In this article we will touch on the following topics:
- What is influencer marketing?
- Why influencers have become so important in the context of social media marketing
- The different types of influencer partnerships
- How to perform data-driven influencer marketing (Instagram + TikTok)
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is when brands or marketing agencies establish a partnership with someone with sway and followers on different platforms. Influencers have captivated the attention of their audience allowing them to establish trust and authority and ultimately making them a powerful tool as far as influencing consumer actions and decisions. Influencer marketing is prevalent in the vast majority of media outlets that we consume content on, including:
YouTube (think of video product reviews and unboxing videos)
Facebook (consider posts that talk about someone’s weight loss journey using a certain product or service)
Instagram (think of lifestyle or fashion posts)
TikTok (think of product placements in videos such as an ‘Adidas’ sweatshirt)
Primetime television (consider products and prizes shown during reality tv shows)
Why influencers have become so important in the context of social media marketing
Social media has ushered in the age of user-generated content which means that featuring ‘classic ads’ where polished models and sets try to entice us to buy one commodity or another, are outdated, to say the least. Today peer reviews and opinions are much more powerful than organized corporate marketing. Consumers want to see raw, authentic, and unfiltered posts and videos that resonate with their fears, dreams, and desires.
Here are some interesting statistics to consider:
The Influencer Orchestration Network performed research in which 49% of consumers admitted to relying on influencer recommendations for new product purchases.
Social Media Week, conducted a survey in which 74% of respondents admitted to using social media platforms in order to make purchase decisions.
Fullscreen (via Wayback Machine), found that 42% of consumers conceded to having made a purchase of an item after seeing it in an influencer video or post.
These statistics speak for themselves in showing with what high regard and reverence modern consumers hold these social media sensations.
The different types of influencer partnerships
There are five different ways in which you can go about implementing your influencer marketing strategy:
#1 Publishing influencer content: In this case, a brand will actually host an influencer on their media outlet of choice. For example, a shoe company may invite a fashion blogger to do a series of posts on their Instagram account. This helps companies attract and expose new, relevant audiences to their products.
#2 Finding a brand ambassador: Working with a brand ambassador means working with one well-known influencer over the long term. He or she will need to agree to incorporate your brand messaging and products into their post for a set period of time, say 6 months or a year. The advantages here are clear for both parties – influencers get a stable contract and income, whereas brands can attract a steady stream of high-value, high-intent customers instead of the short-lived results experienced during one-off campaigns.
#3 Leveraging affiliate marketing: Recruiting affiliate influencer partners may be the most efficient way for you to carry out result-driven affiliate marketing. This is due to the fact that influencers are only paid once fans convert to consumers through their designated affiliate link. This means brands will not spend money on campaigns unless they produce concrete sales and proceeds. On the affiliate’s end, who are confident in their capabilities, they are ensuring that they profit from a percentage of an entire campaign and not just a percentage of a portion of sales.
#4 Setting up contests: Another way to structure an influencer partnership is by running a raffle, contest, or sweepstakes. This type of partnership may offer the influencer a free sample of the product being sold as well as a free sample to the first 5 followers to upload a creative post with the item. This not only creates brand awareness but also a butterfly marketing effect as real users are posting their organic interactions with branded items, thereby providing exposure to larger audiences.
#5 Sponsored content: This is the closest thing to a classic magazine ad or website banner. These posts almost always have:
- The words ‘sponsored’ or ‘communicated’ printed somewhere
- Include a blatant influencer interaction with the product being promoted (drinking from a water bottle, running with a smartwatch etc)
- Have a clear Call To Action (CTA) usually taking the consumer to a product page natively or externally
This can sometimes be viewed as lacking authenticity, but depending on the target audience can be highly effective in terms of raising brand awareness and conversions.
How to perform data-driven influencer marketing (Instagram + TikTok)
Of late, a new modus operandi is taking shape – data-driven influencer marketing. Many advertising agencies and brands have identified the potential of performing influencer marketing with the added layer of assurance that data insights provide.
The challenge: Many companies that are keen on crawling social platforms for relevant data may find that Instagram and TikTok are the hardest to target networks. Earlier last year, Instagram introduced new anti-bot techniques that blocked almost all Instagram scraping methods as well as adding changes to its API that restricted the amount of information it provides to third parties. As far as TikTok is concerned, it is notorious for being one of the hardest platforms to crawl.
It is for this reason that more and more companies are opting to use real consumer IPs through global proxy networks that enable them to bypass these roadblocks.
Here are 2 ways companies are combining data collection and influencer marketing:
Discovering new influencers
More often than not, the real challenge of influencer marketing has been identifying new and upcoming influencers to collaborate with on a regular basis. There may only be a handful of ‘mega influencers’ in a given niche, but there are hundreds of thousands of ‘micro-influencers’. The key difference being the quantity of followers a given influencer has. That being said, micro-influencers tend to be cheaper to work with while also maintaining a more intimate relationship with their constituency. This makes them a highly desired commodity, and as such, many companies crawl social media platforms in order to collect data on potential influencers, such as:
- Number of followers
- Average number of likes per post
- Traffic levels, views, post engagement
- Account subject matter (shoes, men’s fashion, plants)
So that they can choose partners strategically positioned to achieve their brand’s goals.
Following current trends
Another very popular way to utilize data collection in the context of influencer marketing is by identifying and keeping track of current trends. Let’s say you own a fashion house or clothing manufacturing company. You may want to collect current user trends as far as sunglasses fashion, hats, scarves, and other accessories are concerned. This will not only help you decide which items to invest in with valuable designer and production time and resources, but it will also help you figure out where to focus your marketing dollars. If for example, you find that this winter ear muffs are a rising trend, then you can crawl Instagram, for example, and try to find an influencer who focuses on winter fashion and/or fashion accessories.
Summing it up
As influencer marketing continues to grow as a profitable and effective means of marketing to audiences captivated by user-generated content, data collection technology is enabling companies to:
- Identify new opportunities to take advantage of
- Pinpoint key industry players to collaborate with
- Keep a close eye on consumer trends and preferences
However, not all businesses want to engage in data collection processes or even set up third-party technologies. Some businesses choose to acquire premade Instagram datasets depending on their influencer data requirements in order to get rapid results without having to bother with data collection. In general, there are several solutions for various company demands, all of which exist to boost influencer marketing operations.