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Prevailing Wisdom

 

Influencer Marketing Part 1 -Who Are Influencers?

by Bill Arnold
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Outside of email marketing, Influencer marketing is the most impactful and cost efficient method of growing your business – if done correctly.

A recent case study by TapInfluence and Nielsen Catalina Solutions, showed that influencer marketing delivers 11 times the ROI of digital marketing--as it pertains to actual revenue, not impressions and views, but actual revenue. 

Welcome to our 10-Part Series on Influencer Marketing. We will discuss the fundamentals,  examine the science behind its success, discuss strategies, delve into the metrics that need to be tracked, and share which software solutions we believe are the best.

There are a lot of articles about influencer marketing, so why write another (besides pleasing the search engines)? Our strategies, techniques, and processes have a proven track record. We have proven success for both B2B and B2C companies across a broad spectrum of  verticals.  

We want to share what we found works and hope our readers share their thoughts and ideas.

What is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing it is the transfer of information and trust from a person who is respected for their knowledge, expertise, or social position. Influencer Marketing can take many forms from word of mouth, earned media, social media, gamification, and public relations. The key is using each of those channels to find or make brand allies who, through engagement and nurturing, become powerful brand influencers and advocates.

Influencer marketing is not a new concept, in fact it is as old as society. One of the first commercial applications occurred in 1760 when Wedgewood China used endorsements from members of the Royal Family to boost pottery sales. The effectiveness of influencer marketing has never been an issue; the limiting factor has always been reach. Over time, endorsements were able to expand the reach through celebrity endorsements in television commercials and magazine ads.

Now, however, with the advent of the internet and social media, everything has changed. Influencers can instantly reach and impact millions of followers. What is even more significant is that EVERYONE can now be an influencer.

Who is an Influencer?

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An influencer is:  any individual that shares their thoughts and has a significant audience who listens and make decisions based on their views.

But not all influencers are created equal, and they are generally segmented into one of three categories:

  • Mega Influencers
  • Macro Influencers
  • Micro Influencers

Each group has its own advantages, disadvantages, and challenges. To Implement an effective influencer marketing campaign, you must understand the reach, relevance, and resonance of each group.

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Mega Influencers

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Mega influencers are the celebrities of the world, actors, entertainers, business leaders, politicians, and athletes.

REACH: They have a million or more followers.         (1 million+ followers)

RELEVANCE: Mega influencers often opine on subjects that have nothing to do with their profession or area of expertise. Many of their endorsements are either self-serving, due to a financial interest in the product, or are paid endorsements.

RESONANCE: Often, due to their lack of relevance, an effective mega influencer will drive only 2% - 5% engagement with each post.

Optimization:  To optimize the use of mega influencers, find a product or service that best aligns with their area of perceived expertise. For example, to maximize the value of a Mega Influencer, find a product or service that closely aligns with what the public believes is their core area of expertise. The Kardashians (among others) are noted as being fashion trendsetters. So, it was no surprise that when Kim Kardashian started a branded perfume line (KKW Fragrance), it sold out and netted $10 million dollars in the first 24 hours. But, the same celebrity’s name and endorsement did not have as great an impact when she endorsed products such as lollipops. They were not clearly associated with her value proposition.

Cost:  Mega Influencers usually come at a high cost that can be either a fixed dollar amount, percentage of sales attributed to their post, or an interest in the company.

Amplification:  Mega Influencer’s postd usually are shared by members of their social reach.

Macro Influencers

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Macro influencers are typically executives, academia, bloggers, or journalists

REACH: They have ten thousand to a million followers (10,000 to 1 million followers)

RELEVANCE: Macro influencers are subject matter experts in the areas they engage on social media

RESONANCE: Because of their subject matter expertise, they have the trust of their followers and will drive 5% - 25% engagement with each post.

 Optimization:  Macro-influencers are typically subject matter experts. They are best utilized when they are creating original content about their area of expertise. Before you engage a macro influencer, determine their engagement rate (click through rate) and normal ROI. There are software platforms that will show their reach, engagement, and ROI. It is also important to understand the content format where each macro influencer achieves the best results. Often, the same message will have dramatically different results, depending if the content is shared in the form of a blog, a tweet, Instagram post, or a video.

Cost:  While the engagement of mega influencers is almost always a pay for play that involves a significant expense, the micro influencers can be obtained for a more moderate cost. Depending on the niche, payment can be in the form of products, results based, or, sometimes, for free.

Amplification:  The original content produced by macro influencers need to be amplified by the sponsoring company in the form of both paid and free social posts. Incentivize micro influencers to help promote the content.

Micro Influencers

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Micro influencers are typically consumers, employees, friends, or families.

REACH: They have 500 to 10,000 followers (500 to 10,000 followers)

RELEVANCE: Micro influencers are people you follow because you know them. You typically have a means of ascertaining their knowledge and trust factor through off-line engagements.

RESONANCE: Because they are known by those that follow them, the engagement is higher and will drive 25% - 50% engagement with each post.

Optimization:  To optimize the use of micro influencers, you will need to provide creative methods of engagement. Getting them to share content created by the macro influencers can be incentivized through gamification.

Costs:  Micro influencers will move heaven and earth for recognition by a brand they adore and love. Throw in an occasional award of swag, and you will have an army of advocates who will share and post content across the social channels they frequent.

Amplification:  Take the best micro influencer generated content, and share it across all the brands in the company’s ecosystem. This will not only help build brand awareness, but encourage other micro influencers to produce or share their own content.

The next blog in our 10-part influencer marketing series will be:  Influencer Marketing Part 2 – Why Should You Care?

If you want to learn more about influencer marketing, sign up to be notified when the next blog post publishes below or contact us and we will share how it can help your business.

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