Influencer marketing is among the most effective forms of marketing communication on social media. Part of this is because (compared to other forms of advertising) it integrates well into the format of social media platforms and what users expect to see. Traditional advertising is easy to gloss over on our phones, but having an influencer present and endorsing a product gives the marketing a more human touch.
In this article, we will cover the recent trends pertaining to influencer marketing, why it’s important, and how to start up as an influencer. We’ll also briefly look into the various platform-specific data that is relevant to this topic.
Influencer Marketing Trends
Many companies are using influencer marketing extensively. 65% of companies plan to increase their investments in the influencer market. Almost 83% of firms derive influencer spending from their marketing budget. A 2019 MediaKix survey showed that a majority of companies believed this form of marketing to be more effective than many other online promotional practices.
The most successful platforms are Instagram and Insta stories, TikTok, and Facebook. That said, Facebook influencers have been declining in recent years, with Twitch and TikTok influencers on the rise. YouTube influencer marketing has also risen from 2020 levels.
There have been a number of studies on the impact of influencers on online purchase intent. When it comes to influencer marketing, stats show that authenticity, trustworthiness, credibility, legitimacy, the expertise of the influencers along with perceived honesty are the main features that consumers identify as deciding factors for online purchase intent.
Benefits of Influencer Marketing
As a format, it offers very high audience engagement simply by virtue of collaborating with someone who has a loyal audience. It works a lot like celebrity endorsements on traditional media but the appeal is often different. As mentioned earlier, Gen-Z and Millennials tend to be more sceptical of traditional, glossy advertising. The down-to-earth nature of most influencers makes the promotional content feel less manufactured.
It also makes use of positive associations certain influencers bring with them. Traditional ads spend a lot of time creating a mood and style to go with the brand and conveying it to the consumer. With an influencer, a company can associate their desired style and brand values fairly easily with the audience.
Another major benefit is the use of niches that can net (potentially) much higher influencer marketing ROI. Many online personalities such as tech influencers or makeup influencers have an in-built audience. By targeting specific niches, companies within these industries can vastly reduce waste readership or viewership for their ads. After all, interested parties are already members of the fan base and trust the expertise of the person on-screen.
What Influencers can offer
Different types of niches within influencer marketing also have specific perks. For example, tech influencers or game-streamers (once they get big enough) become an avenue of valuable marketing for many brands. This gives brands and influencers a symbiotic relationship, where they begin to depend on each other’s marketing techniques. Brands can easily get reviewers to review their products by sending in samples and influencers get free products plus new content.
Similarly, many influencers don’t just make solo content. Some social media influencers, like music or consumer goods reviewers, interview people over YouTube. This can be a good way to promote an album or a new product. This can backfire if they don’t like your product, but be a major boost if they enjoy it.
YouTubers often place partnered brand ads in between their videos. These offer better exposure than YouTube’s display ads since people will associate the product with being endorsed by the influencer.
How to Find Influencers for Your Brand
The simplest way is to reach out to them, although this can be harder for more popular personalities. You can find influencers through agencies and content marketing services that specialise in placing ads. Brands looking for influencers tend to price their offers based on a number of factors that we’ll discuss below.
Additionally, many agencies handle the YouTube affiliate marketing services for a vast client base. Many high-end creators (in e-sports for example) sign on with management firms and representatives these days. Contacting such agencies with an offer allows companies to buy ad space with influencers.
Types of Deals
- Shoutouts: a small reference to the product.
- Giveaways: influencers offer the product or a discounted service to subscribers.
- Platform Takeovers: the influencer takes over the brand’s social media and posts content through it (often happens on TikTok).
- Advertisements or sponsored content: the influencer either creates content for the brand or posts content the brand has prepared.
- Affiliate marketing: the influencer can receive a commission which is usually based on sales. This can often be tracked through discount codes made specifically for each influencer.
- Brand ambassadorship: a long-term agreement where the influencer becomes the face of the brand and sport the advertising logo as much as possible.
Influencer Marketing Price Factors
As mentioned earlier, rates can depend on the size of the audience (among other factors). The easiest way to predict exposure is audience size or subscriber count, however, it may not always be the most effective way of measuring influencer outreach.
Keep in mind that audience sizes mean different things on different platforms. Some platforms have been around a long time but don’t have as many active users. Similarly, many people may subscribe to a page but rarely watch the content. This means that many of the biggest YouTube channels or FB pages may have very low engagement rates.
The type of content can matter. If they’re just going to tweet or make a small story lightly featuring your product, it can be cheaper than a 30-second spot in a YouTube video. The demand for the influencer and advertising ROI for brands similar to yours are also key figures you might need.
Lastly, rates can vary per platform.
In 2021 the rates per platform are as follows:
How to Become an Online Influencer
The brief version of your content goals:
- Develop a content marketing strategy
- Find an audience
- Develop a resonant persona
- Build a reliable community out of the audience
- Find a valuable place within a niche
- Create a brand presence (sell merch, acquire sponsorships etc.)
The harsh truth is that you need a fan base beforehand for these types of social media jobs and brand sponsorships. A person doesn’t become an influencer unless they have sufficient clout or service that garners attention. A certain level of media outreach is necessary before brands come to you with offers or you can begin requesting to sell your ad space.
Another point worth noting is that it’s not enough to put out content. The best influencers develop communities and loyal audiences around themselves. After all, you need to have influence among people. The best way to do this is to have a persona that people are attracted to.
Is your content informative or funny or inspiring or can you provide information and insight no one else has? Work on your presentation and unique selling points. You can also hire an editor to help spruce up videos or articles.
Once you have an audience and a marketable persona, you can attract sponsorships and sell merchandise. Nowadays, platforms like YouTube and Bandcamp let you sell your own goods on their site. Even if those don’t suit your needs, there are plenty of other options. It’s never been easier to sell your own branded goods.
Misc. Advice on Niches & Platform
Influencer marketing jobs come in after you’ve cultivated a useful niche. To speed up this process, it would be useful to have good research about your market and fan-base available to show companies. The platform and medium both matter in conjunction with what your niche is.
Becoming a gaming influencer is probably most common on Twitch and YouTube. Twitch influencers, for example, can get pretty good deals with gaming and electronics/accessory suppliers. However, as with most marketing endeavours, you need to keep secondary promotional channels (an Instagram page, Facebook groups etc.).
Musicians and performers can make great use of TikTok to promote new trends easily. Similarly, beauty product brands have been known to partner with prominent YouTubers and take part in joint ventures.
Resources for Influencer Marketing
There are a number of resources that can aid you in finding an influencer or becoming one. The influencer marketing hub is especially good for getting new info and latest news within the industry. While this article is more general and accessible, the hub can provide a lot of the specifics you’ll need.
YouTube produces workshops for their own creators that can be particularly insightful. We’ve also done previous articles about TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook marketing that dive deeper into the platform specifics. Be sure to check those out.