By Ed Brew, head of strategic partnerships, PostForRentBritish entrepreneurship remains as strong as ever and, while good for the economy, this does present challenges for businesses: with so much competition, it can be difficult to stand out. However, many businesses have found success through influencer marketing, leveraging individuals with significant social media followings to attract attention to their products/services.
The benefits over traditional marketing are clear: the ROI for influencer marketing campaigns can be as much as 11 times higher than those for ‘traditional’ ones. It isn’t hard to understand why either; when faced with an impersonal corporation or a relatable and authentic voice, who are you more likely to engage with? Statistics tell the same story, with 74 per cent of Millennials stating that social media influences their purchases.
The simple truth is that a business talking about itself can only get so far; you need to have other people talking about you to really have an effect, and that’s what influencers can offer. But can it work for smaller businesses?
Macro vs microNot all influencers are the same. Macro-influencers command enormous follower numbers, often well into the six-figure range. However, with this prominence comes hefty costs, with it not being uncommon to pay fees of £50,000+ for one social post.
Micro-influencers, however, have more modest follower numbers, which for smaller brands could be better. They generally return comparatively higher levels of engagement – a metric which shows how much a post has been interacted with – than macros.
This is helped greatly by their smaller size as they can spend more time interacting with followers, creating deeper relationships, and often have a more concentrated audience than their macro counterparts, with many of them covering very specific niches. As such, their followers are more invested in their content, which often isn’t oversaturated with brand collaborations. This gives your brand messages a greater chance of cutting through.
Setting goals and setting outThe first question asked should be “What do we want from this campaign?” Without knowing what the ultimate end-goal is, an influencer will struggle to create relevant content that will help you. There’s a full spectrum of influencers, content platforms and content types, all of which are suited to achieving different goals. For example, Instagram is better suited to driving an audience to a specific place, while TikTok is better suited to brand awareness and community engagement through user-generated content.
Identify influencersThe next task is to work out which influencers appeal to your target demographic. There are a couple of places to start; either by searching key terms related to your business, and looking for content creators that naturally align, or by using an influencer marketing database.
A database allows you to get detailed information on the audience of an influencer, from standard demographic data to their brand affinities, most influential fans, credibility score and more. All of this due diligence is crucial to ensure you work with the right influencers.
Once a list of ideal influencers has been created, it’s time to reach out, giving a description of the business, what is needed from them and why they’d fit; making sure to agree payment and project deliverables. Don’t be afraid to negotiate here.
Content creationIt’s important to let the creators do what they do best. Remember that you don’t want the content to look like an advert. Try to resist the urge to control and give them as much freedom as you can; they know their audience best and will offer the most credible way to communicate your message to them.
Stifling their creativity will simply result in bland, underperforming content. As long as you are able to review the content before it goes live, revisioning if necessary, you should be on to a winner.
MeasurementWhat counts as ‘success’ for a business will be dependent on your campaign goals, but there are a few evergreen results that are always good to check.
Sentiment analysis shows how people are talking about the brand online. This is useful for working out how the intended target audience feels about the influencers’ content and the overall brand.
Conversion tracking will also provide insight into which pieces of content have been most successful at driving people to your site or to download your app. By giving influencers a link with a UTM parameter, you can track where traffic to the website has come from, something that is much more difficult with other forms of advertising.
SMEs can benefit greatly from running influencer marketing campaigns. Not only are they often cost-efficient, they deliver impressive results and always have that exciting potential to go far beyond what you expect. Influencers provide brands with a more genuine way to engage with their target customers than traditional advertising, as well as tangible campaign data. This often translates into better sales, which can only be good for business.