“Why collaborate with brands on social media, when I can just advertise my product and watch it grow?”, you might ask yourself. Well, you don’t know what you’re missing out on.
This guide will show you why it’s important to work with brands on social media to boost your product or service, especially on Instagram. It will also help you understand if influencer marketing is for you.
In the modern age of the internet, everyone or their mother is using their phones to get on social media. The purpose of social media has evolved in recent years from just checking out cute cat videos and following up on your friends to a legitimate business platform for influencers, content managers, celebrities, promoting partnerships, and collaborating with people on so many different levels.
Why should you collaborate with brands in 2020?
Posting your content on social media instead of a website increases its chance of being seen. 89% of US marketers say they use Instagram as their most important social media channel for influencer marketing purposes.
The amount of time spent on social media by internet users worldwide jumped from 90 minutes per day in 2012 to roughly 144 minutes per day in 2019. Social network penetration is standing at 49% by January 2020.
In 2020, an estimated 3.6 billion people were on social media platforms in 2020, a number projected to increase to 4.41 billion people by 2025.
In a collaboration of 5W Public Relations with IMUSA, the influencers who shared about IMUSA had a sum of 173,000 following count.
Even if quite realistically only 10% of them viewed the article and comments, it still comprises 17K people learning about IMUSA, either for the first time or adding up to what they already know.
Based on an eMarketer survey, 31% of retailers in the US engage with current brand advocates to become influencers, 30% connected with micro-influencers, and 28% even using paid influencers for their campaigns.
This easily demonstrates how influencer marketing effectively boosts popularity.
Now this referral could be from family, friends, or someone you’ve never actually met up close but read their posts probably more than three times a week, and those people are social media influencers.
Statistics like that showcase how efficiently brands could kick start their business with the help of influencers.
A common phrase in influencer marketing you might hear is word-of-mouth marketing. Simply put, word-of-mouth marketing is advocating a product or service by introducing and/or complimenting it subjectively to your close circle of people.
To shed light on the latter, imagine your stylist gave you $10 each time you sent one of your friends her way. That would certainly inspire you to compliment her work more widely – perhaps even make new friends for referrals.
Influencers are doing exactly that, only in a slightly more orderly fashion. Influencers have a trusting and tenacious crowd of fans engaging in every little new update in their lives, instantly boosting awareness around brands they advocate on a significant daily basis.
How should you work with brands on Instagram?
As mentioned before, more than two-thirds of US American retailers use some form of influencer marketing in their business already, and an estimated two-thirds of marketers will also reportedly increase their influencer marketing budget investment this year.
To join in on the crowd, there are two tasks you’ll need to tackle. You’ll need to:
- Pull off an effective marketing campaign
- Work with the right social media influencers
And we’re showing you how to do both those things in a few easy steps. But first, let’s take a look at what influencer marketing is.
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is a form of cooperation. Big and small businesses collaborate with influential people on social media to promote something. It could be a product, service, or campaign.
More than 500,000 active influencers are operating just on Instagram, according to a study by InfluencerDB.
What kind of influencer should you choose?
Influencers are widely different in many aspects. There are so-called “micro-influencers” who usually have a lower follower count, and charge less for promoting your business.
There are “mega-influencers” and celebrities who can provide all the initial impetus you need to kickstart your business, also expectedly charging more.
Some argue that working with micro-influencers is generally more efficient, since they have better average engagement rates with their audience, being regarded as more trustworthy and authentic while being more accessible to the crowd as well.
Meanwhile, they charge less and help increase the reach of business exponentially, producing a high ROI overall.
Based on research conducted by L2, Tapinfluence pulled the social engagement rates for each influencer cohort. As observable, Social engagement rates fall as total reach grows.
With that said, definitions of micro and macro vary between industries extensively. Some consider micro to be anyone who’s not a Hollywood celebrity, and some say just under 1,000 followers makes a micro-influencer.
But most marketers converge on the idea that micro-influencers have a total reach somewhere around 5,000 and 100,000 followers; and that’s still a pretty big range!
In the Micro vs. Mega Influencer Report generated by research firm L2 in October 2017, influencers are classified in six tiers, ranging from “micro” to “celebrity”, based on their influence volume.
Since anyone with less than 5,000 followers more accurately falls under the user-generated content category, they aren’t included.
How do you choose an influencer?
Many factors are affecting this decision in general. Let’s cut to the chase and look at the 8 key metrics that define our influencer marketing strategies.
#1 The three R’s of influence
The right influencer needs to have an audience aligned with your target market. This audience is the people who you want to reach using your social channels. These are also the people most likely to be interested in your product or services. They are also presumably tied by some certain common characteristics, like demographics and behaviors.
As you can already see, Kendall Jenner’s profile shows she might not be the best influencer to choose if you’re looking to promote, say, an agricultural goods firm. However, she could make your record label skyrocket!
If you want your content to be viewed by more people, you probably have to aim for bigger influencers on social media. Beware of the costs and consequences of working with macro-influencers. It’s safer to tread Instagram accounts step by step.
We have already talked extensively about how micro- and macro-influencers affect audiences and brands differently. A general rule of thumb is to connect with a cohort of similar micro-influencers for a safe and effective ROI, but that’s up to you to decide! 30% of retailers in the US reported utilizing micro-influencers by November 2018.
#2 Know who you’re trying to influence
A buyer persona is a detailed description of who represents your target audience. It isn’t [necessarily] a real customer, rather a fictional profile embodying the characteristics of your best potential customers.
It should be assigned a name, demographic details, interests, and personality traits. This way you can also define their goals, pain points, and buying patterns.
Go on and paint them a face. Not feeling up for it? Use stock photos. Some businesses have gone so far to create cardboard cutouts of their buyer personas to feel the real presence in their office.
#3 Look for engagement and build trust within the audience
Higher engagement rates equal a more trusting crowd. People tend to buy more from retailers they relate to. That’s exactly why micro-influencers have a safer platform for promotion. Their audience just loves them more.
#4 Consistent look, feel, tone, and values
Every influential person on social media has a way of influencing people. That’s what makes them lovable. Practicing consistency in their methods opens up more room for credibility. The same goes for brands.
Take a look at urban photographer Dennis Prescott for instance. His unique style of photography stayed quite coherent when he partnered up with Traeger Grills back in March 2018.
#5 Keep an eye out for sponsorship saturation
Take a look at what your potential partner influencers are posting online. How many sponsored posts can you spot?
If you already started gaining followers with tons of paid posts, you probably don’t have a good chance of keeping engagement rates high for long enough.
Look for plenty of original, non-paid content to keep your followers on their toes. YouTube influencer Laura Reid recommends having just one piece of content in 5 or 10 posts sponsored.
#6 Research and learn
Influencers are the front and center of the marketing community nowadays. They know all about social media, statistics and metrics, trends and connections, and online etiquette.
Every influencer has a unique approach to maneuvering social media, distinctly connecting with their dedicated followers.
Make sure you take the time to study what your potential influencers do and how they do it before you engage in a partnership.
#7 Plan your budget
You certainly devise an allocated budget for every project you plan to recruit for, and influencer marketing is no different. Be sure to plan accordingly.
#8 Reach out privately and personally
Yeah, a tweet mentioning your favorite influencer suggesting you should work together and “we can do great things” might be fun, and even do the trick, but it’s best to discuss what’s not meant to be disclosed in a more private fashion. Probably a DM would be more appropriate.
What will it look like in the end?
If you’re looking for some examples of influencers endorsing organizations, or perhaps even some inspiration along the way, there are countless posts you can look up, and they’re just a click away.
But take a look at different influencers partnering with Macy’s on a single occasion, each presenting their uniquely different style.