“I know that half of my advertising budget is thrown out of the window. I just don’t know which half” – this saying, attributed to Henry Ford, describes a classic problem: Most advertising messages also reach people who do not belong to the target group and should therefore not be addressed at all. Influencer marketing is a form of advertising in which this problem can be kept to a minimum. Businesses co-operate with persons who have a large influence in their target group.
The triumphal march of social media in the last years provided also for an increasing relevance of influencer marketing. And companies using this already are very happy with the results: 94 percent of marketers who used influencer marketing believe the tactic to be effective.
Nevertheless, smaller companies are reluctant to use influencer marketing for their own purposes. Wrongly so: you don’t have to work with Heidi Klum or Cristiano Ronaldo right away. So-called micro-influencers with a few hundred or thousand followers are usually much better suited for smaller online shops.
What are the advantages of influencer marketing?
Depending on the influencer you work with, you can address your target group very precisely. Celebrities like actor Dwayne Johnson reach a very broad audience. Female fitness experts like Jeanette Jenkins on the other hand mainly target just health-conscious girls and young women interested in fitness.
Co-operations with micro-influencers are particularly advantageous. They don’t have as many followers as the big social media stars, but they are passionate about their subject and are often specialists in their field. They have an even higher credibility and are usually perceived as less commercial by their followers.
For large parts of their target group, influencers are above all confidants. Even if social media users nowadays are mostly aware that influencers receive money for some postings, these advertising messages appear more authentic. The credibility of the influencer then also radiates to your brand.
This is particularly practical for smaller shops: while you have to produce your own advertisements, banners and the like for other forms of advertising, influencers often take over the production of advertising postings completely themselves. This does not only mean that you have less work to do, but also that the authenticity of the postings is guaranteed.
How do I choose the right influencer?
- Probably the most important criterion when selecting an influencer is his or her target group. Find the social media personality that suits you. If you have been running your shop for a while, you certainly already have a good idea of who your customers are. Think about whom they follow and trust.
- The influencer should have a high relevance within the target group. Does he enjoy the trust of his followers? Is he even a leading trendsetter?
- The product you want to promote must fit perfectly with the influencer and his channel. Otherwise it looks like a foreign body and it stands out that it is paid advertising. Look at the influencer’s channel and imagine your product appearing in one of the postings. Does that feel natural or does the product fall out of the frame?
- Make sure the influencer is on the right social media platform for you. For example, you can reach teens on Snapchat and Instagram rather than Facebook.
- How do you personally like the content the influencer produces? Is it so high-quality that you want to present your shop and your products in this environment?
- A completely overestimated criterion is the number of followers. What use is it to you if an influencer with millions of followers advertises for you if only 10 of them are really interested in your product?
- Check the authenticity of influencer accounts. It can happen that these are fake profiles – even if they look real at first glance. A good clue is the number of likes someone receives. If he has 50,000 followers but only 5 likes for his postings, this speaks for a fake.
How do I contact an influencer?
- First find out if he wants to be contacted on a specific channel. If, for example, he mentions a mail address for such enquiries in his profile, you should choose this route. Otherwise simply write him a private message.
- Speak directly to the influencer and take the time to write an individual text. If you send the same text to 10 influencers, this will appear impersonal and can be perceived negatively by the addressee.
- Show the influencer that you know him. Everyone is happy when they are perceived and someone is interested in their activities. So let it flow into the text that you are familiar with his work.
- Influencer marketing is a give and take. Communicate to the influencer that working with you is a win-win situation. Ideally, the influencer will recognise that your products have a positive effect on him. He may even become a true fan of your products – and will use them in further postings and thus advertise them free of charge.
What types of postings are recommended?
In recent years, a variety of different forms of advertising have emerged. Here is an overview of some of them.
- Sponsoring: Especially with YouTube videos, you often see that a video or even an entire channel is sponsored by a company. For example, at the beginning of a video, the company is discussed. This feels however like classical advertisement.
- Product tests: You send your products to an influencer and he posts a test of them on his channels. This form of advertising has a very authentic effect and ensures that viewers get to know your product in detail and are shown its advantages.
- Product placement: Your product can be seen in a video or photo.
- Unboxing: The creator of the video films himself unpacking a product. This way, your potential customers see exactly what they can expect immediately after purchasing the product.
- Endorsement: You agree with the influencer that he will use your products in his postings. For example, if you sell clothes, the influencer can wear them.
- Sweepstakes: You provide the influencer with products that he can then raffle on his channel. This is also very interesting for him – after all, his followers learn that they can win something on his channel.
- Coupons: With your ePages shop, you can simply create coupons codes and leave them to influencers. These then post, for example, “With the coupon code ABC you save 10% at online shop XYZ”. A big advantage of this kind of campaigns: With the coupon code you can record exactly how many customers have responded to this campaign.
Please consider that there might be legal regulations for cooperating with influencers.