As social media usage has exploded in the last decade, so too has the rise of social media influencers — people who partner with brands to promote products and services. In 2022, businesses spent $16.4 billion total on influencer marketing, according to Influencer Marketing Hub.
It’s a lucrative industry for the influencers themselves. Kylie Jenner, one of the most famous influencers, earns $1.8 million per post on her Instagram page. But not all influencers are famous celebrities and small businesses don’t need to spend nearly that much to enjoy the benefits of an influencer marketing campaign.
A social media influencer can be anyone with a dedicated following on a social media platform. In fact, micro-influencers (people who have between 1,000 and 100,000 followers) and nano-influencers (people who have fewer than 1,000 followers) tend to have a higher engagement rate on their posts than celebrities. Their audiences are more likely to trust what they are talking about, as they are viewed to be more authentic than celebrities.
People tend to follow influencers whom they feel are more relatable, making local influencers a very powerful partnership for a business. Partnering with a micro-influencer or nano-influencer can be a great way for businesses to get involved with influencer marketing at an affordable price.
But is it really worth the investment? Let’s talk about why influencer marketing is so effective for businesses of every size.
It’s A Great Way To Reach A Targeted Audience
Partnering with an influencer is a great way to reach an audience interested in a particular subject or that fits a certain demographic. Most influencers have a topic or niche demographic they are passionate about and focus on.
People only follow accounts that post content they’re interested in, and if they are no longer interested in the content, that will be reflected in the influencer’s engagement numbers.
A restaurant specializing in healthy food would be wise to partner with a local influencer that posts a lot about their healthy lifestyle, weight loss journey, or their fitness routines. The people who follow that influencer are interested in health and wellness and are more likely to be interested in that restaurant’s menu.
It Helps You Build Trust
Everyone loves getting recommendations from people they trust, whether looking for a new TV show to binge-watch, which clothing store to shop at, or deciding which lawn service to use this summer.
Influencer marketing is an opportunity for businesses to pay someone to make a personal recommendation on their products, services, event, or cause marketing campaign. It can also include talking about their cause or attending an event.
The influencer’s audience trusts that the influencer is being honest about their experience and recommending a brand they care about, even though the influencer is legally required to disclose that the post is an ad. Most influencers won’t agree to promote a business if they had a bad experience with them — and if they do, they lose all credibility with their audience.
Paying for a personal recommendation may sound disingenuous compared to traditional marketing tactics, but here’s another way to think about it: you’re paying someone to have an experience with your business and then tell all of their family, friends, and other social media followers about that experience. If you and your staff ensure that person has a great experience, you’re building great trust!
It’s An Opportunity To Stand Out
The average American sees or hears an estimated 6,000-10,000 ads every single day. That means businesses must get creative in order for their message to stand out.
People want to learn more about products and services through social media, but not everyone wants to see ads. Many people would prefer to see content from an influencer talking about your products or sharing their experience using your services.
Partnering with an influencer also requires that you give them some creative control about the way they talk about your business and products or services. You want them to do it in a way that is authentic to them and matches what their audience expects from them. Remember that authenticity is an important reason why they have loyalty with their followers.
While you can provide some copy points or request that they talk about specific aspects of their experience, asking them to read a commercial script or say a slogan isn’t going to work well for an influencer. That’s why it’s important to find an influencer whose audience matches your target audience so that you know the message is getting in front of the right people who are already hanging on their every word.
The influencer will talk about your business, products, or services in a way that’s unique to you, and not exactly like how they talk about another business. The content will be different from your traditional marketing too. This is a great opportunity for your business to try something unique to stand out. You won’t need to change any branding or messages you would normally use but it gives you a new perspective on your target audience.
Partnering with a local influencer provides a lot more opportunities for a direct conversation with the influencer and their audience, either in the comments of the post or through direct messages, once they’ve posted about your business. That’s another great way to stand out!
It Can Increase Sales — And Can Potentially Track It
Influencer marketing is proven to increase product sales, giving you a return on your investment. The return on investment (ROI) in a social media influencer campaign is measured in how successful the marketing campaign was towards the goals you set and objectives.
You can track sales generated by your influencer marketing campaign in a few ways:
- If you have an online storefront or e-commerce page, you can give the influencer a unique offer code to share with their audience for a discount on their purchase.
- If you have a physical storefront, the influencer can tell their audience to let your staff know they saw the influencer’s post when they’re making an in-store purchase. You can also use a unique keyword here, and make sure your staff are tracking how many people are saying they’re using this code. Your point-of-sale system may be able to track this.
- You can also have the influencer share a specific link that is unique to them, or instruct their audience to text a certain keyword to a short code. This can be great if you’re trying to drive website traffic but don’t have an online store or e-commerce page.
How you track the campaign will depend on your goal. Work with your marketing team and the influencer to strategize the best tactic.
Kayla Blakeslee, who is the host of Fort Wayne’s News-Talk Radio Station WOWO 1190AM/107.5FM, has been an influencer in the Fort Wayne market since 2011 including winning the 2022 IBA’s Broadcast Personality of the Year award. She sees a lot of value in influencer marketing for businesses.
“I tend to compare ‘influencer marketing’ to ‘referral marketing.’ Both are hyper-focused on word of mouth and consumers trust word of mouth. For example, if you actively follow an influencer on Facebook, Instagram or radio, you clearly connect with them. You might even feel like you are ‘friends’ with that person on the screen in front of you. You automatically trust that person’s recommendations about a specific product, brand or business.” Blakey said. “In 2023, Influencer “relationships” are only going to continue to grow. If your business embraces the value of influencer marketing, the success of your business will also grow in terms of reaching serious clients. If you are not on this digital train yet, you are going to be left at the station.”
With so many benefits, it’s easy to see why so many businesses are getting involved with influencer marketing. If you’d like more information or are interested in getting started and want to find local social media influencers to partner with, Federated Media can help!