Influencer marketing is growing significantly. It is definitely an area of marketing you want to start thinking about.
When it comes to influencer marketing, it is not just about paying anyone with a lot of followers to blast out your marketing message. Influence is earned.
On July 10, I presented an SEJ ThinkTank webinar to discuss how influencer marketing works and how marketers can use it effectively.
Here’s a recap of the presentation.
Influencer marketing is where you identify and engage with people who have the ability to get you, your product, or your service a lot of visibility, engagement, and conversions.
It has become a career path for many, especially for kids who have grown up watching influencers.
According to statistics:
- 70% of teens trusted influencers more than traditional celebrities.
- 4 out of 10 people say influencers understand them better than their friends.
- 6 out of 10 people said they would follow the advice of an influencer on what to buy.
- 49% of people rely on influencers for product recommendations (56% rely on friends).
- 40% made purchases online based off influencer recommendations.
The return on investment in influencer marketing is far outpacing any traditional medium. This is why leveraging this opportunity the right way can be beneficial for most businesses.
Here are five things you need to consider before launching your influencer marketing campaign.
1. Finding the Right Influencers
The biggest challenge for most marketers today is finding relevant influencers.
When we talk about real influence, we talk about this kind of psychological connection to somebody.
We think that this particular person is like a friend to us. For instance, when you’re watching a person’s bloopers, you feel like you could connect to them on a personal level.
On Instagram, people are posting Stories throughout the day and they’re showing you snippets of their life – what kind of drinks they’re having, where they’re walking, who they’re hanging out with. They’re having this regular conversation making you feel like you know this person
It’s a similar scenario on YouTube. You start to get that sense of knowing somebody because you’re seeing their reactions, hearing their tone of voice, and seeing them in a very normal environment.
According to a Pew Research Center survey, the majority of Americans use YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.
Out of these three platforms, Instagram and YouTube are two of the best places to look for influencers you can work with. It’s because these channels provide a personal look at the influencer and their daily lives:
- Video feels personal.
- Stories feel personal.
2. Not All Influencers Have Influence
To be successful in influencer marketing, you can’t just work with whichever influencer. You need to find influencers who would actually use your product/service, simply because:
- They will talk about it better.
- Their audience will be more likely to purchase.
- They will continue to talk about it.
You also want to consider the following:
- Who is really personalizing themselves?
- Do their advertisements seem natural or obvious?
- Do they have off-brand advertisements?
- What are their Normal vs. Advertisement post volumes?
3. Some Influencers Influence Influencers
If you can, go for someone big and who is is a leader in your space.
Even influencers look up to bigger influencers. We call this the “Jordan effect” in that all people in a certain industry look up to somebody.
Influencers are more likely to work with you if someone bigger already has.
4. The Cost of Influencers
Ever wondered how much it would cost you to work with influencers?
Here are some estimates.
- Micro-influencers (10k to 50k) = $250 to $1,000
- Influencers (50k to 250k) = $1,000 to $5,000
- Influencers (250k to 1 mil) = $5,000 to $10,000
- Influencers (over 1 mil) = $10,000+ and depending on the campaign up to $250k
- Selena Gomez = $550k per post
- Kim Kardashian = $500k per post
- Cristiano Ronaldo = $400k per post
But when you’re thinking about the cost that you should spend, I would suggest a different approach. It’s looking at the engagement value of influencers by determining the cost per engaged user.
The idea is to determine the actual cost to get in front of someone who is going to have the chance to be influenced by your campaign’s messaging.
In the example above, an influencer might have 25,000 followers and ask for $1,000 per campaign to work with him or her, but you are not going to be seen by 25,000 people when the influencer publishes.
By going back and looking at their last 30 non-sponsored posts and their last few sponsored posts, you can determine the engagement rate of each, which allows you to average the two and come up with a Potential Engaged User Count (PEUC).
Let’s say the influencer had an 8% engagement for their last 30 organic posts and a 5% on their last few sponsored posts, if we took those and averaged them we get about 1,625 as the potential engaged user. This is the user group that we think can be engaged.
We take $1,000 divide it by 1,625 then we get $0.62 per engaged user. Now we have an actual number that we can consider when budgeting our influencer marketing campaign.
Dividing the cost by the PEUC will give you a Cost Per Engaged User (CPEU), which you can compare against other channels’ CPEU to determine if it makes sense to work with that influencer.
A few other tips when considering the cost of influencer marketing:
- Some influencers (especially micro-influencers) take product as payment – especially if you find the ones that would naturally like your product. Pay them something and increase the payment as their influence and audience grows
- Identify micro-influencers and early influencers who are growing.
- Use SocialBlade (or any other similar tool) to track growth and engagement.
- Monitor for a few months to identify the right influencers.
- Start working with them early and grow with them!
- They will always remember you and want to do more for you.
- They are less bombarded by requests.
- They are more likely to keep you at a lower rate going forward.
- Increase the rate as they grow (like a friend would do).
- Don’t be afraid to negotiate prices, but be fair and transparent as to why.
- Consider throwing events and attending events where influencers are. Don’t try to sell them, but rather connect and make real connections. Talk about your product and give it away if you can.
5. The ROI of Influencer Marketing
Most companies use engagement and engagement cost to track the ROI of influencer marketing campaigns. Coupon codes and tracking are also options, but it can be really hard to track these.
In influencer marketing, branding is quite valuable. Cut people lose when you don’t feel they are working out and maintain the relationship with influencers who are working.
- Set up your accounts to be sticky and keep people that don’t immediately convert.
- Avoid having posts that are just selling. (Show but don’t hard sell.)
- Have something for everyone (at least in your niche).
- Give them all a reason to follow you.
- Influencer channels are like TV channels.
- The more relevant channels you are on, the better.
- Don’t lose your relevance.
- Don’t do one campaign and quit, keep going and stay relevant!
- Use both micro and macro influencers.
Q: Is connecting with influencers through an influencer marketing agency (like Mediakix or Pulse) easier or more effective than screening influencers in-house?
A: Possibly, depending on the agency and their capability to deliver. Any company that is dedicated to a single service is likely to have more experience and dedicated resources to managing the work they are hired to do, but as we have seen across the industry that does not always mean they do a good job.
Additionally, an agency or agent might have more contacts and some contacts you might not have thought of, as well as colleagues in their space that might have additional contacts they can leverage.
I would have a conversation with them about that is involved and then determine if you think the cost associated with an agency doing it versus an in-house resource is worth it or not.
Note: I have never worked with Mediakix, Pulse, or any other such network, so I have no personal recommendation on their capabilities.
Q: We have a handful of micro-influencers that are currently not paid (and are OK with that). How frequently should we give them free product and swag, etc.?
A: As I mentioned in the presentation, I strongly believe you should compensate influencers you want to stick around and work with you in the future, but that is a decision for each business to make on their own.
As for how often to provide product really depends on a couple factors, such as:
- Whether a product is changing regularly, being updated with features or design.
- Whether it gets used up, such as something perishable or not.
- When you are wanting them to run campaigns or talk about your products, such as having a calendar of your influencers and your marketing initiatives to time them accordingly.
I do not believe there is a specific best practice in this regard, similar to things like how many links should I build, how many keywords in an article is the right amount, and how long is a good article.
[Video Recap] 5 Things to Consider When Launching Influencer Marketing Campaigns
Here’s the video recap of the webinar presentation and Q&A session.
View the SlideShare below.
Screenshot taken by author, July 2019