More brands – both B2C and B2B – are turning to influencer marketing to reach their audiences. And it’s not just another fleeting marketing fad – influencer campaigns are yielding some impressive results.
Consider the facts:
- 89% of marketers report that the ROI from their influencer marketing efforts is comparable to or better than other marketing channels.
- Specifically, one study found that influencer marketing delivered 11X higher ROI than traditional forms of marketing.
- 57% of marketers say that influencer content outperforms their brand-created content.
- 39% of marketers plan to increase their influencer marketing budget in the next year.
So, what is it about influencer marketing that works?
In the same way that word-of-mouth marketing works, influencer marketing taps into trusted social networks to reach relevant audiences. Influencers’ audiences are interested in what they have to say and look to them for advice and insights, especially when they are viewed as authentic.
Despite common concerns, audiences are not turned off by product sponsorships, especially with smaller influencers whose audiences are expected to see them grow and experience success.
Pros & Cons of Influencer Marketing Campaigns
While influencer marketing is an effective tactic to include in your marketing mix, there are several pros and cons to consider before embarking on an influencer campaign.
- Ability to reach targeted, engaged audience
- Opportunity to tell your brand’s story through a new lens
- Gain a third-party endorsement that lends credibility
- Cut through the noise of other digital marketing tactics
- Surpass the dreaded social media algorithm
- Very little regulation and oversight within the influencer marketing space
- Unpredictable fluctuation in pricing and performance
- Inability to determine media spend and predict its impact like traditional media
- Higher barrier to entry on time and cost
- Requires extensive time to manage – from research to contact and negotiation, to content production and finally reporting/metrics
How to Choose the Right Type of Influencer
Influencers are typically classified by their follower count. There are four key groupings of influencers:
- Nano: 1-5K followers
- Micro: 5-30K followers
- Power: 30-500K followers
- Celebrity: 500K+ followers
The first thing to consider when selecting the type of influencers you’d like to work with is the specific objective you have for your campaign.
Smaller influencers (i.e. nano and micro) are valuable for audience engagement. These influencers have audiences who are genuinely interested in what they have to say and want to support them. Audiences will ask questions, share posts and comment frequently. Often, these influencers have fewer branded sponsors in their content mix, making their endorsements more authentic and valuable.
If you’re aiming for general brand or product awareness, partner with larger influencers (i.e. power and celebrity). Their large following ensures a wider reach that is effective for generating buzz or launching a new product. However, their content typically earns less engagement from audiences.
Pro tip: Use a mix of small and large influencers to create a balanced campaign that hits different levels of the funnel.
Ways B2B Brands Can Partner with Industry Influencers
Once you’ve determined the type of influencer to work with, you’ll then need to outline what the partnership will entail. For B2C brands, partnerships are fairly straightforward – post a photo with our product and share some of the features and benefits in your content. But for B2B brands, the possibilities for influencer marketing are vast.
To start, B2B influencers need to be established experts in their fields and recognized as industry leaders. Unlike B2C influencers who leverage popularity for influence, B2B influencers earn their titles through expertise and unique insight.
Highlight their industry expertise through content such as:
- Co-authored blogs or articles
- In-depth webinars
- Podcast series
- Live social videos, such as a Q&A session
Keep in mind, B2B influencer content is best when it is educational and informative. Avoid using this content for product promotion. Instead, let the subject matter expert focus on providing quality insights. B2B influencer content is best when it is mutually beneficial to both parties. This way, your partner is proud of the content and more likely to share the content with their network, creating more value for your brand and fostering a long-lasting relationship.
3 Best Practices for Successful Influencer Campaigns
Ready to set your influencer marketing campaign into motion? Make your campaign a success with these best practices:
1) Create a List of Potential Influencers
Vet potential influencers for any conflicts of interest. Some common red flags are reputation issues like drug use or inappropriate language, and competing brand sponsorships.
Also, keep in mind the influencer’s audience. For many of our clients in the building products space, we work with influencers that either speak to DIYers or professional contractors – two very different audiences. Plus, bots are always a concern when assessing followers. Check that their audiences are real, relevant audiences and not paid followers or fake accounts.
2) Make Expectations Clear
What type of content do you want the influencer to create? Is there specific messaging that needs to be included in their posts? How many posts are included in the partnership? How long will the campaign run?
These are all important details that need to be laid out clearly in the partnership contract. In particular, nano and micro influencers new to the space may be unfamiliar with the process and expectations. A clear contract is even more important in these types of partnerships
3) Develop a Clear Measurement Plan
The only way to measure the success of your influencer campaign is to set clear objectives and KPIs at the start. When outlining the contract, be sure to include what metrics (i.e. reach, shares, click-throughs, etc.) you expect the influencer to report.
Want to learn more about influencer marketing? Check out our case study to see how we earned 5.3 million impressions through blogger collaboration.