How to Adapt with Evolving Influencer Marketing Strategy? By James Tredwell on October 30, 2019 Every new technological advancement changes the world in some way or another. Perhaps nothing changed the world as rapidly and as drastically as the internet. It made the distance meaningless when it comes to communication. With the rise of social media, it became easy for anyone to share whatever they wished to with the whole in an instant. It changed the world and communication as we knew it. Emojis became mainstream and acceptable for public discourse. It has also reduced the distances between the brand and its audience. It has forced the brands and businesses to connect with their customers at a very personal level. Social media also created a new type of celebrity. Someone who could connect with a large number of people and influence them with their content. The scale could be from a few thousand to millions. They make the content that millions find relatable and worth sharing with friends and family. The term influencer is used to describe them. Need for Influencer Marketing In a time where the audience is viewing advertisements with distrust influencers are a way to reach out to the large audiences with trust. Hence there is a growth and interest in influencer marketing, i.e., using influencer as a medium to reach and connect with your audience. Here are a few different aspects of the influencer marketing that you need to keep in mind. Different types of influencers based on the number of people that follow them- The most simplistic division of influencers would be by the number of people that follow them. It is also the easiest one and a more quantifiable one. There are a few influencers that are followed by millions and are wildly popular. Then some influencers only have a few thousands of followers but command strong loyalty. Different social media platforms classify influencers differently. But here is the general categorization. Nano Tier influencer – influencers with 1 Thousand followers to 10 Thousand followers. Micro Tier influencer – influencers with 10 Thousand followers to 50 Thousand followers. Mid-Tier influencer – influencers with 50 Thousand followers to 500 Thousand followers. Macro Tier influencer – influencers with 500 Thousand followers to 1 Million followers. Mega Tier influencer – influencers with 1 Million followers to 5 Million followers. Celebrity Tier influencer – influencers with 5 Million followers to 10 Million followers. Numbers aren’t everything. One of the biggest misconceptions is regarding the number of followers. The number is a metric, albeit an important one when it comes to judging and deciding different influencers. But the numbers don’t tell you the whole story. There is a perception that influencers with a more significant number of followers will have a bigger reach. It would be right to some extent but not always because of two reasons. Everything on the internet isn’t true – The Internet is not a real place but a virtual one. Not everything on the internet is accurate. The same is apt about influencers. There is a possibility of influencers using bots or buying fake followers or likes to inflate their numbers. That isn’t to say all influencers inflate their numbers, but there are a few who do. So you have to be aware of this and keep that in mind. Bigger isn’t always better- Sometimes even if the numbers are genuine, they don’t tell you the whole story. There are different aspects that you need to know and consider. Sometimes as an influencer grows, they lose touch with their followers. Or there are cases where the followers are genuine, but they are passive and are not well connected with the influencer. Influencers can have dormant subscriber base for many reasons. Maybe the content is no longer appealing to the followers, and they have moved on elsewhere. Or the influencer has changed the content and its tone. Or subscribers have grown and no longer feel attracted to the old material, and this generally happens with the teenage audience. Many times the audience change their taste and move on while still being subscribed to the previous influencers. Hence even if the influencers have the same number of followers, their reach might be different. Niches There is another thing that you would need to keep in your mind while categorizing influencers, and that is a niche. Like how not all influencers are the same, not all niches are the same. There are niches where the communities are more tightly bound. Here even if the number is small, the loyalty and connection are stronger than many prominent niches with not so tight bound communities. So before considering any influencer, it is better to do primary research about them, their niches and type of followers that follow them. Advantages of Influencer marketing Here are a few stats that you need to know. 74% of people turn to social networks for guidance on purchase decisions. (Ogilvy Cannes, 2014) 40% of people say they’ve purchased an item online after seeing it used by an influencer on Instagram, Twitter, or YouTube (Twitter and Annalect, 2016) 49% of people say they rely on recommendations from influencers when making a purchase (Twitter and Annalect, 2016) 73% of Millennials see it as their responsibility to guide friends, peers, and family toward smart purchase decisions. (Fleishman-Hillard PR & Hearst Magazine) With the time it has become evident that the people online hate advertisements, especially Millennials. They will try every possible way to block as many online ads as possible. We are increasingly entering the age where people are not trusting the advertisements. All this is making direct advertising to the customer a lot harder. People are moving away from ads. They are reaching out to the relatives, friends, and the influencers they trust for recommendations of the brands and products. Not only that, people are more willing to try a brand that was recommended by the people they like, and influencers they trust. So in these times when direct advertising seems to be in decline, influencer marketing gives you a way to reach your audience. How to adapt to influencer based marketing Do not blindly rush to big influencers. Generally, bigger influencers dominate the attention of the brands and businesses. Most brands look forward to teaming up with a prominent influencer as much as their budgets would allow them. This is understandable as there is a higher possibility of their content getting viral online. But while focussing on the more prominent players, they tend to forget other players. Rather than focusing on the more prominent influencers, it would make more sense to look into the small but emerging influencers. That helps in many ways. For example: Rather than just going for one mega influencer, you can go with multiple micro-influencers. This way, you have a lot of different audiences who are engaged deeply with their content creator, and smaller creators don’t charge much. They can also be reimbursed by giving them products or giving them some services. Have long term contracts. Rather than having a one-off campaign with influencers, try to have long term contracts. That gives them the incentive to promote your brand. It also helps in reaching them out in future, especially when they grow and become significant as an influencer. Don’t forget the influencers around you. While focussing on different influencers don’t forget the ones that are at home. What that means is that most businesses have employees that themselves are Nano influencers. Ask your employees to use their social media to promote your brand. Get goals and give incentives for them to promote your brand and business online. You’ll be amazed at how much of a difference it can make. Focus on the content. It is essential to focus on how your target audience receives your brands. People are very sharp when they see a brand being promoted insincerely or; lousily. It is better if you give some material that can be used and integrated into the content. Having a few success stories and the positive experiences of your earlier customers give the new ones the confidence to try it. It makes them open up to your brand a lot more quickly. What you need to be cautious? 1. Values of the influencer and his audience The influencer you select becomes your brand’s ambassador. It also means your brand supports the influencer and gets associated with their content. All this runs into the risk of associating your brand being with their values. So any controversial or outrageous content produced by them might attract negative press for your business. Hence it is crucial to know the influencer you choose and understand the nature of his content and his personality. 2. The content question- It is not just about the influencer. You also need to see if your brand/product is appropriate or goes with the content. Many times the content the influencer creates doesn’t match the tone or the message of the brand. That might mean that the brand message will not reach the target audience as you intended it. Or even worse it might give wrong or even a negative response. Hence there is a need to monitor the content. To Conclude: Influencer Marketing is an emerging marketing that should not be ignored. It is still a new type of marketing, and it has a long way to go. It is better if you get on it early before your competitors or when the market becomes crowded. There are many things you need to be careful about. You should check if the influencer follows the laws and guidelines set by the government. You should monitor their content and see the response of the audience. You should use tools to measure the effects and the ROI on your brand. Author Bio: Gaffar Ali Gaffar Ali is a creative content writer primly working on customized branding services at Wolftain. Currently into blogs, his passion lies in story writing. He is curious about different markets, philosophies, people and the world. But most importantly, he is a certified lover of everything “anime”.