Word of mouth is the greatest way of advertisement one can get. According to a report, 92% of consumers believe suggestions from friends and family more than advertising.
But now, people do not communicate by talking but they use communication tools to chat instead. So to incorporate this modern change, the internet has created influencer marketing as a word of mouth advertisement that is done over the internet.
In simple words, influencer marketing means hiring a person to promote your product. But this time, you won’t be using any celebrity, instead, you would be choosing a person who is an expert in your products niche and people look to him/her as the one person to whom they will go if they want to buy a product of that particular niche.
You can also say that influencer marketing is a cheaper version of celebrity branding. A version that small businesses can afford.
Suppose you are into shoe manufacturing and that too in running shoes. Now to ensure your growth, you need sales and for sales you need customers. So long story short, you are dependent on the customers for your growth. Therefore your main target should be to acquire more and more customers and boost your sales.
To gain brand awareness, the best strategy is to ask a famous person to promote your product. This is what Nike did and created the best celebrity endorsement campaign. With Jordan by their side, Nike was able to conquer 75% of basketball shoe sales and 10.8% of overall shoe sales. This campaign was also the reason why Nike was able to defeat Adidas in the competition.
When someone is promoting your product, your product is no longer sold as your product or by its name. It is sold by promoting a person’s name. I didn’t know about Aston Martin until I saw James Bond driving it. Whenever I see an Aston Martin, I don’t say look it’s an Aston Martin, instead, I say that look it’s the James Bond car.
But, as you are a small business, you would not be able to hire a celebrity to promote your product. Although, now you can do influencer marketing and you can hire someone according to your budget.
Before diving into influencer marketing, let’s first understand who is an influencer?
A person who has a certain following over any social media platform because they actively engage in a particular niche is known as an influencer. An influencer has a powerful influence over the followers as their opinions are valued. Influencers are real people who are looked at as friends by their followers to make the right buying decisions as opposed to charming ads or the words of the brand.
An Influencer can be anyone that has the following list between 3000 and 1M on any social media platform. For eg: Nike pays Ronaldo $1 million for every Instagram post that he posts and the reason behind such a whopping amount for one post are the insane reach that Christiano Ronaldo has and the fact that he is the most followed human on Instagram.
Therefore, influencer marketing acts as a bridge, by crossing which you get the opportunity to reach and engage with the right audience.
But the concept of influencer marketing is not just about signing a celebrity and having them promote your product/service, as no small business can afford to have a celebrity as their influencer.
This is when the concept of small influencers for small brands came. Influencers charge according to their following counts and thus what you need to do is just decide the budget, the niche, and the targeted audience according to your marketing project scope. You will have to search the web to find your perfect candidate and then you both can benefit each other.
Moreover, according to a study, more followers doesn’t mean that they are more influential. Generally, influencers with smaller followings have higher engagement in their posts. The micro-influencers with 3k to 10k followers receive an average engagement rate of about 5-6% and those with 100k+ receive less than 2% engagement rate. Therefore if you want a better ROI, you should opt to find an influencer with less following and more influence. i.e engaging audience.
Also read: 6 Common challenges of Small Business owners
Why Should You Choose Influencer Marketing?
1. Higher Engagement:
Influencers are so much more interesting than brands. According to a report by Imforza, 86% of the most-watched videos on Youtube about beauty were made by influencers. Whereas only 14% were by brands. The reason behind this is that brands are boring and they will solely focus on the advantages of the products. On the other hand, influencers are true to the audience and they will speak about all the advantages and disadvantages of the product that they would be suggesting. This makes the audience feel like they are a friend of the influencer and friends are far more fun than business meetings.
Nike selects influencers from different niche’s and they provide the influencers with free products and in return, they ask the influencers to post a video about their honest review of the product.
Therefore, if you opt for micro-influencer, you can do influencer marketing at very cheap rates, that will give you higher returns, or if you are lucky enough, you can do it just by giving away free samples. Just explain your influencer advertisement’s project charter to the influencer and see how much you can negotiate.
2. Target Your Potential Customer:
Ads that are shown on TV are shown to all. You have to pay to show the advertisement to all, even though only 10% of the viewers may be interested in your product niche. Small businesses cannot afford a strategy that has such a low ROI.
Therefore, if you wish to have the highest rate of return for your investment, influencer marketing is the best option for you.
People follow the influencer as they consider him/her as an expert in that niche. Their opinions matter to the people. Therefore, if you pick the right influencer, your product will be pitched to an audience that is highly interested in your niche and is likely to buy your product.
Thus by opting for influencer marketing, you eliminate the marketing’s project milestone of finding the right audience.
The success highly depends on who you choose to be your product’s influencer.
3. Improve Brand Awareness:
This is the best benefit of adopting an influencer marketing strategy as it expands your reach and position online. This is also important to track the success of your strategy.
As more and more social media users become aware of who you are, what you do, what you offer and what your story is, the result will be displayed in your sales. The key is to upload posts or videos that benefit both parties. The new content project scheduling should be such that it should provide benefits to the influencer as well.
4. Quickly Build Trust:
The followers follow the influencer as they trust them. Now if the influencer says that your product is perfect for what it does, they are going to believe him. The relationship between the influencer and the followers is based on trust and credibility.
Therefore the fans respect their recommendations and content, and when an influencer is promoting your business, the trust that the influencer gets, your product will get the same.
But the thing here is that you cannot control the content of the influencer. They will post your content just the way they had uploaded other contents as if they make any slightest change, the people will notice and it won’t be good for you and the influencer.
Therefore before finalizing an influencer, you should also see their style and think do you want your content to be posted like this or not?
5. Enrich Your Content Strategy:
You can either share the influencer’s content or you can upload it to your site too.
This proves helpful as their content can be treated as a testimonial and it can also help you when you have run out of content ideas and you want to upload some quality content on your site. Therefore, their content helps you with your content strategy.
Shyamal is the Founder of SmartTask, an online work management tool that’s helping teams be more productive by having clarity on who’s doing what by when. Has a penchant for researching and sharing strategies that could benefit a team’s productivity.