Over the past year and a half, there’s been a significant surge in the amount of money that brands are investing in influencer marketing.
Not only that but there’s a growing trend toward brands forming long-term relationships with influencer marketing agencies.
This shift in attitude among brands suggests that influencer marketing has now become a crucial element of their marketing strategies, and it may even surpass traditional marketing in importance. ????
Before we dive into anything else, here’s the lowdown on the basics of Influencer Marketing:
What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is a type of marketing that focuses on using influential individuals (hence the term “influencer”) to promote a brand or product.
Others refer to them as “KOLs” or Key Opinion Leaders, a common term used widely in Asia.
Influencers could be anyone—celebrities, models, everyday people, thought leaders in various industries, gamers, tech junkies, makeup gurus…you name it. In fact, for every niche, you could probably think of an influencer for that specific industry.
What Makes an Influencer?
Just like there are certain criteria for becoming part of the Avengers’ team (currently debatable with some of the superheroes in there ????) there are certain criteria for influencers to actually be considered as influencers.
???? people who have a significant following on social media platforms
???? considered experts or trendsetters in a particular niche
???? categorized under 5 buckets:
Mega-influencers with more than a million followers (think celebrities)
Macro-influencers with 500K to 1 million followers
Mid-tier influencers with 50K to 500K followers
Micro-influencers with 10K to 50K followers
Nano-influencers with 1K to 10K followers
Brands collaborate with influencers to create content that promotes their products and can be shared with the influencer’s audience.
How Influencer Marketing Works
???? First, brands Identify relevant influencers (whether they do this in-house, hire a marketing agency who then outsources to an influencer marketing firm.)
Smart brands lean towards influencers who have a significant following and whose audience aligns with the brand’s target market. This involves analyzing the influencer’s content, engagement rate, and demographics of their followers.
???? Next, they build a relationship (Human Connection never goes out of style, lemme tell you that ????)
This could include discussing the type of content the influencer will create the messaging, the branding, and the timing of the campaign.
During this stage, the brand and influencer also come up with the terms and conditions of their collaboration. This includes compensation (monetary and/or product exchange), content quantity, timing, etc.
???? Creating content: The influencer creates content that promotes the brand or product, which can take many forms, including social media posts, blog posts, videos, and more.
???? Publishing and amplifying: Once the content is created, the influencer publishes it to their own social media channels.
And BAM???? Just like that, brands can get in front of millions of eyes!
Brands can then amplify the content by re-sharing it on their own channels or through paid promotion – welcome to the multiverse of attention. ????
????Tracking and analyzing: Brands track and measure the results of the campaign, such as engagement rates, click-through rates, and sales.
This allows them to evaluate the effectiveness of the campaign, adjust their strategy accordingly, and determine if they can develop a long-term relationship with the influencer.
Latest Influencer Marketing Trends
Influencer marketing has seen explosive growth in recent years, which has led to brands increasing their demand for influencer marketing firms, according to Digiday.
???? WHOPPING SPEND: In 2022, brands spent an impressive $16.4 billion on influencer marketing ????, a significant increase from the $13.8 billion spent in the previous year.
???? FOCUS ON LONGEVITY: While brands used to hire general marketing agencies that would then hire influencer marketing agencies for specific projects, many are now offering influencer marketing firms long-term contracts on an annual basis.
???? GOALS TO REDUCE AD SPEND: This shift is likely due to brands’ wanting to reduce costs by paying influencer marketing firms directly instead of through other agencies, as more ad spend typically attracts greater scrutiny from a brand’s financial department.
Additionally, individual influencers are also seeking and receiving more of these long-term contracts with brands.
What the Future Could Hold for Influencer Marketing Firms
There are two opinions on the future of influencer marketing.
???? Some believe that influencer marketing firms will continue to gain power, as long as ad dollars are directed toward content platforms, leading to a sustained trend.
???? On the flip side, others see this as just another stage in the continuous cycle of change, comparing it to the shift from long-term brand ambassador relationships to short-term creator/influencer relationships that preceded the current era of long-term contracts.
My personal take? With the advent of increased focus on human connections and building relationships, Influencer Marketing Firms definitely have a seat at the table – and it’ll continue to be this way…
At StandOut Authority, we do believe in influencer marketing, but we do it with a twist. ???? Instead of paying influencers to promote our brand, we create a relationship with them by engaging with their content. And before you know it, we’re doing live events and podcast episodes with them.
Which means we’re getting in front of their audience without spending a dime. BUT, it’s not a one-way stream! We need to bring value to the table as well.
Having a solid marketing strategy means knowing who does what in your company, and I think influencer marketing firms—for as long as they continue to create and nurture relationships with their influencer roster—see a longstanding future in the marketing arena.
What’s your take on Influencer Marketing? Do you think it’s here to stay, or is this just another run-of-the-mill trend that won’t last until the next big thing comes into play?
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