Influencer marketing for marketing campaigns uses expertise, notoriety, the power of celebrity, and popularity on social media to build brand awareness through product endorsements, recommendations, mentions, and social media messages. Depending on the type of product or service, influencer marketing may also include lifestyle usage, such as a celebrity wearing a certain fashion brand.
How Powerful is Influencer Marketing?
In 2022, Hubspot surveyed over 1,000 worldwide marketing professionals. In the survey, influencer marketing was the third-highest priority in marketing campaigns after short-form video as the top priority and inbound marketing as the second-highest priority.
Influencer marketing uses “experts” in a specific field to promote a certain brand. It works so well that 61% of the marketers said they were leveraging its success to produce the highest return on investment (ROI) for marketing dollars.
Out of 27 strategies and tactics to consider, global marketers selected influencer marketing as the marketing strategy with the highest ROI, beating the returns from short-form video campaigns, permanent social content, and search engine optimization (SEO).
Micro-Influence is Trending
The traditional method of influencer marketing is to work with influencers with the greatest number of followers. Some desirable influencers for major brands have followers in the multiple millions. However, for 2023, Influencer Marketing Hub reports that more brands may change focus to work with many micro-influencers with less than 100,000 followers.
Data from a Launchmetrics study found that the most effective tier of influencers is the micro-influencers, who have a smaller yet dedicated audience.
The study reported these effectiveness rates according to the order of these categories:
45.8% Micro-Influencers: Those with 10k to 100k followers.
33.6% Macro-Influencers: Those with 100k+ to 500k followers.
11.3% Celebrity Influencers: Those with 1.5+ million followers.
9.3% Mega-Influencers: Those with 500k to 1.5 million followers.
It is counter-intuitive to think that micro-influencers have more effectiveness than massively popular celebrities. Nevertheless, that is what the data shows. Micro-influencers are about four times more effective than influencers who are celebrities.
The average consumer reacts more positively to regular people who look and feel like them, as compared to celebrities who live in a different world than they do.
The good news for marketers is the cost of using micro-influencers is modest compared to the prices charged by major celebrities. For example, a micro-influencer with up to 100k followers may charge $100 per social media post, whereas a celebrity with millions of followers may charge $1,000 to $2,000 per post.
Transparency, Authenticity, and Engagement
One explanation for the effectiveness of micro-influencers is that many are consumer advocates. These influencers have a very high level of authenticity and powerful follower engagement. Their perspective is honest, and their followers trust them.
One of the core emotional reactions that brands seek to achieve in promotions is authenticity. It is increasingly important for transparency to identify paid sponsorship and advertising in all messages. If an influencer is not honest about any payments received for their support of a brand, followers may abandon them upon discovering a potential inability to trust the influencer’s opinions.
Alignment of Interests
Consumers look for influencers who have interests that match theirs. Consumers respond well to everyday people who engage them with a humanistic, down-to-earth approach.
To improve the chances of success, marketers do better by working with influencers who align with a brand’s values and culture. Brands should conduct extensive research into their target audience and find influencers with a target audience that matches. This strategy is more likely to create strong emotional messages if a company allows the influencer to tell the brand’s story as the influencer’s story in the influencer’s style.
Diversity, inclusion, and equality are influencers' three pillars of good characteristics. Brands quickly distance themselves from an influencer who goes off track, makes derogatory comments, or is caught in a publicly-humiliating indiscretion.
For this reason, major brands include a “moral turpitude” clause in their influencer agreements that allows them to immediately discontinue the contract based on certain forbidden things that violate ordinary social standards and brand specifics. There are many examples of influencers who lost their contracts for these reasons.
Companies using influencer marketing need to include monitoring and reputation management of their brand to ensure some unwanted event or controversy caused by an influencer is not a destructive force in marketing campaigns.
Companies should already be using reputation management for their brands. When adding influencer marketing, the reputation management process extends to include the influencers.
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