Using influencers to market a business is the way to go these days. After all, word of mouth is the most trusted source of brand information, whether that be from your mom, colleague, or best friend. The requirements of an influencer are to firstly be recognised as an authority in a certain niche or industry, and secondly, have an engaging follower base of at least a thousand (micro-influencers). Sounds simple, right? Every influencer wants to be successful at what they do.
It can be a lucrative career for many individuals but what’s in it for the brands who hire them? Any company that chooses to add influencers into their marketing strategy has the potential to gain a sweet return on investment (ROI). However, it is important for brands to understand how to use influencer marketing in strategic ways to reap maximum financial benefits and hopefully increase their own following.
Social media platforms
The three most popular social media platforms for marketing are currently TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram. Each platform has millions of daily users, making them the perfect spaces for virtual “foot traffic” for your brand ads and campaigns. While working with mega-influencers may seem the best option to reach as many users as possible, it is often not the best way to drive meaningful traffic back to your website, e-commerce or platform and create meaningful conversions.
In fact, the best influencers to target are known as micro and macro-influencers and what makes them the cream of the crop is the quality of their community. Whose opinion do you trust more, a rich social media superstar with 15 million followers, or a friend of a friend who has 15k followers? The answer is easy. Not only should companies understand who their chosen influencer is but they should also understand how different outcomes of influencer marketing come about according to your strategy.
TikTok is a newly popular video sharing platform that is dominating short-form video right now. The premise of the app is to share funny, entertaining and – sometimes – even educational videos, up to 60 seconds in length (even though the best length is below 15 seconds) and to get featured on the For You Page, a sort of feed that is shown to millions of viewers that, depending on the quality of the video, will engage with it: liking it, commenting it, sharing it or making a duet.
Brand awareness: TikTok can be used to spread brand awareness through the use of unique and branded hashtags. A company that creates its own hashtag and gives the video mastermind freedom to be creative will drive brand awareness while attaching its brand image to cool, unique content. A common use of this is for hashtag challenges: that means that the brand associates its branded hashtag to a challenge that, if played properly, will attract hundreds of thousands of users to join it, creating a lot of user-generated content. This does not necessarily increase conversions but it is a good way to get seen, and that is the point of awareness, right?
Conversions: First of all, in order to get enough conversions on TikTok, TikTok videos must be authentic and meaningful to drive a high ROI. That means that those videos have to be natively designed for TikTok. The conversion process usually involves paying the influencer and providing your product (to be embedded in a funny or entertaining way in the video, better not to use it for a cold promotion, that doesn’t work on TikTok) or to give a promo-code in case of an app or e-commerce. Then, the TikTok influencer has to put a tracking link on his/her TikTok bio in order to firstly, send traffic to the client’s landing page, e-commerce, app or platform and secondly, track the performances of the influencer: clicks, downloads and purchases.
YouTube is the long-form video platform that reigns supreme over online video content. While TikTok is a powerhouse for 15-second videos, YouTube leads the way over basically all other forms of video. YouTube is also best for high-quality content created with a specific purpose.
Brand awareness: One easy method for increasing your brand awareness is by simply paying a YouTube influencer to give your brand a dedicated review (2-3 mins) or a dedicated video (10-15 mins) depending on your budget. In case you have a smaller budget, you can pay for a “shout out” somewhere in their video – also in the video description.
Conversions: YouTube is excellent for driving conversions because they make it easy to track and easy to stick a website or product link in the video description. Moreover, on the contrary of Instagram, a YouTube video will always remain relevant thanks to its SEO and that will help the client in ranking better for a certain niche term. Most sales conversions can be traced back to influencer promotion codes, so pass along a free product to your chosen social media star and be sure to include a discount code they can pass along as well. And, also in this case, use a tracking link to be placed in the video description in order to properly track the YouTuber performance and real influence.
Instagram is the ultimate platform for online image sharing. This visual app thrives off of aesthetic. While Stories and IGTV videos are a popular source of content, images dominate the platform and draw the most eyes.
Brand awareness: Align your product with the image, caption, hashtags, and overall “feel” of the post to truly capture your visually attuned audience. Since it is not possible to add a link to an Instagram photo or video, this won’t bring any traffic to the client’s website but it will help with brand awareness.
Conversions: The best way to get traffic and potential conversions from Instagram is using Instagram Stories: ask the influencers to review a product, app or platform in an authentic way (storytelling is king here) and give a specific tracking link to each content creator. This way his/her followers will be able to swipe up and get redirected to a website or app. Not only the brand will get targeted traffic but it will also be able to analyse the real influence of the Instagrammer.