The term influencer marketing used to conjure an image of a young female with a product as such selfie style images used to be common a few years ago. However, influencer marketing has been changing step by step beyond many best practices and failures.
For example, the definition of influencer has changed as it doesn’t necessarily mean only celebrities anymore. Marketers have started to pay attention to micro and nano influencers. In the B2B region, influencers are like business executives, experts, authorities and so forth, and are playing an active role. I also think employee influencers are unique but robust because they are familiar with their product or service. The virtual influencer is already a non-negligible movement because they have a coherence that brands like. Other than the aforementioned, there are kids influencers and even pet influencers now.
With the landscape changing so quickly and micro and nano influencers coming to the forefront, what are the best strategies right now?
What is the best strategy for marketers in the field of influencer marketing?
To be frank, marketers should focus on building good relationships with micro and nano influencers. As mentioned above, many marketers are already paying attention to these influencers. Mark Schaefer, a popular keynote speaker in the US, outlines the importance of “human” in his book, ‘Marketing Rebellion’. In his words, micro and nano influencers might be the most human influencers out there. Of course, in a strict sense, a good strategy depends on each company and its campaign.
However, the trend of micro and nano influencers is a stable one. When marketers try to deal with this kind of influencer, they have to be careful. If you are about to launch an influencer campaign, be careful when thinking about the below strategies.
You may have heard of the term “brand affinity” many times. This is a prevalent word in the marketing industry, but this concept is especially critical in influencer marketing. The influencer’s view of the world and the brand’s core message must fit perfectly. If the company adopts an influencer that has never used the product and isn’t interested in it, many users would be put off.
Many companies used to search for the influencer with hundreds of thousands of followers, but that has changed. Now, you have to discover an influencer who fits with your brand’s message and policies. Usually, micro and nano influencers have a niche. If their core values fit perfectly with the brand’s target audience, micro and nano influencers become the best tactic for brands.
Micro and nano influencers have more authenticity and transparency than celebrities. As a result, they have a high engagement rate. On the other hand, micro and nano influencers can reach fewer audiences compared to celebrities. Audience reach might be the challenge with this method.
Therefore, you have to discover influencers that fit with your brand and target audience. Fortunately, companies like NeoReach, Tagger Media, Klear, Scrunch, indaHash, Obviously, grapevine, wearisma, and CreatorIQ provide influencer matching opportunities on their platform, though each tool has a different selling point like discovery, market place, and campaign management. Firstly, start to search for an ideal tool that you feel is helpful and you are comfortable using. In any case, converting affinity to loyalty is your goal in marketing activities.
If you try to find influencers that have a brand affinity from scratch, it will take a long time. Unfortunately, it’s near impossible for brands to reach out to ideal influencers quickly so you might think an advertisement is easier than influencer marketing. This might be one of the reasons some companies hesitate to launch an influencer campaign at full scale.
If you that sounds like you, think again. Regrettably, no one can deny that so-called adverts might not end up reaching vast audiences in the not-so-distant future. The younger generation (especially Generation Z ) don’t trust ads at all, and the likes of ad blockers are prevalent. According to Harvard Business Review, 25.2% of internet users in the US blocked ads in 2018.
Although there is no shortcut in this influencer marketing method, brands should build relationships with micro and nano influencers. That being said, setting the right KPIs is critical to long-term success. Marketers have to set the right KPIs that fit into the company’s long-term strategy. Not only on-the-scene marketers but also managers and even c-suite decision makers must understand the attributes of micro and nano influencers. If there is a shortage of right KPIs and lack of understanding, the chances of influencer campaign failure would be high.
How should the brand deal with their influencer marketing program? Should they choose, agency or in-house? There might be a controversial argument on this topic, but I believe brands should deal with their micro and nano influencers in-house because the right influencers are loyal customers in their own right – they are a precious asset for brands.
According to Linqia’s report, The State of Influencer Marketing 2019, 34% of marketers already manage their influencer marketing programs in-house, but more marketers should try to communicate with influencers directly. If the brand can resonate strongly with the influencer, the company has to continue to make influencer’s loyalty stronger by all means. The stronger the influencer’s loyalty gets the more benefits like higher engagement, brand awareness, and even sales figures the company gets.
As a matter of course, operating micro and nano influencer marketing is not a piece of cake. Maybe you feel lost because you don’t know where to begin. I strongly recommend you collaborate with the likes of an agency for the time being. Usually, they have extensive knowledge about the best practices. The agency has to help clients positively build the in-house operation and is just a supporter of the brand and its micro or nano influencer program.
Before you try to communicate with influencers, you have to factor in the risks related to micro and nano influencers. It is not easy to manage micro or nano influencers because they are, put bluntly, everyday folks. If you discover the right influencer, you should be able to avoid the worst case because they respect your brand. If you fail to partner with the right influencer, it might massively burden you.
These influencer marketing strategies will change because trends move fast in this industry, but a strategy for micro and nano influencer marketing is vital for brands at this moment in time.