The term “social influencer” was used only in the traditional sense until early 2000. That is, until social media became popular with MySpace, LinkedIn, and then the mighty Facebook. Now we are at a time when more than 2.62 billion people are using various social media platforms and the number is expected to cross the 3 billion mark by 2021 or even sooner.
One of the subsets of social media marketing that grew substantially in the last decade is social influencer marketing. Some of you may have an idea about this new baby on the block while some of you won’t. Either way, things will really look interesting once you see some of the amazing statistics given below.
According to this survey, 67% of the marketing and communications professionals engage with influencers for content promotion. 59% of the marketers intend to increase their influencer marketing budget in the upcoming years. If all these doesn’t impress you, then wait for the next one. Businesses are making $6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing.
So, who are social influencers and what makes them the favorites of marketers and businesses?
Imagine you are planning to purchase a product. You see ads of various brands on television about that particular product. Soon, you find out that one of your colleagues has bought a particular brand of the product and recommends it to you. Would you still depend on ads or go with your colleague’s suggestion. In most cases, it’s the latter and that is exactly the concept of social influencer marketing.
When defining a social influencer, two major parameters are taken into consideration by businesses. One is his/her ability to influence the purchase decision of a mass segment of people due to their power, popularity, authority, and position in the society. The second is, whether he/she has a huge following in a particular niche which they actively engage with. If these two factors are ticked off the list, then the influencer is capable of generating revenue for a business and improve Google ranking of your website.
There are basically three groups of social influencers.
1. Micro-influencers: Micro-influencers form the lowest bracket of influencers in the spectrum. The follower count of these social influencers ranges from 5000 to 100000 typically.
2. Macro-influencers: They are the middle category with followers ranging from 100000 – 1 million. These people are usually experts in what they do and that is influencing people. They are mostly thought leaders, content creators, marketers and advocates for one or a set of niche segments.
3. Mega-influencers: People who fall under this category are usually film stars, singers or other popular celebrities. They will have the most number of follower count with more than 1 million followers.
Now, you might think that mega-influencers would be the obvious choice for businesses and marketers for a sponsored content platform. But the dynamics of social influencer marketing is not that straightforward. In fact, it is the micro-influencer that constitutes the majority of the influencers’ pool with the highest rate of engagement of 25 – 50%. This is because they maintain a personal level interaction with their followers.
Macro-influencers engagement rate falls somewhere in between 5% to 25%. However, they can reach 10x times more people than micro-influencers. Mega-influencers has the least engagement rate of 2-3% per post as their followers are diverse and global in nature.
How to work with a social influencer?
There are many ways to work with a social influencer. Following are some of them.
1. Sponsored posts
2. Guest blogging
3. Free giveaways
4. Exclusive discounts
5. Product review
6. Collaboration on events
7. Affiliate marketing
How to choose your social influencer?
Before you choose a social influencer, it is important to have a clear objective for your campaign. Is it the visibility that you are looking for or revenue? Do you want to promote your brand value or bring in more sales? Social influencers are another marketing platform that requires a budget. What is your budget for a campaign? Having all these questions answered will lay the foundation for using social influencer marketing effectively.
For example, if you are a local business looking to increase the sales and understand your customer base, then finding a micro-influencer that operates in the same niche would be the best option. If it is brand visibility that you are seeking but on a tight budget, then a large follower count is needed and hence a macro-influencer would be the ideal choice. Finally, if you want a massive boost to your brand reputation and ready to splurge, then feel free to go for the celebrity with the most number of followers.
Tips for picking the right influencer
- Set your goals clear as to why you want to partner with an influencer
- Find an influencer who operates on the same niche and shares the audience with your business
- Do a cost analysis and a comparative study – Find out the cost of one sponsored content and compare the cost and effort needed to achieve the same impact through other methods
- Find an authentic influencer who will convey your message with a personal touch and connects better with the audience
The bottom line is that social influencer marketing definitely has huge potential if leveraged the right way. With Facebook leading the influential marketing platform, followed by YouTube and Instagram, the marketing intensity is at an unprecedented level. Another interesting fact is that, according to this influential marketing survey, non – celebrity influencers are much more trusted and likely to bring in more sales than celebrity influencers.
It is very clear that influencer marketing brings in more revenue and increase brand visibility. Adding to that, it will also develop a trustworthy image for your business and increase reliability when endorsed by an influencer who is honest with his/her audience. It’s up to the brands to decide who should act as their face in front of their audience when leveraging the possibility of influencer marketing.