Regardless of size or industry, brands should be always looking for new and innovative ways to connect with their target audience. With more platforms than ever before to do this, you could be forgiven for thinking this is easier than ever in 2023. However, as is always the case when it comes to effective content marketing, this is only true if you understand how modern marketing works and which channels work best for your brand.
One strategy that has gained significant traction in recent years is influencer marketing. With brands looking to establish and maintain a meaningful online presence, collaborations with social media influencers can be a great way to talk directly to a targeted audience. But how does this most modern form of digital marketing actually work?
In this guide, we take a deep dive into the world of influencer marketing. We explore the various different types of marketing influencers can provide and look to shed light on why it’s now a crucial part of a brand’s success.
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is a strategic form of marketing which involves a brand partnering with individuals who have a large and dedicated social following. Also known as branded content marketing, these partnerships can be implemented in line with a brand’s traditional PR marketing efforts.
Influence marketing typically sees an expert influencer promoting a brand’s products or services to their target audience via social media. Naturally, the ultimate goal of this is to allow the brand to tap directly into a specific audience, paying the influencer to sway the opinions and purchasing decisions of this audience towards a specific branded product or service.
How does influencer marketing work?
Although it makes use of modern platforms, the actual mechanics of influencer marketing are relatively straightforward. Put simply, a brand will identify an influencer whose values align with their own, and whose social following is made up of the brand’s desired target market. Once a suitable influencer is identified, the brand proposes a paid collaboration.
When done well, the brand and the influencer will work together to create branded content that will integrate the brand’s offerings with the influencer’s own narrative in a natural way that resonates with their audience. For example, a cosmetics brand may reach out to a popular make-up influencer who has a large social media following, asking them to review a new product. The idea is that the influencer’s authority and reputation adds an air of authenticity to the promotion of your brand’s product or service. This powerful word-of-mouth recommendation allows a brand to speak to their target audience in a more subtle and direct way than traditional forms of advertising.
Types of influencer marketing
Although we have explained the fundamentals of influencer marketing above, the fact is, in practice this strategy can look very different depending on the type of influencers your brand engages with. Below we take a look at the three most common types of influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing on the smallest scale, nano-influencer marketing involves collaboration with individuals who boast relatively small followings. Audiences in this category will usually range from between 1,000 and 10,000 followers. Naturally, while the reach of nano-influencers is limited, it’s worth noting that these smaller influencers can have more highly engaged and loyal audiences when compared to macro-influencers. Additionally, nano-influencer marketing can be the perfect option when it comes to local businesses or those that offer more niche products/services. This is because, typically speaking, these influencers can bring a more personal touch that resonates more strongly with their community of followers.
Micro-influencer marketing involves collaborating with social influencers that have a following of anywhere between 10,000 and 100,000 people. The most common form of influencer marketing, this strategy allows brands to take advantage of a balance between reach and engagement. This is to say, micro-influencers tend to still have a specific niche, which allows brands to market to an engaged targeted audience. However, they also have a much larger following than super-niche, or local-based, nano-influencers, meaning a brand can take advantage of a larger reach.
As the name suggests, macro-influencer marketing involves working with influencers – in many cases household names and celebrities – who have a following that exceeds 100,000 people. Indeed, this includes those with more than 1 million followers, who fall into the subcategory of ‘mega-influencers’. As you’d expect, this strategy is ideal for large brands looking for widespread visibility. However, it’s important to remember that this form of marketing can be very expensive, especially considering there is no guarantee an influencer’s entire following is always fully engaged. It’s also essential for brands to do their homework prior to collaborating with huge influencers. After all, aligning your brand with macro-influencers whose values conflict with those of your brand can result in reputational damage later down the line.
Why is influencer marketing important?
In order to make influencer marketing work for your brand, it’s first important to understand why it has become a crucial part of modern marketing in recent years and how it relates to your specific goals and targets. Below we take a look at four reasons this form of marketing is so important in modern digital marketing.
1.It builds trust in your brand
An influencer’s success is defined by their ability to build strong relationships with their followers. Because of this, unlike with some traditional advertising, when a potential customer sees your brand via sponsored influencer content, they are more likely to view it as a genuine recommendation of your brand. This can build consumer confidence in your brand and its products/services in a more authentic way.
2.You can concentrate on more targeted audiences
As discussed above, different types of influencer marketing strategies can be used to target different demographics and niches. While traditional forms of marketing require the net to be cast wide in order to engage with as many potential customers as possible, influencer marketing allows you to strategically focus on a specific area. This means, through carefully chosen influencer collaborations, brands can reach concentrated target audiences, ensuring their message resonates with the right group of people.
When compared with traditional marketing channels, collaborating with influencers can be far more cost-effective. This is especially true for smaller businesses looking to work with nano and micro-influencers. These simple strategies typically involve relatively low investment and can provide an accessible entry point to concentrated target markets for brands with limited budgets.
4.It boosts brand visibility and engagement quickly
Social media platforms use algorithms that prioritise content produced by popular influencers. Naturally, this means if you work with the right influencers, your brand visibility – specifically on the social media feeds of those in your target market – will increase. In turn, this allows brands to tap into the influencer’s established audience, leading to a boost in brand engagement. These boosts can start happening from the moment an influencer publishes the sponsored content you have created with them.
So, there you have it – a quick look at the importance of influencer marketing. By understanding the nuances of this approach and appreciating the diverse types of influencers available, brands can build more meaningful and direct connections with their target audience, ultimately driving engagement, visibility and sales.