Question 1. What Is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is the practice of partnering with powerful social media users to shape their audience’s purchase decisions and behaviours. These social media users hold a level of influence over their audience due to their credibility, authenticity, and quality of their content.
Question 2. Is Influencer Marketing A Form Of Content Marketing?
Of course! Content marketing is an approach concentrated on creating and distributing valuable and relevant content targeted at a clearly defined audience in order to drive valuable action. Influencer marketing is a method of distributing content to a targeted group of consumers via social media influencers.
Question 3. What Is The Difference Between An Influencer And A Brand Ambassador/brand Advocate?
There has been a lot of discussion about the differences between an influencer and a brand ambassador as we see them popping up more and more on our news feed.
So, let’s settle this once and for all.
The difference between a brand ambassador and an influence has to do with the type of work they do with brands, and how they are compensated. An influence is someone who treats their blog and their social networks as a business, protect their personal brand and have a loyal, engaged following. Influencers typically work with brands they have an affinity for and run short-term campaigns. In return, influencers receive some form of compensation.
On the other hand, brand ambassadors may, or may not have a large, engaged following and work with brands on a more long-term basis. In return, ambassadors are typically paid on a retainer basis for being loud and proud to represent a brand. Ideally, an influencer turns into a brand ambassador as they represent higher authenticity and credibility.
Question 4. How Long Has Influencer Marketing Been Around For?
Influence as an ability to have an effect on another person has been around since the beginning of time. We know this as word of mouth. Influence from a marketing perspective stretches back to the early 1900’s when Babe Ruth became one of the first celebrities to endorse various companies. Marketers used Babe Ruth to endorse their products because he had a strong influence over his audience – an idea that carries on today in influencer marketing.
However, influencer marketing as we know it today is fairly new. The beginnings of influencer marketing are in blogging. In January of 1994, Justin Hall created the first blog ever. Since then, growth has been tremendous. By June of 2003, Google launched Ad Sense, which matches ads to blog content. Just two years later, an estimated $100 million worth of blog ads were sold.
By 2009, Technorati reported that 28% of bloggers were being compensated for their blogging and by 2012 people were able to make a living off of it. 2012 is the same year that Facebook filed for an IPO, and Twitter, Instagram and YouTube were on the rise. Before long, bloggers were getting paid to promote products/services on social media as well. According to Ad Week, 75% of marketers are now using influencer marketing, and it continues to rapidly grow.
Question 5. What Are The Most Popular Industries/categories For Influencer Marketing?
Burst Media’s study found that the highest earned media value for every dollar spent was in CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods) Food, Retail/Apparel and Tourism/Travel. CPG Foods earned $11.33 for every dollar spent on Burst influencer marketing campaigns in 2014, Fashion earned $10.48, and Tourism/Travel earned $7.04. These are not necessarily the most popular categories, but because they are the best performing, marketers in these industries are more likely to invest in influencer marketing campaigns.
Question 6. Is Influencer Marketing Appropriate For Every Brand?
If your audience is on social media, and influencer marketing can work for your brand. There are, of course, some cases that are more challenging than others but with the right tools and expertise, any influencer marketing campaign can be a success. If you want to do an influencer marketing campaign but don’t know if it suits your brand, sit down with an influencer marketing professional and they will help you put together the perfect strategy for you. The beauty of influencer marketing is that you can tailor your campaign to fit your company’s needs and objectives.
Question 7. Is A Large Following The Only Thing You Need To Be Considered An Influencer?
Influencer marketing is all about quality, not quantity. Although a large audience is often a first-glance giveaway someone is not your average social media user, numbers are not the only important thing when identifying influencers. In order to find the best influencers, you need to dig a little deeper. This brings us to our next question that will help identify what is really important when finding influencers.
Question 8. What Should I Look For In An Influencer?
There are a few things that make a great influencer stand out like a fruit loop in a bowl of cheerios. At gShift, we have found the best influencers are called ‘micro-influencers’. These are influencers who are often overlooked because of their ‘smaller’ audience size. However, micro-influencers often have an extremely engaged audience and sometimes the ability to focus on very specific, local areas.
Look for influencers that are engaging with their audiences, are authentic and have a personal brand, have credibility in their category and a loyal following. These are the metrics that will set a good influencer apart from a great one. Learn more about what social media influencers look like by checking out In Networks blog post: The Anatomy of a Social Media Influencer.
Question 9. What Are Some ‘red Flags’ When Looking For Influencers?
When looking for an influencer there are a few ‘red flags’ that should turn you away from working with an influence. First, look for fake followers. Shifts platform identifies fake followers to ensure the influencers you work with have a real and genuine audience. It is natural for a profile to gather spam followers, especially as they grow in size but make sure the ratio is low so your content is reaching a real audience.
Next, take a look at the last time the influencer posted and post frequency. They may have been the ‘bees knees’ back in the day, but if they haven’t posted since 2014, their followers have likely lost interest. A true influencer posts consistently to keep the interest of their audience.
Lastly, avoid working with influencers who haven’t established a personal brand. If there is no consistency in the type of content that they post, they lose credibility – no one can be influential in a wide variety of topics.
Question 10. How Often Should An Influencer Post On Social Media?
The post frequency of an influencer depends on their category and primary platform. For example, the post frequency for Twitter is much higher when compared to YouTube. The average post frequency on Twitter is between 1 and 15 tweets a day. This is massive compared to the average 1 to 4 posts per month on YouTube. This is due to the time and effort that goes into a post on each given platform.
Categories also have an effect on post frequency because certain categories have an affinity to certain networks. For example, Business influencers have an affinity to Twitter, which would make their post frequency quite high. On the other hand, beauty influencers have more of an affinity to YouTube and Instagram, both of which require a lower post frequency in order to maintain an engaged audience.
Question 11. How Do I Find Influencers?
There are two ways to find influencers:
By manually digging through the world wide web, often through social media, or by using a trustworthy influencer marketing platform. With Shifts Influencer Marketing Module, you can search based on keywords and refine the search using target audience filters. When looking at the influencer profiles, analyze the audience and engagement metrics to help you pick an influencer that aligns with your company objectives.
Question 12. How Do I Pick An Influencer That Will Resonate With My Target Market?
Making a clear outline of your objectives as a brand is always the best way to start a campaign. When you have clear objectives, the right influencer will jump out at you. For example, if your objective is to increase sales, look for an influence with an engaged and loyal social following that responds well to previous branded content. Or, if you objective is to increase brand awareness, look for an influencer that has a large social following to increase your reach potential.
Above all, when identifying influencers, take an audience-centric approach. This goes beyond audience demographics. Influencer marketing makes it possible to target a more niche and specific market. Take advantage of this and define your target market based on their interests and lifestyles, then look for influencers that post content that would resonate those lifestyles, interests and demographics. For example, if your target market is interested in active living, an influencer that posts about hiking, nutrition or fitness may have a following of people interested in your product.
Question 13. What Are The Steps Involved In Running An Influencer Marketing Campaign?
- Step 1: Identify the right influencers: gShift large database of quality, hand-vetted influencers cuts through the noise to find you the influencers and audiences that matter.
- Step 2: Reach out & Engage Influencers: This is where you reach out to influencers with a pitch they simply cannot refuse and negotiate a timeline, deliverables and compensation.
- Step 3: Track & Monitor: Throughout the campaign, monitor your progress using contextures to ensure you are meeting benchmarks and that influencers are performing well.
- Step 4: Measure: Use g Shift reporting tools to gain insight into your campaign and measure which channels, content and influencers had the greatest impact.
Question 14. What Are Some Characteristics Of A Successful Influencer Marketing Campaign?
A successful influencer marketing campaign depends on what your objectives are as a company. The closer you are to meeting your objectives at the end of the campaign, the better. This is why it is important to set clear objectives before you start a campaign so that you can monitor your success throughout and stay on track.
A successful influencer marketing campaign has the potential to create a positive image of your brand, generate brand awareness, influence consumer buying behaviours, increase traffic to your website, enhance SEO or generate sales. Every brand defines their own success but every successful campaign is built upon a strong relationship with influencers, and an influencer marketing platform and professionals that can help turn that relationship into reaching company objectives.
Question 15. What Guidelines/restrictions Do Influencers Have When Promoting A Brand/product?
Like with any form of marketing, there are legal restrictions in place in order to eliminate deceptive practices. Any endorsement or promotion of a product done by an influencer that is paid for by a brand or agency must be disclosed as a paid message.
If you are working with an agency to run your influencer marketing campaign, ask for an outline of their policies surrounding disclosure agreements to ensure your influencers know they are responsible for stating that they are compensated in some form, and that disclosure is prominent.
Influencers are also not allowed to make false claims about a brand. For more information on disclosures, check out another great In Network blog post: Why Influencers Should Use Disclaimers in Promoted Posts.
Question 16. Can I Tell The Influencer What To Say?
The quick answer is you really shouldn’t try to control an influencer’s message. However, no two influencers are alike. Some influencers are sharers and some are creators. Sharers predominantly share previously written or posted content from other content creators or brands. Creators, on the other hand, create all of their own content and hold all of their own opinions.
In the end, the influencer has the right to determine what they will or will not post on their social accounts. As long as there is a mutual agreement between a brand and an influencer to say something specific and there is prominent disclosure, you are good to go. Keep in mind, influencers are experts at engaging with their audience in a way that resonates with them, so trust them.
Lastly, don’t be shy. It’s fair to ask your influencers for a draft of their content before posting it on the internet, to make sure there are no misinterpretations on the expectations of the campaign or any incorrect information regarding the brand. But keep edits minimal – it is more authentic when it is in the voice of the influencer.
Question 17. What Are The Most Effective Social Channels For Influencer Marketing?
There is not one, almighty, social channel that trumps all others. The most effective channel is personal to the influencer and the category they are in. Influencers in visual categories like interior design or digital arts gravitate to more visual platforms like Pinterest and Instagram. In contrast, less visual categories like business or literature may rely more on Twitter, blogs or LinkedIn. The most effective platform is the one that best caters to your audience and best displays your content.
Question 18. What Is The Minimum Amount Of Followers You Need To Be Considered An Influencer?
There is no set minimum number of followers required in order to be considered an influence. Audience size varies quite a bit depending on what category you are an influence in. For example, an awesome video game influencer will likely have much less followers than a well-known fashion influencer. However, if someone has less than 2000 followers on their primary platform, that is a pretty good sign that they are not an influence. To put the size of influencers in perspective, some of the largest influencers have millions of followers.
Question 19. How Does Influencer Marketing Affect Your Seo?
Like a happy meal comes with the added bonus of a toy, influencer marketing comes with the added bonus of improving your SEO. How are these two things connected? According to Ready Pulse, as much as 25% of search results come from user generated content. This means that influencers mentioning your brand on social media can increase your visibility and discoverability in a huge way. Learn more about how influencer marketing can improve your SEO with our Audience Development Guidebook!
To take your influencer marketing campaign to the next level, include specific keywords and hashtags for influencers to include in their blog posts and social media content in order to optimize their content and be found online. It’s a win-win for both the brand and influencer.
Question 20. Are Influencers Paid?
Most influencers are paid. How much you ask? This all depends on the influencer. The industry, audience size, engagement levels, experience working with brands, and deliverables all come into play when determining the price of an influence. We recommend treating your influencers like an online marketing consultant. Pay them for their time and influential voice and in return you will have more accountable and harder working influencers.
Question 21. What Are Other Forms Of Compensation For Influencers?
Money is not the only form of compensation that influencers can receive for their work. Again, the type of compensation can depend on the influencer you are working with and your budget. Other types of compensation include discounts, commissions on sales or free products/services! Most influencers prefer to get compensated with money because they can’t all survive off of A&W gift cards or a lifetime supply of white strips, but again, all influencers are different.
Question 22. Is An Influencer Marketing Campaign Expensive?
Influencer marketing works because it is adaptable based on your budget. It is appealing to many marketers because of the cost efficiency compared to more traditional marketing campaigns and strategies. Your objectives, timeline, industry, the type of influencers you are looking to engage with and the amount of time you are able to dedicate to your campaign are all factors that contribute to your overall cost.
Budgeting for an influencer marketing campaign is a lot like ordering frozen yogurt, the more toppings you get, the more it will cost. Working with an influencer marketing professional can help create a campaign that will meet your objectives and still stay within your budget.
Question 23. Why Should I Use Influencer Marketing Over Paid Ads Or Other Forms Of Marketing?
According to the 2015 Ad Blocking Report, there were 198 million active ad blockers around the world. This means that the advertisements you are spending big money on, are potentially not even being seen by your target market. To make the number of consumers you are reaching even smaller, according to a Simply Measured report, only 33% of consumer’s trust company advertisements, and that’s IF they aren’t already blocking them from their screens. On the other hand, 74% of consumers rely on social media to inform their purchase decisions and a massive 90% of consumers trust peer recommendation. Scott Cook answers this question perfectly in one sentence, “A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is.”
Question 24. What Are The Benefits Of Running An Influencer Marketing Campaign?
There are countless benefits to running an influencer marketing campaign. First and foremost, influencer marketing campaigns are built around trust. According to a study done by Neilson, 92% of consumers say the most trusted source of information is from someone we know. Although we may not personally know the influencers we follow on social media, we watch their life unfold via social media and we are able to relate to them on a personal level.
The second benefit of Influencer Marketing campaigns is Reach. Influencers are getting bigger by the minute, which means the potential for your branded content to be seen by your target market is increasing dramatically. Third, the alternative marketing avenues are becoming less and less effective. 86% of people skip TV commercials, 44% of direct mail is never opened and 91% of people have unsubscribed from company emails they previously opted to. (Source: Business2Community).
Finally, and most important to many brands, money. As previously mentioned, the ROI for influencer marketing is on average $6.85 for every dollar spent on Influencer Marketing. (Source: eMarketer). To find out more benefits of running an Influencer Marketing campaign, you’ll just have to try it for yourself!
Congratulations, you are now on your way to becoming an influencer marketing expert! To learn more about influencer marketing, keep up with the latest trends, and see what’s cooking at gShift labs, subscribe to our RSS feed!
Question 25. How Many Influencers Should I Target?
This really depends on what campaign you are running, but as a rule of thumb we see that between 100-200 influencers is a good starting point, as this is a manageable number and these influencers will in turn influence the wider community. When analyzing larger topics like climate change for example, there are often thousands of influencers influencing different audiences around the world and the temptation is to try and target many more. However we would suggest still starting with 100-200, so long as you can identify different influencer groups who influence the right mix of global and local communities. Once you have successfully engaged the top influencers consider adding more to scale your program, but only if they have significant engagement within the community.
Question 26. What Keywords Should I Track?
We would recommend starting by creating a list of keywords relevant to your brand and product category, as well as reputational issues and thought leadership topics. You could also search for specific individuals to see how they are being mentioned by the influencer community or in conjunction with another topic. For example if you wanted to know how Bill Gates was mentioned in conjunction with education you could include “Bill Gates AND education” in your search query.
Question 27. How Many Topics Should I Analyse When Identifying Influencers?
You should select the topics which best reflect your brand messages or the product category you want to be associated with. If you have too many keywords consider aggregating them into topic buckets which best reflect your main thought leadership themes or brand messaging. If you have multiple product campaigns you may need to run separate queries.
For example you could have one list focused on the over arching topics of sustainability and climate change, whilst incorporating all the sub topics and themes within those topics . Then you could have another list that may be focused on renewable energy, incorporating all sub topics and keywords within renewable energy (solar, hydro-electric, wind farms, etc.).
Question 28. Why Should I Segment My Influencer Marketplace?
The reason you would want to segment your influencer community is to understand what the different influencer groups really care about so you can align messaging to your different audiences. You’re not going to approach a beauty blogger in the same way you would approach an academic for example. Segmenting influencer groups allows you to set up alerts, run analytics on different influencer groups and track how effective your content is at reaching them. Example influencer groups could include Celebrities, Journalists, Politicians, Keynote Speakers, Academics and Researchers, Authors, etc.
Question 29. How Do I Best Measure Success?
Success is best measured by tracking: Activity (Volume of Outreach to Influencers), Engagement (2-way interactions from target influencers), Awareness (volume of brand mentions or other relevant topics from your influencer community), Perception (Quality of brand coverage from your influencer community) and Action (site traffic generated by your influencer community).
Question 30. Should I Stay Local Or Go Global?
We have actually written a whole blog devoted to this one which you can read here. A key point worth remembering that influence is often driven more by language and topical interests than geography. Global influencers deliver a better bang for your buck if they can be proven to exert influence in your local market. So often a blend of local and global influencers is the best approach.
Question 31. How Do I Measure The Roi Of Influencer Marketing?
Before determining the ROI you should first determine the Cost of investment (COI). This will vary depending on the scope of your campaign, but you will need to include the cost of researching influencers, setting up influencer programs, providing free product samples to target influencers and your end target audience, as well as resource time spent on content creation and social media outreach. The cost of networking opportunities such as roundtable influencer events should also be factored in.
The ROI of influencer marketing can be measured in the following ways:
- Increase in Earned Media Value and Reach
- Increase in Influencer Engagement
- Improved Sentiment and Perception
- Increase in Brand / Product Advocates
- Increase in Site Traffic
- Brand Awareness
- Increase in enquiries and sales
At Analytical we focus on helping brands and agencies engage with the inner circle of influencers so that through their networks they can help you more effectively influence your end target audience, and we have a tool to enable you to identify, track and engage with influencers. Our Influencer Relationship Management platform (IRM) is for brands looking to scale their 1-to-1 Influencer Relationship Management results. If you’re looking to get started with an influencer program, or want to scale your existing influencer marketing strategy, we have solutions to help you identify, manage and engage with your influencers.
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