What is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is when a company or brand partners with influential personalities to promote products and create content to increase brand awareness, website traffic, and sales conversions.

Influencer marketing explained

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Influencers are personalities with a significant online presence that have a dedicated and engaged audience. At its core, influencer marketing is a type of social media marketing that leverages endorsements and product mentions from influential personalities.

Influencer marketing has gradually gained attention in the industry with the advent of social media platforms. In the US alone, 67% of retailers rely on influencer marketing or have plans to incorporate the method.

For decades, big brands with steep marketing budgets have paid for celebrity endorsements. Nike, for example, partner with different athletes to market their apparel. However, today’s digital world is shifting consumers’ gaze away from traditional marketing centered on celebrities towards social media marketing through non-celebrity influencers that have a massive following on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and more. According to Google, 6 of 10 YouTube subscribers will follow advice on what to buy from a social media influencer over a TV or movie celebrity.

Every influencer is their own brand and spends time building their brand image, growing their audience, and building trust through authentic communication. Generally, they fall into three main categories according to their audience size:

  • Micro-influencers: With under 10,000 followers, they are ideal for reaching niche audiences.
  • Power-middle influencers: Although they aren’t as famous as celebrities, they have between 10,000 to 250,000 engaged followers who trust their advice. They are more likely to have experience working with brands.
  • Macro-influencers: With over 250,000 followers, they can be regarded as social media celebrities. While they have the broadest reach, their intimacy with their audience may be less strong due to their following size.

Marketers and business owners don’t need to find influencers with the largest audience. Instead, it’s more important to find personalities aligned with the brand’s values, visions, and goals. These characteristics will ensure that the marketing strategy will reach the right audience while maintaining the company’s branding.

Why is influencer marketing important?

Consumers are now more in control of their purchase journey than ever through the increased use of ad blockers that block traditional ads from a web page. According to the Digital Marketing Institute, 40% of laptop and 15% of mobile users utilize ad blockers. These statistics show that it’s getting less likely for the target audience to see traditional paid ads, which results in a smaller return on investment (ROI) for companies. Influencer marketing fills this gap as consumers growingly look toward entertaining content to gain product information and recommendations.

Here are some noteworthy statistics:

  • Up to 49% of users rely on product recommendations from influencers, according to a Twitter study. In comparison, 40% of users said they purchased a product as a direct result of an influencer post.
  • Instagram users interact with sponsored and regular content at almost the same levels. This engagement level means that consumers still consider an influencer’s sponsored post as a recommendation and don’t treat it as an ad.
  • Up to 71% of marketers get better quality customers and traffic from influencer marketing than other sources. Also, influencer marketing delivered 11 times higher ROI compared to paid media.

With these numbers, it’s no wonder why brands continue investing in influencer marketing.

Types of influencer marketing strategies

Like all marketing plans, a company needs to identify what they want to accomplish through the campaign:

  • Brand awareness: Building general brand recognition
  • Building brand identity: Building a personality or values that define the brand
  • Audience building: Growing the number of people following and subscribing to the brand
  • Improve engagement: Increasing shares, comments, and likes for the brand’s content
  • Lead generation: Having more people sign up for offers
  • Increase sales: Driving more purchases of a company’s products and services
  • Establish customer loyalty: Drawing interest and building connection with a brand to increase the chances of repeat customers

Once the company sets its goals, it’s also crucial to identify the strategies that would help to accomplish them:

  • Gifting: Sending free products to influencers in exchange for creating content that includes a review or mention
  • Sponsorship: Paid feature on an influencer’s social media platform
  • Content co-creation: Influencers and brands can partner up to create content for either the brand, the influencer, or a third party’s channel
  • Contests: Running a contest and asking an influencer to share the giveaway event or have them run the contest with the brand’s products as the prize
  • Influencer takeover: Handing over control of a brand’s social media accounts to an influencer for a period of time
  • Affiliates: Providing influencers with a unique promotion or discount code to share with followers. They can earn a percentage of each sale they drive

One brand that continues to be successful with influencer marketing is watch brand Daniel Wellington. Rather than use traditional ads, the brand utilized influencer marketing, sending free watches to micro-influencers from various niches in exchange for posts or mentions. Daniel Wellington encourages their partner influencers to impart their voice and opinion into their posts to maintain the authenticity of their own content.

Finding the right influencers with Cafe24

Brands must align their goals, strategies, and partnerships for influencer marketing to be a success. Choosing the right personalities to work with is crucial as they must represent the brand and its vision.

Cafe24 Marketing connects e-commerce merchants interested in influencer marketing with the most fitting personalities and supports developing their social media marketing strategies. Also, for merchants that are wishing to do global business, Cafe24 Marketing identifies and connects popular influencers by country. Consequently, Cafe24’s marketing support team provides merchants with both local and international influencer marketing strategies. By connecting them with the right personalities, Cafe24 helps merchants reach a wider audience and achieve their brand goals.

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