How To Start Using Influencers To Market Your Brand
The modern economy has a very large, healthy, and active digital and virtual sector to it.
These digital and virtual arms of the economy have developed with the help of a few influences. First and foremost, was the birth of the internet back at the turn of the century. This enabled the development of social media, which skyrocketed in popularity, and introduced the world to the concept of influencers for the first time. Now, this is a little bit of an exaggeration, as there have always been a variety of influential figures that can sway public opinion in one direction or another. For example, Hollywood stars and other celebrities have always had a certain amount of influence over the popular fashion trends of the generation.
The term influencer as a career path, though, is what social media offered users. The first platform on which users could create an entire brand, revenue, and business model was essentially YouTube. YouTube influencers are still extremely popular today, and the highest-rated YouTube personalities easily make millions of dollars on an annual basis. A similar trend can be seen across other social media platforms that have come in the wake of YouTube. Notably, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok are all fairly well known for their contributions to the influencer marketplace.
You might notice that Facebook was left off that group. While Facebook still represents an extremely effective consumer segment for marketing and advertising, it isn’t as popular of an influencer social media as other more content-based platforms like TikTok and Instagram.
Regardless, the influx of social media and social media influencers created a variety of brand-new marketing pathways through which brands and companies could directly connect and engage with potential consumers.
One such pathway that marketing, advertising, sales, and growth professionals can choose to utilize through social media is influencer marketing. There are many different types of influencer campaigns, and each has its unique advantages.
“In recent years, the way businesses reach out to customers has changed dramatically. Traditional advertising methods such as TV, radio commercials, print ads, and billboards are no longer as effective as they used to be. As a result, many companies have turned to influencer marketing and using different types of influencer marketing campaigns as a way to connect with potential customers.”
– Maryam Shirvani, Author, Ainfluencer –
Endorsements and Continual Partnerships
One of how brands and organizations can market through an influencer is with an actual endorsement deal. Endorsement deals aren’t anything new, but they are rather splashy. Endorsement deals are extremely popular among high-profile athletes and A-list celebrities. However, there is no reason that a brand can’t also endorse new and upcoming media, like influencers or major players in the world of esports.
Two main concepts play into endorsement deals that are beneficial for the organization. The first is brand visibility, and the second is establishing brand authority. Most endorsement deals involve an active and continual partnership between the brand and the influencer involved. Within this partnership, the influencer exposes the brand to all of its followers and viewers. In turn, because those followers trust the thoughts and opinions of the influencer, your brand successfully gains an authoritative position in the marketplace amongst consumers.
“Endorsement deals are awesome for the influencer and the brand involved. The brand gets plenty of continual exposure and a solidified, concrete reputation, while the influencer gets handsome compensation, free products, and additional exposure themselves. It’s truly a win-win.”
– Lyudmyla Dobrynina, Head of Marketing North America, Optimeal –
Endorsement deals with popular and high-profile figures are typically going to be quite expensive, however, these deals are also typically only available to top-tier influencers, and therefore the pricing is well worthwhile.
“You can’t expect to approach an endorsement deal and not spend a pretty penny. It’s just unrealistic. Endorsement deals are meant to be big because they’re meant to establish a partnership with a well-known public figure.”
– Nancy Eichler, SVP Marketing & eCommerce, iwi life –
Full-on endorsement deals may only be available to those with slightly larger followings and a major sphere of influence, but these aren’t the only types of influencer campaigns that exist, not by a long shot. Paid-per-post opportunities are excellent opportunities for both brands and influencers alike because they represent a similar idea to an endorsement deal but on a much smaller scale. A paid-per-post opportunity involves finding a relevant influencer whose following matches that of your target audience; from there, the company and the influencer work out terms on a price per post, a schedule, and how many total posts they’re going to get. Additionally, the influencer will typically get the products or merchandise with which they’re posting for free.
“Paying for single posts or a series of posts in some cases was how we got our feet wet when it came to influencer marketing. We weren’t exactly sure how it was all going to work, but now we make influencer campaigns a major part of our overall marketing strategy. It feels like you have to in 2022.”
– Chandler Rogers, CEO, Relay App –
Paying an influencer for individual posts is also strategic because it offers you flexibility. You aren’t locked into any single influencer, and you can choose to stop paying for posts at any time. In this way, if your products are resonating much more strongly with one influencer’s followers than others, you can adapt and focus on that specific group. It is also more accessible to small and medium-sized businesses as well as small and medium-sized influencers.
“Finding your target audience on social media is always a little tricky. Trying to find them in the overall followers of different influencers makes it even harder to get an idea of where they’re going to be. It isn’t a perfect science, but it’s getting better year after year.”
– Lilian Chen, Co-Founder & COO, Bar None Games –
Creative Marketing Collaborations
Creative marketing collaborations are one of the best and most engaging ways that brands can partner with influencers. Most influencers are actively creating some type of content regularly. Whether they’re involved in actual filmmaking, they’re a videographer on YouTube, or they’re an individual artist that streams their process on Twitch. All of these different forms of influencers are actively creating. This is the whole premise behind a creative collaboration for marketing. Letting the influencer do what they’ve built their career doing in a vision that is somewhat directed by the investing company almost always results in a stunning campaign that is both impactful and resonant with consumers.
“I think what it boils down to is letting artists be themselves. I also think that all of us have an artist inside, but whether or not we nurture them or not is up to us.”
– Marcus Hutsen, Business Development Manager, Patriot Coolers –
Creative marketing collaborations are extremely engaging for the consumer because, typically, they already have a sense and knowledge of the collaborating influencer. Seeing an influencer find additional success, especially in a way that honors their talent, is inspiring and never fails to attract positive attention.
“I think over the next 5 years or so we’re going to see more and more companies and brands beginning to partner with artistic influencers in really unique ways. A lot of future marketing is going to revolve around consumer engagement.”
– Asker A Ahmed, Director, iProcess Global Research –
Guest Blog Posts
Another really easy way to make use of influencer marketing is through the coordination of a guest blog post. Guest blog posts typically work best if the partnering brand already has a native blog, but if not, a guest blog post can be the perfect way to launch a blogging strategy!
Essentially, this involves commissioning an influencer to author a piece that will be published on your website or blog.
“Our blog has been a major part of our strategy for some time now, so the addition of guest blog pieces is always really powerful and seems to resonate with our audience.”
– Dr. Minhas, Founder and CEO, GerdLi –
Guest blog posts are great for establishing brand awareness and brand authority, as they often act as an endorsement for the brand itself.
“What we’ve found is that a guest blog post is great at funneling traffic from say a social media page or something like that, straight to the website. This is good for a lot of reasons that should be obvious to anyone in the field of digital marketing.”
– Natália Sadowski, Director of Aesthetics, Nourishing Biologicals –
Finally, another great way that organizations can benefit from and utilize influencer marketing is through the design and deployment of a pre-release campaign. These are specifically effective at stirring up consumer buzz about a product or service before making it publicly available.
“Pre-release influencer campaigns are awesome. I highly suggest implementing them if you can because they do a great job at drumming up pre-orders, which is fantastic in our industry.”
– George Fraguio, Vice President of Bridge Lending, Vaster Capital –
These campaigns are also helpful for consumers, because they offer the perfect review opportunity, and consumers can make an informed purchase decision based on the experience of the influencer.
“The only danger with a pre-release campaign is really if your product or service isn’t everything that you’ve promised it to be. If you’re delivering on expectations, pre-release campaigns can be effective.”
– Miles Beckett, CEO & Co-Founder, Flossy Dental –
Final Thoughts on Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is undoubtedly going to be a part of the future. Brands and organizations that want to remain relevant amongst consumers should very seriously consider adding an element of influencer marketing into their overall growth strategy.