Table of Contents
- What is influencer marketing?
- How is influencer marketing different from affiliate marketing?
- What is an influencer?
- Why have I not heard of influencer marketing before?
- How effective is influencer marketing?
- Why use influencer marketing?
- How do I take control of the cost of influencer Marketing campaigns?
- What can an influencer do for my brand?
- What is a nano influencer?
- What is a micro influencer?
- What is a macro influencer?
- What is a mega influencer?
- How do you find the right type of influencer for your brand?
- What does it take to be an influencer?
- As a brand, what should you expect when working with influencers?
- What makes an influencer Marketing campaign successful?
- What should brands consider before working with an influencer?
- What expectations should brands discuss with influencers upfront?
- What is the predicted influencer growth rate?
- As a brand, how can you make sure you’re able to get everything you need from an influence?
- As a brand, how do I get influencers to relay the information I need them to relate?
- How do I ensure that an influencer I’m partnered with doesn’t post something inappropriate?
- Should influencers disclose their sponsored posts or campaigns?
- Where should influencers place disclosures?
- How Should You Talk To Influencers?
- Get Personable
- Sharing is Caring
- Recognize and Reward
- What types of disclosure terms should influencers avoid?
- What influencer marketing challenges do brands face?
- How can brands measure success with influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is a type of marketing where a person or organization provides a brand or product endorsement. These high-value relationships drive awareness, engagement, deliver customer conversions and are a major force in digital marketing, increasing in importance as the buyer journey becomes more fragmented and consumers grow an immunity to traditional advertising.
Affiliate marketing is an arrangement by which an online retailer pays commission to a partner for performance-driven action from its referrals. Affiliate enables advertisers to subsidize the cost of their primary sales and marketing channels to gain necessary operating leverage through scale and automation on a pay-for-outcome model. With flexibility to find, recruit and optimize diverse, right-fit partnerships, the affiliate channel makes omnipresence possible for marketers at a cost they can control.
In comparison, influencer marketing acts as a modern-day word of mouth for advertisers to expand their reach to like-minded, engaged audiences. Influencers impact the buying decisions of their followers with curated social posts, blog content or product reviews and engage with their audience through comments and the sharing of personalized content to create digital friendship — connections that transform their content from promoting a product to recommendations from a friend.
Since both influencer and affiliate marketing allow brands to expand their reach and acquire new customers, what keeps the channels separate in the minds and budgets of so many marketers? Pairing modern tracking and payment functionality with “outside-the-box” strategy means that merging the two channels maximizes results.
An influencer is one who exerts influence: A person who inspires or guides the actions of others.
Word of mouth advertising has become increasingly well-orchestrated: with individuals or groups, acting on a brands’ behalf to promote a product or service in exchange for an agreed-upon commission.
The right influencer can produce content that is 11 times more effective than banner ads. Influencers have an ability to build value and trust with their audience. Affinity for advertising, comes directly from those they know and trust, like a digital friendship. Influencers build trust by using Instagram and social, their own blog or as a guest blogger and brand collaborations.
Affinity for advertising (and in turn, affinity for a brand or product), comes directly from those they know and trust. Influencers are effective at building this trust in a variety of ways: online via Instagram and social, their own blog or as a guest blogger, vlogs and brand collaborations.
With different influencer payment models to choose from including flat fees, pay-per-acquisition, set monthly fees, pay-per-click, pay-per-post and product or service gifting, brands who work with influencers can exercise control over their return on marketing investment (ROI) with influencers depending on their goals.
Influencers can build brand awareness and are trusted by their following—fans who see them as authorities on a given subject. They are dedicated to engagement and know how to communicate to their audiences in ways that inspire action—and this is measured by reach, impressions, comments, likes and shares.
A nano influencer that has less than 1K followers.
A micro influencer typically has between 1K-100K followers.
A macro influencer has between 100K-1M followers.
A mega influencer has 1M+ followers.
A micro influencer can provide a 47% increase in engagement rates compared to the macro variety. And why is this the case? It’s largely based on micro-influencers having a more “dialed-in” audience. They create the niche content their audience craves most and therefore are better able to make authentic and valuable connections. From a brand perspective, the larger an audience gets, the more diluted their demographics become, which makes targeting consumers with the right message increasingly difficult and impacts revenue potential. Brands trust the micro-influencer to be a genuine advocate and one that will be influential with their audience on the subject matter that brought the audience to them in the first place.
But this isn’t to discount the power of macro-influencers either, and overall, brands want an influencer that matches them both in audience and personality. A good example of this is when Birchbox partnered with Emily Schuman of Cupcakes & Cashmere. They created five Instagram posts together and were rewarded with 18,000 likes and engagement with 550,000 consumers.
Schuman is a lifestyle blogger with 489K+ followers on Instagram. Birchbox, who offers a subscription service for beauty supplies, knew she had the right personality to endorse their beauty supply boxes and her blog targeted the right audience.
An influencer needs to develop consistent content across varied mediums and connect and engage with their audience, resulting in likes, comments and shares.
Brands should clearly define their expectations to influencers such as: preferred channels for promotion, payment and payment terms, the duration of the campaign, number of posts and mentions to be deployed, if contests or giveaways are included, which products to review, creative assets and copy to be used while not inhibiting influencer’s creative freedom.
Measuring influencer marketing campaigns is tricky and varies based on the brand’s goals. Measuring success should start with the brand giving indication of what their vision for a successful campaign looks like. Success may mean a certain number of likes, reshares, uses of a specific hashtag, etc. For other brands, a direct correlation to revenue or return on investment (ROI) driven may be defined as success.
- Their marketing budget and how they intend to compensate the influencer.
- Will they be paying a flat fee, per-acquisition, per-click, per-post, gifted product, etc.?
- Will their relationship with the influencer be one-off or long-term?
- Does the brand intend to cross-promote the influencer, use the content the influencer
- generates in their own campaigns?
- What “success” looks like. It may be social media engagement, including likes, shares,
- follows and comments or traffic lift, revenue or conversion generation.
- If and how their audience may respond to an influencer or validate their credibility.
- The credibility of the influencer and how it might impact your brand.
- Often it is a matter of trial and error to determine the most effective influencer.
- The value of testing—see opportunity in learning through partnerships rather than focusing
- on issues of high cost without an immediate return.
It is also important to manage your expectations as a brand. Brands will want to clearly define their expectations upfront to influencers about the following items:
- Channels the brand prefers to be advertised on
- Total duration of the campaign
- Number of posts and mentions to be shared
- Contest/giveaways and what is included
- Product reviews
- Creative assets and copy used that gives clear instruction while not inhibiting the influencer’s authenticity
- Payment model and terms
BI intelligence predicts influencer marketing will have a five-year compounded growth rate (CAGR) of 38%.
Start small and see if the relationship has value before committing to more projects. Payment, long-term partnership benefits, gifted product and cross-promotion are all collaboration bargaining chips when working with influencers.
Give them a script to use. It’s the best way to ensure the message you are expecting then to deliver. However, be cautious not to dictate the entire sentiment to ensure that their authenticity shines through. Provide them with plenty of tools—sample products to use in a giveaway can go a long way to enhance the appeal.
As a brand, you must monitor your influencer relationships to ensure the content your influencer posts is aligned to your brand, campaign and the law. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is getting more involved in influencer marketing. Partnering with an influencer means the onus is on the brand to ensure full compliance with FTC Endorsement guidelines. Additionally, it helps to have an agreement in place that defines each party’s responsibilities relative to the campaign.
Yes, according to FTC guidelines, influencers must disclose when they have been compensated for a post, whether it be monetary, gifted product or services or some other exchange of value. Disclosures let consumers know that the influencer post was sponsored, meaning they received some form of compensation in exchange for the post, review or claim. A disclosure statement should be prominent and easily visible. It must include font large enough to be read and stand out from the background. The post should contain proper presentation, using language that is understandable and not vague. The statement should be placed where consumers will see it and be listed right alongside the product or service using simple hashtags or statements including the words, “Ad,” “Advertisement,” and “Sponsored Advertising”.
If influencers bury #ad in the middle of the post, they are not in compliance with FTC guidelines. The disclosure must be easy to see. A good practice is to place the disclosure statement at the beginning of the post or use a hashtag, so the reader sees the disclosure first. The disclosure must be above the “More” button.
The goal of any influencer program is to build a long-standing relationship where Influencers are encouraged to promote the brand organically, even when a collaboration isn’t it place. You should know the birthdays of your Influencers, where they went to school, if they are a Mom or Dad.
An accessories brand on Partnerize gifted all influencers a product from their latest holiday collection, and included a personalized note thanking them for their efforts throughout the year. No additional budget was given to support the initiative, outside of the product and the increased commission rate. By letting the influencers know that the brand was thinking of them, the brand was able to drive over 19K in engagements ranging from likes, to comments, to shares.
Getting into the weeds with your influencers will ultimately help make it more of a partnership – which is exactly what it is.
Don’t leave your influencers hanging! Let them know about that cool product you are launching. Give them tips and tricks that will benefit your goals as well as theirs. Do they want to increase their blog readership? Share ways they can improve their SEO rankings. Do they want to increase their Instagram following? Repost some of their content. Whether its communicating by email or by phone, engage with your influencers frequently so they think of you when they have their next big idea.
For many influencers, this is their business and their passion. Because of this, not only is it important to recognize them on your site and social platforms, it is also important to reward them with something monetary or with a product or service. This is when the influencers can benefit from an affiliate marketing relationship. Increase their commission rate during a certain period to let them know their efforts aren’t going unwarranted and that you value their contribution to the program.
Partnerize is working to bridge the gap between affiliate and influencer marketing to ensure the two can go hand-in-hand, as they should. Through strategy and innovation, influencers can now be credited for sales they touch at any time during a transaction with Partnerize’s In-Cart Attribution tool. If you have a big campaign coming up and want to ensure your influencer gets the credit, no matter where they fall in the purchase path, the Preferred Publisher Tool will allow you to prioritize them over any other partner.
A big area of concern when speaking to influencers about affiliate marketing, is that with the last-click model, they aren’t always rewarded for their efforts. At Partnerize, we hear you! And it’s why we have invested in our technology, through the launch of In-Cart Attribution and Preferred Publisher, to ensure those concerns are mitigated, making it easier to consider both channels as one.
To read the full Adobe Summit survey report, please click here.
Influencers should use language that is clear to everyone and avoid using confusing terms like #SP, #Brand, and #Partner.
Influencer marketing does not come without challenges. How does the brand know their influencer is following both the FTC guidelines and brand expectations, for example? Brands must monitor the influencers channels and posts closely.
Brands must manage unrepresentative testimonials, too. Testimonials are a tool influencers use to help promote a product. If the influencer gets testimonials from followers that say a product helped them lose 10 pounds in a week, it can be misleading. Influencers need to state that results will vary, as well.
Fake or purchased followers inflate the numbers for a specific influencer significantly. The use of bot detection services and audit tools are becoming more prevalent among brands but they can also be on the lookout for warning signs such as:
- Sudden spikes in followers
- A large percentage of followers from
- other countries
- Low-quality or below average content
- Low engagement
Goliath brands are making influencer marketing work. Everything from Hines Ward promoting chocolate milk to Coach, a brand that uses 17 influencers across the globe: measuring success is a key part of what makes it work. Measuring influencer marketing campaigns is tricky, though, and varies based on the brand’s goals. Measuring success should start with the brand giving indication of what their vision of success looks like for a campaign. Is it simply to drive upper funnel awareness, or is it designed to drive online transactions? Depending on the vision, success may mean a certain number of likes, re-shares, use of a specific hashtag, etc. Whereas a lower-funnel campaign may be defined by the number of code redemptions, conversions, purchases of a specific product, etc.
A final measure would be revenue or ROI. Marrying the influencer campaign up with an affiliate marketing program puts revenue metrics in simple terms. The use of promo codes for purchases indicates the effect of an influencer campaign, as well.
According to a survey done by Tomoson, brands and business are making $6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing.
Contact us today to learn more about influencer marketing and how you can harness the power of an affiliate marketing platform built with the needs of today’s marketer in mind.
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