Everything you need to know about influencer marketing

We already know that it’s a big part of social media culture, especially within the Gen-Z realm. And we already know it can play a big part in a brand’s reputation, authoritativeness and sales when done right. But let’s talk more about the phenomenon and level up on our knowledge of this ever-evolving marketing strategy.

What is Influencer Marketing?

 

It’s a type of social media marketing that uses product mentions and endorsements from influencer individuals. These people have a ‘good’ following on multiple social platforms and are often viewed as experts within their industry or niche. 

The reason why it works (and has not stopped growing since Instagram’s sepia-soaked inception over a decade ago) is that these influencers have built such a strong amount of trust with their following. In short, they act as social proof between your brand and your customer.

The History of Influencer Marketing

 

As of 2019, a huge 93% of marketers practise influencer marketing, and as of 2021, the global influencer marketing value reached a whopping 13.8 billion dollars. That’s a lot of money. But how did it get to this point?

It’s kind of a phase thing, really. While back in the day there were fictional characters like Santa Claus advertising Coca Cola, and years later characters like the Milky Bar Kid were created, it was really the celebrity phase that took influencer marketing to a whole new level.

Phase Celebrity: Activated

 

Compared to fictional characters, celebrity endorsements became much more relatable and interesting to people, as they already had a mass following. Essentially, people wanted to ‘be like’ them. Because of their platform and ability to have real preferences, rather than made-up characters with biased opinions, they had the capacity to convince consumers to buy the products they were getting paid to promote.

Just think about Pepsi (minus the 2017 Kendall Jenner mishap). They’ve had a plethora of mega-famous faces endorse them over the years, and it’s really helped boost their brand. From Michael Jackson to David Beckham, they’ve used these celebs to advocate for their products in exchange for their already established publicity. 

Phase Reality ‘Stars’: Activated

 

Then you get to the next phase – reality TV influencing. Whether we like to admit it or not, most of us are inquisitive (even if we don’t agree with it) about the lives of these people. Because although these days their existences are a lot more lavish than our own, they were still once perceived as more authentic and relatable than traditional celebs. Hence why reality ‘stars’ (whether you’re a fan or not, Molly-Mae Hague has literally built her empire on this model – after launching her clothing collection with Pretty Little Thing post Love Island, it sold out almost immediately) have become key examples of just how effective influencer marketing can be.

Phase Today: Activated

 

And now with ‘regular’ people – just like you and me – accumulating a huge following by simply posting engaging, relatable content, it has opened up a whole new realm of influencer marketing. A healthier one, if you will. I guarantee you can think of at least three IG accounts you love to see pop up on your grid on the daily. 

There’s acne and body positivity, and those who are generally promoting a more down-to-earth lifestyle. It’s also pretty helpful from a mental health perspective when you see these accounts calling out tone-deaf statements from people with heaps of cash and an unrealistic life view. Alongside turning the word ‘influencer’ into an actual job title. 

 

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So, how does it work in 2022, and will it be useful for your brand?

Who Uses It?

 

First things first, any business can try out influencer marketing, but there are three main industries that tend to benefit the most:

  • Beauty and Personal Care

In August 2021, a survey concluded that 53% of internet users in leading online markets thought that influencers were most effective in endorsing beauty and personal care products. 

Brands can utilise the following of a number of candidates within this industry, including makeup artists, magazines, and skin-positive influencers who all have a decent amount of followers on social media. 

Plus, the principal goal of the beauty industry (and these brands) is to start trends while simultaneously promoting products. This is why influencer marketing has become a catalyst for getting these social campaigns to thrive. 

Tip: With this industry naturally veering towards a more visual promotional approach, platforms like Instagram and TikTok are natural platforms to utilise.

  • Fashion and Accessories

The same survey as above concluded that fashion and accessories were the second-highest-ranking industry, with 45% of respondents saying influencers were effective in this field. 

The same pretty much goes for this industry as it does with beauty and personal care, too. Visuals are everything. 

  • Travel 

It probably won’t come as a surprise, but millennials are very receptive to travel and lifestyle influencing. When we see other like-minded people sharing their experiences in an environment away from typical brand messaging it can have an even more intense effect. 

You’ll likely see many travel influencers on your grid promoting brand products and destinations on different scales. From independent travel agents and massive travel companies to creative brands who are looking outside the box for a unique bit of publicity – all have had success utilising the influencer marketing strategy. 

For example, this Marie Claire journalist teamed up with visitantiguabarbuda.com, the official tourism site for the islands. In exchange for a week in the sun (and an article about indulging in the ‘business on the beach’ trend that was circulating post-2020 lockdown), they successfully produced the dream collaboration. Marie Claire UK has an average monthly reach of over 1.9 million adults in Great Britain as of 2019, so you can imagine the impact it made. 

How Much Should You Expect to Pay For Different Types of Influencers?

 

In 2021, a global survey of marketing agencies and brands was conducted. It revealed that 38% of respondents said they invested 10 to 20% of their marketing budget into influencer marketing and 11% invested over 40% into the digital marketing technique. 

Depending on the budget of your business and the type of influencer you want, prices can vary dramatically. For some context, here are the five main types of influencers and how much you can expect to pay (very roughly!) for their services.

Nano Influencers

The following of a nano influencer can range between 1,000 and 20,000. While these accounts do not have a celebrity-scale audience base, they tend to be very successful due to their trustworthiness. Their authenticity level is generally extremely high, too, which makes them a viable influencer option.

How much should you pay?

(On average) up to around £150 per post.

Micro Influencers 

 

Micro influencers are one level up from nano influencers and typically have between 20,000 to 100,000 followers. Even though they come second to last on the numbers scale, they are a highly sought-after set of influencers due to their ability to achieve desired results.

The reason for this is their dedicated audience who are genuinely interested in their industry or niche and content.

 

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How much should you pay?

(On average) Between £150 to £400 per post.

Mid-tier Influencers

 

Mid-tier influencers sit at the 50,000 to 500,000 followers table. (These followers are on a single platform, not dispersed between multiple social media apps.)

 

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They have engaged audiences and are still deemed authentic even though they have considerably more followers than the previous two. Sort of like the sweet spot for brands who want to work with influencers – you can get the partnering benefits of an account with a larger audience while it still being relatively cost-effective.

How much should you pay?

(On average) Between £400 and £4,000 per post.

Macro Influencers

 

We’re talking big numbers, now. Macro influencers have 500,000 to 1 million followers and they’re widely known for their expertise in their niche. Compared to mega influencers (which we’ll touch on in a sec), these guys have a better engagement with their followers. They’re also super beneficial for brands that want to increase their brand exposure on social media. 

 

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How much should you pay?

(On average) £8,000+ per post

Mega Influencers

 

You guessed it, 1 million+. Mega influencers typically live in the celebrity realm and when a collaboration is well-thought through and above all, authentic, they can introduce your brand to a massive audience base.

 

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A post shared by Molly-Mae Hague (@mollymae)

How much should you pay?

(On average) £10,000+ per post.

Mega influencer celebs like Kylie Jenner can make over USD$986,000 per post, which seems to be the going rate if you have over 200 million followers. But you can often lose the accessibility here, as these celebs are worlds apart (and much less relatable) than other influencer types.

*Micro and nano influencers are rapidly taking over mega influencers due to a shift in consumer attitude. Audiences are now looking for authentic content, not just promotional content. If you have a very specific audience base, these influencer types are often very handy to work with.

Who does it well?

 

Many well-known brands have been using influencer marketing for years. For your own research purposes, here are a couple of examples of brands and influencers who have capitalised on this type of digital marketing:

Mrs Hinch

 

We’ve all heard of Mrs Hinch, the British influencer who makes cleaning look cool. She’s a social media role model, as she’s stayed true to herself and her followers since her emergence as an influencer. She never endorses a product that she has not tested herself, and she’ll never share something that she doesn’t genuinely love. She’ll also never give a product a positive review because she’s been paid to do so.

Brands that have benefited from her influencer status include Zoflora, The Pink Stuff, and Elbow Grease spray. When brands partner with Mrs Hinch, they know they’re collaborating with an influencer who is valued and known for their credibility – plus, which other method of marketing would give you direct access to millions of cleaning lovers on just one platform?!

 

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A post shared by Sophie Hinchliffe (@mrshinchhome)

Gymshark

 

Gymshark started off as a small screen printing brand run by Ben Francis, and has now exploaded into a global activewear brand known globally. There’s an extremely high chance you’ve seen at least one influencer posting about gymshark on Instagram, and this is because their approach to influencer marketing utilises both big and small content creators to promote their brand, instilling the element of trust through the smaller influencersd and nailing down the luxury gymwear messaging with the bigger influencers. Gym shark run regular influencer events attended by “gymfluencers” accross the globe.

 

The Negative Side of Influencer Marketing

 

While there does seem to be an abundance of pros when it comes to influencer marketing (mainly helping to broaden your brand’s reach, helping you reach a relevant audience, and helping you to build trust and credibility), there can be some downsides if you don’t utilise the technique appropriately. 

Key take: Do your research.

Pairing With the Wrong Influencer Can Have Negative Results

 

Plucking an influencer out of thin air is literally unheard of. It takes a long time for brands to find the right person to promote their campaigns. If you don’t collab with the right names, your brand reputation can spiral.

It’s also very important you make sure the influencer hasn’t done anything controversial before working with them or hasn’t made any previous errors when promoting a product or service. Naturally, this devalues your brand. 

Remember Scott Disick’s fail with Bootea when he literally copied and pasted the caption instructions for the IG post from the PR firm he was working with? On a massive scale, it showed just how transparent some celeb endorsements can be, and as well as being a monumental disaster for the influencer (whether people were already influenced by Disick or not, the mistake definitely lowered his authority as an ‘influencer’), it was also a kick in the teeth for the brand, too. Talk about quality control. 

While celebrity influencers may be off the cards at the minute for your brand, it’s so important you find the right account to work with, otherwise, your audience will see right through you. 

Top questions to ask: Do they have a sketchy track record? Do they endorse products that don’t suit their aesthetic? Do they promote products that it’s obvious they know nothing about/are not interested in? If yes to one or more than one, avoid!

Watch Out For Fake Followers

 

Chances are, you’ll have heard about the fake followers issue that was pretty prominent a while back. Certain social media accounts were purchasing said fake followers in order to quickly leverage themselves to influencer status rather than organically growing a following. The problem was, while this quick fix did provide these accounts with a huge amount of followers, the owners had absolutely zero influence or autonomy over them. 

And brands made the mistake of partnering with such accounts, which achieved zero results. When looking for an influencer to collaborate with, make sure that their followers are genuine. You can usually tell by the follower to engagement ratio, accounts that have had a massive spike in recent followers, and accounts with generic or irrelevant comments littering their posts.

Capitalise on Influencer Marketing 

 

Whether you’re an up-and-coming brand, or you’ve already established your audience, in this day and age, you need influencers to help your brand break through the noise.

Ensure your influencer selection is appropriate, relevant and authentic, and you’ve chosen the most beneficial platforms to your brand for executing the campaign. And don’t forget – influencer marketing is not a short-term strategy. Brands need to constantly come up with interesting campaigns and ideas in order to get noticed. 

So, keep your brand values, objectives and goals in mind when choosing your collaborations.

 

 

Sophie Crosby
Head of Content @ Minty Digital.
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