Audiences are becoming smarter by the day. They don’t trust marketers or marketing ploys, such as paid ads. In fact, a company that indulges in paid marketing will most likely be dismissed as “promotional” by today’s consumers.
On the other hand, influencers hold sway over their communities of followers. They are perceived as genuine, and their content is consumed for its authentic flavor. When an influencer recommends a website, product, or service, the chances of conversion are high.
If you’re skeptical about the “influence” of influencers, check out these numbers:
- 99% of consumers say they discover new products because influencers recommended them.
- Six out of ten brands are planning to expand their influencer marketing budgets.
- Influencer marketing delivers better quality website visitors than other channels.
Do we sense a spark of excitement about influencer marketing?
Read on to understand the basics of influencer marketing and how it can make your website an effective money maker.
What is Influencer Marketing?
To understand influencer marketing, let’s consider an example.
Suppose you’re looking for a new car to buy. You go through the advertisements and check Google for reviews. Your mind is boggled by the amount of conflicting information you get.
Then, you discuss the matter with your friends and family. They give you an undiluted account of their experience with their cars, without trying to trash or promote any brand in particular. You gain clarity, and you end up buying one of the cars they talked about.
These trusted friends are influencers. They just don’t realize it. And the strategy that worked was influencer marketing. Not paid ads, not reviews, not celebrity endorsements. Just pure organic trust.
Influencer marketing is the practice of leveraging trust built by influencers to promote your brand. These influencers can be industry insiders, subject matter experts, celebrities, or just regular people (with tons of influence).
Influencers have created trust and goodwill among their followers by creating authentic, often out-of-the-box content. Their content is subtle, relatable, and helpful.
While influencer marketing is not rocket science, it does have some intricate moving parts. Here’s how influencer marketing works:
- Brands look for influencers who resonate with their image and have a relevant audience base.
- Brands try to build relationships with prospective influencers in order to onboard them.
- Once brands can catch their influencers’ attention, they pitch their collaboration proposal. The proposal should be mutually beneficial.
- If all terms are agreeable, influencers agree to promote the brand. Both parties collaborate on the marketing and content creation strategy.
- After every campaign, brands measure the ROI and realign their strategies if needed.
Why Do Brands Rely on Influencer Marketing?
Brands have discovered the mojo of influencer marketing. Disillusioned by costly paid social and print campaigns that fail to convert effectively, brands are turning to influencers for help.
Here are key reasons why smart marketers are counting influencer marketing as their topmost priority:
Influencer Marketing Yields Better Quality Customers and Traffic
Marketers vouch for the efficacy of influencer marketing. According to them, traffic/leads generated by influencers are more qualified to convert into customers.
This is partly because influencers have been able to overcome barriers of trust and obtain user buy-in. Brands can generate more sales and ROI in this way. This is why ecommerce companies are using micro-influencer marketing to grow their traffic.
Influencer Marketing Campaigns are Cost-Effective
Micro and nano-influencers are within the reach of most brands. They cost less and are also more approachable than big name celebs.
These influencers often have highly-engaged audiences in their niches, and they can be instrumental in building brand awareness, especially on social media.
And the best part is that you can redirect those new audiences to your website or landing pages without investing in any expensive ad campaigns.
However, redirecting traffic to your website and landing pages is easier said than done.
Tips to Increase Your Website Traffic with Influencer Marketing
The internet is bursting at its seams with great content that people have no time to read. In this oversaturated market, you’ll need powerful influencers in your corner to grab eyeballs.
Here are some actionable tips that can help you harness the power of influencers to gain traction for your website.
1. Get to Know Your Audience
If you want to attract more visitors to your website, you’ll have to focus on the preferences of your target audience. And we’re not talking about basics like demographics. You’ll have to delve deeper.
Which social media platforms do your target customers spend time on? What are their content preferences? Who are the people they idolize? What kind of messaging impresses them?
These questions will guide your creative strategy. Then, you can conduct a content audit to evaluate how well your existing content aligns with the strategy.
An audit will highlight the key areas that need improvement. It will also help you find out if your content is too promotional or your marketing strategy too aggressive. You will understand why your content isn’t commanding adequate mindshare and market share.
You will also identify the deliverables you expect from your future influencers. Then you’ll be ready to launch an extensive influencer search.
2. Find Your Perfect Influencer
A brand-partner match is as crucial as a marriage. Just as the wrong life partner can cost you dearly, so can the wrong influencer. Jokes aside, finding the right influencer can be a tough task.
Often, brands hire influencers who are the wrong fit. They neither share the same vision nor values. This error of judgment can backfire in a big way.
You need an influencer that can add value and help you solidify your position in the industry. Your influencer should have reach as well as relevance. Only then will the association be a win-win for both stakeholders.
When shortlisting influencers, it’s best to look for ones with highly engaged communities. You should not be swayed by only an influencer’s community size or the number of endorsements. Micro-influencers may have a small follower count but they can drive engagement.
Influencer marketing tools can help you discover the perfect influencers for your brand. You can use them to filter the massive database of influencers according to budget, geography, demography, and industry to find your perfect influencer.
3. Approach Influencers Strategically
Once you’ve found your ideal influencers, it’s time to get on their radar. Unleash an effective outreach program by exchanging social currency with your potential influencers.
To catch their attention, you can post appreciative comments on their posts. You can offer them free product trials and exclusive coupons. Or you could offer to write a guest post on their website. A help-first attitude can help you draw maximum mileage.
If your brand can help an influencer establish their authority or gain more followers, they will be more likely to want to partner with you. You’ll need to nurture the relationship before you can milk it.
4. Make it an Irresistible Deal
While free services and social mentions may be good ways to get your target influencers’ attention, they won’t help you close the deal. Most influencers expect monetary compensation for their services. And, it’s best to disclose this in your outreach message to spark their interest.
Influencer compensation can be something of a gray area that baffles even the smartest marketers. On the one hand, we’re lauding influencers for their genuine, selfless content, and on the other hand, we’re paying them to promote products.
Doesn’t it sound contradictory? Actually, it isn’t. 66% of American consumers say they trust influencer-recommended products as long as the influencers disclose the affiliations. So, influencers’ authenticity is not negatively impacted as long as they are transparent about the partnership.
Instagram is the preferred channel for influencers to spread their message. Most marketers also prefer Instagram for influencer marketing. To estimate influencer rates on Instagram, you can use this basic formula:
$100 x 10,000 followers + extras = total rate
Of course, this gives a very rough idea of how much compensation you should offer to influencers. The rate will vary with engagement rates and social following of an influencer.
You can also opt for a commission-based business model. You pay the influencer a percentage of the sales they generate. This way, influencers have an incentive to work harder.
5. Participate Actively in Content Creation
Your job doesn’t end with hiring the right influencers. You need to be proactive in the content creation process, as well. The content audit you performed earlier should come into play now. It will identify the content that is resonating well with your audience.
Your influencers need creative freedom to develop content that their followers dig. But that doesn’t mean that you should wash your hands of the development process altogether. Smart brands are hand in glove with their influencers. Together, they make a formidable team with a shared goal of improving customer engagement and traffic.
When it comes to creating content for social media, there is no guesswork involved. You have tools that drill down into the kind of content that works in different channels. Tools can eliminate ambiguity about posting time and frequency. They even suggest visual content that can be added to make posts stand out.
6. Leverage Instagram
As explained, Instagram is the place to be if you’re an influencer or marketer. It serves a delectable fare of video and image content that is loved by tough-to-please consumers.
So, if you’re serious about influencer marketing, you need to up your Instagram game. These effective hacks will help you and your influencers earn fame on Instagram:
Promote contests and giveaways
Contests and giveaways are a sure-shot way to engage users on Instagram. They spread like wildfire and earn concerned brands a lot of visibility.
You can get inspiration from busy mom and Instagram influencer, @momfunda, who promoted a giveaway contest for baby product brand, Aveeno. The instructions ask entrants to tag two more people and repost the picture. This helps Aveeno get more exposure and also gained new leads.
Use live streams
Live streams are a great way to humanize your brand and also have fun in the process. You can record influencers unboxing your products or live stream them using your products. To make your video interactive, you can have a Q&A round with your viewers.
Louis Vuitton had personal shopper and content creator, @nicole_ontrend, film an unboxing video of her opening their latest product. The video got nearly 80K views and massive engagement.
You can maximize your posts’ visibility by using relevant hashtags. Your influencers can add unique hashtags or use ones with a sizeable following. Hashtag tracking tools like HashtagsForLikes can help you find the right hashtags and also analyze the efficacy of each hashtag.
Footballer Cristiano Ronaldo @cristiano uses innovative hashtags that represent his brand affiliations as well as the causes he stands for.
Get more value from Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories have become immensely popular among viewers. You can use the “swipe up” feature to make your products included in the Story shoppable. Your influencer can also add shoppable stickers, which viewers can click to be redirected to the brand’s website.
Add a clickable link in the bio
Influencers can add a link in their bios to direct their followers to the brand’s website or product page. This is an efficient way to funnel the traffic from Instagram to the brand’s website.
Give an exclusive offer
Influencers can provide an exclusive discount code in their post caption or give a direct link to a gated offer. To keep track of the sales, you can generate a unique code for each influencer. It will help you calculate your ROI and compensate them accordingly.
Body Angel Activewear collaborated with influencer and fitness junkie, Laura Kasperzak @laursykora to promote their new leggings. In her Instagram post, she gave her followers a promo code for a discount.
Provide a strong call-to-action
Your posts need to have creative and compelling calls-to-action. They should create a sense of urgency and encourage viewers to perform the desired action, such as the “Swipe to view our deals” CTA in the post below.
7. Track Your Influencer Marketing ROI
Many brands start influencer marketing enthusiastically only to abandon it as they don’t see fast, tangible returns from it. Such brands have only themselves to blame.
Influencer marketing can be extremely rewarding, but only if you know how to do it well.
Before starting an influencer campaign, you should list your goals. They could be improved brand awareness, website traffic, brand advocacy, or sales.
Then you need to determine the KPIs and metrics that matter. They should be specific, time-bound, and attainable. Most brands use engagement numbers to measure the success of their influencer campaigns.
To calculate your performance and ROI, you can count the number of unique website visitors (driven by influencer-content), the volume of user-generated content, and the number of clicks to your landing pages. In addition to this, the number of likes, shares, and comments you receive on your posts are also metrics you need to keep track of.
It can be time consuming and erroneous to measure your influencer campaign’s ROI manually. You can use platforms like Tapinfluence and Grin to do the task for you.
If you’re an agency that handles multiple clients and influencers, you can track each influencer using a dedicated URL.
Influencer marketing is here to stay. When done right, it can be a great value for the money. The best thing about collaborating with influencers is that they help establish your brand in an organic way. The trust they inspire from their audiences is long-lasting and sustainable. For brands, this is the biggest win.
Do you have an influencer marketing tip we’ve missed? Share it in the comments and let us know how you made influencer marketing work for you.