Influencer marketing is one of the top growth hacks for brands. It uses the audience and pull of an influencer to get in front of more people - people who are most likely to be interested in your products or services.
Why use influencers in your social marketing? Glad you asked: influencers are true to their name because other people trust their recommendations. From local coffee shops to global brands alike, your target audience wants to know a brand's worth before they pull out a credit card. A social influencer marketing campaign can steer more business in your direction and help you get ahead of your competitors. It's a win/win.
To sweeten the deal, brands have tons of options when leaning on social media influencers to share their brand. Our favorite places for influencer marketing are Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube.
Here's how you can use each one to supercharge your influencer marketing.
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Influencer Marketing on Social Media Platforms: In a Nutshell
Before we dive into the nuts and bolts of influencer marketing, let's set the stage.
Influencer marketing is older than social media, but the term didn't actually appear until the digital marketing era arrived. Think back to all those celebrity-endorsed cereal marketing campaigns you might have seen as a kid - that's influencer marketing at work.
At its heart, an influencer marketing strategy is a lot like word-of-mouth marketing. Influencers recommend a product or service to their circle of followers. They use social media because it's quick, cost-effective, and helps them reach tons of people with little effort. If the influencer has enough credibility, their followers will listen to their recommendations.
Sometimes, this process happens organically. An influencer discovers a great new hairspray or a bomb cocktail, for example, and tells their followers all about it.
And sometimes, this process happens based on a paid partnership with a brand. Just like digital ads, commercials, and direct mail, brands pay big-name influencers to market their products. Influencers can make a tidy sum just by giving their endorsement. In fact, professional influencers charge anywhere from hundreds of dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars per post.
But don't let their high salaries discourage you from embracing influencer marketing. Even small brands with small budgets can find affordable influencers in their niche (usually micro-influencers fit the bill). We're going to show you how right now.
How to Do Instagram Influencer Marketing
More and more brands are turning to Instagram marketing as a way of reaching their target audience. Instagram has become a hot spot for micro-influencers, with more than 1 billion active users and tons of ways to create original content. And despite Instagram doing away with likes to "depressurize the user's experience," Instagram influencer marketing is still as potent as ever.
Recent research found that 83% of Instagram users discover new products and services on the platform. More than 8 in 10 also use the platform with the intent to research products and services, while 80% make buying decisions based on Instagram content.
Here's how you can use Instagram influencer marketing in your strategy:
Know how to Find an Instagram Ambassador
Finding the right Instagram ambassador will help you maximize your efforts. Take a look at their niche as well as their audience size. In what types of content do they specialize? Do they work with brands of your size and stature? Do they have a highly engaged audience?
One way to narrow your focus is to use an Instagram influencer app, like Influence.co or Meltwater's Klear. Some influencer apps are free to use and let you filter results based on location and follower count.
Likewise, you can also do an Instagram search for branded or relevant hashtags. See who is sharing content with your chosen hashtags, then check to see if they have a large audience with a strong engagement rate into which you could tap.
Create Goal-Focused Campaigns
Once you choose your Instagram ambassadors, work together on developing a dedicated Instagram influencer marketing campaign that has specific, measurable goals. Your influencer needs to know what you want to get from the partnership so they can present your campaign in the right light.
For example, do you want the influencer to demo your new mascara? Should they tell a story about their first time wearing your brand's sneakers? Do you want them to organize a giveaway for your product?
If you are looking for direct sales, try turning your influencer into a brand ambassador. Set them up with a unique referral link so they can earn a commission each time someone purchases using their link. This is a great way to see just how much influence they give your brand.
Track Your Progress
Last but not least, you need a way to measure how much impact your influencer makes. This is why we recommend using goal-focused campaigns and not just "brand awareness." Comparing analytics such as website visits and sales during influencer campaigns can help you see whether you're moving the needle.
How to Do LinkedIn Influencer Marketing
LinkedIn seems like an unlikely place for influencer marketing, given its emphasis on professional networking. For an eCommerce brand, this might be true. But as with any type of marketing, it's all about finding your target audience.
LinkedIn works well for B2B influencer marketing. You might use LinkedIn influencers to generate interest in a conference or webinar, drive sales for digital products and B2B services, or gain podcast followers, for example.
LinkedIn is a different breed than other social media platforms. Here, influencers are more focused on growing their reputation than they are on paid posts. They want to expand their audiences, improve their brand image, and build their credibility. These things lead to high-paid endorsement deals from bigger brands and companies, which is what many influencers are really after.
In all honesty, partnering with LinkedIn influencers is just as beneficial to them as it is to you. With this in mind, let's look at some ways you can run an influencer marketing campaign as a part of your LinkedIn marketing strategy :
Influencers can help you increase sign-ups and participation for your webinars or live Q&As. You end up sharing each other's audiences, which can help you both grow your presence.
Interview Experts in Your Podcast
If you have a podcast, ask an expert to join and share valuable insights with your following. They can use your podcast in their own marketing, which can drive more traffic to your website and make you look credible by extension.
Interview Them for an Article
Blog articles can also give your influencers free ways to market themselves by highlighting their expertise. Not only does this give them something to share with their own audience, but it creates a high-value article for other authors to backlink to.
Offer Access to Your Product or Service
If you have a digital tool or service that you charge for, offer to give an influencer free access to it. Let them try it out and start using it in their own business. Sweeten the deal by giving them discounts or incentive codes to share with others.
How to Do Facebook Influencer Marketing
One of the most popular platforms for influencer marketing is Facebook. Facebook influencers are easy to find in just about every niche. The platform has the world's largest user base (roughly 2.89 billion), giving you tons of potential audiences to reach.
Facebook offers many features to support influencer marketing, from groups linked to business pages to branded content tags and even Facebook Live. The approach is largely the same on Facebook compared to other platforms. Influencers can recommend products to their audience, use paid ads, and create original, engaging content for the brand.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Video content is king on Facebook, accounting for more than 100 million hours spent on the network every day. Influencers can create unboxing videos of your products, demonstrate a product, do a video product review, or share a behind-the-scenes look at a product "in the making," for example.
Facebook Live Promotions
Facebook Live brings users into the moment and offers a raw look at your brand. Invite an influencer to attend a company event and have them broadcast their experiences to their fans.
Sponsored posts are paid ads, plain and simple. They include a designation letting others know it's an ad. But don't let that fool you - sponsored posts can be highly effective in driving immediate sales, especially if you give your influencer an exclusive discount to share with their fans.
Let your influencers put your products into the hands of real users. A contest via influencer marketing can be a great way to grow your following, drive users to your website, and gain user-generated content. Plus, your influencer will have the benefit of picking a winner and giving them a prize, all thanks to your brand.
How to Do YouTube Influencer Marketing
One of the original influencer channels, YouTube influencer marketing is still going strong. Online video accounts for more than 80% of consumer web traffic. People love videos because they're so versatile. You can watch a video to simplify a complex topic, learn the exact steps to do something, or discover new brands. Videos add visual interest to a topic and can appeal to a broad audience. The popularity of video is reason enough to create a YouTube marketing strategy.
What does influencer marketing look like in the world of YouTubers? Here are some ideas to spark a new influencer partnership:
One of the most common YouTube influencer formats is to hire influencers to do video product reviews. The visual-heavy aspect of videos allows users to see all facets of a product, almost as though they were trying the product in-store.In some cases, influencers might trade a post in exchange for free products, helping you keep your costs low.
The influencer can talk about your product's features and benefits, how it works, what they like and don't like, and put your product in a positive light.
And with YouTube's many integrated features, the video can also include a link to your store so viewers can purchase the product on the spot.
If you'd prefer to take a non-salesy approach to YouTube influencer marketing, try creating educational content. Educational videos can focus on your audience's biggest questions and pain points. The influencer helps others solve their problems while making your brand (and their own) look good in the process.
Subtle Branded Integrations
Brand mentions within a larger context can give you a subtle nod without coming across too commercially. For example, you can work with an influencer to talk about a bigger topic and have them mention your brand organically in the conversation.
Using Meltwater as an example, we might ask an influencer to talk about the basic building blocks of social media monitoring. They could mention our Media Monitoring platform when they start talking about ways to monitor mentions at scale.
Though the content and the approach will vary, a few things remain the same no matter where you choose to use influencer marketing. Start by knowing who you want to influence. Decide what you want to happen next. Then find the right influencers whose audiences and skills fit the bill. From there, work on nurturing the relationship and enjoy a fruitful collaboration that benefits both sides.
For help finding, contacting, and partnering with influencers in your industry, get in touch to learn how our end-to-end social influencer marketing platform can help you streamline the process of working with influencers.