Influencer marketing is a growing area of interest both inside and outside of the academy. Brands are increasingly devoting their marketing budgets to influencer marketing, with the industry valued at $8 billion in 2019 and expected to grow up to $15 billion by 2022.
Social media provides a megaphone for influencers. To date most influencer research has focused on Instagram, however there are a varied and growing number of platforms that warrant examination, including TikTok and Cameo. Additionally, there is value in looking back at what could be considered the use of more ‘classic’ platforms, such as blogs, forums, tumblr, and YouTube, as well as regionally-specific platforms with different governance structures outside of the Silicon Valley bubble.
How these platforms are used by influencers to create content that is uploaded to their social media accounts to attract attention and engagement from a large network of followers is of interest due to the idiosyncratic nature of each.
Influencers are considered to be a powerful marketing resource due to their perceived credibility, authenticity and relatability. Marketers have capitalised on the popularity of influencers, turning to them as trusted tastemakers to endorse products and brands to their followers, thereby monetising their following. Consequently, much attention has been paid to how brands can profit from influencers, including enhanced brand awareness and purchase intentions.
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What are Influencers?
Influencer Marketing is a hybrid of old and new marketing tools. It takes the idea of celebrity endorsement and places it into a modern-day content-driven marketing campaign. The main differentiator in the case of influencer marketing is that the results of the campaign are collaborations between brands and influencers.
But influencer marketing doesn't just involve celebrities. Instead, it revolves around influencers, many of whom would never consider themselves famous in an offline setting.
People who have the power to affect the purchasing decisions of others because of his or her authority, knowledge, position, or relationship with his or her audience. One of the biggest mistakes that traditional media makes is a failure to see the difference between celebrities and online influencers.
It is also important to realize that it is the influencers who have built a keen and enthusiastic audience. It is not accidental that these people follow influencers, not the brand. In reality, the audience doesn't care less about your brand. They only care about the opinions of the influencers. Don't try and foist rules and business practices onto an influencer. The audience is there's, and they can simply walk away, taking their followers with them.
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is leveraging the reach of an existing influencer who has built a large following and strong brand reputation in a particular niche to support your brand, endorse your product, or co-create content, with the intent to increase brand awareness and drive sales.
Influencer marketing involves a brand collaborating with an online influencer to market one of its products or services. Some influencer marketing collaborations are less tangible than that -- brands simply work with influencers to improve brand recognition.
An early example of influencer marketing involved YouTube celebrity PewDiePie. He teamed up with the makers of a horror film set in the French catacombs under Paris, creating a series of videos in which he underwent challenges in the catacombs. It was pitch-perfect content for PewDiePie's 27 million subscribers and received nearly double the views as the movie's trailer.
That's a simple example. It's easy to imagine a celebrity teaming with a company to pitch a product -- even if the pitch is a series of 10-minute videos instead of a 30-second television ad.
But people wouldn't be talking about influencer marketing -- you wouldn't be at a website called the Influencer Marketing Hub reading about it, either -- if it didn't have a much broader set of applications. And the key is in that word, influencer.
Influencers, unlike celebrities, can be anywhere. They can be anyone. What makes them influential is their large followings on the web and social media. An influencer can be a popular fashion photographer on Instagram, or a well-read cybersecurity blogger who tweets, or a respected marketing executive on LinkedIn.
Within any industry, there are influential people -- you just have to find them. Some will have hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of followers. But many will seem more like ordinary people. They may only have 10,000 followers, less in some cases. Yet they will have developed a reputation for being the experts in their field.
They are the go-to people that provide the answers to people's questions. Depending on their sphere of expertise, they are the people who make the most engaging social posts on their specialist topic. They share the best pictures, make the most entertaining videos, and run the most informative online discussions.
Influence marketing for B2B
Many B2C influencer marketing processes will not work in the B2B market. It does not mean, though, that influencer marketing can not be used for B2B-campaigns. To take advantage of influencer campaigns in the B2B market, you have to be ready to follow slightly different processes:
Clients as opinion leaders
Who can advertise you better than your client? Your existing clients may have the strongest voice in the industry. Other potential partners will trust their experience and opinion better than direct advertising.
How to grow your business with mutually beneficial influencer marketing
Referrals have long since been one of the most effective marketing strategies. If you have a problem and one of your friends tells you about a great solution for it, there is a good chance that you'll go buy it.
Influencer marketing is just like that -- only at scale. When influencers tell their fans and followers about how great your product is, there is a much higher chance that their audience will convert, simply because they need the product and trust the influencer.
Typically, the seller or marketer will give a special discount code just for the influencer's audience in order to track how effective the campaign is.
How to choose the right channel
Effective app marketing means you'll be covering a number of channels, both traditional and newer, while honing your messaging to attract the right users who your app is best suited to.
The most successful apps tend to have begun their marketing well before their app is ready for launch. Pre-launch marketing often begins when you start building the app -- you have a concept and clear problems identified that you will solve, which means you can start targeting your ideal audience for your app.
When you're ready to launch, it's important to work on app store optimization early. This means ensuring that your app will meet ranking criteria for app stores. You can't control every aspect, but you can have some influence over it.
Engaging content is proven to be one of the best ways to promote and drive more traffic to your app. Another thing to consider is your in-app content -- how will you keep people interested and coming back for more?
A loyalty program may take many forms, including strategic partnerships with relevant vendors. The idea is to create a win/win: you get more user engagement and attract new users while the user gets something extra that will be of value to them.
How to make people trust your influencer marketing
With the growing number of influencers' campaign and their increased transparency, consumers easier recognize advertising. So how to make your influencers' campaign look more like digital word-of-mouth? Here are two main tips:
Focus on product usability
Ask your influencers to focus on product use case descriptions rather than a simple description of the product itself. People do not believe in the sincerity of "bought" feedback. So make them believe in "use" feedback. Show how influencers' daily routine has been changed with your product. For sure, your customers would want the same results.
Create hype around the product
The focus of large influencer campaigns should be not only on the quality and reliability of the product, but on the fact that the product is fashionable and interesting -- thus bloggers will increase the recognition of your product and create hype around it.
Do not make them sell
Influencers can increase consumers' trust in a product if they invite people to watch an expert interview or read reviews instead of directly trying to sell it. Once again, create digital word-of-mouth -- this works the best.
Micro-influencers and macro-influencers: how to choose the right campaign type
Micro- and macro-influencers have different audience size, user engagement, and return on advertising. In some industries, subscribers often trust micro-influencers more, considering them closer to "normal" people and their opinion more "honest". Macro-influencers have an expert reputation and a large audience. Both types should be considered as different advertising tools.
Micro-influencers popularity varies: some experts define them as bloggers with 1000 subscribers, others -- with 2500, 10000, or even 15000. Regardless of the number of subscribers, micro-influencers have several things in common:
- High user engagement: the average level of engagement for bloggers with up to 5000 subscribers is 8.8%, with 5000 to 10 000 subscribers -- 6.3%.
- Closer community around: to maintain popularity, micro-influencers try to respond to their subscribers' comments and encourage them to connect and support each other, thus creating a strong community around them.
- Lower advertising costs: according to Influencer Marketing Hub, micro-influencers assign up to $500 for each publication.
-- bloggers with 100.000 or more subscribers. They go beyond their thematic niche and are gaining popularity among a wide range of users. Macro-influencers typically have:
- Lower audience involvement: the user engagement of the macro-influencers blog readers on Instagram on average as low as 1.1%.
- Less active contact with the audience: readers stop perceiving a large influencer as a living person and start to follow his life as a reality show.
- Generic community: bloggers typically do not engage in conversations with their subscribers. Thus the community becomes less friendly.
- High advertising prices: post prices range from several thousand to millions USD.
Influencer marketing for ASO: How to build links with influencer outreach
Build Brand Awareness
Building your own unique audience base takes years or even longer without the help of others. When you partner with established industry players, you can shorten the process. If you partner with influencers, particularly those who have a loyal following of hundreds of thousands of people, you can get better reach than promoting from your own site alone.
Mobile app marketing focuses primarily on app promotion and customer engagement. If someone has downloaded your company’s app, chances are they are already a paying customer of yours. If you’re planning to market to your customers using a mobile app, your focus should be on retention and rewarding customer loyalty.
Gain Social Media Followers
ASO experts like to argue over whether social media has a direct impact on PageRank in search engines. Either way, one thing is clear: social media signals can improve ASO, indirectly or otherwise:
When your business engages with a new social audience, it unlocks the potential for more followers and engagement. This can lead to more site traffic, backlinks and other factors that improve ASO.