If you have ever bought a product or used a service because you saw a friend or someone you admired use it, you know how influencer marketing works.
From shampoo to software, influencers have the power to shape how others think about a product or service.
If you don’t know about influencer marketing, you need to keep reading. It’s going to shape how consumers purchase in 2022.
Influencer marketing employs leading, niche content creators to improve brand awareness, increase traffic, and drive messages to brands’ target audiences. It’s this collaboration between brands and creators that allows businesses to expand their reach across their buyer personas.
Examples of these channels include social media, blogs, columns, digital and print ads, and television. Influencer marketing is increasingly more popular among businesses these days because traditional advertising has become less effective in attracting leads and customers.
Influencer marketing works because it uses tactics like word-of-mouth marketing and social proof, which are now critical aspects of any successful marketing strategy.
Customers trust their peers, friends, and people they admire more than the companies selling the products and services they buy and use.
Before we dive into the different types of influencers, let’s review the difference between a brand influencer and a brand ambassador, as they’re often confused terms.
A brand influencer refers to someone who has a following within a specific niche that they engage with regularly. Because of this, they have the power to impact their purchase decisions. They probably started using the product/service, liked it, and partnered with a brand for kickbacks.
The major types of brand influencers are:
We’ll define each type later on.
For example, social media influencer @carlosdharrisjr recently partnered with ECCO Shoes to promote its product. Harris tags the brand in his posts to increase the brand’s awareness and encourage them to learn more about them.
A brand ambassador, on the other hand, is hired by a business to work under contract to help them achieve specific goals: increase brand awareness and boost conversions and sales.
A brand ambassador’s contract is typically long-term, anywhere from several months to years. During that time, they represent the brand and the lifestyle associated with it and have deep knowledge about the business’s products or services. They don’t necessarily need to be an influencer before becoming an ambassador.
For example, Quest Nutrition’s brand ambassador program requires all interested individuals to apply to their program. Quest looks for individuals who embody their brand, are positive spokespeople for their products, create social media posts to promote their products, and live the Quest lifestyle. Anyone who fits their criteria can apply and has the potential of being accepted. Applicants aren’t required to have a highly successful YouTube account, thousands of followers on Instagram, or a popular blog to become a brand ambassador.
Before we dive into the various types of brand influencers, let’s take a look at some important statistics that prove working with an influencer is effective in helping you reach your marketing goals.
Influencer marketing is an investment — to get it right, you have to devote time to ensure you find the right influencer to promote content that appeals to your target audience.
You also have to spend money and/or resources to reward the influencer, run various campaigns with the influencer, and more depending on your specific marketing goals.
Here are some statistics to help you understand the lay of the land.
In 2021, roughly 58% of marketers said influencer marketing was the most effective marketing trend, ahead of SEO, experiential marketing, and short-form video content. (HubSpot Blog Research)
80% of marketers say influencer marketing is effective, and 89% say it works just as well (if not better) than other marketing channels.
In 2022, 86% of marketers plan to continue investing the same amount or increase their investment in influencer marketing. (HubSpot Blog Research)
Instagram is the most popular platform for influencer marketing. However, Facebook is considered the most effective social platform for influencer campaigns. (HubSpot Blog Research)
71% of marketers say the quality of customers and traffic from influencer marketing is better than other sources.
In 2022, 71% of marketers plan to increase their investment in influencer marketing on Clubhouse. (HubSpot Blog Research)
Snapchat and Twitch are among the lowest-performing channels for influencer marketing. As a result, they’re the top two platforms marketers plan on divesting from in 2022. (HubSpot Blog Research)
The biggest challenge marketers face with influencer marketing is measuring the ROI of the campaign. Cost is the second biggest hurdle marketers face.
Of all age groups, Gen Zers trust influencers the most.
Micro-influencers have a relatively modest following of thousands or tens of thousands of people. They create relevant content for their audience and communicate with them via social media platforms, blogs, other written publications, websites, and forums.
Due to the size of their following and the type of content they create, they typically have high engagement rates. Having a smaller audience allows micro-influencers to bond with the people who follow them more regularly (as compared to a celebrity with millions of fans) via their channel.
This makes them appealing to work with for businesses looking to develop personal relationships among their target audience.
Micro-influencers can be established on a variety of channels. So, once you’ve chosen the micro-influencer to partner with, you can have them write a post about your service, share an online review, or post a picture on Instagram with one of your products. Due to the manageable size of their base of followers, they’ll be able to engage with your target audience through the content they share about your products and brand.
This way, they can answer any questions the audience members may have about your products, communicate their experience with your products, and direct audience members to your website or customer support team if necessary.
Celebrity influencers are famous people with large followings — typically in the millions — who are known across many industries. They’re widely recognized and, therefore, have the potential to be very successful in influencing your target audience.
Even if your target audience doesn’t overlap with all of your celebrity influencer’s fans, having them promote and/ or use your product or service is a powerful form of social proof. Since celebrities are so well known, they’re effective at reaching multiple audiences across various channels.
Since celebrities are so well-known, there are many ways to work with them. You may focus on social media, print or online ads, TV commercials, blogs, or other written publications.
You can ask the celebrity to:
A blog influencer is someone who writes for their established blog and has thousands, or millions, of subscribers and readers. Their reach and influence set them apart from other bloggers (meaning, they aren’t just writing for themselves or a very small group of people).
To collaborate with a blog influencer, you may write a guest post for their blog, ask to be mentioned in one of their posts, or sponsor a post about one of your products or services. If you sponsor a post on the influencer’s blog, you can also provide images of your products for them to share as well.
Social media influencers are well-recognized on social platforms, such as Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter, and are followed by thousands or even millions of people.
Social media influencers share content about a wide range of topics such as health, workouts, cars, diet, outdoor activities, travel, fashion, art, beauty, and interior design.
Once you find a social media influencer with an established image that works for your brand, posts content you feel complements your products or services, and has followers who are also members of your target audience, you can determine what type of content you’re going to have them promote.
If the influencer is on Instagram, you may have them post a picture with your product and tag your social account. If they’re on Facebook, you can ask them to share a live video of them opening your product and if they’re on Twitter, you can have them write a brief statement about your product and pair it with a picture of them holding it.
On YouTube, you may have the influencer share a video of them using your product while explaining the reasons why they love it.
On any social media platform, you can also have an influencer host a contest or giveaway with your products or share coupon codes.
Key opinion leaders (KOLs) are high-level experts on a specialized topic within a particular field. For example, a KOL might specialize in makeup application, the Paleo lifestyle, or Bikram yoga.
If your business is looking to attract audience members in a very specialized field, a KOL is a great option — due to their expert knowledge on a certain topic, KOLs are trusted contributors in their industries and have followings of people who are also invested in those subjects.
KOLS, like micro and celebrity influencers, are present on many channels, such as social media, blogs, other written publications (like academic journals), and ads. Therefore, your business has many options for how you decide to work with a key opinion leader (KOL).
You might have them review one of your products on YouTube, mention you in their column, write a blog post about your brand, share a post about your product on Instagram, or pose with your product for a print or digital advertisement.
Influencer marketing has become increasingly popular for brands to invest in. With the rise of word-of-mouth marketing and social proof, it’s a great way to connect with audience members, enhance brand awareness, and boost conversions. By identifying the type of influencer best suited for your business and developing an influencer marketing strategy, you’ll improve your reach among potential customers.
Begin developing your business’s plans for incorporating influencers in your marketing tactics today so they can help you build new and lasting relationships with your target audience.