Rising Power of Influencer Marketing?
Should it be surprising that popular social media personalities, bloggers and Youtubers with their big followings and reach to audiences might possess some marketing might?
In fact, social influencers may be able to power up direct visits, brand impressions, Google rankings, and social shares for you. In a merciless marketing arena, social influencers might offer more SEO and revenue dividends than you expect, if it’s done well. Influence marketing will often be a part of an advanced SEO strategy.
Here’s the thing, the influencer market is growing strongly to $13.8 billion this year (from $1.7 billion in 2016). It’s such a big and sophisticated market now, we can’t cover everything in one post. Yet we can cover what you need to know to get started with this interesting offshoot of social media marketing.
The Influencer Marketing Hub Benchmark Report determined there were more than 240 new influencer marketing-focused agencies and platforms established in 2019, no doubt more have been spawned since.
59% of marketers have created a standalone budget for content marketing, and 75% of them now intend to dedicate funds to influencer marketing in 2021. 90% of survey respondents believed influencer marketing is an effective form of marketing.
11% of survey respondents are spending more than 40% of their marketing budget on influencer marketing. 11% of companies spend more than $500,000 on influencers. It is a noteworthy change in the internet marketing world.
There is some mystique in this new marketing channel. No one’s sure of the actual promotional reach, ROI and the impact of popular bloggers, Youtubers, TikTokkers and Instagrammers. Social influencers are widely followed and followers fit a topical theme that might resonate with your target audience. They’re followed, often liked and achieve frequent sometimes daily exposure to their connections and followers.
Reaching them and striking a deal to promote your or your business is not simple. Some are competitors and won’t work with you unless you can come up a creative benefit for them. There are platforms to help you connect with them but you must do your due diligence via analytics and ensure it’s a good match.
And influencers are eager to connect with companies and brands who need exposure. And to bring influencers and marketing managers together, a number of influencer platforms have been developed to help each find each other, collaborate, share content and transact deals.
The Sudden Rise of the Social Media Influencer
The reason for this most recent rise of this huge group of individual, independent publishers is because Facebook, Twitter and Google are squeezing everyone, reducing organic exposure and pushing them to run paid ad campaigns. They’re hunting for more cost-effective solutions.
Search engine optimization is also very popular, but is so competitive that only the best experts will be successful. Influencer marketing campaigns can focus on bloggers and Youtubers and inbound links to your website might be garnered through shared content. Obviously content strategy is critical before you follow this path.
Social Influencers Working Hard
Social Influencers have had the good fortune or genius and hard work to build an audience. And that audience is monetizable.
It turns out there are major, macro influencers with big, wide reach to general audiences, while micro-influencers have smaller, often very defined audiences in let’s say finance, marketing, music, consumer products or the stock market.
If you’re a Realtor in California for instance, there are influencers in the state whose audience is predominantly Californians, and those who wish to live in the Golden State.
Because the people actively follow the influencer, they like what she/he says, publishes, and shares with them. Something about who the influencer is and does resonates with their audience. Usually, it’s just the content, so you’ll want to review an influencer’s social posts to see what kind of themes excite their audience.
Influencers work hard too, so you’re leveraging the fruits of their labor (content and connections), including trust, credibility, and persuasiveness. If they promote your product/brand/service it could have amazing results. Again, it depends whether their audience has an affinity for your product/service.
How to Leverage Social Influencers
As mentioned there are digital marketing agencies heavily invested in this rising medium. And new social media influencer software platforms are arising too. Large, wealthy enterprises are doing the work inhouse, however the work of social influencer marketing is likely too difficult for small business owners to undertake.
Social influencer platforms have evolved to help you connect with influencers, communicate with them and share your content with them.
A few notable platforms are Upfluence, AspireIQ, Captiv8, Brand Ambassador, Izea, Mavrck, Influicity, CreatorIQ, and Intellifluence.
As the Upfluence explainer video suggests, finding influencers in your current network is wise. That’s a small, perhaps high quality group. More likely, you need to search for new influencers and somehow add them to your network.
Of course, it’s not just a software solution. Use the influencer software to guide your creation of a solid macro-influencer and micro-influencer network.
Top Social Media Influencers
As you might guess, the top social media influencers will usually be entertainers. Izea listed their top 10 social media influencers for 2020 as follows:
- Christiano Ronaldo
- Justin Bieber
- Taylor Swift
- Ariana Grande
- Selena Gomez
- Katy Perry
- Kim Kardashian
- Felix Kjellberg
- Kylie Jenner
This list tells you popularity is important. As frivolous as we might think these entertainers are, they remind us that the content (videos, personal stories, daily activities) are what social media users want).
If you’re in the entertainment or gaming business, these celebrities might have the power to generate significant visibility for your brand, if you could arrange a deal. However, as the survey showed, top performance in influencer marketing comes from what are called micro-influencers. These individuals have smaller audiences tightly focused on specific topics.
On the other hand, some influencers could have a negative impact on your brand and could confuse your audience’s interpretation of your UVP. Having Kim Kardashian promote your pet food, organic perfume, clothing line, or tiktok channel could work, or it could alienate you from your real target audience.
Social Influencer Evaluation
“Think of it as a thorough background check. It involves verifying an influencer’s credibility, content, followers, authenticity, audience, engagement rate, other metrics, and analyzing how influential they may be.” — Daniel Troesch
To choose the influencers with the best impact on your campaigns, first consider what you need to achieve. What does your digital marketing audit say about your weaknesses? What strengths in brand equity and content do you have to let the influencer leverage.
It’s not just paying them to promote you. You need to equip them with content, links, promotional copy, and calls to action that will create the best results.
The key to picking great influencers is determined by:
- their topic relevance and their typical content relevance to your industry (relevant content and content that is activating)
- the quality of their followers (what is the demographic profile of their audience?)
- how admired and well liked they are (is their mentions, likes and comments positive or critical of them?)
- their social reach and how many visits they get to their posts and pages (what’s their total reach and impressions?)
- their brand image and whether it lends trust and credibility to yours (are they a viable authority?)
- the quality of their posts (are their posts interesting and what actions do viewers take?)
The topic of social media influencers is a large and growing one. The point of it is to use tools to filter your choice of influencers with the right followers and impactful reach to them.
Your campaigns from the get go, must be focused on what you want to achieve. And sometimes some intermediary steps come before you get the pay off you need (links, direct orders, new social connections).
The social influencer platforms mentioned are a good resource. These tools have the analytical benefits and they can help you reach and create deals with many influencers.
Your budget likely isn’t $500k, so you’ll need to be efficient and effective.
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