Remember when people used to debate the ROI of social media? That was a regular conversation a few years back.
But nowadays? Well, social media has become the tool of choice for product announcements, e-commerce sales, customer engagement, reputation management, public relations, general communication… and I could go on.
At this point, the debate is discontinued.
People may question the direct impact of social media marketing on sales, but no one is debating whether it’s a vital component of a brands marketing mix. So that brings us to “the new kid in town”… Yes, Influencer Marketing.
I’ll say it again… Influencer Marketing. Sounds kinda new, fresh, and avant-garde, doesn’t it? Just like a modern version of Hansel, it’s so hot right now.
Influencer Marketing represents the evolution of social media. Remember Web 2.0? Influencer Marketing is kinda like social media 2.0. When some people think about Influencer Marketing, they marginalize the strategy by suggesting… “all you need to do is hire a few big names to push product through social.” But executing a thoughtful Influencer Marketing campaign is much more difficult than you might think.
Aside from analyzing and understanding the 5 P’s of your product and/or service, you also need to understand how those items relate to the Influencer marketplace.
When you look to hire an Influencer, is their community physically located in the citie(s) that you are trying to target? What about other considerations like gender, age, income, marital status, etc.? Sure, the amount of followers that someone has is important. But the relevancy of those followers in regards to your product and/or service is even more important.
Just because someone has 400K followers on Instagram, it doesn’t mean their community reflects the marketplace you are looking to connect with.
Many studies have recently been completed, and the data shows that utilizing a mega-celebrity isn’t the best option for many campaigns. Yes, the follower counts of mega-Influencers are eye-popping, and it presents value in terms of mass appeal, but when you’re looking to market a product or service to a niche audience, mega-celebrities aren’t your best bet. That’s when you turn to micro-influencers; people with smaller, more loyal followings who have significant clout within their respective communities. The audience of a micro-influencer tends to trust and engage with their posts much more than their mega-influencer counterparts.
Micro-Influencer = More Trust, More Engagement!
Most would assume that more followers means more engagement, but that isn’t the case. Many recent studies on Instagram engagement play out as follows……
Total followers go up, the engagement rate goes down. Influencers with follower counts of 1K-20K have a “Like” rate of 4 percent, compared to just 1.6 percent for those with follower counts of 5-10 million. Comment rates also decline significantly, as those with 10K-100K followers are four times more likely to get a comment than those with more than 5-10 million followers.
So as a follower count decreases, you lose reach while adding more engagement. On the other hand, when you increase followers, you gain back that broader reach but lose out on engagement.
Consider a major fashion brand that is launching a line of shoes specifically for high end fashion events and galas. Should they pay into the hundreds of thousands of dollars to have Kim Kardashian (94.9M followers) post a photo to Instagram wearing the shoe? Or is there more value in using a high end micro-influencer (20-20k followers) who has a proven, dedicated high fashion community with great engagement?
As a brand, you want to engage with consumers who are passionate about the products you are selling. On that note, it’s important to align the right Influencer with the right brand. Worry less about overall followers, and focus more on attention and engagement.
Just Because you can, Doesn’t mean you should.
Having a large scale celebrity endorse your brand is definitely exciting. But it’s also important to remember that celebrities don’t come cheap. That one Influencer alone could bust your entire budget. For $30,000, you can run a campaign with several micro-influencers within your chosen channels and get in front of millions of people. That same price figure will barely get a conversation started with a celebrity. So if your goal is mass reach and cachet, celebrity Influencers make sense. But if you are more focused on engagement and ROI, it would be smart to diversify your efforts with micro-Influencers.