It’s time that small and medium-sized businesses harness the prowess of influencer marketing, and the proof is in the pudding.
According to an Inc. report published last year, around 46% of surveyed consumers claim to have bought a product or service that was promoted or affiliated by an influencer. An even higher percentage, around 62% of respondents said that they have engaged with sponsored posts on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
Influencers are bringing the products and services consumers want directly to them, and they have the audience numbers to prove their success. Another survey by proprietary eCommerce platform giant, Shopify, shows that 61% of consumers trust influencers’ recommendations.
But why are influencers so successful, and what’s their secret?
For starters, influencers have spent years garnering a loyal band of online and social media followers, and these consumers trust their recommendations and opinions once they partner with a specific brand.
Influencers have become online and digital friends who suggest a specific product or item, only for you to fully trust their authority, reach out to the company and purchase it. 69% of consumers in a recent poll were likely to trust a friend, family member, or influencer over the information they receive from them.
It’s not just a marketing gimmick anymore, and putting a trusted, and authoritative figure next to your line of products and services can almost certainly guarantee a return on capital investment. That is if you know what you’re doing and how to work with influencers.
The Rise And Popularity Of Influencer Marketing In 2023
Despite the positivity surrounding influencer marketing, it’s nothing new to mainstream digital marketing strategies, and corporate brands have for years been leveraging these tactics to increase brand awareness and boost revenue through sales.
In the United States, around three-quarters of marketers will use some sort of influencer marketing tactic this year, with experts suggesting these figures to increase even more in the years to come.
Whether we want to admit it or not, influencer marketing works, and it’s helping companies reach more potential buyers, and putting their products right in front of them.
In the past, corporate brands and companies utilized celebrities for marketing campaigns, and while this worked, for some time, the rapid rise of social media and online platforms quickly replaced them with trendy influencers who have amassed thousands of followers.
Today, social media influencers are everywhere online, and companies, both big and small are seeing improved engagement, better sales, and more brand awareness with the aid of their expertise on both the product and how to sell it to their followers.
How To Work With Influencers In 2023
Ask any business owner or entrepreneur, and they’ll tell you how difficult it is to get their products and services to the right people. Luckily with the internet, and widespread social media adoption, companies now can reach audiences that are within and outside of their locale.
The digital economy now thrives on the internet, and using influencer marketing alongside existing digital marketing strategies can help any small or medium-scale business build up the recognition it requires.
Starting a new campaign, and with the help of an influencer is no easy caveat, and there’s a lot to consider. Here’s a rundown of what you as a business owner or entrepreneur can do to better leverage influencers and influencer marketing this year.
Know What You’re Selling
To start, understand the product or service you’re selling, and who your target market is. If you’re looking to reach a younger consumer market, it’s best to look for influencers that typically have a more youthful following.
Your product needs to be something consumers want to purchase, more so, it should answer a specific need or desire. If it’s simply another type of energy drink or coffee brand, which there are countless of, then you’re going to have to rethink your branding and marketing strategy to align with your business goals.
Consider how your product or service will answer the needs of your targeted audience, and align this with a specific influencer that resonates well with your brand.
Know What Influencer You Want To Work With
Collaborating with influencers is never an easy task. For starters, these individuals have spent years building a personal brand and online presence that has allowed them to become an authoritative figure within the social ecosystem.
Understanding what influencers want and what their requirements mean that you as a business owner or entrepreneur will need to work with individuals that resonate with your brand, and share the same vision you might have.
You want to ensure that the people who market and sell your products are those that have experience and knowledge of your industry.
It would almost be meaningless to sell a self-charging electric car with the help of a fashion influencer or food blogger. Make sure that you understand who their followers are and whether this meets your target audience goals.
Create Effective And Engaging Content
Additionally, you want to make sure that the content you share or use is meaningful and can drive engagement.
While you may be collaborating with an influencer, it would seem meaningless if your content strategy is not effective enough to drive the results you’re looking for.
During the onboarding process, or while you’re still looking for an influencer to work with, it’s best to consider how your current content will fit the brand of the influencer and your business. In line with this, you will need to consider how the product or service you’re trying to sell can be marketed in a way that will drive more traffic to your website or online shop.
Influencers typically have a content or marketing strategy they use to market certain products, and during the planning process, make sure to have a collaborative vision that combines both your strategy and that of the influencers you’re looking to work with.
Know How Much You’re Going To Spend
Due to the ongoing success of influencer marketing, companies have continued increasing their marketing budgets over the years, with the majority stake being allocated to influencer marketing.
Research from 2021 suggests that marketers borrowed more than 80% of the overall marketing budget, at the expense of other marketing channels to fund influencer marketing campaigns.
Similarly to this, more than 61% of marketers said they were planning to raise marketing or influencer marketing budgets in 2021 after witnessing growing success and high rates of following engagement online.
While it’s hard to calculate how much businesses end up spending running influencer marketing campaigns, it’s essential to know that this sort of marketing strategy will cost a pretty penny, so it’s well worth your time to budget accordingly.
The price will typically be influenced by several factors, including influencer demand, following, audience reach and engagement, exclusivity, and brand awareness. This will give you a better idea of how much you’re going to spend on influencer marketing.
And remember, just because someone has a lot of followers, doesn't mean they have high levels of follower engagement.
Relevance, Reach, And Resonance
Known as the three important components of influence - relevance, reach, and resonance - as a business owner it’s important to build a strategy that encapsulates all three of these areas.
The first, relevance, requires you to deliver a marketing strategy that is both relevant to your business and the industry. Additionally, it should be relevant to your target audience, and the influencer you’re looking to collaborate with.
Secondly, it’s important to look at who you could potentially reach through an influencer's followers. A small audience may be effective, but it will need to deliver the engagement results you’re looking for and the possible return on investment.
The third component - resonance - sees the level of engagement an influencer will have with their followers when using your product or service. The better an influencer resonates with a particular brand, the easier it will be for their following to engage with potential buyers.
Influencer marketing can be complicated at first, and there are a lot of challenges that you as a business owner will first need to resolve before you can successfully run an influencer marketing campaign.
Aside from the known challenges, it’s best to constantly monitor the rate of success, to ensure you are gaining the exposure you desire, and that your marketing budget is being spent to boost interaction and drive traffic to your company.
It’s never easy to fully understand how to handle influencers or how to work with them, but if you know your product and your brand, it almost becomes a lot easier to know exactly the type of people you want representing your brand online.