What Is Influencer Marketing?
The present-day definition of 'influencer' may have been added in as recently as 2019, but its first known use dates all the way back to the 1660s. From the Queen of England and Coco Chanel to Santa Claus and the Marlboro Man, influencers have shaped and altered the marketing landscape significantly over the past decades.
Influencer marketing is no longer just about big-money sponsorships between brands and celebrities. In the smartphone era, everyone has the potential to become top influencers. Today, influencer marketing is a whole section in the marketing library and its definition has been constantly adapted to fit the nature of the world at the time.
So what does influencer marketing mean?
Influencer Marketing is a marketing discipline wherein a brand collaborates with an online influencer to promote their product and/or brand leveraging the influencer's digital popularity.
It is no accident that influencer marketing is now considered a critical part of every brand's marketing strategy. The global influencer marketing space has seen tremendous growth over the last few years and is on track to become a $15 billion industry by 2022. In light of the ongoing worldwide pandemic and its economic implications, more brands will opt for influencer marketing with influencers reporting higher engagement rates.
It is clear that influencer marketing is fast-becoming, if not already, a key digital marketing channel for marketers and brands. But before diving headfirst into an influencer marketing campaign, it is important to consider some basic questions such as: Who Is An Influencer? How do you identify a good influencer?
Who Is An Influencer?
In today's marketing definition:
An influencer (also known as content creator) is someone who builds a powerful online social presence by creating entertaining and informative content for digital consumption.
These personalities rose to fame by creating engaging, creative content and building massive, dedicated audiences who religiously interact and consume their content.
The topics for their content can include anything from fashion, tech, fitness to even memes. Their success largely depends on being relatable, authentic, and entertaining.
How To Identify Good Influencers
There are three primary factors that must be considered when evaluating an Influencer - Followers, Engagement, and Growth Rate.
Authentic And Large Follower-base
The best influencers have a larger-than-average follower base. To qualify as an influencer, one needs to have enough people who pay attention to what one is saying.
However, the term 'huge' is relative. Influencers who focus on niche categories may have 5000 to 10000 followers which may be considered huge for that topic. The spotlight then shifts to how much of that audience is engaging with the content.
An influencer with a huge but unengaged follower base is a recipe for disaster. The quality, relevance, and substance of their content is reflected by how much engagement they get per post. A highly-engaged audience is much more likely to be inspired by the influencer and pay attention to what they say.
A high engagement rate (the number of followers who engage with content/number of total followers) is the sign of a great influencer.
Consistent Content And Growth-rate
A good influencer ensures their follower-base is regularly watered with good content. They know the importance of staying relevant and keeping up with trends. A lapse in posting may lead to plateauing of the influencer's growth rate or, even worse, a drop in followers.
With the unending waves of content from competitors flooding our screens, it can be frighteningly easy to lose followers.
These factors let us understand not only what makes a top social media influencer but how to rank and choose them for campaigns.
An influencer with millions of followers may not necessarily be the right fit for a brand's marketing strategy while a mid-tier influencer with 50000 followers who posts frequently in a particular format and topic might be the perfect partnership.
Here at Qoruz we have devised a hierarchical classification, called the Influencer Pyramid, that can help brands more efficiently plan their influencer marketing strategy."
The Influencer Pyramid
Showcasing the complete gamut of influencer types and power, the Influencer Pyramid is a comprehensive visualisation of the wide diversity of influencers. It's important to note every influencer is effective in their own unique way
Virat Kohli is a famous cricketer and one of the biggest celebrities in India, boasting a place at the top of the influencer pyramid with millions of followers. But Alicia Souza is a powerful influencer in her own right even though she has less than 500,000 followers.
Why is that important?
Because every creator has varying degrees of influence and uses their digital fame in different ways depending on audience type, topic, format, etc.
The pyramid divides influencers into 6 levels. Each level consists of influencers in descending order of popularity or followers. That's not to say the lower levels are to be ignored. In fact, each level possesses qualities and characteristics that can help brands market their products better than others, regardless of level.
Level 6 - Mega Influencers - Celebrities
Falling in the category of 'Mega' owing to their vast popularity, celebrities usually have the broadest reach on social networking platforms. These influencers can make or break the brand's image with a simple mention.
These influencers boast massive starpower and can sway large audiences across various backgrounds and interests. If you are looking to partner with these influencers, keep in mind that they are extremely expensive to work with.
Virat Kohli, Captain of the Indian national cricket team, reportedly charges over 1 crore for an Instagram post. It may seem extortionate but the reach of these Mega-Influencers sometimes justifies the price.
Level 5 - Mega Influencers - Thought Leaders & Independent Voices
This group is also categorized as 'Mega' and includes high-achieving entrepreneurs, decision-makers of renowned companies, and powerful solopreneurs. Their followers are extremely loyal and trust their recommendations to a tee.
Sandeep Maheshwari is a motivational speaker with a large following. His YouTube videos and online activity generally attain massive reach and engagement.
Level 4 - Macro Influencers - Content Publishers
From brands to individuals, these Macro Influencers have the power to change the perception of your brand. Their content is followed widely for both entertainment and information. Analysing and connecting with them can greatly impact your reach and reputation.
Some examples of popular content publishers are ScoopWhoop, The Logical Indian, Storypick, etc. These platforms' content range from news and education to memes and entertainment.
Level 3 - Macro Influencers - Internet Celebrities
Internet celebrities have gained popularity largely due to their social media activities. These Macro Influencers possess deep insight into the workings of their main social platform and know exactly how to leverage it for maximum returns. They keep sharing glimpses of their everyday lives along with engaging content to forge a powerful rapport with their followers.
Jitendra Sharma, the man behind the popular Instagram meme page Ted The Stoner, is the perfect example of an Internet celebrity. The page has attained a massive, devoted following over the years due to the quality of memes curated on it and the strong, entertaining opinions posted on current affairs that generate lots of engagement.
Level 2 - Micro Influencers - Professionals & Enthusiasts
These relatively nascent-stage influencers are creators of high-quality, reliable content and regularly share it on their social handles. They don't have the largest follower-base, but their profound knowledge in their area of interest and regular posting makes their fanbase highly engaged and trusting.
Brands can strategically partner with these influencers to spread awareness about specific products, services, and brand communications.
Sorav Jain is a trusted digital marketing expert. His content has led to proven success among his followers leading to a strong foundation of trust and loyalty in his followers.
Level 1 - Nano Influencers - Brand Advocates & Consumers
It can be tough for brands and businesses to connect with their customers on a more personal level. That's where Nano-level influencers come in.
Despite being called 'Nano', these influencers can give you access to an extremely close-knit community who listen to the influencer's two cents before making a decision.
When it comes to a purchasing decision, a lot of people rely on word-of-mouth. Especially from the people they know best. From a friend to a coworker, a Nano influencer can be anyone whose opinion you value.
The connections they forge are deeper and more meaningful than any other type of influencer.
How Qoruz Connects You With The Best Influencer For Your Campaign
Qoruz is a one-stop destination for all types of influencers boasting diverse audiences from around the world. When it comes to collaborating with influencers, it's essential to choose the ones who are the right fit for your marketing strategy.
At Qoruz, we have developed our own ranking system called the Qoruz Score (a percentile-based scoring mechanism ranging from 1 to 10 calculated based on audience engagement, follower count, and growth patterns on various social media platforms). We have ranked over 283,000 unique influencers across India as of this guide's publish date.
From product category to audience size, highly-customizable search parameters allow Qoruz users to find the perfect influencer for your campaign. We offer a holistic approach to minimize the amount of work you have to put in when searching and connecting with influencers.
How Do You Measure Influence?
One of the most obscure aspects of influencer marketing is quantifying 'influence'. How to determine if someone has the power to deliver the results you're looking for. Influence is not just the total number of followers that an influencer has.
It's a bit more complicated than that.
Here are some aspects to consider when evaluating the influence of a content creator:
The first point of reference when gauging an influencer's value, Reach measures the spread of social conversation. Simply put, it's the total size of an influencer's follower-base. In social media marketing terms, it is the extent your brand's post was viewed through search or recommendation.
While larger reach means more opportunities for people to see the content, it alone is not a fair representation of success.
Influence cannot be accurately measured without considering Reach, Resonance, and Relevance together. Each metric adds a unique dimension to precisely gauge the influence of a content creator in a holistic way.
Influencer marketing campaigns are not only about reaching your target audience but also ensuring your brand's message resonates with them. It basically refers to how much impact an influencer's content has on their audience.
Resonance can be ascertained by reading follower comments on posts and gauging how positively or negatively followers interact with the influencer's content. Resonance directly affects purchasing decisions and attitude towards the brand to provoke desired reactions among consumers.
Qoruz analyzes all comments on influencer posts and provides a percentage-based metric on the quality of an influencer's follower-base.
The best shoes are ones that fit. Relevance and niche-targeting play essential roles with context to influence. It's important to choose an influencer who talks about a topic that is relevant to your niche or industry and can grab the attention of your target audience.
If you're trying to sell cars, it's best to stay clear of influencers who have a well-known passion for motor-bikes.
How to find influencers for your niche?
It's essential to know how to identify reliable influencers before collaborating with them to spread word about your brand. It may be tempting to use popular benchmark metrics to measure the quality of an influencer, but it's essential to dive deeper into available data for better returns on your campaign.
Here are some vital points to keep in mind:
Niche: Which Topics Does The Influencer Talk About?
All influencers specialize in specific areas of interest. And it's advisable for you to partner with the ones who create content relevant to your niche, product, or industry.
A Kardashian-led campaign may be perfect for a lip gloss brand, but will it work for sports equipment? There's an off-chance the internet's whimsical nature might make it go viral, but is that a chance you're willing to bet your campaign budget on? Probably not.
An influencer boasting 1,000,000 Instagram followers won't be of any use if it doesn't comprise your target audience. So it's advisable to pick an influencer whose audience's interests align with your brand or product.
Lastly, make sure the influencer you choose to work with shares similar values and tone of voice with your brand. Ensure their ideas and communication style reflects your values and identity.
At Qoruz, we provide detailed social data of a wide range of influencers and their audiences, grouping them into a variety of categories such as entertainment, fashion, tech, lifestyle, and much more for easy comparison.
Metrics: Influencer Marketing KPIs To Track Performance
It's easy to get tempted when you see an influencer with a large number of followers. An influencer with 600,000 followers doesn't necessarily mean all of them are paying attention. It is quite possible an influencer with just 6000 followers has a much higher engagement rate.
So what should you look for?
It now becomes vitally important for marketers to determine how many followers are actually interacting with the influencer's content.
Qoruz provides detailed audience engagement insights such as likes, shares, and comments to help you analyse exactly whether and how audiences are reacting to an influencer's content.
Budget: Optimize Your ROIs With Data
Before going after an influencer with excellent engagement and reach metrics, consider the budget for your campaign. There are multiple things to keep in mind such as:
What kind of integration can you afford?
How many influencers should you onboard?
Should I invest based on leads generated or posts shared?
While there is no standardized cost in the influencer marketing industry, it's essential to analyse influencer metrics, campaign structure, and content quality to ensure your decision leads to the results you want out of your influencer marketing campaign.
Finding influencers who create high-quality content, reach your target audience, and connect with your brand's values is an invaluable endeavour and completely worth the time and effort it takes to get the right ones for your campaign.
How To Incentivize Influencers
A common question when planning influencer marketing campaigns is:
How do I know which incentives work best for influencers?
Monetary payment is an obvious choice but many influencers allow brands to remunerate them in different ways. Here are some options to compensate influencers for their work that also say you appreciate them for the value they bring to your brand.
Many influencers accept financial rewards for access to their services and followers.
Certain bloggers and micro-influencers offer a rate card for their services for items such as: Instagram image post, YouTube product review video, blogpost, etc. each with varying prices.
According to Qoruz's data, the average price for influencers with over 500,000 followers can range between $1300 and $8000. However, these are not the final costs as influencer payouts can be negotiated and rates can vary greatly based on numerous factors.
Rewarding social influencers with freebies and discounted products not only delights them but also encourages them to write more passionate, detailed reviews having personally tried your product for themselves.
If you send products to influencers for use in promotion activities, try including some fun, additional goodies for a pleasant surprise.
Unexpected goodness goes a long way in any situation. It will encourage influencers you work with to remain loyal brand ambassadors beyond the scope of your marketing campaign.
Even influencers are fans of certain brands and will be thrilled to work with their favourite brands and products.
This is another reason why you should take time to seek out the right influencer for your brand.
Offer them a chance to brag about your products or brand and they will happily share it all over their social channels bringing you lots of positive buzz.
Providing influencers with limited/exclusive-access content or pre-sale product trials instils a sense of importance in them while simultaneously getting the word out about your brand or product.
Some influencers (predominantly Micro and Macro) love sharing unique content with their fans and aim to educate or enhance their lives in some way. One of their primary motivations is to grow an audience for a genuine cause beyond commercial motivations.
With the rise in popularity of influencer marketing, this medium is being used increasingly as an important promotional channel. To ensure you get the best influencers in the market, it's imperative to ideate innovative and exciting ways to incentivize your influencers.
A restricted budget can be circumvented with unique ideas to appreciate and motivate a partnered influencer.
How much do Indian influencers charge?
According to Qoruz's data, the average price for influencers with over 500,000 followers can range between $1300 and $8000. However, these are not the final costs as influencer payouts can be negotiated and rates can vary greatly based on numerous factors.
Influencer marketing is a rapidly growing area in the business landscape. The level of attention, customization, and preparation required to run a successful campaign is becoming increasingly complex.
An influencer's scope of work in marketing campaigns has expanded significantly from simple product reviews and showcases. Over time, brands and influencers have come up with new ways to promote the brand while keeping in mind the goals and objectives of both parties.
Here are some of them:
The most popular type of influencer campaign, Sponsored Content is created when brands reach out to influencers asking to showcase or talk about their products or services.
These campaigns usually start with the brands giving clear guidelines, hashtags, or mood boards so the influencers know exactly what is required of them.
Depending on the influencer you choose and their expertise, the final output can be a video, image, blog post or a combination of all. It's completely based on what you want to achieve from your campaign.
Social Media Takeover
A truly innovative influencer marketing technique, social media takeovers put your brand's social handle in the hands of your chosen content creator.
The influencer literally takes over control of your brand's social account for a specific tenure and posts content to engage directly with your brand's audience. This activity also brings the influencer's own followers to your social profiles.
Operating under certain rules and guidelines, influencers can post Instagram stories, conduct live Q&A sessions on your Facebook page, or post images and videos of them using your product.
The possibilities are endless.
Empowering influencers to take over your social channels can be highly beneficial as you get to use their creative expertise to generate content on your social profiles and drive their followers to your page increasing your brand awareness.
Contests & Giveaways
Running contests, product giveaways, or event activations using influencers can create huge buzz around your brand. It promotes goodwill among audiences and encourages netizens to take valuable actions.
You may be wondering:
'What kind of valuable actions?'
It can be anything from following your brand's social page to visiting your website to boosting your exposure by using your brand's hashtags.
Collaborating with influencers to advertise contests and online events is a highly effective way to leverage their follower-base, raise brand awareness, and improve brand perception.
A go-to option for those with limited budgets, Affiliate Marketing campaigns bring you the benefit of collaborating with as many influencers as you want regardless of your budget.
How, you ask?
This is because influencers work on commissions in this model.
For example, imagine you own an e-commerce platform for groceries. You collaborate with ten influencers and give them a unique code to share. Whenever any consumer purchases the product using that influencer's code, the influencer gets a commission.
Most may consider this a great campaign strategy to protect your budget, and it is, but unfortunately this method is not viable in the long-term.
Why, you ask?
Simple because people don't want to follow influencers who frequently sell to them and will unsubscribe if a channel becomes too commercialized.
Deploy Affiliate Marketing campaigns sporadically and with different influencers for successful results and a happier audience.
Guest-blogging campaigns help raise brand awareness and boost the SEO ranking of your brand's website. It helps to have an experienced blogger with a track-record of creating reliable content write for you.
This way, you not only get great content for your website but also drive the blogger's audience to your website.
Brand Ambassadors are associated with a brand for longer periods of time. They are the face of the brand and work similarly to celebrity spokespersons in traditional marketing campaigns. They regularly talk about your brand on their social handles.
The major benefit of acquiring brand ambassadors is that content related to your products/services show up regularly on their social profiles. They vouch for your brand and instil trust in their followers towards your brand.
There are numerous ways to work with influencers. It's up to you to take all available information and make an informed decision on which influencer campaign works best for your goals and helps you connect with your audience most effectively.
Measuring Campaign Performance Based On The Marketing Funnel
You collaborated with an influencer for your campaign. They published a great post for your brand. Great!
Figure out if or how successful your influencer marketing campaign was. Every campaign's benchmark for success varies greatly. It largely depends on what your marketing goals are and how they tie in with your influencer marketing strategy.
Some marketers would measure success based on increase in brand awareness, i.e. Reach. While others might consider a campaign successful based on how many Leads and Conversions they attained through it. And some might simply want to develop stronger connections with their consumers.
Why should you measure your campaign's performance?
Because it's essential to know what worked for you and what did not. Every influencer marketing campaign you conduct is an opportunity to learn.
At the beginning of every campaign, you should already know which metric is important for success and how to go about achieving it.
Top Of The Funnel
This stage of the funnel is also known as the Awareness stage and is affected by Reach, Impressions, and Engagement. The size of an influencer's follower-base is the most common reason most brands experiment with influencer marketing. The larger, the better.
If your brand is focused on top-of-the-funnel marketing activities (i.e. boosting brand awareness) then your influencer campaign should feature more shareable and engaging content.
Reach, Impressions, and Engagement are essential aspects of monitoring your campaign due to their simplicity in measuring success.
On Qoruz, you can easily measure these metrics by tracking:
- The total number of followers an influencer has and the predicted reach.
- Number of unique views, shares, and comments.
- The actual number of new followers your campaign post reached.
Needless to say, the actual number of followers reached is more important to consider when deciding on the success of your influencer campaign.
Middle Of The Funnel
This section of the funnel, also known as the Consideration stage, relates to link clicks, downloads, and any activity that evokes consumer interest in a brand or product.
You might be thinking:
'What kind of content works best at this stage?'
Anything that helps encourage a consumer to seriously consider a product is ideal at this stage. This means providing as much information about the brand or product so they can make a decision.
Influencer posts with a link to the website or for downloading informative brand/product content.
Bottom Of The Funnel
The endgame of any business is to generate Leads and convert them into Customers.
Any target consumer who has gained interest in your business offering due to your marketing efforts can be classified as a Lead and becomes a customer when they purchase the offering.
The bottom of the funnel, also known as the Decision stage, focuses on driving Leads to make a purchase. At this stage, influencer content needs to be highly conversion-oriented. This means highlighting product features and including purchase links in the post itself.
To accurately measure the success of your decision-stage influencer marketing strategies, it's important to ask:
'How can I tell which influencer is responsible for which leads and conversions?'
Referral traffic statistics can help you analyse which influencer content is bringing traffic to your website or landing page. This data offers actionable insights into which of your campaigns and posts are effective across social networking sites.
You can track your website traffic with web analytics tools such as Google Analytics. You can also observe many other metrics like demographics, page visits, sessions, etc. to gain a deeper understanding of your campaign's performance.
Why Use Influencer Marketing Software?
Searching for influencers and contacting them is only part of the process. Influencer marketing software brings optimal bang for your buck with its vast pool of assorted influencer data.
Robust influencer marketing software provide data to allow marketers to answer critical questions like:
Which influencer has the highest followers in my industry?
What does this influencer's audience talk most about?
Why does this influencer have better engagement than others?
And much more.
There are three important aspects of planning an influencer campaign:
- Finding influencers in your niche.
- Picking right influencers and optimizing your campaign.
- Analysing how the campaign went and identifying improvement areas.
It can be extremely hard to find these answers manually.
The smartphone age has brought immense technological advancements, with more on the horizon. It is imperative for marketers to harness the power of tech to gain every advantage to beat out the competition.
There are powerful advantages in using influencer marketing software:
The best Influencer marketing software feature highly-customizable targeting parameters allowing you to choose influencers directly on the platform.
This helps you to:
- Find the right influencers for your niche.
- Filter and compare influencers based on your budget.
- Contact influencers with a click.
Qoruz can filter influencers based on multiple criteria such as category, influencer demographics, audience demographics, follower count, engagement rate, average cost and much more.
A comprehensive search and profiling mechanism saves time and provides complete control when planning your campaign.
The key aspect of a good influencer marketing software is helping you manage your campaign more efficiently. From communicating with your influencers to speeding up approval processes, influencer software makes planning a campaign simpler at every step of the way.
Qoruz makes your work easier by showing you a snapshot of all influencer information in one place. This not only helps you evaluate and compare influencers but also provides one convenient location to analyze the data and make quicker decisions
You've compared, identified, and shortlisted the influencers you want to work with.
Great! So what's next?
It's time to contact them with a campaign brief listing required deliverables and begin price negotiations. The best influencer marketing platforms provide you with options to directly contact, brief, and negotiate with influencers.
From updated contact information to an in-built briefing interface, Qoruz regularly obtains and updates all influencer contact details providing multiple ways to connect with influencers.
Marketers always look for metrics that help them analyse the impact of their campaigns.
And Return-on-Investment is one of the most preferred indicators of success in business.
With Qoruz's real-time reporting feature, you get the benefit of looking at data related to views, engagement, average engagement, audience demographics and much more insights so you can monitor predicted results and make adjustments on-the-fly.
Accurate, real-time metrics can be the difference between an influencer marketing campaign that elevates a brand to new heights and one that buries it.
A well-rounded influencer marketing platform makes it extremely simple to collaborate with the influencers and conduct a highly-rewarding campaign. Today, there are always multiple tech options in the market.
And that's a good thing.
Competition drives innovation, pushing tech firms to provide the best experience with their product to help you achieve your business objectives.
Conduct research, get all the information you can, and choose an option that works best for you and your marketing objectives.
Qoruz: End-to-end Influencer Marketing
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