Influencer Marketing: How Brands Are Shaking Up Their Ad Strategy
Ah, influencers. Some people love them, some people roll their eyes at just the mention of the word. This might be because not everyone understands the true power these individuals possess for brands everywhere.
How many of you follow celebrities or bloggers on Instagram and are immediately drawn to a product that they’re advertising? Surely if this well-known individual loves this product, then you will too! At least that’s the train of thought most of us have as we scroll through these beautifully curated feeds on social media.
In our last blog, we covered the acceleration of the digital shift with online advertising. With the advent of streaming services came the option to omit ads and commercials from your favorite television shows, movies, and even online radio. As with any challenge, brands have found a silver lining with paid search campaigns, social media ads, and you guessed it…paid partnerships with influencers.
To truly understand how brands are partnering with influencers around the world online, you’ll first need to know the different types of influencers out there and each medium that they utilize.
The 5 Types of Brand Influencers
Let us start off by saying this: influencers aren’t new. While the concept has shifted to the digital realm, brands have been leveraging awareness with celebrities for years! Remember late night talk shows, or even still today with Super Bowl commercials? Each brand is usually sponsored or partnered with a celebrity/famous individual to showcase their product. Famous individuals, especially on a global-scale, are the easiest way to establish a sense of familiarity (and trust) with audiences everywhere.
Let’s dive in:
Micro-influencers are different from other types of “traditional” influencers because they aren’t well-known celebrities or public figures. They’re social media users like me or you that are able to cultivate a solid following due to their aesthetic feed and high-quality posts about their very favorite brands. Instead of millions of followers, they have a following of thousands or tens of thousands of people. Because of their modest following, their engagement rates are much higher since they are able to easily respond to DMs and public comments.
Having a smaller audience allows these influencers to connect with people who follow them and, in turn, makes them much more appealing to work with for brands looking to connect on a personal level with their audience.
Social media influencer:
Unlike “regular” social media users, these influencers are public figures or well-known individuals (but not to be confused with celebrities — we will get to them next) who operate on several platforms, such as Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter. These influencers have tens of thousands or even millions of followers.
Social media influencers have established credibility within a specific industry such as health, workouts, cars, diet, outdoor activities, travel, fashion, art, beauty, and interior design. These influencers share advice, tutorials, recipes, and more.
A great example of a social media influencer would be Huda Kattan or Jaclyn Hill. Once make-up artists for Revlon and MAC, they rose to fame by posting make-up tutorials and reviews on YouTube and Instagram. With millions of followers, they have now both landed their own successful line of cosmetics.
Celebrity influencers are exactly what you’d think; actors, singers, reality tv stars, and more. Celebrities are ideal influencers due to their massive following of millions upon millions of people. Since these individuals are widely recognized and well-loved by fans all over the globe, they are successful in reaching your targeting audience quickly.
Whether their fans see this content or not, celebrities promoting and/or using your brand’s product or service can reach multiple audiences across a variety of channels more than any other influencer could. Remember when we referenced you being drawn to a product because your favorite celebrity endorsed it? That’s because you see their level of success, therefore trusting that they’re providing you authentic advice. This is called social proof, and it’s an extremely powerful advertising tool.
A great example that comes to mind would be Joe Rogan. Once the host of the popular reality show Fear Factor and MMA commentator, Joe Rogan has amassed 9-10 million followers on his now famous The Joe Rogan Experience podcast and Instagram account. His number one sponsor of his podcast is Traeger Grills, an outdoor wood fire grill. If you listen to his podcast or peruse his Instagram feed, you’ll see several posts of him grilling and eating elk from his Traeger Grill making sure he’s tagging their page and hashtagging their product.
A blog influencer is someone who writes for their own well-established blog and has thousands, or millions, of subscribers and readers that cover topics from travel, gaming, health, photography, and parenting. These influencers have an expansive reach and influence that sets them apart from your regular everyday bloggers (like me) who reach a smaller group of people. But hey, who knows, maybe one day Tinsley Creative will become blog influencers in the branding world!
If you’re anything like me and love blogs, especially content that creates a strong sense of community in the online space, then you’ll love photography blog, Humans of New York. HONY has over 18 million followers across the globe through the power of social media. Started in 2010 by photographer Brandon Stanton, HONY is a series started in New York City where Brandon would interview citizens and share a personal quote or story along with their picture to capture the human experience.
Since its launch, HONY has been published into several books and even spent 31 weeks on The New York Times Best Seller list.
Key opinion leader:
Key opinion leaders (KOLs) are high-level experts and trusted contributors in their industries who have a following of people invested in that particular subject. A perfect example of a KOL would be an individual that specializes in nutrition, sports, politics, or even the medical field. Consider them the thought leaders in their field.
Due to their expert knowledge, training, or even certifications on a certain topic, your target audience is much more likely to invest their trust into these individuals regarding your service or product.
Most famously, entrepreneur and engineer, Elon Musk of Tesla, is an example of a KOL in several industries ranging from automotive and tech. Musk has a following of 37 million followers on Twitter, so any brand that partners with him easily has a chance of getting their name out there on a global scale.
In the restaurant industry, most Food Network chefs would be considered KOLs as well. From Alton Brown, Gordon Ramsay, and Giada De Laurentiis, many food brands benefit from partnering with these world-renowned chefs due to their track record of formal training, media appearances, and massive following.
Okay, we know we said there were 5 influencers, but something dawned on us. On a daily basis, as brand managers, we help brands create their own set of “influencers” every time they sell a product or service. Not every brand has the budget to hire influencers, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create your own fan base of customers to promote your brand with a simple post on their social media pages.
We assist brands in creating their own army of front line influencers with our strategic marketing efforts on a daily basis. Cultivating personal relationships with your audience is and should be, your brand’s ultimate goal on social media. A brand needs to prove its loyalty to their audience, and what better way than to re-share posts of customers enjoying your product or service?! It’s all part of a well-thought out plan, and the Tinsley team does it every single day.
If your brand does decide to hire an influencer, it’s also our job as brand managers to ensure that the influencer’s brand strategy works in unison with your brand’s identity, image, and overall strategy.
Now that you know the 5 types of influencers, how do you go about finding them?
Besides organically scouring social media feeds and Google, believe it or not, there are agencies dedicated to securing the perfect influencer for your brand! Take Obviously for example; a full service influencer marketing agency based out of New York, Paris, and San Francisco with over 400,000 influencers in their database.
With Obviously’s arsenal of influencers and top-notch experts, they provide a time-saving solution for brands who are actively searching for vetted, professional influencers so that their brand can reach a wider audience.
What’s the budget like for each of these influencers, you ask? Since each influencer’s following ranges from a modest few thousand to large scale followings in the millions, their cost per post varies. To break it down via Influencer Marketing Hub:
*Please note: these figures are an average and aren’t the same for every influencer*
- Micro-influencer: $80-500 per piece of content
- Celebrity influencer: $3,000-$500,000+ per piece of content
- Blog influencer: $400-$5,500 per blog post
- Social media influencer: $100-$550,000+ per social post
- KOL (Key opinion leader): $500-$5,000+ per piece of content
An Investment For Your Brand
Hiring influencers to promote your brand obviously doesn’t come free. These individuals dedicate their time to showcasing your brand and products while working alongside you to reach your advertising goals. From short-term contracts to long-term retainers, influencers will be working on a variety of campaigns with your brand, bringing in leads. In turn, for your time, hard work, and dollars spent, you’ll hope to see an ROI from your efforts.
Rest assured, the stats behind influencer marketing overall are positive and proven valuable to brands everywhere — and they’re on the rise. Take a look for yourself:
- 80% of brands find influencer marketing effective.
- 71% of brands rate the quality of customers and traffic from influencer marketing as better than other marketing sources.
- 49% of consumers today depend on influencer recommendations for their purchase decisions. 60% say they’ve been influenced by a recommendation when shopping in-store.
- Influencer marketing strategies focused on branding or engagements generate 8x ROI.
- 40% of online customers use ad-blocking technology — opening doors for influencers everywhere.
Consider Us Influenced…
If we were to dive into all the components that make up influencer marketing, you’d be downloading an eBook. With several factors to take into consideration such as reach, budget, and types of partnerships, your options are endless!
As you brainstorm new and innovative ways to connect with your audience and build brand awareness, consider partnering with an influencer best suited for your business and develop a solid awareness strategy.
The Internet world is your brand’s oyster, and influencer marketing is on the rise to becoming an integral part of a brand’s online marketing strategy.