Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is the process of identifying, researching, engaging and supporting the people who create high-impact conversations with your customers.

Influencer Marketing, Done Right.

Is there anything more polarizing in internet culture than the rise of the social media influencer? Love it or hate it, the truth is businesses have to embrace it if you want to stay relevant in today’s world. We’re not talking about the bad influencer marketing (aka inauthentic product promotion by non-relevant celebrities), we’re talking about the unbelievably impactful, advocacy-generating and brand-building marketing that is propelling a new generation of companies and breathing life into heritage brands around the world. Here’s our primer for all things influencer marketing.

Read on to discover:

  • Top Trends & Hot Issues to Expect in 2020 and beyond.
  • Companies With Enviable Influencer Programs
  • 5 Components of Top-Performing Influencer Strategies

A Brief History of Influencer Marketing

In short, influencer marketing is as old as time. It’s always been important for brands to connect with the influential thought-leaders and opinion-makers in their space. What has changed is the breadth and depth of these influential profiles. What used to be celebrities and journalists is now available to the masses.

When Traackr was founded in 2009 (Pre-Instagram Era), these dynamics were shaking up the business technology industry. Journalists and analysts were being overtaken by passionate experts who built their own networks on Twitter and via their blogs.

The same effect was quickly felt across the beauty, fashion, and travel industries. Today, all businesses are impacted by this social transformation which has resulted in a world where brands must embrace their communities or risk extinction.

The Rise of the Influencer Marketing Platform

As dollars poured into influencer marketing, serious brands needed a way to organize and measure their core activities. It was no longer feasible to discover influencers and track campaigns manually. Senior management started asking questions and demanding data to demonstrate ROI.

Influencer Marketing Software was developed to help organizations optimize their processes, stimulate collaboration across geographies and departments, allocate resources, measure results and, above all, maximize the impact of their efforts.

You should expect your influencer marketing platform to enable efficiency and increased productivity; data driven decision making; increased impact through prioritization on the most relevant content and people; cross functional and multi-user collaboration; support global influencer initiatives; and provide consistent measurement frameworks. Explore top use uses for influencer marketing technology including influencer discovery to relationship management to market-level benchmarking.  

7 Companies With Enviable Influencer Programs

Amika

Initially known as a professional hair-care line, amika began to broaden it’s direct-to-consumer strategy in 2018, including relaunching with beauty retailer Sephora. To support this effort, amika brought on Traackr to increase their influencer marketing efforts; leading to a successful relaunch. Find out what led to their success

Melia Hotels International

Once flooded by influencer requests with no way to evaluate potential partners, this hotel brand implemented a global influencer strategy that supports 6 hotel brands across 43 countries and drives bookings. Read the case study.

Coty

The Hairdresser is the number one influencer amongst salon professionals. Coty uses Traackr to discover and activate nano influencers with strong community engagement. Hear from Coty Professional’s VP of Influencer Marketing.

Michelin

Seemingly straightforward, tires are much more complex than they may initially appear. Michelin wanted to partner with influencers who drive sports cars on a regular basis, that truly understand the value of their product. Read our interview with Michelin's VP of Marketing for Northern Europe.

Kiehl's

In March 2019, Kiehl’s relaunched one of it’s best selling face creams for the UK market. For the campaign, they activated a paid partnership with a content creator with a long history of brand loyalty for Kiehls. See why Kiehl’s took home a coveted Glossy Award.

SAP

When you think of Influencer Marketing, Facebook may not be the first platform that comes to mind. But for SAP, they’ve seen some incredible success using Facebook Live. They activate influencers by treating them like clients. Find out how.

Microsoft  

A global company, Microsoft activates influencers world-wide. However, influencer management has to remain local; taking into consideration all the different customs, laws and languages. Listen to their strategy.

5 Steps to an Effective Influencer Marketing Strategy

The best influencer marketing strategies all start by understanding your business goals. What is your organization trying to accomplish? What are the overarching themes my marketing leaders have set for the year? How does my organization help customers solve their problems? Who do I want to talk about and feel connected to my brand? Lastly, what will it look like if we succeed? If you start with this end in mind, you are halfway there. The next five steps will catapult you.

Step #1: Define your Audience

Knowing your target customers is an integral step in kicking off any influencer effort. It’s important to define who your customer is; from their location, age and gender, to their marital status and interests. Understanding who impacts how they evaluate, discover and buy your product (or service) is essential for kicking off any influencer effort. You’ll use your audience personas in the next step.

Step #2: Discover the Right Influencers

Being influential is all about context. You need to find people who produce and share content that can impact your business or your buyer’s decision making process. Their demographic should match your ideal audience. Ideally the influencers you work with should be an organic advocate for your brand, or someone who is highly engaged with your customers. The days of paying the influencer with the most followers to promote your product are in the past. Now it’s all about quality over quantity and ensuring you’re wisely allocating your budget. Data-driven insights make it a lot easier to vet influencers.

Step #3: Monitor Influencers for Opportunities

Tap in to see what’s happening in real time. You’ll need to discover what your target influencers are writing about, talking about, and more importantly – what’s their audience up to? Software makes this part a lot easier, it also helps you find those organic advocates. Our IMB software also allows you to see where you map out amongst your competitors.

Step #4: Take Action & Engage

Next, you’ll start building a relationship. Following, sharing, and linking to your influencers will be the first step in a fruitful relationship. Next, you’ll want to reach out to the influencer by email. Based on your strategy, you may pursue organic or paid influencer collaborations. Some brands find that organic works best; gifting products to those who are already advocating for their brand, others require a blend. Whether you’re doing product seeding, promotional exchanges, or simply paid advertising, you’ll want an influencer relationship management tool to help you track your communications.

Step #5: Measure Your Results

As you build out your influencer program, you’ll want to keep track of your effectiveness. Are your online relationships translate into more website views, purchases, or social media impressions? This can take up a lot of time and energy, but Influencer Marketing software makes it a lot easier. If you want to know more, read our article on how market-level insights will change the way you invest in influencers. Learn, iterate, and adjust your program.

What’s Trending for 2020?

Influencer marketing is continuously gaining popularity. By now, not only have marketers caught on to the ROI and relationship-building potential, but have begun to capitalize on it. But just how big is it? In 2018 a worldwide study of CMOs found that 30.5% are increasing their focus on influencer marketing in 2019. Brands are set to spend $15 billion on influencer marketing by 2022. 

No matter the size or costs associated with influencer marketing, a few key trends have arisen in just the past year. Here’s what you can expect to see more of:

Increased regulation

As more money has passed hands among influencer marketing practitioners, increased regulation has followed. The law requires that brands and influencers clearly disclose when posts are born out of “material connections”, and can be held liable when they do not. The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) defines “material connections” as anything from monetary payment, to a free trip, a gift or even an ownership stake

The FTC has taken some action against celebrity influencers, sending them letters reminding them of advertising policies on social media, but ultimately they appear to be refocusing on regulated industries. It’s expected that they’ll focus their crack down on the advertising of vaping and tobacco products-- particularly those aimed at teenagers. Additionally, they have begun restricting the promotion of predatory detox tea, cosmetic procedure, and “miracle” weight loss companies. 

Increased Attention on Fraud Detection

The practice of buying followers and likes is not new. However, as companies continue to expand their influencer marketing budgets and reward influencers purely based on audience size, the industry has inadvertently incentivized the rise of fake influence. In addition to purchasing followers, there is also the tactic of trading comments and likes amongst influencers. These are called Instagram pods, and while Instagram has worked to eliminate them, they still exist through apps like Whatsapp and Telegram.  

The purpose of pods is to help influencers “beat” the algorithm so they are able to expand their audiences and impress brands with their engagement rate. Additionally, Influencers participate in loop giveaways to increase “real” followers, despite proof that there is minimal value in their new following.

Micro + Nano Influencers

By now, it’s widely understood that micro and nano influencers offer the most targeted, direct and engaged audiences. They’re also much more affordable for the average company, and their followers tend to trust them more than major influencers. 

Micro-influencers have under 100k followers. Typically, these are people who found their fame on the internet. Because of this, you can trust that their audience follows them for their niche. Nano-influencers tend to have under 5k followers, most of which they are connected to in real life. They’re a relatively new breed of Influencer, with influence in their own communities. Working with nano influencers can be beneficial to brands who are trying to work with everyday people. It’s also worth noting that this group has the highest level of engagement.

Niche Influencers

In the saturated influencer marketing space, it’s become increasingly important to have a niche. Not only does it increase your opportunity for growth, but it makes your account more desirable for brand partnerships. Some unique influencer-spaces we’ve seen grow thus far are van-life YouTubers and ASMR; but there is an influencer for every interest. Partnering with a niche influencer is an effective way for brands to tap into a highly-targeted audience.

Keep up with the latest developments in influencer marketing by visiting our influencer marketing blog.

To learn more about Traackr’s technology platform, click here.

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