How many types of marketing have you tried in the past ten years? Did you invest time and money into Social Media marketing? How about Google AdWords? Word-of-mouth Marketing? Did any of those make you rich?
If you tried using any of these marketing tools without a complete strategy, careful planning and funding, you probably found out they aren’t the sole answer to your marketing needs. They did not and could not — on their own — turn your company into an overnight success.
I’m not trying to bum you out or discourage you from trying new marketing tools, but I do want to adjust your expectations as I give you some information about another new marketing tool that has gotten a lot of attention, is kind of exciting and has worked very well for some organizations.
It’s Influencer Marketing — even the name is cool isn’t it? But what the heck is it, how did it start and what can you do with it? While where it started (and who started it) is under much debate, it’s a pretty obvious direction for social media marketing.
Many celebrities have tens of thousands of followers on social media that hang on to the celebrity’s every post, photo and hashtag. Not surprisingly, large advertisers figured out that if they can get celebrities to use and/or endorse their products on the celebrity’s own social media, it would be a direct channel to a verified group of prospective customers.
Several years ago, large companies started paying celebrities to endorse and promote their products on their blogs and social media. The Kardashians might be the most visible, but they are just a few of the many.
Marketers then discovered three realities that were presenting themselves. First, “a target audience is a target audience.” Second, many social media leaders — some with millions of followers — had just as much influence or more than mainstream celebrities. And third — these social media leaders could be hired just like celebrities and paid with product or money. Bingo! A whole new media stream was created — influencer marketers.
How does it work?
The down and dirty version is this:
- Find people who are popular on social media and focused on your category — pets, cosmetics, DIY, bicycling, automobiles — anything you could imagine.
- Strike a deal for them to promote or mention your product, or event or website.
- Determine who will create and supply content (what they actually post) — your firm or the influencer.
- Track the influencer’s posts.
- Track the results — comments from their followers, hits to your website, sales, etc.
- Determine a rough Return on Investment. Was it worth it? Can you improve on it? Add to your group of influencers?
Three elements for a successful influencer campaign
CPC Strategy, an influencer marketing group, recommends three general elements for a successful influencer campaign. These are:
- Clearly defined objectives
- The right influencers to deliver content that can achieve the objectives
- Effective measurement of campaign performance
Common objectives for influencer campaigns include: driving brand awareness, boosting sales, generating engagement and reaching new audiences.
Influencers are usually placed into three categories based on audience size. Micro influencers have 10,000 followers or less but are more affordable and have higher levels of engagement. Power middle influencers have 10,000-250,000 followers. Macro influencers are the digital celebrities of Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and usually have 250,000 to over 1 million followers.
What will it cost?
The cost varies widely — from under $5,000 to over $100,000. And there are risks, because many influencers are not experienced at marketing and can make mistakes that embarrass your brand. At least one influencer accidentally posted the instructions and script from the brand he was promoting. Oops! Not authentic at all.
Yes, influencer marketing is new and hot. But proceed with caution so you don’t get burned.