“Influencer Marketing” is a commonly searched term these days, and if you’re operating or working for any company in 2022, you most probably might have scoured the market for influencers.
But heck! If you haven’t, than this guide on influencer marketing is exactly what you were looking for.
In that order, if you are from Generation X, we are assuming that you grew with the overall IT industry trends. It was a golden time period where many businesses shot up. Some of them sustained through on-time optimizations and strategies, while others only had their moment for a very short duration.
Speaking of “trends” in the business industry, there’s this one prime example from the year 1984. It stands out.
Nike had a collaboration with Michael Jordan for an exclusive sneaker product line. Later on, these sneakers were labeled Air Jordans. However, when Michael Jordan signed a contract with Nike to endorse the product lineup, both sides weren’t completely aware of the trend that they’d be setting up.
That’s what influencer marketing is. And this is all the more reason for your business to take full advantage of whatever influencer marketing has in store for you.
What Is Influencer Marketing & Why Is It Important For Your Business?
Technically, if you are looking for answers to ‘what is influencer marketing’ – and that too in 2022, we are assuming that you have been living under a rock. But hey, it’s never too late to get started, right?
So, here’s to knowing everything there is about influencer marketing from a layman perspective.
Influencer marketing is when people with a high degree of “influence” create awareness about your brand, service, or product. The influencer will talk about your brand to create awareness so that people who are “influenced” by “Mr. Influencer” can go and check out your product.
However, it sounds simpler than it is.
These days, influencer marketing is all about seizing the right moment, the right kind of influencer, and for the right price. The latter alludes to the asking price and schedule of social media influencers who are normally booked for an entire year already.
Also, there’s a fair chance that if you are looking to work with a popular celebrity for digital influencer marketing, or real-life influencer marketing campaigns, they have already signed a contract with a rival company. That’s why these celebrities are called “Brand Ambassadors.”
For a set amount of agreed time period, these celebs only endorse one brand and do not talk about rival brand products in the media, or anywhere. Doing so may potentially jeopardize the company’s sales strategy.
The Influencer Tier Breakdown
Before we talk about influencer marketing from a broader perspective, you need to know about the types and tiers of influencers that you’re going to be dealing with.
Mega influencers are like the prehistoric Megalodon shark. They are big; they are hungry, and they have a voracious appetite for driving traffic to any brand, platform, or company’s products in question.
Compared to the above category, macro influencers’ audience ranges between 500K to 750K. They may not have the same level of outreach as compared to mega influencers, but if a macro influencer has a good overall user engagement percentage, he or she may be worth approaching.
These influencers are relatively small because their audience spans over 50k – 400K.
These influencers are up-and-coming people in the social media influencer marketing industry. Their audience could be anywhere between 10k – 30K. However, don’t be intimidated by the small percentage of users they have.
Nano influencers have a cost-effective package, and they are more than ideal for getting in touch with if they have the right type of audience on their platform.
Who Is An Influencer on Social Media?
We know that you are already well aware of the answer by now. However, just to humor you, when it comes to the definition of a social media influencer, we’d say that it’s any person who has a strong presence on social media platforms.
These influencers have devoted followers. Anything they say or endorse is picked up by the followers overnight. Many brands connect with social media influencers to get the spotlight on upcoming products, SaaS apps, and other services that are worth mentioning in the media.
Also, from a broader perspective, social media influencer marketing falls under the category of public relations. If you need to get a detailed scoop on what public relations is and the latest PR strategies, you can read all about it here.
Role of Influencers in Digital Marketing
A digital influencer, whether he or she is active on social media, or any other platform, is responsible for influencing users’ buying decisions. Usually, their followers interpret the relationship as a close friendship where anything that’s endorsed by the influencer is promoted automatically.
Sometimes, influencer marketing takes up the form of earned media public relations. A lot of earned media attention can have a positive impact on your brand, product, or services — given that you are doing the entire online community a favor.
However, when social media influencers post unbiased and unpaid reviews, they are doing so on a whim. They are not paid to follow a script. In such cases, if a company’s services are not good, the influencer can negatively impact the business.
Therefore, as much as we love to promote influencer marketing strategies, there’s always this one earned media public relations aspect where an influencer can create a video or post a message to either promote or demote your product/services.
Influencer Marketing Trends for 2022
Over the last few years, we have seen quite a handful of social media platforms where influencers have amassed a following. As you can see in the image below, back in the year 2014, influencer marketing wasn’t such a big deal because there weren’t a lot of social media platforms.
Today, we have got TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Snack Video, and whatnot. All of these platforms are ginormous and they have hundreds of social media influencers with millions of followers.
Bear in mind that those influencers who have been active from the year 2014 to the present, have the maximum number of followers. These people are not Hollywood celebrities — and in some way, they have a higher degree of influence over popular celebs due to the internet popularity factor.
Most Popular Social Media Platforms in 2022
As of now, we’ve got Instagram, Pinterest, Snack Video, TikTok, and Facebook as popular platforms from an influencer marketing perspective. At the same time, there’s LinkedIn, Twitter, and a select number of Chinese social media platforms that work quite well in terms of engaging users on a demographic level.
In a way, choosing the right type of influencer marketing platform is as important as partnering up with a social media influencer.
For instance, if you have a food services brand, would you choose to market your products on Pinterest, or via Instagram through a bunch of influencers?
Although Pinterest and Instagram are the types of platforms that are strong on visuals, Instagram offers user engagement at a different level. People are pretty active when it comes to commenting or reacting to Live Instagram videos or posts in their newsfeed as compared to Pinterest.
It doesn’t mean that Pinterest isn’t good for promoting businesses. It is, but when it comes to making the choice between those two, Instagram definitely takes the lead.
Here is a cursory breakdown of the popular influencer marketing platforms on the internet these days:
YouTube is the best when it comes to promoting videos through influencers — and that too, without any time constraints. According to YouTube demographics data, the most active users are segmented between the age group of 18-24 years old.
However, at the same time, there are older people who fall within the 50-75 year age bracket. Some of them are popular influencers, while others make up for the enormous follower base for some other influencers on the website.
Of course, when it comes to influencer marketing through appealing visuals and short videos, Instagram is the best platform. Don’t worry, we’ll talk about TikTok too, but for now, keep in mind that Instagram is paired with Facebook, which means that the integration can expose your brand to 2x followers.
Through a combination of text, photo, and video content, influencers use Instagram to promote sponsored products and services.
Facebook demographics vary from one segment to another. Therefore, influencer marketing on Facebook garners results only after you have tweaked your marketing campaigns.
Likewise, for influencer marketing to work on Facebook, you need to get in touch with the right type of influencers. One thing that not many people know is that influencer pages are categorized as A, B, and C, by a Facebook algorithm. For a C-category page, the engagement may not be high despite millions of followers showing up on the page under the “Liked By” tab.
This one’s a rising star in the influencer marketing stratosphere. TikTok’s focus is to promote short videos with clear and precise messages.
Since the wide majority of influencers on TikTok are millennials, the attention span vs. user retention angle is what matters the most. Influencers create short videos in a very creative way to share useful information with a side of humor and meaningful messages.
Other than the platforms we’ve mentioned above, there’s Twitter and LinkedIn too. The latter is meant to work as a portal for industry professionals looking to connect. LinkedIn is also popular for connecting employees with potential employers. If you are seeking public relations services in such a specific niche, LinkedIn is worth exploring.
5 Best Influencer Marketing Strategies In 2022 & Beyond
At the end of the day, it is all about sending out the right message through the right influencer. It comes down to your message content, copywriting skills, and other aspects of the brand that leverage the popularity factor.
Here are some of the influencer marketing types that you need to keep in mind, in terms of content.
1. Sponsored Content
Sponsored content is paid content that is posted after a company pays influencers to talk about it. These days, unbiased influencers mention at the start of their article, or video that the said content is sponsored and that the users are free to form their own opinion.
Doing so only works to strengthen the bond between the influencers and their respective followers.
Meanwhile, if you are promoting your brand through such influencers, make sure that your services are indeed high quality and do not end up disappointing the potential slew of customers that’ll be coming your way very soon.
2. Affiliate Links or Affiliate Content
Affiliate links and content are promoted by influencers through videos and web posts. There are referral links in the content body, which redirect users to the said website. If someone buys the product or anything from that website, the influencer gets a small percentage in return for his “efforts.”
Affiliate marketing is already way too popular by now. There are many people in the influencer marketing industry, who promote content, products, and services through affiliate links.
3. Limited Time Contests, Giveaways, and Discounts
All of the above bank on the “scarcity” effect.
Influencers promote a client’s content by hinting that there is only a limited number left in stock, or the said products are available at a special discount against the first 100 users who order online.
The influencer marketing promotion tactics under this category may vary from one influencer to another, but the intent is still the same. If you are thinking of engaging users as an influencer or someone looking to partner with an influencer, make sure that the promotional offer is legit.
Duping customers will have an amazing blowback that you will not be able to handle easily.
4. Getting Influencers On Your Channel
Although the traditional method for doing influencer marketing is to approach influencers so that they can talk about your brand on their channel.
However, this strategy flips everything on the head. The influencer shows up on your channel, website, or platform and they talk to you about whatever it is that you’re looking to promote. It is an unusual strategy but it can drive engagement on multiple forefronts.
For starters, the influencer will be making a mention of being featured in a video on your channel. This, in turn, will cause the influencers’ followers to turn their attention towards you, which will definitely drive more user engagement through your followers and the ones coming in from the influencers’ side.
5. Brand Ambassadors
Remember when we talked about influencers in the context of signing contracts with so-and-so companies? That’s called brand ambassadorship and it is interpreted as “hiring” a celeb to promote your brand as much as possible.
Brand ambassadors are long-term influencers who partner with popular high-volume businesses. The rest of the strategies are short-term on the list, but ambassadors work through the entire duration of the contract.
Summing It All Up
Influencers and influencer marketing are here to stay. It’s one of the latest forms of marketing that will prevail in one state or another in the near future.
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