You’ve tried it all. Facebook ads, Google ads, discount codes, and even asking friends and family to share your business content, but you just can’t seem to find the marketing strategy to bring in more customers and expand your business.
Maybe it’s time to bring in someone who speaks to your audience on a personal level – a social media influencer.
Ah, influencers. You see them sharing products they love and services they can’t live without whenever you start scrolling through the feed on your favorite platform. There’s a reason for this.
Influencer marketing works!
According to a report from BigCommerce, 89% of marketers who use influencer marketing say that their return on investment (ROI) is better or comparable to their ROI with other marketing channels.
The success people see using influencers to promote their goods and services is reflected in their increased budgets. Influencer Marketing Hub’s “The State of Influencer Marketing Benchmark Report 2022” found that 68% of marketers they surveyed plan to increase their 2022 influencer marketing budgets.
In fact, it’s expected that influencer marketing will reach $16.4 billion in 2022 as more and more marketers add influencers to their marketing mix.
While this isn’t to say influencer marketing should be your only marketing strategy, now is the time to get started.
In this post, I’ll give you a few ideas for getting started with influencer marketing, including potential benefits, how to choose the best social media platform for your influencer to reach your target audience, ideas on what to look for in an influencer, and how to reach out to an influencer.
The benefits of hiring an influencer
Social media influencers can increase your brand’s reach and stoke engagement with people in your target market that you may not otherwise have access to.
Influencers are also gaining more control over consumer purchasing power as they grow in popularity. A recent study from Google shows that 70% of teens trust social media influencers over celebrities. To dig deeper into how influencers directly impact individuals’ purchases, 53% of women say they made purchases based on influencers’ posts. Women direct 83% of all consumption in the United States, in buying power and influence, while Gen Z has an estimated buying power of upwards of $143 billion according to a 2018 analysis.
Two-thirds of respondents reported spending 10 to 30% of their marketing budget on influencer marketing.
These brands vary in size, as most report spending less than $50K on influencer marketing while 4% spend over $500K.
However, companies should incorporate influencer marketing into their marketing strategy, regardless of budget. In fact, the most common budget businesses indicate for influencer marketing efforts is $1,000 to $10,000 a year. That’s MUCH lower than you’d spend on most traditional media.
Satt-Marketing found that the ROI on influencer marketing averages $5.78 for every dollar spent, with some companies seeing an ROI of $18 per dollar spent.
The impressive ROI that brands can see using influencers, even when they only dedicate a small budget to influencer marketing, makes the benefits clear. While straying from the influencer marketing train may not “hurt” your business, you might find that your organization is left behind your competitors if you don’t hop on board.
Choosing the best platform to promote your brand through an influencer
Decided to give influencer marketing a shot? Great! The first step is to look at your target audience and the goals you have for your marketing campaign, then choose a social media platform that would work best for you.
Social media platform demographics will help you with this decision. Here’s a breakdown of some demographics that might help you choose a platform:
Twitter: 38 million daily active users. Seventy percent of users are men, and 38.5% of users fall between the ages of 25 to 34 years old. Of Americans who use Twitter, 34% percent earn over $75,000, while 29% earn $30,000 to $49,999. Thirty-three percent of Twitter users have a college degree.
Instagram: 1.9 billion daily active users. Women make up 49% of the platform’s users. With 31.4% of users between 25 to 34 years old, Instagram is a good platform for reaching Millennials.
TikTok: 1.2 billion monthly active users. Women account for fifty-seven percent of TikTok users. Gen Z dominates the TikTok scene with 43% percent of users falling between 18 and 24 years old. TikTok can be great for companies trying to reach younger audiences.
YouTube: 122 million daily active users. Fifty-four percent of YouTube users are men. Tech, gaming, and food & drink remain in the top five industries investing in YouTube.
Facebook: 1.93 billion daily active users. Fifty-six percent of Facebook users are men. Eighteen percent of Facebook users are males between the ages of 25 to 34 years old. Seventy-five percent of online users with an income over $75K use Facebook.
LinkedIn: 310 million monthly active users. Twenty-five to 34-year-olds make up 59.1% of LinkedIn users. Women account for 42.8% of LinkedIn users. LinkedIn is different from other social media platforms listed, as it’s better suited for B2B products and services. To this end, there are 61 million senior-level influencers and 65 million decision-makers on LinkedIn.
Once you have narrowed down the platform(s) that have the best demographic that you wish to target, you can start focusing on which influencer(s) you want to use.
What to look for in an influencer
With numerous platforms and tens of thousands of influencers, it can be difficult deciding which one to choose.
Like most marketing initiatives, you want to keep your brand identity at the forefront when choosing an influencer. Don’t automatically choose the person with the biggest following. Instead, look for someone whose values and audiences are similar to your brand. Think of who you are marketing to. What do they do for fun? Where do they shop? How old are they?
To get a better idea of what to consider when choosing an influencer, I asked Bailey Valente: Tiktok: @bailey_valente Instagram: @baileyvalente. Bailey is a beauty influencer based in Reno, NV whose make-up tutorials, OOTDs and hauls, and adorable personal content (her daughter Cruz regularly shows up on her TikTok) have earned her quite the following.
According to Valente, “You should see these people as an extension of your brand. If the influencer you choose ends up posting something controversial, you could see the effects. Because of this, make sure the influencers you hire align with your brand morally.”
Once you find an influencer you think might work, look at their engagement rates.
Engagement rates are calculated by adding up engagement with posts (likes, comments, etc.) and dividing it by the influencer’s total number of followers.
Engagement gives you an idea of how impactful their posts are with their followers and how many people will see and engage with a post they make on your behalf.
How to get in contact with an influencer
Okay, so you found an influencer you want to get in contact with. When reaching out, be sure to contact the influencer via direct message or email. Do not just comment on a post.
However, you CAN comment on influencers’ profiles, posts, or pages to show you actually “know” who they are and what they represent. Not doing so could make your message come off as spammy and get your offer passed over. Valente told me the best way to get started with an influencer is to ask for natural organic promotions, i.e. sending them products in exchange for a true review.
Once you’ve started a conversation with an influencer, be sure to ask about rates and the various platforms they are on as the number of followers and engagement can vary from platform to platform. Here’s where those engagement rates you figured out earlier come back in. They can help you determine how much you might pay an influencer for their work. Hootsuite provides a comprehensive breakdown in their Instagram Influencer Pricing: How to Determine Influencer Rates in 2022 guide.
You may not have to pay at all if the influencer of choice is willing to receive free products in the form of payment instead. This not only gets your product in their hands but saves you a bit of cash as well.
Another method would be to look at your own followers to see what type of following and engagement they have, or who has tagged your company in the past. If they are already familiar with your product they will more than likely accept an offer to promote your brand.
Keep in mind – influencers do not accept every offer given to them. They are searching for similarities with the businesses they represent, just as the brands should be trying to find synergy with the influencers. It should align with their brand and provide them with something to offer their followers from a content standpoint.
In fact, when I asked Valente for an idea of how many offers she accepts, she responded, “About 50%.”
So even if you do find your ideal influencer, there is a chance they may not see themselves as a good fit for many reasons. Don’t let this discourage you. Keep searching for the right person.
Convinced that influencer marketing is the way to go? Great! With no signs of slowing down, now is the time to give influencer marketing a shot. For more digital marketing ideas, check out our blog.