Influencer Marketing

What Is Influencer Marketing? (Updated for 2021)

By Editorial Staff

Now more than ever it seems as though brands are getting more and more creative with their marketing techniques to target consumers. From the conventional television ad, all the way to big data, marketing techniques have become rather extensive over the years. Now with huge platforms of social media (Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, etc) and all the weight that influencers have, companies have turned to individuals known as influencers to promote and sell their products. Although this may seem like an abnormal way to approach marketing, it has succeeded far more than conventional marketing methods. This brings up the question: what is influencer marketing and how can my brand benefit from this new technique. 

Before the internet, brands used newspapers and television as their primary source to promote their product or service. But all good things must come to an end. The introduction of major streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu, drastically cut the television audience, hence slowing down the rate at which people saw television ads. Same with newspapers. As newspapers slowly start to die out with everything being digital, promoting products, services, and even jobs, in a printed fashion is becoming something of the past. 

This is where influencer marketing has come into play. Social media has become normalized, something that has become part of most peoples’ daily lives. In a recent study, it was found that the average person spends around three hours a day on social media. From a brand’s perspective, this is the best way to reach a targeted audience with much success.

So what is influencer marketing? Influencer marketing is when brands pay influencers to promote their products using their social media platform. When brands first started paying influencers, it was mainly celebrities such as David Dobrik, Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian, etc. Since then, micro influencers (influencers with 10,000 to 50,000 followers), have taken the spotlight when it comes to marketing for brands, since it was deemed more successful than using mega influencers (influencers with 1,000,000+ followers). Recently, NeoReach and trusted partner Influence Hunter, ran a campaign for Quevos Egg Chips using micro influencers which turned out to be wildly successful. To take a look at the case study, click here

A New Marketing Philosophy

Influencer marketing is not just a new marketing channel. What is influencer marketing?  It’s a new marketing philosophy.

It represents the shift from ad-powered marketing to people-powered marketing. As consumers shift their attention from TV to social media and are increasingly using ad blockers, savvy brand marketers are scaling their influencer marketing to break through the noise, build trust, and generate better returns.

Especially with the hardships that 2020 has put many individuals in, people have started turning towards social media as a sort of distraction from the real world. In times like these, influencers now have more power than ever before! 

Influencer marketing is based on the fact that humans are hardwired to connect with and listen to people. By partnering with a trusted individual, who then shares her personal experience with your brand, you generate more and better attention. Nielsen found that “92% of consumers trust online word-of-mouth recommendations, while only 33% of them trust online banner ads”.

Why Does Influencer Marketing Matter? 

This question is one of the most asked questions when it comes to this topic: what is influencer marketing and why does it matter? Influencer marketing is the new fad that is marketing. Most brands are starting to make the switch from traditional billboard and television advertising to online marketing. Online marketing has shown to be effective whether it is targeted ads or influencer marketing. If you think about it, influencer marketing is directly targeting the audience that you hope to capture.

For example, if a fishing brand wanted to promote their product, using television is an ineffective way to market since many people skip through the commercials if watching cable TV. Instead, they would have a fishing influencer promote their brand, knowing that the majority of the influencers following enjoys fishing to some extent. Even without an influencer’s followers buying your product, just seeing your brand will drastically increase your brand awareness.

How Can You Benefit From Influencer Marketing?

Now that we have answered the question of what is influencer marketing, the next step is learning how to benefit from this method. 

Influencer marketing offers 3 major benefits

1. Tremendous reach: Influencers command a powerful stage with audiences that rival the reach of national TV commercials. With the drastic increase in online media, it is imperative for brands to keep up with the times and push their products and services into this space.

2. Fresh, creative content: By partnering with the right influencers, you can build a predictable pipeline of powerful social content. With content that is sure to engage the target audience, brands should see a spike in traffic, and better yet, sales. 

3. Consumer trust: Influencers have the reach of a celebrity while maintaining the intimacy of a best friend. They answer YouTube comments, exchange Snapchats with followers, and hold regular meetups to meet their followers in person. Partnering with the right influencers can generate the consumer trust and credibility you need to build a brand in the 21st century.

As a result, many brands are seeing notable, positive performance: according to Influencer Marketing Hub, brands that invest in influencer marketing earn on average a 11x Return On Investment, measured on earned media value. Not surprisingly, some estimate that 84% of marketers plan to run influencer marketing programs within the next 12 months.

But how can you find the perfect influencer to partner with? Check out our list of the top free influencer search tools here.

How Can You Succeed In Influencer Marketing?

The biggest mistake we see brands make is approaching influencer marketing like a short-term media buy. This flawed approach values transactions over relationships, scripted salesy content over authentic content, and broad reach over targeted engagement.

Instead, we recommend that you approach influencer marketing with the following 4 best practices:

1. Focus on authentic relationships: Influencer relationships are at the heart of influencer marketing. When an influencer likes and trusts your brand, they will produce better content and yield better results. Looking from an audience perspective, seeing that an influencer genuinely cares about a product or services only makes the product more appealing.

2. Give influencers creative freedom: Influencers know their followers better than you. Forcing a script on them risks making the program inauthentic and strained. Instead, let the influencer shape the creative process based on your brand guidelines. 

3. Select influencers based on fit, audience demographics, and engagement: Most marketers pick influencers using little to no data. Instead, we recommend that you pick influencers who are already talking about your brand or related topics, whose followers are in your target audience, and who have high engagement and growth (instead of reach).

4. Turn to Trusted Influncer Marketing Companies: Just like any other profession, turning to professionals will help you gain as much information about influencers than you may know. Using this information to target a specific audience will help with your ROI and will help further establish relationships with companies and influencers that will benefit your brand in the long run.

Looking to run an epic influencer marketing campaign? NeoReach has the best experience in creating viral campaigns that convert on social media. Sign up here! 

What Influencer Marketing Agencies Are Best?

Depending on your needs as a brand, it might seem difficult to choose an agency that hits all of your target points. In this space, there are numerous brands that work together to give clients exactly what they need from an influencer marketing perspective to maximize their ROI (return on investment). We have answered the question: what is influencer marketing. And now it’s time to review how to successfully choose an influencer marketing agency that is right for you.

Here at NeoReach we offer both an extensive SaaS platform as well as agency services that have been used by some of the biggest brands like Netflix, Draft Kings, TikTok, etc.. Starting with our SaaS platform, brands will get access to over 2 million influencers with the ability to make lists, run campaigns, and organize influencers, which makes keeping track of your work easy. On our agency side, NeoReach’s team of trained professionals will create a roster of influencers, and with approval, will outreach, contract, and track posts in order to make sure the influencer follows all guidelines.

Using NeoReach’s great reputation and trusted book of influencers, creating a successful campaign is something that NeoReach does quite well. Visit NeoReach’s case studies, for an extensive breakdown of brands we have partnered with to meet their influencer needs.

Looking for an agency to optimize your next influencer campaign? See our full list of trusted partners here.

Is Influencer Marketing Right For My Brand? 

In recent years, we have seen more and more small brands entering the space of influencer marketing. It is way more common than you might think. Most small brands offer influencers discount codes as a way to get their audience to buy their products. When there is a sale, the influencer gets a kickback, and the brand gets money. This is one of the best incentives for influencers to want to help out a brand and really do a good job with their product. 

While small brands may not be able to afford the luxury of having help from an influencer marketing agency, outreach to influencers is a good start when it comes to entering the digital realm. As a small brand, you should start by reaching out to influencers offering them either free product or commission in exchange for them to promote their product. When doing this, it is important to make sure you pick the right influencers to do the job. If promoting a bathing suit brand, picking fashion and travel influencers as opposed to food and fishing influencers might get you a better ROI on your product. From here, establishing a good relationship with the influencers and starting outreach to others is a good start.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an influencer?

An influencer is someone who has a loyal following that often shares interests and ideas, while also holding the power to persuade their audience to buy products or services. Influencers often occupy a specific niche (travel, photography, food, lifestyle) and have a highly engaged audience. Typically, in order to be considered an influencer, one must have a minimum of 10,000 followers on their social media platforms. 

Can influencer marketing increase sales?

Definitely! Influencer marketing has shown us time and time again that you can get a better ROI than the traditional marketing techniques. Since newspaper and television views have drastically increased in recent years, social media influencers using personable qualities to promote products and services makes followers want to buy these products. 

Are there any brands that wouldn’t benefit from influencer marketing? 

Short answer: yes. Although the majority of brands would reap the benefits that come along with influencer marketing, there are some types of brands that wouldn’t work well with influencer marketing. And for clarification, this is not because of influencer marketing, but rather that their brand does not marketing resources of any type. For example, brands trying to use B2B marketing are always a little more challenging than B2C brands. 

What do the stages of influencer marketing look like?

For most brands and marketing agencies, a phone call discussing goals, target audience, and target platform should be the first step in the process. From here, creating an influencer roster and proposal overviewing the campaign is given to the brand for approval. After this step, outreach to trusted influencers starts, and contracts are dispersed that outlines payment terms, posting schedule, a loose script, etc. Once the content goes live, from here analytics are tracked and data is pulled, ultimately outlying the data from the campaign. This is just a very brief explanation of the process behind a campaign.

What influencers are best for my brand?

There is no “one answer fits all” for this question. This really depends on the brand’s target audience, their demographic, and what platform you are looking to use for a promotion.

What platforms are best for influencer marketing? 

In the past few years, Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook have been the best ways for brands to promote their products. This has been the case until the introduction of TikTok. TikTok has created a new wave of social media influencers who are new to the online world. And because of this, they often charge less money for brand partnerships since they are new to the space. TikTok over the past two years have proved to turn the highest ROI for brand promotions. 

Ready to join the masses on TikTok? Check out this blog to learn how to run a successful TikTok campaign with a massive ROI. 

If you are interested in running influencer campaigns, schedule a demo of the NeoReach platform today.

This article was written by Jake Steel

Want to run a viral influencer marketing campaign? Get started with us today!

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