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Influencer marketing: What it is and why you should use it

Francesco Pastorelli
Marketing Growth Lead at Make Influence, I have a background in growing early stage startups through digital...

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Today, influencer marketing is one of the most common forms of online marketing. It is actually one of the most effective ways to market a brand, product or service, and many businesses want to include it in their marketing campaigns. According to The Social Shepherd, 93% of marketers used influencer marketing in 2022. Also, the influencer marketing industry is continuing to grow and is today a 13.8 billion dollar industry. 

Despite this, some still don’t really understand what influencer marketing is. This article will tell you all you need to know about marketing with the help of influencers and content creators and how you include them in your marketing strategy or social media strategy. Don’t let a lack of knowledge stop you from marketing your brand in the best way possible.


What is influencer marketing? 

Influencer marketing is a relatively new name used when a brand collaborates with an online influencer to market the company's products or services. But it is not that strict. Influencer marketing is, in general, when a brand works with influencers to improve brand recognition. 

This marketing form works thanks to the high trust the influencers have built on their social media platforms. The information they share serves as a form of proof that a product or service is good. 

Influencer marketing includes affirmation and product/service advertisements by influencers, individuals and organizations with a perceived degree of awareness or social impact in their field. This is a powerful form of marketing as the influencer drives brand messages to your and their target audiences. It is similar to word-of-mouth marketing – the difference is that it doesn't rely solely on specific recommendations. Engaged audiences follow these content creators and trust the content they share. Advertising through different social media platforms enables your company to extend the scope, improve brand awareness and generate new leads for your sales funnel through buyers' personas. 

Influencer marketing can be used as a stand-alone tool, but it is most often used in conjunction with other channels within wider digital marketing campaigns.


What is an influencer? 

An influencer could be anyone who can affect the opinion of a large pool of people regarding particular topics. It could be a fashion photographer, a chef cooking food on Instagram or a lifestyle influencer publishing videos on Youtube from their everyday life. They use their influence to promote the brands, products and services of companies they collaborate with.

In the past, influencers were primarily seen on TV, radio and at real-life events. Today, influencer gather their followers and share their message primarily online and mostly on social media platforms such as Instagram, Tiktok and Twitter. It could also be on websites such as YouTube and Twitch, personal blogs, and online forums. 

Today, influencers can be macro-influencers with millions of followers, micro-influencers with down to 10000, or nano-influencers with as little as 1000 followers. Yet, they will have developed a reputation for being experts in their field. People look up to them and listen to what they have to say. They publish engaging content, share high-quality pictures and make entertaining videos. 

Do you want to learn more about influencers? Also, read our article What is an influencer?

influencer-marketing-what -and-why

Why influencer marketing?

So, how effective is influencer marketing? Whether or not you are aware of it, you are influenced by what you see daily on social media. But because so much content is produced on social media daily, it is tough for companies to break through the noise and market their brands. As a matter of fact, today, social media users are advertisement blind, meaning they will not engage just as much with promotional content coming directly from brands. 

Furthermore, reaching influencers becomes challenging as their target audience continues to spread out over various media forms. Today, with the creation of the internet and the popularity of social media platforms, consumers have unlimited freedom and choice over the content they wish to view.  

Influencer marketing is a solution to this. It allows brands to locate and advertise directly to their target audience. However, customers are also becoming more sceptical of brands and their marketing tactics. Therefore it is essential to build trust. 

When advertising through influencers, brands can promote through someone who can reach out to a specific target group that already knows them and trusts them. This will lead to engagement and trust with the brand by proxy, as the audience will not be as sceptical about the advertising. Instead, they will notice and trust the information because it came from an influencer they admire. Instead of being suspicious of a commercial or social media ad, consumers trust that the influencer's opinion is correct.

Deeper relationships

The idea of influencer marketing is that influencers build trust with their audience by publishing authentic content on various platforms. Collaborating companies can then use this trust and personal connection. This is how influencers help foster deeper customer relationships through their association with the brand. In addition, brands can work with influencers to create impactful messages about the brand to the audience. Getting involved in the global social community is essential if you want your company to grow. This will help your business establish stronger relationships with customers.  

Increase reach

When working with influencer marketing, you will increase your brand reach by tapping into the influencer's audience. Influencers can help you reach out to more people or a specific group of people – by using a micro-influencer with a small niche audience. Higher reach also leads to increased social engagement, and directly translates into higher quality traffic to your website.

Create a free Business account today


Influencer marketing on Instagram

Most people associate influencers with creators who have built a large and engaged following on Instagram. The followers look up to the influencer with respect, curiosity, admiration or a mix of those. The pool of influencers is as vast and diverse as the amount and diversity of things people find interesting or entertaining.  This means that almost any brand has the potential to work with influencer marketing on Instagram. 

The wide range of Instagram influencers is opening up many opportunities for companies that want to market their products to their target audience authentically. That is also how the ‘paid post’ phenomenon was born.

Batina Sandhu posing in jewellery from Misho Design on Instagram.

For example, one of the top UK celebrities is Banita Sandhu. She is an actress and influencer with 422K followers on Instagram. Benita is known for acting in Indian movies and posting lifestyle and fashion content on her Instagram account. In this Instagram post, she is marketing jewellery from Misho Design.


How effective is influencer marketing?

Except for influencer marketing on Instagram, there are a lot of networks today where influencers play a significant role. In 2021, the industry reached 13.8 billion dollars. Also, 93% of marketers today stated they’d used influencer marketing within their overall marketing strategy. According to statistics, 61% of consumers trust influencer recommendations. This is a lot of people. And if you manage to reach out to the correct target group, your influencer marketing plan will be very effective.

Higher Quality Traffic

It is proven that given the right choice of influencers, influencer marketing drives significantly higher quality traffic to your website, characterised by higher purchase intent.

Higher Conversion Rates

Because of the higher quality, Influencer marketing can help you boost your website conversion rates compared to traditional and social media advertising to cold audiences.

Higher ROI

According to several studies, influencer marketing has a better ROI than other channels, faring between 5x and 6.5x ROI depending on the source. On Make Influence, we see even higher ROI, at around 7.2x ROI , largely because of our performance based compensation model, which allows brands to pay influencers based on results they generate. 

Make Influence is a platform that helps create successful influencer marketing collaborations between brands and influencers. Are you new to influencer marketing or feel that you need some help creating successful campaigns? If so, this is the platform for you.

Create a free account today


How to approach influencer marketing?

Below are some of our best tips and guidelines when approaching influencer marketing: 

  • Be organized, put together an influencer strategy, plan, and budget and remember to spend time on research.

  • Decide on your approach to finding influencers. We recommend that you find them organically, subscribe to a platform or work through an agency. 

  • Be patient but also personal. Think people talking to people, and not companies talking to companies.

Do you work in a small business and are you considering starting with influencer marketing? Then you should read this guide about how to get started with influencer marketing as a small business in 5 simple steps. 

When finding an influencer, develop a schedule 

  • Integrate with your PR schedule, product release schedule, etc.
  • Send emails on behalf of key executives. Plan travel schedules for executives and arrange face-to-face meetings.

How much does influencer marketing cost?

How much you have to pay for influencer marketing depends on the influencer you collaborate with. 

Traditionally, influencers have been paid a fixed amount, often based on the amount of followers they have. This is because in a perfect world, where content is always seen by a fixed percentage of an influencer followers, followers can be a rough estimation of the amount of people you can reach through influencers content.

At Make Inlfuence, we call this type of fixed sum compensation “upfront”, and we have made a very comprehensive article about when and how to use it, and when to couple it with other types of incentives or compensation methods.

According to AndrewMcCarty.com the price-tag for the different types of influencers looks something like this: 

  • Nano-influencers: $10 - $100 per post

  • Micro-influencers: $100 - $500 per post

  • Macro-influencers: $5,000 - $10,000

  • Celebrities: Can charge as much as $1 million per post

However, this way of estimating influencers rate is not very transparent, let alone indicative of the results you are going to get from it, making estimation of ROI extremely hard. This is because the amount of followers is a very poor indicator of performance, while its a lot more important to look at actual amount of impressions, reach/followers ratio and especially the quality and demographics of the influencer audience.

For this reason, a much better way of paying influencers is paying a commission based on performance. For brands whose primary measure of ROI for influencer marketing is revenue, commission-based payment is usually an excellent way to track sales and encourage content creators to develop conversion-worthy content. Measure sales and keep track of commission through affiliates, brand ambassadors, nano-influencers and micro-influencers.   

Make Influence allows you to pay commission based. We track impressions, reach, clicks and sales so that you can measure what you get out of your influencer collaborations, and pay based on your target KPI. Create an account and try Make Influence today, the first campaign and 3 collaborations are free!


Influencer marketing is continuing to grow 

Influencer marketing is continuously growing. For example, influencer marketing-focused platforms and agencies have doubled in two years. Companies are continually setting up platforms to help the process of searching for and selecting influencers. They are also making the system more transparent and easier for both brands and influencers. 

Today, there are also more companies than ever that budget for both influencer- and content marketing. In 2022, over half of the companies had a budget specific for influencer marketing, confirming the fact that most marketers think that influencer marketing is effective. However, this statistic has remained relatively static since 2017 and will probably stay the same in the upcoming years. 

In addition, there are now many companies that can help brands work with influencer marketin, including platforms, such as Make Influence, and agencies. We reccomend you read this blogpost to understand whether a platform, an agency or doing influencer marketing completely in-house can be the right choice for your specific case.

Try our platform for free

 Check out our valuable tools to help you work successfully with influencer marketing. Use our advanced search function and influencer recommendation tool to find influencers that fit your campaign, and use our analytic and reporting solutions to make your workflow activities more efficient.

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