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Lesson 1.

What is influencer marketing?

The term “opinion leader” is known since quite long ago. Opinion leaders are people the advice of whom other people tend to trust. “Influencer” is just another word for “opinion leader”. Since we all use social media on a daily basis, influencers are more and more often the personalities active on channels like Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube or Facebook. The global value of social media influencers marketing is estimated at the US $1.07 billion for 2018 — this means, a lot of companies invest in it and profit from it.

Why influencer marketing works?

Influencer marketing works because people see influencers they follow as equals, as real people. This is very different from classical advertising, where “ideal people” are promoting things. Influencer marketing is often not perceived as marketing. It feels like an advice from somebody you know personally, somebody with the same needs and problems. What influencers recommend, seems an informed, personal and meaningful choice.

Another reason for influencer marketing to be such a great tool is that it’s rather inexpensive compared to other classic promotion channels like TV-advertisements and huge offline campaigns. At the same time, the promotional effects of influencer marketing can be tremendous — in case you know how to work with influencers to maximize the benefits.

Here’s just a short lists of the things influencer marketing can help you with:

  • Increase the brand recognizability;
  • Reach the new audience and gain more customers;
  • Increase the level of customer engagement;
  • Create a loyal customer community.

Imagine: this all at a very reasonable price, and without thinking of the creatives because influencers will think of it instead 🙌🦄

Welcome to the course!

Right influencers and how to find them

One of our biggest clients, Kaiian taxi from Saudi Arabia, has decided to use influencer marketing to attract new customers. Kaiian had no idea what influencers they need to approach for this. They did know they need the influencers really trusted and unconditionally loved, not simply followed and envied. So Kaiian founders did some tough research: they were asking the first passengers who they do follow and really adore. They have found out a couple of names and established a collaboration with them. The result was impressive: Kaiian managed to outperform Uber in the local market.

What Kaiian did is very cool: it’s called customer development and it is maybe the best way to determine social media influencers really worth partnering with. However, a lot of brands are still hunting the influencers with the largest amount of followers, and this is no clever more.
Why, if it seems so logical? Well, multiple researches show that so-called medium-, small- and micro-influencers have more impact on their audience choices than celebrities and mega-popular personalities. Have a look at the table below:

One extra important thing for choosing a social media influencer right is checking out the nature of their audience. When you know who your target audience is, you can find the influencers who work for similar people. An example: if you target women with children without a full-time job, try searching for so-called “mom-influencers” on Instagram.

Statistics are essential while choosing an influencer to collaborate with. Here are the types of data to consider:

  • actual number of followers;
  • level of followers engagement (engagement rate, aka ER);
  • successful postings;
  • types of influencer activity (uploads, streams, posts, subscribed and unsubscribed followers).

Fortunately, there are some tools to get insights into this all (SocialBlade is probably the handiest one for YouTube and Instagram, Followerwonk is specialized on Twitter). Next to it, you can always ask an influencer to screen the statistics for you so that you get a full picture of their reach.

Yet another significant thing to check up is the general positioning of the influencer, say, the style and the vision. Especially if you plan a long-term partnership with multiple posting or think of making an influencer your brand ambassador, check up their values. Ideally, you should prefer the influencers whose values match those of your company.

Lesson takeaways

Influencer marketing is growing and is only expected to grow more in the following next years. This happens because people tend to trust influencers more than they trust TV-ads and other types of classical advertising.

To choose a right influencer to represent your brand, first of all, find out who your target audience is and who on social media they follow and really trust. Concentrate on working with medium-, small- and micro-influencers: while the investments here are lower, the effects are often more impressive than when collaborating with celebrities.

Before settling for a partnership with an influencer, monitor their statistics thoroughly. Pay special attention to the number of views (YouTube), engagement rate (Instagram), unique views and time spent watching (Snapchat), engagement level (Twitter). At the same time, the exact themes and the whole “life-vision” an influencer works with are not less important than their performance level.

Next lesson:

What costs to expect for influencer marketing?

  • Formats and costs of influencer ads
  • Lesson takeaways