You’ve scrolled past them on Facebook, Instagram or YouTube, showing off a product you can’t live without. You may follow them, like their posts and take their recommendations — along with thousands or millions of others. You might even consider them celebrities.
They are influencers. And they’ve made their way to the forefront of marketing, propelling brands through social media with authenticity and relatability to help reach different target audiences.
Eighty percent of marketers say influencer marketing is effective, and 89% agree it works just as well (if not better) than other marketing channels. But keep in mind, not all influencers are created equal. From how-to experts to models to food enthusiasts, the biggest factor that sets them apart is their reach.
Micro vs. macro: It’s all about scale
Micro-influencers work with a small audience of around 10,000-50,000 followers. They’re typically your first point of contact if you’re venturing into the influencer marketing realm. Macro-influencers have massive reach.
Some of the most popular marketing macro-influencers reach more than 25 million followers a day. Consumers look to them as the authority for products and services within a particular industry — even if the promoted product is sponsored by a brand.
The perks of hooking up with an influencer
If your brand needs a boost, you may consider using influencers as part of your marketing strategy. Here’s why:
- They create quality content. Influencer-generated content (IGC) includes any images or videos that the influencer creates to promote a brand, usually in partnership with that brand. And because they understand your audience, they’ll curate the best targeted content while incorporating their own unique style.
- They’ll help you uncover valuable insights. Influencers can instantly generate feedback from your market. Likes, shares and comments (or lack of) can speak volumes about how your brand is perceived and whether or not you’re connecting with the right audience.
- They drive conversions. Today’s consumers look to influencers for their suggestions on which products or services to purchase. An impressive 70% of millennials make buying decisions based on the opinions of their peers. Influencer marketing is powerful because it casually reaches them in the places they hang out online, helping to sway them to give your brand a try.
- They provide vast visibility. Did you know 615 million people use ad block apps to ward off annoying advertisements? But influencers’ posts give consumers a way to learn about brands in a non-intrusive fashion. They offer a platform to engage, discuss and learn about a brand without blatantly being sold to.
And it’s not only for B2C…
Influencer marketing may be more common in the B2C world, but there’s a place for it in B2B, too.
B2C influencer marketing is transactional, while B2B influencer marketing focuses on building connections and nurturing relationships.
For example, Microsoft ran a campaign to promote and inspire women in STEM careers. They partnered with adventure photographers on Instagram (micro-influencers), as well as National Geographic photographers (macro-influencers) to capture the stories of women in science conducting fieldwork.
The campaign reached more than 91 million people across the social media accounts of all involved. This strategy helped Microsoft engage with audiences on a more meaningful level and build long-term brand awareness — all through strategic collaborations across businesses.
Under the influence
Love it or hate it, influencer marketing is here, and it doesn’t take a Kardashian to hop on this trend. Once you find the right influencer to partner with, watch as the likes and shares transform into sustainable sales growth.
Stay tuned for Part 2: Finding the Right Person to Grow Your Brand’s Influence.