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Influencer Marketing in 2022: Definition, Types and Strategies

It’s almost impossible to scroll through social media without seeing some form of influencer marketing. It’s everywhere.

Everywhere you look, influencers are showing off their latest gadgets, clothes, makeup brands or candles, and that’s just the beginning.

From traditional posts to ever-popular Instagram Stories and Guides to long videos, influencers are always finding new ways to be sponsored on their favourite platforms.

I even see them on LinkedIn these days believe it or not. It’s now a mainstream form of online marketing.

Here are some latest influencer marketing stats:

With the rise of influencer marketing, brands are able to find authentic ways to advocate for their products using real people, in real-time, and with real, big results.

If you want to explore the benefits of influencer marketing, grab some useful tips, and learn from some examples, read on.

With the rise of influencer marketing, brands are able to find authentic ways to advocate for their products using real people, in real-time, and with real, big results.

If you want to explore the benefits of influencer marketing, grab some useful tips, and learn from some examples, read on.

What is an Influencer?

There’s no clear and exact definition of an influencer. The common theme is that an influencer has an audience that they can engage with through content creation.

Some definitions focus on an influencer’s function, while others focus on an influencer’s potential reach. All of them seem to agree that influencers are people that can educate, engage, and influence a large number of people.

What is Influencer Marketing?

At a fundamental level, influencer marketing is a type of social media marketing that uses endorsements and product mentions from individuals who have a dedicated social following and are viewed as experts within their niche.

Influencer marketing works because people are influenced by people, and find word-of-mouth to be the most trusted source for recommendations.

Social media and blogs are home to the majority of influencers, although other creators like podcast hosts can fit the bill, too.

Influencers are the trendsetters and taste-makers of today, with audiences looking for their recommendations in order to guide their purchasing decisions.

They create shareable and communicative user-generated content about brands that can be used for marketing promotions, email campaigns, and more.

Why is Influencer Marketing Important?

Influencer marketing is closely related to social media marketing, as most opinion leaders gather their audience from social platforms. It gives you access to an enormous audience – half of the global population uses social networks.

Influencer marketing enables you to reach people you can’t attain through traditional advertising. Two-thirds of consumers use ad blockers, but the same people willingly take advice from influencers.

Influencer marketing is crucial in the age of social media and ad fatigue. It helps build trust for your brand and drives impressive results.

However, influencer marketing is not just Instagram posts or YouTube unboxing videos.

Influencer marketing can also include:

  • Product reviews on social media
  • Unboxing videos
  • Product placements in creative content
  • Sharing the brand’s campaigns and new product launches
  • Sharing a unique coupon code so that the influencer’s audience can get a great deal
  • Partnering with the influencer to create a co-branded product or campaign
  • Giveaways on the influencer’s platforms
  • Promoting events that the influencer or your brand will attend
  • Supporting influencers’ causes by donating products to their fundraisers and events
  • Using influencers to create content like videos, blog posts, and social media ads for your brand.

The possibilities are truly endless for what an influencer and a brand can do together. In fact, the best collaborations use unique approaches in order to provide fresh content to audiences.

Types of Influencers

When you hear the word influencer, chances are the Kardashian-Jenner family come immediately to your mind?

While these famous sisters are certainly some of the biggest influencers, not all influencers are celebrities. In fact, for many brands, influencers with a smaller but dedicated or niche follower base might be more effective.

Influencers with 15,000 followers have some of the highest engagement rates on all platforms. The cost, of course, can also be much lower.

Let’s look at the different types of influencers based on audience size:

  • Nano-influencers (less than 10k followers)
  • Micro-influencers (10k-100K followers)
  • Macro-influencers (100K-1M followers)
  • Mega-influencers (more than 1M followers)

How Much Does Influencer Marketing Cost?

Influencers with extensive reach rightly expect to be paid for their work. Free products might work with nano-influencers, but a larger influencer campaign requires a budget.

For big brands working with celebrity influencers, that budget may be quite large. U.S. spending on influencer marketing is set to surpass $3 billion for the first time in 2021, and to top $4 billion in 2022.

Think about what kind of payment structure makes the most sense for your goals. But be willing to consider the influencer’s needs, too. It’s worth mentioning that micro-influencers and nano-influencers will have more flexible payment terms.

Types of Influencer Marketing

Since influencer marketing is around, brands and opinion leaders have developed various types of campaigns. Let’s unpack some popular tactics that you can use in your influencer marketing strategy.

There are basically five types of influencer marketing. They are:

  • Social media takeover
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Sponsored content
  • Unboxings
  • Brand ambassador programs

Let’s take a look at each one of them individually.

1. Social Media Takeover

This type of influencer marketing works great for growing your follower base on social networks. However, it takes a lot of courage as the brand delegates running its account to an influencer for an agreed period of time.

Most often, a brand lets an influencer manage their profile for a day. Another option is to invite an opinion leader to run a stream.

2. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a relatively cheap and effortless way to generate leads. This strategy boils down to paying an influencer for each customer who came from their website or social media account.

Meanwhile, you don’t have to waste time choosing influencers and negotiating – simply publish an affiliate program on your website and wait.

3. Sponsored Content

This type of influencer marketing often appears on Instagram. Brands pay for publishing a promotional post on the influencer’s account. The opinion leader takes care of content creation and puts out a post made according to the client’s guidelines.

4. Unboxings

Brands often send gifts to influencers hoping that the social media star will open and review them. It costs next to nothing compared with the fees influencers charge for advertising. However, this strategy is quite risky.

First of all, the opinion leader may not review your product at all. Another point is the influencer’s negative feedback often becomes dangerous for brands.

Finally, sometimes businesses lay themselves out to please bloggers but cut corners packing orders for customers, which drives backlash. So, work around these possibilities before employing this tactic.

5. Brand ambassador programs

Some people love specific brands so much that they are ready to promote them even for free. Influencers are no exception, so companies offer them brand ambassador programs.
This tactic works because opinion leaders recommend their favourite brands heartily.

We’ve only explored five common types of influencer marketing. However, there are many more of them, as influencers and brands united have limitless creativity.

How to Create an Influencer Marketing Strategy

Like any marketing tactic, an influencer program takes deliberate targeting and planning. You won’t find strategic success just by sending free things out to everyone who asks or to your existing friends and acquaintances.

Let’s take a look at a few ways how you can create an influencer marketing strategy.

1. Determine Your Goals

The number-one goal for brands using influencer marketing is to reach new target customers. This makes sense since an influencer campaign extends your reach to that person’s followers.

Notice that the goal is simply to reach new customers, not necessarily to make a sale right off the top. Driving sales is actually the third most common goal of influencer campaigns.

Think about how your influencer marketing campaign will fit into your broader social marketing strategy and create measurable goals you can report on and track.

2. Define Your Target Audience

Pinpointing your target audience is the core of every kind of promotional campaign. There are a lot of ways to find this group of potential customers.

You may go for people who resemble your best clients. Survey your clientele and define what social media channels and influencers they prefer, the values they share, how they make purchase decisions, and so on.

43% of people use social networks to research products before buying them. To make use of this, apply the jobs-to-be-done approach. Define why people search for your products and in which situations they use them.

It will help you address their needs with your influencer marketing campaigns.

3. Find the Right Channel

According to MediaKix, Instagram is paramount for a whopping 89% of brands. As a result, over two-thirds of marketers spend their budget on promotions through Instagram.

However, Instagram won’t necessarily be the best option for you. Pick a platform by relying mainly on your audience’s interests, business goals, and the opportunities each channel provides.

For instance, B2B businesses may benefit more from choosing LinkedIn. This channel accumulates 630 million professionals and 90 million senior-level influencers.

Take all the statistics above with a grain of salt. Eventually, the only proven way to find the perfect channel for you is testing. Pick several platforms your audience may be present on and run low-cost effective campaigns to choose the best option.

4. Determine Your Campaign Budget

This step is essential, as total campaign outreach depends on the budget you allocate. Influencers set prices according to the size of their follower base, market rates, advertiser interests, and so on. Thus, a post on account with 1 million followers may cost you thousands of dollars.

If you’re tight on budget, opinion leaders with smaller follower bases may be a better option. They can help you achieve your objectives for smaller investments.

5. Pick the Right Influencers

All of the work done in the previous steps flops if you choose the wrong influencer. For a perfect match, pick an opinion leader who shares your brand’s values.

Do not promote a sustainable fashion brand through shopaholic bloggers. Opt for influencers who advocate minimalism, zero waste, awareness, and so on.

Another problem with influencer marketing is the risk of scams and fake followers. To reduce the odds of being fooled, check the influencer’s account carefully.

4 Reasons Why Influencer Marketing Works

1. Consumers Trust Influencers

Trust is one of the most essential things to make any campaign successful. It’s better and easier for people to buy new products or services when you see that other people use them, especially the ones whom you trust.

Influencer marketing is a visual demonstration of how it works. According to research, 88% of consumers trust online recommendations as much as personal ones, and this is proved by high ROIs.

2. Influencers Create Quality Content

Influencers are people who definitely know how to win the attention of their audience. So, don’t even need to think of how it would be better to present your product, service or event to the audience.

Content creators will make everything on their own based on their practical experience and reveal your product in the best possible way.

And you know what? Working with different Influencers, you will get a bunch of new effective approaches for advertising. A nice bonus, if you ask me.

3. Influencer Marketing Doesn’t Suffer from Ads Blocking

According to PageFair, 615 million people use Adblock apps. But people can’t block a bloggers’ post, even if it has a promotional nature.

Moreover, they won’t even think of that — because influencers’ posts are interesting to them. They will read, discuss, and engage. It’s one hugest advantage of influencer marketing.

4. Influencer Marketing Gives You Insights about Your Consumers

When you cooperate with content creators, you always get feedback in the form of users’ likes, shares, and comments. Sometimes, influencers may give you their own tips and insights for better future cooperation.

And this may be extremely beneficial for a business. Instead of spending tons of time and money for getting the actual market feedback, here, you get it instantly.

You will see what people really think about your product, its features, pros, and cons — and use these insights for marketing, sales, and product development.

The Future of Influencer Marketing

Influencer Marketing is the fastest-growing channel in the digital marketing space. In fact, Instagram now ranks 6th at influencing consumer purchasing decisions.

In other words, today’s consumers are looking for authentic recommendations from everyday people. Influencers fill the need for brands to be able to share without the polish of other brand marketing.

Influencer marketing can expose your brand to new audiences and leads, as well as increasing brand awareness for existing customers.

Therefore, influencers allow the brands to present their products and messaging in a fresh, approachable, and interesting way. Thus, it wins over customers with its originality and authenticity.

Example of Influencer Marketing

In 1984, Nike collaborated with Michael Jordan to create an exclusive sneaker line, the Air Jordans.

It was a hit. In just 12 months, the Air Jordan 1 sneakers racked up more than $100 million in sales. In 2020, an original pair, worn and signed by Jordan himself, sold for $560,000.

Michael Jordan, the superstar basketball player, catapulted Nike into the household name we know today.

That is the power of influencer marketing.

Conclusion

I hope that this guide has served as a good primer for understanding and executing influencer marketing. It should be a decent foundation for learning more about the topic.

By now, you should get the gist of what influencer marketing really is. The numbers don’t lie – it’s very relevant to current times’ marketing strategy that every brand should at least consider.

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