Gone are the days where brands only used celebrity endorsements on cable TV to grab the attention of their target audience. As a continually growing industry, Influencer Marketing is an increasingly popular digital marketing strategy that most companies are turning to. But what is it, why is it so popular, and how can you succeed?
Let’s look at what an influencer is: an influencer is a personality in the digital space that is followed by the audience you are trying to attract for your business.
Influencers can be found on any social media platform, but the most sought after ones are on Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok as these are all completely visual platforms. They can be incredibly celebrities or even your local mommy bloggers.
By collaborating with social media influencers, brands seek to create unique content, increase brand awareness, target new audiences and ultimately generate revenue for their business. It’s not uncommon to see thousands of fashion, food, beauty, skincare or travel influencers raking in lakhs or millions for each social media post, but it should also be noted that for brands, the ROI on influencer marketing is pretty high.
Other than generating higher sales from a target audience, using influencer marketing can create social proof needed for consumers to trust your brand and give you an organic and direct connection with your audience as opposed to above-the-line marketing.
Depending on the number of followers, social media influencers can be categorised as mega, macro, micro, or nano influencers.
Mega-influencers are well-known celebrities, have millions of followers worldwide, are the most expensive to work with, and probably care the least about the sponsored products because it’s a highly lucrative deal for them.
Next are macro-influencers with between 100,000 to 1 million followers – they are pricey to work with and are mostly approached by large companies but have a semi-engaged follower base. These include social media stars who have specific kinds of audiences but can still appeal to the masses.
Micro-influencers have between 10,000 to 100,000 followers, have a far more engaged audience, are less expensive to work with and are a great target for small-to-medium sized businesses. Typically include people with established thought-leadership in a field or a niche audience.
Lastly, nano-influencers are every-day social media users with less than 10,000 followers are the most likely to care about the products they endorse because their network usually consists of friends, family or people they have made genuine connections with. They are the least expensive to work with, and some may even post in exchange for free products. Examples include local community leaders, mommy bloggers or food bloggers in a specific city.
Some of the main ways influencer marketing can be carried out include:
- Sponsored posts where the brand pays the influencer to endorse the product and the brand is tagged and advertised along with a #spon or #ad disclaimer
- Mentions in posts or stories in exchange for free products – highly popular for fashion bloggers
- Word pieces such as blogs or articles to recommend a product or service
- Sharing a code for followers to purchase the company’s products at a discounted rate e.g. highly popular with Daniel Wellington watches
- Giveaways which can be created in collaboration with multiple influencers or brands
- Restaurants can ask food bloggers to come to dine for free and leave a review afterwards
- A free stay at a hotel in exchange for travel influencers to post content such as videos, images and posts on their social media pages
There’s no one-size-fits-all method of making it work, it depends on a company’s product/service and the outcome of their marketing campaign.
What is the process of influencer marketing?
The first step for any brand would be to pick an influencer in the niche industry that matches their product or service. While mega or macro-influencers may be more likely to work with any company if they’re given enough money, micro or nano influencers might not do the same if the brand’s product or service does not match their brand and what they represent. Authenticity is important for influencers in these stages to maintain their audience and what they’re known for.
One of the most important things to note is that an influencer’s number of followers is not the best criteria for selection. Many influencers simply buy followers and because those accounts are usually fake and unengaged, this can be a big failure for a brand’s advertising campaign. The key metric to consider is the engagement rate – how engaged are the followers? Do they like, comment, repost and interact with the influencer? Are they likely to be influenced and make a purchase decision? The engagement rate can be calculated by dividing the engagement by the number of followers.
Once a few influencers have been chosen, the next step is to reach out to them to see if they’re interested in working with the brand. A brief needs to be prepared with a specific message, any social media handles and hashtags, and what the influencer needs to do for the call to action. It’s best to leave the creative control in the hands of the influencer as they know their audience the best and have a certain artistic style in their feed. As a result, companies are likely to see a more lifestyle-oriented and authentic post on the influencer’s page centred around their product. Note that audiences don’t like to see promotions or spammy marketing, and influencers can present products in a way that can engage their audiences best.
After the deal has been made, a contract has been signed with payment terms, the company then sends the product to the influencer and waits for them to post! The brand needs to keep engaging with the influencer and their followers once this is done to stay on top of mind and encourage people to follow or make a purchase.
Finally, once the campaign has been carried out, it’s time to measure the results. Depending on which influencer brought in the best engagements or led to the most purchases, it can help a brand choose their brand ambassador for any future promotions.
Some examples of India’s top influencers:
Fashion: One of the most prominent Indian influencers is Masoom Minawala, a fashion blogger and entrepreneur known especially in luxury wear and lifestyle landscape. Starting as a blogger on MissStyleFiesta.com ten years ago to share her love for fashion, she built out an e-commerce company, and a name for herself as a leading Indian fashionista, and boasts over 800,000 followers on Instagram. In an otherwise endless list of leading brand collaborations, her most notable ones include high-end international brands such as Jimmy Choo, Dior, Jo Malone, Swarovski, Yves Saint Laurent and the likes. She has consistently been recognised by leading national and international publications such as Vogue and Cosmopolitan and has won several entrepreneur, fashion, and blogger awards for her work. She places great emphasis on promoting Indian brands, and is known to charge several lakhs from Indian designers for her posts, but providing a good return as well.
Travel: One of our other favourite Indian influencers include Savi & Vid of Bruised Passports. With over 500,000 followers on Instagram and a fabulously popular travel blog, they’ve become India’s favourite travel couple with stunning travel content, affordable and out-of-the-ordinary travel tips for their followers, have won several awards for photography along with being featured in various leading publications. Their followers are highly engaged, making this couple another perfect option for influencer marketing with travel, clothing, photography and lifestyle brands.
Food: With over 10 million followers on YouTube and nearly 2 billion views, Nisha Madhulika is one of India’s most famous food bloggers known for making easy, home-style vegetarian recipes. Featured on TV and news platforms, she has built a name for herself as one of YouTube’s top cooking content creators. Her primary audience includes women at home, aspiring chefs, young adults, making her an ideal partner for cooking, cutlery, appliances, lifestyle brands to work with.
Content Creators: Known for their comedic style and a highly relatable lifestyle, social media stars such as Kanan Gill, Kusha Kapila, Dolly Singh, Pranav Sapra are all highly popular amongst Indian audiences, with an average of 200,000 followers each, and are prime influencers for lifestyle brands to partner with.