What Is Influencer Marketing? The Ultimate Blueprint to Develop an Effective Strategy

What is Influencer Marketing and Influencer Marketing Strategy? 

What is Influencer Marketing? 

What is influencer marketing?
What is influencer marketing?

Influencer Marketing is a form of marketing or digital marketing in which influencers help to promote a brand to a larger market. It is the future of digital brand content. In today’s digital world, influencer marketing is a type of social media marketing which refers to ordinary people on Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, etc. with a huge fan following.  

An influencer is a person who is a source of information and inspires the action of others. Influencer builds a base with an intention to promote various brands for marketing purposes. Influencers have the power to affect the purchasing decisions of others using their popularity, knowledge, authority or their relationship with their followers. They are content creators with a huge audience.

Why choose influencer marketing?

  • Effective ways to generate sales trigger & ROI (Return on Investment)
  • Provides alternatives to limitations of other marketing methods like content marketing, digital advertising, traditional Public Relations, etc.
  • Adds authenticity to your brand
  • Increases engagement and involvement of audiences 
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Types of influencers: 

Depending on their audience size, influencers are categorised into six groups:

  • Advocate influencers – They might not be a buyer of the product of your brand, but they admire the work of the brand and mention it on their social media platform. Such brand fans can increase brand visibility to broaden the network of the company.   
Advocate influencers marketing strategy
Advocate influencers: Source
  • Referral influencers – Referrals drive high conversion rates much higher than other marketing channels. People generally trust on recommendations from customers who have already used the product/ service. Reviews and feedback on social media have a stronger influence on buyers. Companies are establishing customer advocacy programs to encourage customers to provide recommendations online. 
  • Employees – Being within a company, gives the employee a unique understanding of the company. Sharing this understanding on social media platforms can be a successful method for the brand to build trust with potential customers. Companies are investing in methods, which make it easier for the employee to share on social media platforms, being at work. Softwares like EveryoneSocial helps employees to connect to their social media networks. The employee can create blogs, share them with other coworkers and then post them on various platforms, with just a single click. 
  • Micro-influencers – Influencers having 10K to 100K followers. These are not celebrities but have successfully become credible sources of recommendations among a targeted group of audience. 
  • Macro-influencers – Influencers having 100K to 1M followers. These include bloggers, vloggers, podcasters and socially famous personalities. They are experts in using social media platforms and are capable of creating quality content which can increase brand awareness and brand visibility.  
  • Mega influencers (celebrities) – Influencers having more than 1M followers, like celebrities. They are popular for their success in fields like actors, athletes, singers, etc. They develop the largest possible followings on social media platforms. They are best for reaching a huge audience, even though they may cost higher.   

How to find an influencer? 

To find the best influencer for you, you should first find out where your ideal audience is. Also find out those influencers who have already been in touch with your brand, so that such influencers can post real facts about your brand. Influencers are found on blogs, social media networks and other digital media.

Forms of influencer marketing:

  • Make them happy with freebies – Using a small portion of your budget revenue, you can give away prizes in the form of some products to competition winners and influencers every month. The unboxing videos uploaded by the influencer on platforms like Youtube can bring your product in front of a large mass. Some influencers mention the name of the brand thanking them for sending the freebies and also give their feedback and reviews. For example, Daniel Wellington often gifts their elegant watches to influencers to encourage them to create blog posts on their social media channels.
influencer marketing strategy
Influencer marketing strategy
  • Sponsorship for the content – Brands contact influencers asking them whether they want to endorse their product or services. On endorsement, the brand creates blog posts, videos or images featuring the influencer.
  • Collaborate with the influencer – Many brands have collaborated with influencers to co-create products. This is found generally in the beauty and fashion industry, where the influencers produce their own products under the brand. For example, James Charles collaborated with Morphe cosmetics to co-create a 34- makeup brush collection and a vibrant palette.
Influencer marketing strategy
Influencer marketing strategy
  • Acquisitions on your platform During an acquisition, the brand gives access to the influencer to its social media channels for a short period of time. The influencers post their stories, behind the scene blogs and videos to engage the audiences.  
  • Brand ambassador The influencer becomes a brand ambassador of the brand for a certain period. He/ she becomes the face of your brand. A close rapport with the influencer increases trust and authenticity in the eyes of their audiences. 
  • Feedback and reviews – The brand gives a product/ service to the influencer for free and in exchange, the influencer writes his reviews on the product/ service.  
Influencer marketing strategy
Influencer marketing strategy: Source

Understanding Influencer marketing strategy:

The 2020 global lockdown acted as a key stimulator for e-commerce and the digital marketing platform. Podcasts became a routine and Instagram our new shopping destination, among others. This has made the digital market a crowded place. 

Influencer marketing strategy
Influencer marketing strategy

Influencers generate native ads which can boost your advertisement performance and visibility among people. Then the analysts select the best influencer content and generate paid ads to run a specific target audience. Influencer content is considered more authentic.

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  • Explicit targeting – Finding the right audience and targeting them is a very important marketing strategy. For example, if you have a beauty retail company which sells branded cosmetics to the millennials. Partnering with a beauty pageant and beauty bloggers will help you reach their audience already inclined to be interested in your products.  
  • Magnified brand awareness – Due to their huge reach, influencers can easily expose and raise your brand awareness. Generally, people prefer suggestions from a popular influencer as such promotions are considered to be authentic.  
  • Intensified audience involvement Increasing likes and comments on your social media posts is a tough task. This is where the role of an influencer comes to play. Collaborating with influencers improves the visibility of your posts. When the influencer shares your post on his social media platform, his followers may like your post and tag their friends and relatives. This helps to expand your reach.
  • Improved sales It is very difficult to attract potential customers by blowing your own trumpet. Nowadays users spend hours researching a product before they decide to buy it. Influencers can boost your searchability on various search pages. Influencers are considered to be a reliable source for shopping recommendations. Influencer marketing thus increases your revenue.
  • Enhanced trust – Trust of the followers of the influencer can help build a loyal fan community. The feedback of an influencer is considered to be an authentic testimonial. It fosters your brand’s credibility.
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Blueprint to develop a successful influencer marketing strategy:

  • Invest your capital in influencers who regularly share videos, as video production is the latest trend among viewers. While researching about a product/ service, 9 out of 10 millennials prefer video content over others. Some video content are in the form of unboxing videos, product teaser campaigns, influencer product reviews and others, which generate huge sales. Brands can invest their capital for video production on platforms like Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, Snapchat and others. Instagram has developed its brand content option which encourages you to tag your business partner and post sponsorship videos.
  • For safety, you should keep an eye on your influencer’s posts on a regular basis and ensure whether he/ she follows your guidelines. 
  • The users were bored with the traditional advertising techniques through radio, TV, etc. So content marketing emerged as a successful marketing strategy for many businesses. The influencer you chose to work with, shall maintain a balance between commissioned and non-commissioned content, to maintain trust and authenticity in the eyes of their followers.
  • Document your goals and KPIs(key performance indicators) – All your research should revolve around setting KPIs. 
  • Find and research the influencer – Before reaching out to the influencers, you need to understand them and see whether they fit it in your industry or not. This will help you to identify challenges for you. Some tools like BuzzStream Discovery, help you to research your influencer. 
  • Engage with the influencer – To encourage influencers to promote your content, you have to involve them before and during the actual content creation process. The influencer should find a genuine reason to follow or promote you.    

Here are some examples of influencer marketing: 

  • FabFitFun leveraged celebrity cook Ayesha Curry as part of their influencer marketing on Facebook. Sources say that influencer marketing strategy helped the brand FabFitFun grow 300% YOY (Year Over Year) rate.
  • Hello Fresh, a meat delivery service worked with a range of celebrity influencers like Emilie Hebert, to boost brand awareness and increase the purchase of its products. 
  • Sony Xperia Z5 has the most robust cell phone camera with a 5-time zoom feature. The brand chose Instagram as a perfect platform to showcase its camera features. 
  • The lockdown during the pandemic outbreaks has led to the rise of many homegrown brands like the newly launched food brand ‘Lunch Box’. It offers homemade meal combos delivered to your doorstep.
  • Due to increased health consciousness among today’s generation, influencer marketing has also helped the fitness industry to reach heights. The brand ‘Bigmuscles Nutrition’ recently collaborated with Ranveer Singh to promote its brand awareness on Instagram.   
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Influencer marketing current fact sheet:

Influencer marketing strategy
Influencer marketing strategy: Source

Below is statistic data of the Indian market, which clearly shows how influencer marketing has emerged as one of the best marketing strategies in the digital industry.

  • 70% of the teenage population trusts Youtube creators more than mainstream celebrities.
  • The influencer marketing industry is expected to hit a whopping $15 billion mark by the year 2022.
  • 65% of the budget of influencer marketing is set to increase for the year 2021.
  • 8 out of 10 buyers considered influencer recommendations before making their purchase decisions.
  • Instagram has emerged as the most loved and impactful platform for influencer marketing.

Summing up:

Traditionally a customer always wanted to buy products from a reputed kiosk/ store. Same way in the modern world, customers prefer influencer promotions to be trustable before making a purchase decision. Influencer marketing exposes your brand to new leads as well as increasing brand awareness for the existing customers. So influencers allow the brand to present their products in a fresh, approachable and creative way. It wins the hearts of customers with authenticity and originality.

The only difference between influencers of previous times and influencers of today is internet access. The internet lets you connect with the whole world from any part. Influencer marketing is going to grow in the coming years. Ecommerce platforms can benefit a lot by working with influencers. 

  • What is influencer marketing?

    It is a form of digital media marketing which involves influencers from different niches to promote a brand.

  • Are celebrity promotions the same as influencer marketing?

    No, both are different. Influencers may or may not be celebrities. The only similarity is that both have the ability to attract a large number of followers. Promoting your brand through celebrities might cost you higher than promoting through influencers.

  • Who uses influencer marketing strategy as part of their digital marketing strategy?

    Many industries use influencer marketing as one of their strategies to increase their brand value and sales.    

  • How to find an influencer perfect for you?

    Not all influencers can yield good results. You have to choose an influencer who shares similar interests as you do. This can satisfy your branding requirement. 

  • Can influencer marketing be useful for small businesses?

    Yes, influencer marketing is beneficial for small businesses and startups, as they are cost-effective.   

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About the Author

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The editorial team at Dhandho Karo, led by startup veteran Suraj Kr. Prakash is a group of experts in entrepreneurship. We're dedicated to delivering well-researched, comprehensive content that guides aspiring entrepreneurs and startup founders from ideation to scaling.

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