Ok, so there is probably more than five, but we’ll start somewhere!  While delivering digital marketing training this week, the subject of influencer marketing arose in two of these training sessions.  Both times the subject sparked some great conversations.


So, what exactly is “influencer marketing”?


HubSpot.com probably give the best definition of what influencer marketing is:


Influencer marketing employs leading, niche content creators to improve brand awareness, increase traffic, and drive your brand’s message to your target audience.”


In a nutshell, your business employs or asks (but pays for) another content creator to promote your brand.  You see it done in the fashion industry, where there are stylists on the likes of Instagram modelling certain clothes from a certain store.  Generally, that store is paying the stylist to promote their clothes.  Or perhaps the stylist receives those clothes for free in the hopes of a favourable post on their social media.  


1. Not just on social media


Influencer marketing is not just on social media, although much of it does take place particularly on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.  You might see it through blogging, guest blogging, email marketing, etc.  However, the most common influencer marketing is on social media.


2. Not just the big names, there are micro influencers too


Traditionally when I think of influencer marketing, I think of big names and big costs of influencers like the famous Kardashians.  While they have been influencers, mainly due to their HUGE following on social media, they might not align with the budget or values of some (or most!) businesses.  More recently the phenomenon is switched to the cheaper and sometimes better return on investment of the micro influencer.  Choosing local influencers that have only 1,000-100,000 follows on social media, but are more geographically aligned with your target audience, could be a better investment.  Micro influencers are generally not celebrities.  They focus on a specific area or topic.


3. Why use an influencer?


Sometimes your business might have tried other routes to gain followers or brand awareness.  By engaging with a local influencer that aligns with your target audience, this might help you achieve what you couldn’t previously.  I’ve heard of some examples this week where businesses have engaged with local influencers.  Sometimes they are local sports personalities or just somebody that has a strong following of genuine (not bought!) followers on social media.  


If you own a restaurant, for example, you could invite the chosen influencer for a meal out in your restaurant (on the house!). In return you ask for a mention of the visit on their social media.  If they write a particularly favourable report about your business and their followers are your target customers, then job done!  One business in particular grew their following on one social media platform from about 2k to 5k in a matter of weeks as a result of doing something like this with an influencer.


4. Trust can be an issue


Just as far back as 2017, 70% of people trusted influencers.  However, Media Agency, Universal McCann, now put this figure as low as 4%. What happened?  Transparency culture is what happened!  Our eyes were opened to the false following, the amount of money influencers were receiving and the lack of honesty, integrity and transparency in the influencer process.  


This might explain why businesses are choosing genuine people with a much lower, but genuine following on social media, to engage with.  The cost is generally lower to businesses and the influencer more often than not is very transparent. They explain that they are being paid for the endorsement or received a free product or service in return for the review.  This level of transparency is appreciated all around.


5. Is Influencer Marketing right for your business?


The answer isn’t a clear yes or no answer.  I really have to admit that it honestly does depend on your business.  If you’re in fashion, hair or beauty then I’d certainly consider influencer marketing.  If you’re in the hospitality business, it could also work really well here too.  There are many product and service based businesses that it could work well for.  However, my main advice would be to tread carefully.  I’ve seen businesses admit that it failed miserably for them.  The main reason being that the influencers values didn’t align at all with their business values.


My marketing training sessions really do turn into “ask me anything” sessions – and I love them!  I get asked the best questions.  We spark the best debates and conversations!  If you’d like to find out more about the training that we deliver, then get in touch.