Chairman, co-founder of AMIBA advice.
The impact of social media influencers on digital marketing is perhaps one of the most influential things to happen to the industry in decades. Suddenly companies have the opportunity to hire real, unique people to market their products without having to develop all the content themselves. It was revolutionary and certainly changed the industry forever. Perhaps one of the most important developments for influencers is that people with enough time, consistency and valid information are considered experts in their field.
For example, Huda Kattan is arguably one of the most respected beauty and makeup influencers in the world. For many consumers, she’s the go-to for tutorials and recommendations, and she’s now known for her own line of products, Huda Beauty. If she uses another brand’s product in a tutorial, it has an incredible impact, almost guaranteeing an increase in searches and sales. This is due to the power of digital influencer marketing.
The pressure to become a viral sensation
SugarBearHair Vitamins disrupted their industry by going viral Instagram. Through their efforts to get influencers to promote their brand, they received endorsements from the Kardashians, Vanessa Hudgens, and many other content creators, with followers ranging from thousands to millions. These efforts and partnerships have paid off.
Going viral can be difficult to achieve, but the strategy can certainly pay off if executed properly. If you want to get started with influencer marketing, you first need to ask yourself what conversation you are trying to start by going viral. Are you starting a new trend? Are you pushing for shocking effectiveness? Is your goal controversial? Going viral is all about being memorable or shocking the viewer. Both make people click the share button faster.
Your first step is to create great content to get the conversation going. Then by reaching out to influencers and showing them this content, you can give them an idea of the type of marketing you’re looking for, and hopefully they can easily share or mirror your content in some way using their own voice.
If your products are made to order or you don’t have a large inventory, make sure you prepare to go viral in some way. Create a plan for an influx of orders without buying up a lot of unnecessary stock. Being prepared can prevent you from having to give customers a long wait for shipping and lose some of the excitement for your product as a result.
Gift product to influencers
Perhaps one of the most popular forms of receiving authentic feedback and promotion at the same time is through gifts and PR packages. Gifting is essentially when a brand sends samples of their product to an influencer in hopes that that influencer will share their opinion on their platform.
More recently, Celsius, an energy drink, has become ubiquitous on Instagram and TikTok to send gift packs to influencers and get them to make reviews. They’ve gotten a lot of organic content through gifts and PR packs, and the brand has seen rapid development grow. Their product is one of the most popular energy drinks on the market right now, and I think that’s all because of digital influencer marketing.
To implement a gift strategy, it is crucial to send a message with the gift product to encourage the influencer’s feedback. Depending on the size of their reach, many influencers will require a fee for a post on their main feed, but some will still promote the product on their stories or one of their less curated platforms.
Taking advantage of cheap strategies
While established brands benefit greatly from using digital influencer marketing, it is probably the startups that stand to gain the most from this form of campaigning. Companies that are relatively new, with low marketing budgets, or those looking for a more organic form of public relations can benefit from working with content creators and letting them share their thoughts on the product.
I’ve noticed that it’s not common for big influencers to post without compensation. It is becoming more and more common for influencers to request a formal contract and payment for posting rather than accepting free products. Donations are extremely useful when working with micro-influencers or someone who might be enthusiastic enough about the brand to accept the product as a form of compensation.
If you find yourself working with an influencer looking for monetary compensation (rather than gifting), there are a few things to keep in mind. You often work with a video maker agency to determine an influencer’s rates. Be sure to ask them about past data on their campaigns. See how effective they have been in the past and in which markets. If their campaigns have been successful in the past in a category you want to promote, chances are you’ll get a good return on your investment by partnering with them. If the data doesn’t match exactly, it might be better to start with micro-influencers and work your way up to larger campaigns as you develop more relationships and gain more exposure to the bigger players.
All in all, digital influencers have opened up a plethora of opportunities for companies to spread their product or service on social media. Many consumers find an influencer a more reliable and personal source than a formal media campaign and are therefore more likely to invest time and money in a new company or product.