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How to Use Influencer Marketing to Boost Your Brand

How to Use Influencer Marketing to Boost Your Brand

You already know a thing or two about influencer marketing. It is now among the trendiest strategies in the field of digital marketing. To start, let us give a brief explanation of what it means.

Influencer marketing refers to social media advertising where companies partner with famous individuals who command large followings on platforms such as Instagram, TikTok and YouTube. In this case, an influencer endorses your product or service naturally and resonantly before their audience.

What makes it work so effectively? We will get there in a moment, but first…

Why Should You Be Interested in Influencer Marketing?

How To Reach Out To Influencers

Here are some eye-popping figures that should sway you:

  1. Campaigns based on influencers generate $5.78 for every dollar spent (a whopping 5x ROI!)
  2. 49% of shoppers rely on recommendations from influencers when making buying decisions
  3. 63% of marketers have intentions to raise their budget allocation for influencer campaigns

This thing is massive, it works, and its popularity can only grow bigger from here onwards; if your aim is staying up-to-date while connecting better with today’s customers, climbing aboard this train would do you good!

Still not convinced? Let us dive into why these high-energy tactics are so strong.

What Makes Influencer Marketing So Darn Effective?

1. They’ve got raving, loyal fanbases.

It’s not just about the number of followers an influencer has. The real power comes from having an army of passionate fans who trust them implicitly.

Think about it: when you love someone and you trust them, you’re much more likely to take what they say seriously and act on it – especially when it comes to things they know a lot about

Influencer marketing taps into this bedrock of trust and adoration. When an influencer gushes about your brand, they’re effectively opening the floodgates for their devotees to sit up, take notice and potentially follow suit.

2. It hits that sweet spot of authenticity

Breaking through the noise and achieving genuine authenticity with consumers is one of the biggest challenges facing brands today. We’re so bombarded with slick, insincere ads that cynicism is practically hardwired into us.

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Influencers are the antidote.

They’re just regular people sharing their honest experiences and opinions. There’s a vulnerability here that traditional adverts lack – a sense that we get to see behind somebody else’s eyes or walk a mile in their shoes (or 500 metres in their trainers).

Whether it’s an Instagram story reviewing your new skincare range or a YouTube video demo-ing your latest tech gadget, influencer endorsements feel real – because they are real. Their followers see them as mates rather than merchants with hidden agendas.

3. Precision targeting like nothing else out there

When you advertise traditionally, you take quite a scattergun approach towards reaching your intended audience – based on educated guesses, which may or may not pay off.

With influencer marketing, though? Forget about it!

You can be laser precise when it comes to zeroing in on who sees what content where & when – thanks largely (but not exclusively) to social media algorithms such as those found on TikTok or YouTube Music (or any other platform where artists give shoutouts to their favourite products whilst listening back through their discography).

By partnering with creators who resonate specifically within a specific niche, location, age group, or interest bracket, brands can position themselves directly in front of an already engaged community waiting eagerly for something new.

It’s focused targeting done right; no more spray & pray!

4. It’s super scalable and cost-effective

Let’s be honest: traditional marketing isn’t cheap (I’m looking at you, TV ads!). In contrast, working with influencers is an absolute steal.

You can start small by collaborating with micro-influencers before gradually ramping things up as the returns begin – i.e., investing more money and time into more extensive campaigns involving more prominent players across broader platforms, etc.

Either way, you’re getting serious bang for your buck here. Instead of wasting funds on interruptive ad slots which viewers skip over without even noticing them halfway through Love Island USA S02E09 (“Too hot to handle? More like too boring to watch!”), you’re leveraging genuine relationships between trusted voices that naturally expose your brand in a positive light.

Now, that’s what I call savvy spending!

5. This form of promotion puts product benefits on full display

Why tell people how great your stuff is when you could show them instead?

Influencer marketing excels at bringing products alive through vivid visuals and compelling narratives. It lets you weave your brand seamlessly into the fabric of somebody else’s highly immersive visual world – whether that happens to be an exquisitely curated Instagram feed or a breath-taking YouTube travel vlog series spanning 12 countries over nine months with one carry-on bag shared between two presenters who haven’t spoken since filming wrapped last summer (true story).

The best content creators are masters at producing drool-worthy material that makes viewers’ mouths water and tug on their heartstrings until they’re desperate for whatever’s being showcased – often without even realising it! Working alongside these wizards injects new energy into tired campaigns whilst leaving an indelible mark upon audiences’ souls (and wallets, too, if we’re lucky).

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How to Create a Killer Influencer Marketing Strategy

How To Become A Social Influencer

Ready to drink the Kool-Aid of influencer marketing and try it yourself? Great idea! Here’s how to make sure you’re successful.

1. Set Goals and Budget

First things first: know what you want to get out of influencer marketing. Do you want to:

Your goals will dictate which metrics you track, what kind of influencers you partner with, and where you focus your efforts, so don’t rush this step.

Then, set a budget. Consider your available resources and the campaign scope you’re hoping for; we’ll touch more on pricing models/tiers.

Pro Tip: Make sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound) so that you can accurately evaluate performance.

2. Identify Your Crowd Through Audience Research

Now that you know what you’re trying to achieve, it’s time to learn everything there is to know about the people who comprise your target market(s). This deep understanding will come in handy when vetting potential influencers later on.

Ask yourself questions like:

  1. What are their age ranges/genders?
  2. Where are they located geographically?
  3. What industries do they work in — or what hobbies do they have — or what other interests might they hold?
  4. Which social media platforms do they use most frequently/comfortably?
  5. What types of content or creators already resonate with them?
  6. As consumers, what values/challenges/desires do they have?

If possible, take surveys among your customers, comb through social media insights/analytics, consult third-party demographic reports… Do whatever it takes to paint a vivid picture of who these folks are!

For additional context on how folks may be talking about brands/products like yours within the digital ecosystem, consider leveraging “social listening” tools such as Awario, Mention, or BuzzSumo. These platforms allow you to monitor unfiltered discussions surrounding keywords or topics relevant to your business; doing so can help surface some of the specific forums/sites where your target audience is most active.

3. Research and Identify Suitable Influencer Partners

With your audience intel, you can now start scouting for influencers who are a match made in heaven. Both their brand and following should align with your target market.

Explore hashtags and accounts relevant to your niche across platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok. You can also check influencer marketplaces like:

  • Upfluence
  • GRIN
  • CreatorIQ
  • Aspire

As you whittle down potential partners, some critical criteria to consider include:

  • Follower size/reach (more on influencer tiers next)
  • Audience demographics and interests
  • Engagement rates
  • Content quality and style
  • Brand affinity
  • Costs and requirements

Check that their aesthetic, voice and values align with your brand identity. Establishing that natural brand fit is crucial for making it feel like an organic partnership to their followers.

Don't just judge the book by its cover, though! Watch or read several pieces of their content to get a proper feel for their style and expertise. You want to ensure they have what it takes to give your brand an authentic, enthusiastic shout-out.

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Top Tip: Leverage tools like HypeAuditor to analyse an influencer's audience authenticity and spot any fake followers or engagement. This will help avoid potential influencer fraud.

Influencer Tiers 101: What Size Should You Go For?

Influencer Marketing Pyramid

“Influencer” is a comprehensive term that covers various audience sizes. Here's a quick guide to the critical tiers:

  • Nano-influencers: 1,000 – 10,000 followers
  • Micro-influencers: 10,000 – 50,000 followers
  • Mid-tier influencers: 50,000 – 500,000 followers
  • Macro-influencers: 500,000 – 1,000,000 followers
  • Celebrities: 1,000,000+ followers

There are pros and cons to each tier. Nano and micro-influencers tend to have the most engaged, tight-knit communities who deeply trust their opinions. However, their reach is limited.

Macro influencers and celebrities can expose you to massive audiences. However, their stratospheric numbers often mean diluted engagement rates and viewers who perceive their content as more advertisement-y.

The sweet spot for most brands tends to be micro and mid-tier influencers. However, your brand's “right” tier depends on your goals and budget.

For example, working with a handful of hyper-engaged nano-influencers may make more sense if you're a local business or have a very niche product. If you want unbeatable reach and visibility, shelling out for a couple of macro-influencers could be worthwhile.

Many brands opt for an influencer portfolio strategy – partnering with a mix of tiers to hit smaller engaged communities and massive reach opportunities.

4. Settle the price and partnership with the influencer

Now that you have figured out which influencers suit your brand, it’s time to contact them and make a deal.

Typical models of pricing used by influencers are:

  1. Pay per post or campaign package
  2. Commission-based (% of sales they drive)
  3. Gifting/product seeding
  4. Long-term affiliate or ambassador relationships

Payment rates vary widely depending on how much value an influencer’s audience is believed to hold and how many people they can reach. A nano-influencer might charge around $10 per Instagram post, while some celebrities ask for over $500,000 just for one endorsement.

I know – my eyes were watering at those top-tier fees, too! For most businesses, working with a mix of micro and mid-tier influencers will give you more bang for your buck.

But whatever pricing model or influencer combination you decide on, remember to:

  • Agree on what needs to be done, how it should be done and when it should be done by
  • Get contracts signed after specifying usage rights
  • Talk about FTC disclosure requirements so that everyone stays legal

Coordinate content creation, messaging strategies and amplification plans, among other things necessary for success in this partnership, such as UTM tracking codes or promo links, which will help measure performance later, if applicable.

Typically, brands pay flat rates for different types of posts like Instagram stories/posts or YouTube videos, etc., but some pay commissions only if there are sales directly made through an influenced channel, while others gift products in exchange for reviews/features and then opt to pay additional monies if need be due to success from said initial partnership; finally long term ambassadors could receive monthly retainers as well as commissions too – so get creative!

5. Execute Your Campaigns and Track Performance

Upfluence Social Media Influencers

With your dream team of influencers locked in, it's time to put your campaigns into action and meticulously measure those all-important metrics.

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Ensure you have robust tracking using UTM parameters, promo codes, affiliate links, or measuring views/engagement on the influencers' content. You'll want to tie any spikes in metrics like:

  • Website Traffic
  • Lead generation
  • Engagement
  • Conversions/sales
  • Follower growth

…directly back to each influencer's promotions.

As for the influencer deliverables themselves, don't be too prescriptive! Give some basic guidelines and critical messages, but let the influencers riff in their authentic style. That's the whole point – they know how to speak to their audience far better than you do!

Nurture those relationships throughout the campaigns, too. Check-in, engage with their content, amplify it through your brand channels, and discuss results. Think of it as an invested partnership, not a one-off transaction.

6. Analyse Results and Optimise Future Campaigns

Lastly, pore over your campaigns' performance data to pinpoint what worked, what didn't, and where you can improve.

Look at quantitative metrics to assess the direct ROI and conversions driven by each influencer. However, qualitative factors like engagement, sentiment, and virality should also be considered.

An influencer who didn't directly drive massive traffic or sales may have sparked positive word-of-mouth for your brand on social media.

Use all those juicy insights to iterate and optimise your influencer marketing strategy. You may choose to:

  • Test other influencers or mix up your influencer portfolio
  • Tweak your content guidelines or creative direction
  • Adjust budgets based on what delivered the best value
  • Develop long-term ambassador relationships with your top performers
  • Refine your audience targeting and influencer vetting process

The goal? To continually fine-tune things until you have a well-oiled influencer marketing machine that packs an ever-bigger punch for your brand!

Influencer Marketing FAQs

What determines the dissimilarity between a celebrity and an influencer?

Celebrities, including movie actors or famous sports personalities, can command millions of followers. On the other hand, influencers are ordinary individuals who have garnered substantial numbers of dedicated supporters in a particular pastime or specialisation.

How can I identify suitable influencers for my trade mark?

Research is paramount! It is essential to scrutinise such aspects as audience composition by demographic factors, involvement rates, content matter, and consistency with the brand being promoted, among other things, when working out who to settle for as an influencer. Platforms like influencer marketplaces and audience analysis software may also be helpful during this process.

What is the cost of influencer marketing?

The pricing can be highly variable considering the perceived value or reach vis-à-vis different influencers and agreed pricing models from one entity to another. For example, it’s possible you could pay $10 for an Instagram post by a nano-influencer while being expected to fork over half a million dollars for celebrity endorsement. Nevertheless, most firms realise better returns on investments within lower ranges, such as mid-tier through micro-tier scale, barring any other limiting factor like this being their first experience.

Which are some popular platforms used for influencer marketing campaigns?

Among others include Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Twitch and blogs/vlogs; where these sites have massive user bases, hence affording more comprehensive coverage, but then again, it depends on what type of people you want to target because they might not all be active across every platform equally so choose wisely!

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Apart from sponsored posts, what other ways can I engage with influencers?

Yes indeed! Some frequently applied methods entail commissioning affiliates based on sales made through recommendations or using brand representative programs, even though many more options still exist, which may range from events/experiences featuring them as ambassadors to giving them free samples in exchange for reviews.

What metrics should I use to track the success of my influencer campaign?

An influencer outreach program's key performance indicators (KPIs) could include website visits, lead generation rate, sales conversion ratio, follower increment magnitude, and overall return on investment (ROI). However, qualitative parameters like reach attained or sentiment expressed around these promotions also need to be accounted for alongside more traditional quantitative measures such as traffic generated.

What legalities must I adhere to when working with influencers?

Typically, most countries have guidelines governing how sponsored content by influencers should be disclosed so that people are not misled. For instance, within the United States, it is obligatory under FTC endorsement rules that any material connection between endorser and advertiser must always be made clear during their collaboration, even if they appear together only once.

How can I ensure I am not taken advantage of by fake followers or bots pretending to be popular accounts?

It would be best if you employed tools like HypeAuditor when verifying the authenticity of an audience. Checking engagement rates can also help reveal imposter syndrome, where many followers are uninterested in what one posts, thus signifying inauthenticity. In addition, every potential influencer needs a thorough vetting process done on them, which ensures brand safety, among other things.

Learn How to Use Influencer Marketing Today

Boom! Now you know how to use influential tastemakers and thought leaders for the best brand effect.

I get it, I do — at first glance, it can seem like a lot. But don’t worry about it. Take one step at a time, research, and ease into influencer marketing.

It’s wild what even reaching out to micro-influencers can do for your brand voice; this alone can drive significant engagement, leading to more sales and growth in the long run!

Influencer world takeover is imminent, so act now or forever hold your peace! Start planning who you will work with based on what kind of ROI they could bring you today.

So, what’s next for you on this wild journey through influencers? Leave me a comment below!

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Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford is an award-winning creative director and brand strategist with over 15 years of experience building memorable and influential brands. As Creative Director at Inkbot Design, a leading branding agency, Stuart oversees all creative projects and ensures each client receives a customised brand strategy and visual identity.

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