In a World where Christiano Ronaldo putting away two bottles of coke caused a whopping 4 billion dollar loss in Coca-Cola’s market value, it is evident that influencers play an important role in brand building. Influencer marketing stands for a 10 billion dollar industry and is crucial for many companies that work with a business-to-customer model. The fashion to food industries is all running campaigns in collaboration with these influencers who are popular on platforms such as TikTok or Instagram. As these are very fast-moving platforms, a lot of marketing people are still not used to them as opposed to being used to a traditional channel.
The rise in popularity of the platforms such as Tiktok, Instagram, Snapchat, and even Twitch has caused an entire industry of social media influencers and influencer marketing agencies to boom. From footballers to singers and actors who have more than 100 million followers on Instagram and TikTok make up for the industry with a great viewership. By taking the case of Gucci, it can be noted that if used correctly, influencer marketing can be hugely successful. Gucci collaborated with 23 artists on Instagram to create content of artistic interpretation of the floral universe around fragrance. With 135 pieces of content reaching nearly 750,000 followers, it created serious awareness around the brand!
Influencer marketing is usually outsourced to younger agencies or assigned to younger staff or interns. To guide you to the right path, this article aims to aid you in understanding the right influencers for your brand and how to collaborate with them.
What are influencers?
If you ask a child now what they aspire to become when they grow up, most of them would say a content creator or an influencer. Research suggests that 17% of all British teens wanted to become social media influencers and, 14% wanted to become youtube content creators. You cannot define an influencer by the number of followers, likes, and other criteria that can be paid. A social media influencer is a person with a huge follower base who would be unknown unless one follows them. Christiano Ronaldo has a lot of followers but he is known in the World of Football, creators like KingBach or Sophie Hinchliffe, on the contrary, may be unknown to the world except for those who follow them. Hence, they are the natural byproduct of a desire for validation. Creators have been an essential source of validation and trust for their followers. Although a deeper understanding and integration of ‘social validation’ is changing the dynamics between brands and influencers.
Brands and Influencers
Surveys suggest that brand sponsorships are still the #1 revenue source for influencers on social media. Influencers do have multiple revenue streams as well. From crowdfunding to affiliate marketing, it makes influencers multiple sources of income to have a better living. Diversification of their revenue streams allows influencers to be selective with the brands they pick. Content creators are not dependent on just one channel for one form of revenue. YouTube probably has the most diversified streams of revenue out there. From brand sponsorships, subscriptions, affiliate programs, crowdfunding, and many more! Some of them also sell merch. Here are some ways through which influencers can monetize their content:
Advertising Revenue earned by Influencers
Although advertising is a very traditional model of revenue for creators and influencers, they are still relevant. With this model, ads are placed well in and around the creator’s content. They earn a certain percentage depending on the impressions they make out of it. The revenue split, however, depends on the platform and some have a specific limit set for the creators to achieve before they start earning their share of the revenue.
Affiliate marketing is an agreement of a share of revenue based on products sold. They use coupon codes or links and generally work when the influencer has a blog, vlog, website, or Youtube account. Affiliate links allow influencers to choose the products they want to talk about, promote and earn from. They don’t have to wait for a brand deal to come.
Influencers prefer sponsorship as they can provide uninterrupted content streaming. Ads tend to interrupt their content and might cause some audiences to stop watching which might affect their viewership.
How can brands effectively engage with influencers?
Sometimes, influencers post their content across the many platforms they are a part of. There are two kinds of influencers, the ones who post regularly and share content with their circle to enjoy content produced by others. Some influencers are followed by a large group as well. What is shared or produced by this group can be shared with a larger audience. Influencers could have attained fame outside the platform or would have used the platform to get famous as well. Firms and brands usually look for influencers trusted by others and have diffused to a broader audience.
Understanding that each platform has its own User Culture and Language
Communication rarely fits the one size fits all strategy. Marketing people usually know this and abide by it. Segmentation of markets and developing differentiated offers for specific target audience segments work better. A picture that can do wonders in print and magazines can fail if posted on Instagram. An Instagram story may barely reach any likes on TikTok.
The platform-specific approach has three implications for brands who want to interact with their audience on Instagram or TikTok. Firstly, brands need to strategically choose the platforms they want to engage in. Each platform needs its unique skills and resources, even though content can be reposted with tweaks. Smaller brands might not have the budget to afford influencers who are present across the realm of social media. Brands must choose a platform that is best suited to reach their target audience.
Brands also need to know the user before they can establish their presence on social media. Understanding what the TG needs requires time. Instead of setting up a company channel from the first day, it is better to start working with influencers and have a better understanding of the platform you have chosen. If possible, brands can also learn from them and engage with them in the content creation process.
Companies and brands also need to give users a reason to engage with them. Being popular is not enough. Taking Chipotle as an example, we can notice how they transitioned from posting polished pictures of their dishes to using a different strategy. They started using small memes that received higher engagement rates.
Brands must understand that influencer marketing is more than just booking a post.
Brands should leverage the content produced by influencers into their other forms of marketing communication strategy as well. This introduces a factor of influencer value proposition and makes the creator an essential part of the strategy. The content might differ from the traditional ads that agencies usually produce. This is a good thing because the newer and younger audience requires newer means of interaction. Each platform has its own culture. Brands must focus on two forms of value creation. Production of the content and distribution through various channels via social media. It can build an exclusivity of the brand with the influencer. For instance, if you are a car brand, choose an influencer that stays loyal to your brand. Ensure that they have not collaborated with other brands.
Know when to use Micro-influencers and Macro influencers.
Choose your influencers depending on the objective of your campaign. If it’s a national or an international campaign, the larger influencer can come into play. If it’s a regional campaign, it is better to use micro-influencers that can target the regional TG. It not only increases reach but breeds familiarity as well. Note that brands have to be aware of managing multiple influencers. If you have many influencers, you might need that many briefs and management. Smaller influencers might not have managers like larger influencers. Managing them might be easier and more cost-effective. Select the right niche for your brand. Smaller influencers have a lower quality of content produced, which might limit the ability of firms to reuse the content produced by them.
Marketing can be a task and having a good team that knows the influencer market can be key to your brand’s success. If you have a BIG IDEA in mind and lack the resources and guidance to market your product, consider pitching your idea to partner with Project10K. With an excellent tech team and a go-to marketing team, Project10K has a proven track record that can help your brand scale to newer heights.
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