What is Influencer Marketing (And Why Does your Brand Need It)?

What is Influencer Marketing (And Why Does your Brand Need It)?

There is no denying that influencer marketing is the buzz word in the marketing world at the moment. But what is and why does your brand need it?

With some brands reportedly paying up to $500K for collaborations with megastars such as Kim Kardashian, it can seem like the reserve tool for massive brands with massive budgets. But with a whole host of smaller and highly influential individuals at your fingertips, any sized business can tap into the power of influencers.

In this article, we take a look at what influencer marketing is and why your brand needs it.

What is influencer marketing?

It is first worth defining exactly what is meant by influencer marketing. This is possibly easier said than done, with many different aspects that can be included in the definition depending on your position in the market. In its simplest form, influencer marketing can be defined as:

“Leveraging influence to the benefit of your brand”

Of course, this is quite loose and doesn’t give any boundaries to what is truly meant by the term. A more popular definition, as used by many brand marketers, may read like this:

“Paying individuals with high follower counts to post about your brand on social media”

However, if we look a little deeper into how working with influencers can benefit your brand this definition arguably does not fit the need. For example, many experts argue that you need to focus on long term relationships with influencers in order to really benefit. This is because it lets you build powerful brand advocates rather than simple transactional relationships. Many experts define the above definition as ‘Influencer Advertising’ rather than influencer marketing.

Among these experts, the below definition is generally more accepted.

“Influencer marketing is the practise of building organic and lasting relationships with influencers that are relevant to your brand, on an equal value partnership basis- delivering value to you, your influencer and your target audience through influencers’ networks.  Working with influencers on a paid, owned, earned and borrowed basis- borrowing their reach, creativity and credibility.” – Tim Mcloughlin, Hotels.com via Onalytica

Now we understand what is meant by the term, we can take a look at exactly how your brand should be adopting it. Much like all popular marketing methods there is more than one reason why using this tool for your brand is a popular and beneficial choice.

Boost your brand awareness

The most obvious and commonly pitched advantage is the increased reach a brand can gain through working with influencers. For example, working with an individual that has a large audience gives your brand a high level of exposure to that audience. 

However, reach is certainly not the be-all and end-all in influencer marketing. In fact, most experts argue that content relevancy and synergy between a brand and the influencer is more important than simply how many followers an influencer might have.

The value of a large audience of course depends on a very careful selection process. Although an influencer may have a vast audience, carefully analysing their audience may show that they are simply not interacting with the type of people you want to target, rendering their reach obsolete.

Not only do large audiences not guarantee success, but social accounts with large follower counts usually have a lower rate of engagement. This is due to the fact that account holders only have a limited amount of time to interact with followers.

Produce amazing content

Influencers generally build their audiences by creating hyper-relevant and professionally produced content in their niche area. Therefore, one major reason to work with influencers is the ability to create content that is proven to engage your target market at a high level.

Take a look through some of your favourite social accounts and you will notice one thing; the content engages you in a way that other accounts simply do not. This may be due to the beautiful nature of the images or video used, the relevancy and realness of the content to your interest or simply the tone of voice used by the writer.

Working with influencers can be a highly efficient way to generate expert content for your brand. It is generally much cheaper than working with studios, professional photographers or videographers and provides a recognisable tone that is already accepted by your target market.

Tap into influence

It is bizarre that this benefit is so often forgotten and poorly leveraged to a brand’s advantage. It is also often confused with the reach of an influencer, but is truly a very separate and highly beneficial factor.

The physical influence that an individual holds over their audience is about one of the most important reasons why brands should work with influencers. When you bring metrics, for example; sales, clicks, likes, comments and shares, into the equation, the influence factor quickly becomes apparent.

For example, an influencer with 100K followers may only hold a very small amount of influence over their followers, meaning only a tiny percentage of that audience has the potential to turn into customers for your brand. Whereas a similar influencer with 5k followers may hold much more influence and respect from their following, meaning a higher percentage are potentially turned into customers for your brand.

It is clear that influencer marketing can be hugely beneficial to brands that adopt the tool. In this article, we have defined the term influencer marketing. We have also covered exactly why your business should be adopting the tool, highlighting key factors such as increased reach, expert content and tapping into the powerful influence of individuals.

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