It is important to understand the meaning of influencer marketing because the significance of using influencer marketing has been increasing day by day. Influencer marketing refers to influencer’s promotions about brands to the high number of followers. It contains finding and motivating key people who like to recommend your brand to others and who have an impact on others to ally to raise brand awareness and engagement. It is a marketing effort that employing influencer to reach to the high number of potential consumers and to convey brand’s message to them. Influencer marketing is “the art and science of engaging people who are influential online to share brand messaging with their audiences in the form of sponsored content”. These definitions highlight the importance of the people in other words opinion leaders or influencers who can affect others’ decisions, judgments, ideas, attitudes, and believes about a thing.
There are some conditions and steps a marketer should know to conduct a successful campaign. For successful influencer marketing campaign, Esseveld identified six conditions. First, a brand alignment which refers to a concurrence between brand, influencer, and follower is highly important. Second, collaboration between influencer and brand provides control of content to both sides and drives success. Third, the loyalty of the influencer is beneficial for long-term collaborations.
Fourth, respect to the influencer help influencer to generate creative contents. Fifth, trust is another important success driver. A brand should trust the influencer to increase the success of influencer marketing campaign. Last success driver is tracking the success of influencer promotion with specific tags for the campaign, different coupon codes for each influencer, and comparing spending of the campaign with an engagement rate of influencer (number of likes and comments).
On the other hand, highlight seven conditions of successful influencer marketing campaign. First, brands should consider women influencers firstly because researches show that women influencers use social media actively and make more product reviews on social media than men. Second condition is finding influencers whose areas of interests are match with product or brand.
Perfect influencer for the brand does not mean who have a high number of followers but it means who is relevant to the product. Third condition is reaching the chosen influencer in the previous step and persuading them to work for a brand. The next condition requires confirming brand-influencer partnership with a contract. The other condition is paying to an influencer for the content. Compensations what brands give to influencers for working with them are highly important. Sometimes compensation can be money, sometimes it can be free products. Unlike people’s persuasions about compensation, it is not a payment for positive reviews. Receiving help from influencer marketing agencies to decrease possible misunderstandings between brand and influencer is another condition of successful campaign. The last condition is measuring the success of influencer promotion.
Today, working with influencers is easier than before. There are companies that bring together influencers and brands to generate successful influencer marketing promotion. Choosing the right influencer for the brand and product is a hard choice.
These kind of companies help brands to find the best influencer and help to compose a good relationship between them. Those agencies also help influencers to make agreements on their behalf. IndaHush, Mediakix, HireInfluence, Carusele, IMA, INF, Rosewood and Socialyte are some of the examples of these companies.
There are many different approaches to types of influencer marketing media.
Some researchers believe that there are two types of influencer marketing media, some believe that it has more than two types inside. According to Sudha and Sheena, types of influencer marketing media can be divided into two. The first part is earned influencer marketing that consists of unpaid relationship and influencers give recommendations about the brand to followers because of true like of product. The second one is paid influencer marketing which contains sponsorships and free products. On the other hand, Sammis et al. divide types of media into three: paid, owned, and earned. Paid media refers to media which brands pay for advertisements. Owned media refers to media which is controlled by brand. Earned media refers to media which is controlled by individuals, consumers, and influencers. Influencer marketing uses all these three media to extend its effectiveness. However, Diamond believes that there are four types of media: paid, earned, shared, and owned. Shared media refers to media that is shared on social media platforms by others. For a successful marketing mix, brands should use all these four media together. Even though, the types of marketing media are controversial, all kinds of marketing media consist of three types of target audience: influencers, individuals, and customers. Influencers are the most important group between them because they are the most effective individuals. However, all of these individuals compose of the brand’s potential customers.
It is known that influencer marketing is an effective tool for brands. Successful influencer marketing campaign can provide an increase of brand sales, recognition of the brand’s existence, reaching the target audience of brands, good promotions of a brand, strong relationship with customers and strong image of brand. It is not surprising that people are choosier about what to listen to and believe because options around people are more than ever before. Number of advertisement which consumers are exposed to every day has been getting higher and leads consumers to ignore traditional advertisements. Consumers perceive these advertisements as unreliable while they perceive influencers as a trustable source to learn about product. The digital age provides people to reach information about brands and products without expecting it from marketers. Before make any purchase decision, they would like to think, search and get others’ opinions about the product and brand. Report by eMarketer shows that people’s feelings about brands can be affected positively by influencer marketing. Woods states that “influencer marketing has the ability to trigger 11 times more return on investment than other forms of traditional advertising”. It is achieved just by bringing together people who look for information and who like to give information by just focusing on individuals who have an impact and power of influence on others and many potential customers are looking for information about brands. All these reports and states show that successful influencer marketing has a precious effect on consumers’ purchase process. In a nutshell, to keep up with the change in the marketing area, brands should identify influencers and try to understand their influence on their followers.
Influencer Marketing Platforms
Social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram, have been important channels for the people to communicate with each other. These kinds of platforms allow people to reach and influence each other, as well as be influenced and learned from others. As explained before, social media platforms have unique features which allow people to express themselves differently. Some of them support image content while others support video contents. Some platforms such as Facebook and Blogs supports both visual contents.
Reports state that Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram are the top three social media platforms by a number of active users. There are many social media platforms that influencers use them to reach people. Snapchat, Twitter, and Pinterest are some of them. The social media platform has different engagement rates in terms of social media engagement and advertisement engagement and the potential reach. Statistics show that potential reach of Instagram adverts and Facebook adverts is higher than all other social media platforms.
Influencer Marketing Efforts
Brands use marketing strategies to get the maximum benefit from influencer marketing. Mechem (2018) lists ten types of influencer marketing strategies as follows: discount codes, branded blog posts, brand mentions, giveaways, long-term partnerships, events, takeovers, guest posts, free products, and challenges. First strategy is discounts codes which offer extra discounts to the influencer’s followers. Second strategy is branded blog posts which give information to the customers and this post increase sales and brand awareness. Third strategy is brand mentions which occur when influencer mentions about the brand in his/her content.
Sometimes influencer’s marketing efforts work well and consumers refer to the brand with the influencer. When they see the influencer, they may remember a specific brand or product. This generates long-term partnership (being brand ambassador) between brand and influencer. The next strategy is event which is also highly preferred strategy in 2019. Events can be used as a marketing effort to increase brand awareness. Another strategy is takeovers which refers to influencer’s usage of the brand’s social media page for a limited period time. Influencer announces it on his/her social media account and when the time comes influencer share contents on the brand pages. Followers of an influencer become brand followers in this way. On the other hand, guest posts which refers to influencer’s posting on brand websites or brand’s posting on the influencer website might be another useful tool. Free product is one of the most used marketing effort. Brands send free products to influencers as a payment. Influencer use and review products. Based on influencers’ evaluations, consumers gain awareness and knowledge about product or service. Last of the influencer marketing efforts are challenges. Brands organize competitions among influencers to increase brand awareness. Followers of four influencers compete with each other to gain four days of fashion training in Spain. This campaign draws followers’ attention who likes to go to Spain with favorite influencers and gives reasons to shop brands’ products.