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Is influencer marketing part of your social media strategy? Spending is anticipated to almost double 2019 levels by the end of 2023, Insider Intelligence finds. On track with those numbers, Hubspot reports that social media is the #1 marketing channel in 2022. Clearly, there are benefits to influencer marketing. If you’re unsure of what those are or need to convince your executive team, this blog answers common questions about influencer marketing and provides 5 steps to launch a campaign.

Defining Influencer Marketing and Why It Works

Hubspot defines influencer marketing as a “type of social media marketing that uses endorsements and product mentions from influencers–individuals who have a dedicated social following and are viewed as experts in their niche.” While 93% of customers hold recommendations from family and friends in the highest regard, data shows trust in influencer recommendations is growing. A recent study finds that 70% of consumers trust influencers’ recommendations just as much as the opinions of those close to them. The key here is trust. This trust can be built on a semi-personal level–the audience feels a connection to the influencer in some way (i.e. relatability, authenticity, entertainment) and with each recommendation gone well, the trust grows.

A recent study finds that 70% of consumers trust influencers’ recommendations just as much as the opinions of those close to them. Click To Tweet

Speculation on the Roots of Influencer Marketing

Word-of-mouth marketing may be the earliest form of a product or service testimonial. Like a game of telephone, good (and bad) reviews travel fast. Prior to social media, testimonials were used solely in the form of print advertisements, radio advertisements, billboards, commercials and more. Vintage ads from the 1940s for Canada Dry’s Spur Cola showed customers reviews, including one that read, “The finest Cola I ever tasted!”

Vintage ads from the 1940s for Canada Dry’s Spur Cola

Photo courtesy of Etsy

Paid testimonials were also prevalent, such as the 1949 Chesterfield cigarettes campaign which featured endorsements from famous actor and future President Ronald Reagan. Shifting from friends/family and a limited pool of celebrities and media outlets, in today’s media environment the internet and, more specifically, social media gives anyone the ability to build up a following and broadcast their recommendations. People across the globe spend an average of 147 minutes per day on social media, according to Statista, and influencer marketing taps into this. Brands of all sizes have utilized the power of influencer marketing to reach different audiences across various platforms. Spanning from how to identify ideal influencers to results tracking after campaign launch, here are five frequently asked questions about influencer marketing to help you get started.

#1 – What criteria should I look at when finding an influencer?

Like a windows-down drive along PCH or finding the perfect TikTok audio to sync up to your brand’s video footage, some things just go well together. But, it’s never by accident. Not really, at least. It takes research–checking your maps app to see if there’s traffic or searching specific categories to find a song that matches your vibe. You have to begin with the end in mind. Focusing on the goal of your campaign is what will be your guiding star, Orange Label Social Media Supervisor Chelsea Ragland advises. For example, if you’re looking for sales, you’ll want to find an influencer that has a track record of making conversions. “If you’re looking to drive engagement, look for those who come up naturally in your audience, already use your product or brand and are passionate about it,” she explains. Sprout Social’s survey of 500 U.S. marketers cites the top five marketing goals when working with an influencer:

  1. Generating more engagement
  2. Reaching new audiences
  3. Strengthening community on social media
  4. Driving revenue
  5. Promoting brand values
To drive engagement with influencer marketing, look for influencers who come up naturally in your audience, already use your product and are passionate about it. Click To Tweet

#2 – Once your goals are set, how do you find the influencer?

After you’ve established your campaign goals, the next step is to outline the persona of your ideal influencer with details including age range, industry or niche, categories they post about and metrics on audience/social performance. Whether influencers have larger or smaller followings, it’s also important to note if their audience is engaged. Are people interacting in a meaningful way with their posts? Is the influencer actively responding to comments? These are questions to consider. “Through social monitoring, you can find influencers with various numbers of followers who interact with your brand. Take note when someone does engage, even with a direct message or comment on a post, to start building that relationship,” Chelsea shares.

#3 – Should more than one influencer be used in a campaign?

If budget and bandwidth allow, test the waters of influencer marketing by utilizing more than one influencer. “Even if you’re running a test – leaving it up to one influencer may be leaving pieces on the table. Two or more is a good rule of thumb,” Chelsea says. If budget allows for just one, you can work within those bounds, she explains, but the power of having multiple influencers is being able to have a comparison. In either case, be sure to give their content enough time to be able to draw conclusions. If you’re running paid ads, allow for a few weeks of run time before making changes based on KPIs (key performance indicators), like click-through rate or conversions. Other influencer metrics you can track include impression/reach, website traffic, video views and shares and saves.

#4 – Are there metrics to estimate how much I should invest in a particular influencer?

As you begin reaching out to influencers or their media representatives, you will likely find that many have media kits with predetermined pricing. “Pricing typically depends on the scale of the influencer, whether that be mega, micro, macro,” Chelsea shares. “It can also be based on whether they tap into a valuable niche community and have a strong engagement level there.” Having that idea of your goals, budget and the content that you’re looking for from the influencer will help you during the vetting process.

#5 – What are some must-haves to include in influencer contracts?

If you’re looking to work with an influencer that shares your niche or industry, there may be concerns as to what other brands the influencer is working with. To avoid this, you can speak with the influencer and set up a noncompete clause in the contract stating they will not work with brand competitors or others in the industry for a specific time period. You can also lay out brand expectations and logistics. Should anything be run by or approved before it goes live? Are metrics expected to be sent by a certain time? “Even if it seems simple, make sure it’s in the contract,” Chelsea says. One thing to keep in mind when it comes to content expectations is that you picked that influencer for a reason. Be careful of overdirecting the content you’re requesting. “Being open and collaborative, and seeing them as a partner versus a vendor where you’re receptive to their ideas and recognize their expertise is the mindset to have when working with an influencer,” Chelsea explains. This will lead to authentic brand content shared to the audience that you’re looking to connect with.

When working with an influencer, the best mindset to have is to view them as a partner versus a vendor where you’re receptive to their ideas and recognize their expertise. - Orange Label Click To Tweet

Influencer marketing can be an effective way to give your brand more reach across social media and increase brand awareness. With video being a top media format for a third-year in a row, per HubSpot, influencer marketing can allow your brand to deliver the content that people are most engaged with. Taking care of all things social media strategy and influencer marketing, learn more about the media strategies that Orange Label provides here. For more on influencer marketing, including what makes it so popular and additional details on tracking campaign performance, listen to our upcoming episode of The 19 podcast with Chelsea Ragland and digital advertising professional Kayla Mueller. Kayla specializes in creator-focused initiatives and content activations and serves as Senior Creative Strategist at Popular Pays, a Lightricks Company. Subscribe below to get it sent straight to your inbox when it drops!

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As Orange County’s longest-standing, privately held response marketing agency, we have witnessed dynamic shifts in the world of marketing. Through it all, we have ensured our clients stay at the forefront of communication and technology, driving response and value with every new endeavor.