By Amit Mondal
Globally the influencer marketing industry is proliferating. In 2016, the industry was worth $1.7 billion, and by the end of this year, it will grow to approximately $6.5 billion. There are good reasons why this industry is growing. Influencers help brands reach their target audience quickly and at a reasonable cost. Brands that have found the right influencers have benefited immensely from their services.
A brand that is considering using the services of an influencer needs first to understand how influencers think and what they look for in a brand they are expected to promote. A few things that attract influencers to a brand are mentioned below.
But first, it’s important to remember that every organisation uses marketing to add value. The brands that derive the most success from influencer marketing don’t just try to maximise an influencers’ reach in a single day but instead discover how to generate ROI over the long term.
What attracts influencers to brands
After a brand approaches an influencer, the influencer visits the brand’s website. The influencer tries to understand what kinds of products the brand is selling and how promoting such products would help the influencers’ platform. If they are familiar with the brand or product, their decision to support it may be swayed by how they already feel about it. If they find the brand attractive, they may decide to collaborate with the brand more easily.
In addition to visiting a brands website, influencers also visit its social media handle, especially Instagram. Brands that have exciting content on their social media handle are likely to be seen in a positive light by influencers. For instance, when content on Instagram is captivating, influencers regard the brand as professional. When a brand has an excellent social media handle, influencers recognise that the company has very thoughtfully implemented a social media and digital marketing strategy. When influencers see that a brand has made an effort to create an attractive presence on social media, they feel encouraged to work with it because they believe it will take them seriously.
Following these observations, influencers try to understand how the brand’s message will gradually fit with the content they create. Good influencers will always try to find a way to create posts that benefit followers. Hence before deciding to promote a brand, they try to understand how promoting it will help followers. The key to an influencers’ popularity is they make it clear to followers that they are not promoting a brand solely for money. Their audience should know that more than promoting brands for money, influencers are primarily concerned with creating content that is valuable to followers.
The commercials of influencer marketing
The days when influencers worked part-time are long gone. Today being an influencer is serious business. That’s why a brand that wants to work with influencers needs a budget. Brands also need a budget to design a serious influencer marketing strategy. Before launching an influencer led marketing strategy, brands must know what they expect from influencers. For instance, brands need to know beforehand whether they want to use influencers to raise awareness about the brand. If they are turning to influencers to create awareness before an upcoming festival or because they need to promote the launch of new products or services, they need to identify this beforehand.
Brands also need to be clear about the deliverables they expect from influencers. They also need to articulate the budget they are offering influencers. After outlining their expectations, brands may ask influencers what they would charge to meet such expectations. It’s important to remember that influencers are always open to negotiation. For instance, when a brand’s product is an excellent fit with the influencers’ platform, he or she may promote it at a lower price than they would other products. Hence more than money, influencers feel more excited when they see a brand whose story gels with their platform.
Today, brands that want to rope in influencers using an affiliate model face an uphill battle. Unless a brand is a leading company like Apple or Nike, influencers are unwilling to work under an affiliate model in which earnings are based on how much followers buy. In short, brands can no longer expect to onboard influencers with an affiliate model.
How to inspire an influencer
Once an influencer agrees to work for a brand, the company must encourage the influencer to think of the partnership as a collaborative process. Influencers must be given free rein to create content rather than be told what to do. When influencers are given the freedom to develop, they feel they are taken seriously. Such faith in influencers encourages them to experiment and create something very original. Brands should outline their primary principles but give influencers significant creative freedom. With such freedom, influencers feel better connected with a brand.
The size of the influencer industry is growing at a spectacular rate every year. That’s because influencer marketing helps brands quickly make inroads into new markets. A business that wants to use influencers to reach its target audience would do well to follow the techniques mentioned above. By doing so, it has a good chance of resonating with its target segment.
The author is founder, Pulpkey