Over the last few years, we’ve seen the disposable income of consumers shrink, leading to them becoming savvier about where they spend and what they spend on. It’s the same for businesses – budgets are being tightened and business leaders and marketing teams are looking to get more bang for their buck.
For this reason, brands are having to step up their marketing efforts to ensure they’re getting the most for their money, while attracting the right customers and also staying relevant.
So how does influencer marketing tie into a business’s overarching strategy? Here we give you a whistle-stop tour of what influencer marketing is and how it can be used as part of your wider PR and marketing activity.
What is influencer marketing?
In its most basic form, influencer marketing is a type of social media marketing which sees brands work with third parties, often known as influencers or creators, to generate content which is endorsed.
Often, when you say ‘influencer’ people presume you’re talking about celebrities and macro influencers who have millions of followers, however this isn’t always the case. Instead, many brands choose to work with nano (under 10k followers) and micro influencers (10k to 50k followers) to connect with their audience. Reason being, by working with influencers who have a similar lifestyle to your target audience, consumers are more likely to be influenced into making a purchase.
Influencer marketing’s place in the wider business strategy
As with any form of marketing, PR and comms, brands need to take the time to understand how influencers fit into the wider business strategy and what budget is available.
Ask yourself this, what is the overarching goal of the influencer activity? Do you want to increase brand awareness, uplift brand engagement, increase market share or drive sales?
Once you’ve pinpointed your overarching goal, you’ll be able to see where this fits into your marketing strategy and what type of influencer you should be working with. Every brand is different and every marketing strategy is different so, this ultimately means every influencer marketing campaign should be different.
For example, if it’s brand awareness you’re looking for, the natural fit would be a macro influencer who has a wider reach. However, if you’re looking to drive sales, stick with micro and nano influencers who have a smaller but more committed audience.
Why influencer marketing works
Research shows that influencer marketing drives better return on investment (ROI) than traditional forms of marketing. One reason for this is that consumers have become increasingly savvy when it comes to traditional advertisements.
Even though influencer marketing is more often than not a paid piece of activity, consumers see it as more authentic. Reason being, influencers have spent years building up their profile and often have a very loyal following which they’re not willing to sacrifice. This means that they only represent brands they believe in, leading to their content being trusted by followers.
Influencer marketing is also a more targeted form of marketing than the more traditional outlets – think billboards and direct mail. The platforms used by influencers – think Instagram and TikTok – allow influencers to analyse results in real time, so they’re able to stay up to date with their audience, even when it’s continuously evolving.
Refresh’s top three tips:
- Make sure you’re following the influencer before you consider working with them as this is the best way to really understand them, their values and their audience.
- Trust the influencer like you would any other member of your team. If you’re working with an influencer on a paid piece of activity, give them an element of creative freedom as, at the end of the day, they know what will resonate with their audience and lead to conversion.
- Make it clear that the influencer is being paid for the post by using the relevant variation of the #Ad hashtag. Even if the influencer isn’t being paid and instead being gifted, make it clear by using the #Gifted hashtag. Without this, you and the influencer could get into hot water with the ASA.
Here at Refresh, we have experience of working with influencers at both a consumer and trade level. In fact, we’ve recently launched a brand new B2B influencer marketing service in the heating and plumbing sector.
If you would like some advice on influencer marketing, either from a B2B or B2C perspective, get in touch.