by influencers in the 3-10k follower bracket – which make up the majority of TRIBE creators. Cost Per Engagement, or CPE, is the sum total of likes and comments divided by the total cost.
Unlike sales or downloads, likes and comments are only indicative of your post’s success. So while great for benchmarking, don’t obsess over CPE.
Word-of-mouth is where the power of micro-influencers really lies - it’s far more powerful when someone you trust says “How good is that brand!” rather than the brand themselves saying “How good am I?” At scale, brands can generate the same level of audience reach as celebrity influencers by using a variety of smaller influencers, sparking multiple word-of-mouth recommendations to more-engaged audiences that spread like wildfire.
Perhaps the most valuable ROI lens you don't know about, sentiment goes one step beyond engagement – by measuring the specific feedback and reactions each influencer’s following has to their content.
This is done by assessing the sentiment - either positive or negative comments and interactions - left on influencers’ post by their audience. This can be an incredibly valuable metric, allowing brands to be a fly on the wall to consumer conversations and get a genuine feel about how their product is perceived by their market.
When Berocca used TRIBE to launch two new, different flavours, they were able to measure their campaign’s success based on the sentiment of their customers. By pulling the audience response to the campaign and assessing the sentiment of the interactions left on each piece of influencer content, our data team was able to help Berocca determine which flavour was the crowd favourite.
By encouraging people to choose their fave flavour and assessing the sentiment, they could then measure their consumers’ direct engagement and understand the individual needs of their own customers. Next level!
3. OPERATIONAL ROI
What is clear and measurable Operational ROI?
Most influencer marketing campaigns run for a couple of weeks. But with TRIBE, it’s possible to build a campaign in minutes, receive content in hours and complete your campaign in just days. Operational ROI is using tech to cut the work of influencer campaigns down from 100 hours to 10, saving brands time and money.
A quarter of all TRIBE briefs receive stunning content within 25 minutes of going live, and most briefs get 50-100 submissions in the first week.
Once your Influencer Campaign is complete, it’s important to go back over the results and evaluate its performance against the ROI metrics most relevant to your campaign objective - reach, engagement, brand alignment, etc.
Remember that in addition to a post’s reach and an influencer's engagement metrics, your campaign may also have impacted the number of website sessions through organic search queries, or generated word-of-mouth marketing among your target audience.
On TRIBE, we automatically generate a Post-campaign Report (PCR) for you once your campaign is complete. We present you with the data on your campaign's overall performance, which can be easily downloaded with one click.
By assessing this data and unpacking your campaign's performance, you can not only establish and purchase your best performing content, but also get a better understanding of how certain audiences respond to your brand or product, and get a feel for what might work better during your next campaign.