Let's start with the base definition of social media marketing (SMM).
In short, it's a form of digital marketing that uses social media apps as a marketing tool.
Every advertisement you can see on one of your favorite platforms, like Facebook or Instagram, is a part of this type of marketing. Sometimes, it will be a simple ad between posted photos; another time— a whole post dedicated to a product the company wants to promote. Many companies decide to invest in their ads on social platforms and very often work miracles.
But, there is even a better way to do it—influencers. The Oxford Dictionary defines an influencer as a “person who can influence potential buyers of a product or service by promoting or recommending the items on social media.”
Nowadays, influencers have a significant impact mainly because many people trust the famous implicitly, which is precisely why many companies decide to “use” influencers as an advertisement for their products.
What is influencer marketing?
It's very crucial to remember that besides the influence that they're making, they also have incredible numbers standing behind them. By numbers, I mean followers—thousands or even millions of them. If you know someone who can influence a group of people to buy a chocolate bar from them, they're not an influencer—they may be an excellent salesperson, though.
Now that we know who we are talking about, it's necessary to describe some basics of influencer marketing. Influencer marketing is all about relying on social media stars, who significantly influence a big group of people, to promote your product or service to their followers.
The history of influencer marketing is quite interesting as well. It all began way earlier than you might think because the first instance of influencer marketing happened in 1760. Yeah, that's right, much before the internet. Back then, a British pottery company, Wedgwood, described their products as “Queen's Ware' having made a tea set for Queen Charlotte. The move gained them the royal stamp of approval, and the brand still enjoys a luxurious reputation today.
So, influencers do not only exist on the internet. You probably also know the Coca-Cola advertisement with Santa Claus, right? Did you know this is one of the best examples of influencer marketing? That's right, Santa Claus became an influencer. Everyone knows him, no one has bad emotions correlated with him, and he significantly influences people worldwide, making him the perfect person for this job.
But, most of the influencers are working online. Since online shopping is becoming more and more popular worldwide, it's the best place for influencers to work because they're mostly advertising products that you can buy within a couple of minutes on the company's website.
Types of Influencers
Once we know the theory about influencer marketing, we should talk about the types of influencers. It's also an essential aspect when creating your strategy since you have to adjust to the type of influencer, such as the size of your company, the budget for a kindific marketing technique, and the goal you want to achieve. Let's start our list from the smallest to the most significant types of influencers.
Those are the influencers with the smallest number of followers. Also, they offer brands a modest reach and a much narrower one. However, when brands lose in reach, they gain in engagement rates. It's all because nano-influencers have the highest engagement rate (8,8%). It's easier to engage a smaller number of people (1K-10K) than a larger audience (500K-1M).
This group, although they have a much smaller audience than, for example, mega-influencers, are considered by brands as the group that is much more effective in terms of trust and engagement. Why is that? Micro-influencers tend to have an intimate connection with their followers and are also very niche-focused. This is an example of the statement that numbers are not everything in influencer marketing.
The word “mid” explains a lot here. These influencers might not be famous, but with an audience between 50K-500K, they can offer brands a broad reach and a bigger engagement rate than macro and mega-influencers.
We're practically at the top of the ladder—talking about celebrities, TV personalities, or athletes. The biggest difference is the follower count because with macro-influencers, most significantly expect an audience between 500K-1M. But also, the price tag is pretty high, although it could be more hefty for mega-influencers.
People with an audience of 1M+ followers have to have celebrity status. Consequently, they're the most expensive group, but there is much to pay for. The engagement rate is enormous, and they often spend most of their time on social media, treating it as their full-time job. This makes them attractive to brands that want their product to reach as many people as possible.
How successful is it?
Nothing shows the importance of the marketing strategy better than numbers. So, let's dive into some statistics that can prove just how successful influencer marketing can be.
A whopping 93% of Marketers Have Used Influencer Marketing
Most marketers said they would use influencer marketing as a part of their overall marketing strategy. This means that this exact technique is on course to be one of the most significant innovations in recent marketing history. It is quickly becoming a must-have line item on marketing budgets, regardless of industry.
Influencer Marketing Industry is set to grow to approximately $21.1 Billion in 2023
In the past year, we've seen a global economic downturn and an increase in inflation, making it harder for people to pay for their everyday purchases. The competition for the dollar, pound, or euro among firms is fiercer than ever before. Successful businesses understand the importance of marketing, especially influencer marketing, and decide to increase their expenditures, even if they have to cut their expenses elsewhere.
This is why influencer marketing has grown from a market size of $1.7 billion in 2016 to $16.4 billion in 2022. Moreover, it is expected to reach approximately $21.1 billion by the end of 2023.
As many as 71% of consumers are likely to buy products from an influencer they trust
This is the biggest factor in the importance of influencer marketing. As many as 71most significantoppers say they're more likely to buy a product if a social media influencer recommends it they like and follow. This means you do not always have to go for a mega-influencer (with over a million followers). Sometimes, going for an influencer with fewer followers but closer to your industry is even better.
Nearly 72% of Gen Z and Millennials follow influencers on social media
This one speaks for itself. If you're targeting Gen Z and Millennials, there is no better technique than influencer marketing. Most of them idolize influencers and famous people, so promoting your products using influencers is the best way to make Gen Z and Millennials your customers.
More than 11% of brands spend over $500K on influencer marketing
Influencer marketing is not only for big companies. Brands of all sizes decide to implement influencers into their marketing strategy. The only difference is the budget different companies are willing to spend on it.
You must remember that every influencer has a different stake, so if your budget is $10K for a whole quarter, you will probably not get the deal with the mega influencers since their stakes are way above that. But, as I mentioned before, the target audience is the most critical factor in choosing the right influencer, not their numbers.
So, as you can see, most companies spend $10K on influencer marketing. Only 11% decide to spend as much as $500K on it. Those are probably the most prominent brands that hire the most famous people on the internet to promote their products.
Those statistics show how successful and promising influencer marketing can be in the next few years. This tactic constantly evolves, attracting new companies to implement it into their marketing strategy and budget.
So, to create your strategy based on influencers, you have to know some basics. Let's start with choosing the right platform.
TikTok, Instagram or Twitter? Which one to choose
One of the very first steps in creating an effective influencer marketing strategy should focus on choosing the right place that you'd like to use to promote your product/service using influencers. Since we have a lot of social media platforms nowadays, there is plenty to choose from. So, once again, the numbers can tell us many things, including the best social channel for influencer marketing.
- According to Hubspot's survey on social media trends, 72% of marketers listed Instagram among the social media platforms on which they work with potential influencers and creators. Moreover, most marketers claim that Instagram is the platform on which they get the most significant ROI. This puts Instagram first as one of the best places to consider when considering a successful influencer marketing campaign.
- Going further, 58% of survey marketers listed YouTube as a platform they leverage when working with creators. Also, 20% of marketers said YouTube, out of all social media channels, yields the highest ROI when working with influencers.
- Now, it's a viral platform so addicting that it's banned in some countries. Yes, you guessed that right, it's time for TikTok. The TikTok app has been downloaded over 2 billion times (pretty impressive, right?). Almost 61% of survey marketers listed TikTok among the social media platforms on which they work with influencers, which is more than YouTube. But, the most significant difference is that only 14% said it results in the most significant ROI when leveraging influencer marketing campaigns.
- The most important —good, old Facebook. Although it's not the platform associated with this marketing activity, many marketers still use it for influencer campaigns. Talking numbers—57% of marketers listed Facebook as their platform of choice when working with creators. Interestingly, Facebook ties with YouTube in terms of ROI, with 20% of marketers saying it yields the highest ROI.
Steps You Need to Take When Creating Your Influencer Marketing Strategy
Developing your influencer marketing strategy takes a lot of time and thought processes. Here is the part where you can find all the steps that will lead you to create your successful strategy.
Define your campaign goals
Defining your campaign goals is the first and most crucial step affecting the rest. What do you want to achieve? Increase brand awareness or drive engagement? Remember that there are a lot of benefits coming from influencer marketing, but you can't have them all at once. That's why you should define your goals initially to decide your next steps. It all starts here.
Identify your target audience
When you have already defined your goals, it's time to identify and define your audience. This step can determine the effectiveness and success of your influencer marketing campaign. How to do it? The best way is to group your consumers by demographics, psychographics, buyer lifecycle stage, or preferred channel. To get to know your customers better, you can always create an email marketing campaign with a short survey to help you define your target audience based on your customers.
Define your budget
Here comes the money! But it's not about a Jim Johnston and Naughty By Nature song; it's about defining your budget. Here is the part that will decide which type of influencer you will hire. Spoiler alert: You probably won't hire a mega-influencer if you don't have a big budget. But, sometimes, it's not all about money. Some influencers are okay with being paid using free products and services, so that's another thing you must consider when defining a budget.
Decide which social media platform you want to use
The next step in creating your influencer marketing strategy is choosing the social media platform you want to use. To do that, research your target audience and decide what kind of content suits you best. For example, if you feel that creating short videos is your thing, you should choose and focus on TikTok.
Now, it's time to create your content. How would you like the influencer to promote your product/service? Will it be a short video on TikTok or a review video on YouTube? Or maybe—a couple of photos with a long description on Instagram? It's important to remember the audience of your influencer. The message you want to share has to fit with the followers of the creator you'll choose.
Reach out to influencers
Now, the time has come to approach and find influencers perfect for your strategy. The first option is to contact influencer marketing agencies to discover the relevant influencers that best fit your strategy. The other option is to do this by yourself. Let me explain it in the next step.
Prepare an email template for reaching potential creators
How to find and approach creators? The first step is to go through your chosen social media platform. For example, you can find a lot of relevant influencers for your niche simply by searching #(your niche) on any platform. Once you find the perfect creator, you must know how to approach them properly.
To do that, you should prepare a couple of templates to send to their agents or email them directly. I designed one template as an example for you; of course, something that works for one company will not always work for everyone, so this is just an example to look up to when creating your template:
If you follow these steps, you can create a very successful influencer marketing campaign that will bring you great results, new customers, and great emotions by seeing your product/service succeed on influencers' profiles where thousands of people can see your company.