Influencer marketing is loved by digital marketers for its ability to connect brands with their target audience across different platforms. The goal is to leverage the influencer’s credibility, reach and influence within a specific niche or industry to promote a product, service or brand.
Creating a successful influencer marketing campaign is about forging genuine connections, telling compelling stories and embracing authenticity. To enhance your influencer marketing strategy and boost engagement, it is important to consider your brand’s unique audience, their likes and dislikes and the platforms where they are most likely to hang out.
The new guide to influencer marketing is all about adapting, engaging and innovating to stay ahead in this dynamic digital landscape.
Like everything in digital marketing, influencer marketing can change rapidly and what worked a few years ago may now be not only obsolete but maybe even against regulations. Read on to discover best influencer marketing practices to ensure your strategy is working for you, not against you.
Preconceived notions vs reality
When we think of influencers, we often envision glamorous lifestyles, perfect Instagram feeds and endless filtered photos with the occasional ad. This is the old version of influencer marketing – now, the authenticity of content is key. Savvy digital audiences crave genuine connections and want to see real people with real stories to tell.
According to the Influencer Marketing Hub’s Influencer Marketing Benchmark Report, the influencer marketing industry is set to grow to approximately $21.1B by the end of 2023. This is a huge increase from the $1.7B industry in 2016.
Interestingly, the same report also found that most brands prefer working with influencers with a small yet dedicated following compared to big names or celebrities (nano: 39% and micro: 30% vs macro-influencers: 19% and celebrities: 12%). No budget for a Kardashian? No problem – the ideal influencer for your brand might have a modest following of just a few thousand people, however, if those followers are actively engaging with content and executing the desired calls to action, that constitutes success.
B2B vs. B2C influencers
While the fundamentals of influencer marketing remain consistent, the main differences between B2B and B2C influencers are:
- Thought leadership: B2B influencers are more aligned with thought leadership than personal branding. They provide valuable insights, industry expertise, and guidance to their professional audience.
- Content sharing: LinkedIn is the platform of choice for B2B influencers to share articles, whitepapers and thought-provoking content that positions them as industry leaders.
- Networking and connections: B2B influencers focus on building professional networks and connecting with decision-makers in their respective industries.
- Personalities vs. thought leadership: B2C influencers often focus on their personalities and lifestyle. However, it’s not just about personal lives; it’s about personal branding. Audiences connect with influencers who align with their values and interests. This trust is often more personal, fostering brand loyalty.
- Product reviews and recommendations: B2C influencers excel in showcasing products in their daily lives, and their reviews and recommendations carry weight in consumers’ purchase decisions.
- Visual storytelling: Instagram and TikTok are ideal for B2C influencers to engage with their audience through compelling visual storytelling.
Influencers across different platforms
Different influencers thrive on various platforms, and if you’re not where your audience is you could be wasting your time – and budget. Here’s how influencers can assist brands across different platforms:
- Instagram influencers excel in visual storytelling. Their eye-catching photos and videos allow brands to showcase products in a visually appealing way. For B2C brands, Instagram is often a go-to platform for influencer collaborations.
- YouTube influencers provide in-depth product reviews and tutorials, making them ideal for demonstrating the functionality and benefits of products.
- TikTok: The rise of short-form video content has created a new wave of influencers whose ability to create entertaining, bite-sized content is perfect for brands looking to capture the attention of younger audiences.
- LinkedIn: In the B2B space, LinkedIn influencers are gaining prominence by sharing industry insights, thought leadership content and establishing connections. B2B brands can benefit from collaborations with influencers who can position them as thought leaders in their respective fields.
- X (previously known as Twitter) influencers are known for their witty, short messages and real-time engagement. They can help brands navigate real-time conversations, join trending topics and boost brand awareness.
Audience enters the chat
For brands and marketers, an important, and often overlooked, aspect of influencer marketing can be the comment section. This is where authentic discussions can take place, and where brands can learn about their audience in insightful ways.
In order for these discussions to take place influencers need to create an explicit call to action that asks the audience specific questions: ‘what do you think Brand X could do to make its range of power tools quieter?’, ‘What would you like to see Brand Y do next season with handbags?’, ‘How should brand Y address diversity in its range?’
Your biggest fans and brand advocates want to participate in conservations and want to know that their thoughts and concerns are being heard. Asking for input from your target audience is easy in influencer marketing and the results can be used to not only refine your digital marketing strategy but the brand’s offerings, too.
Influencer marketing rules
Influencer marketing regulations in Australia are primarily governed by the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) and the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) Code of Ethics. Regulations demand that transparency, honesty and consumer protection are at the heart of all influencer marketing campaigns.
Influencers are required to clearly disclose their commercial relationships with brands and need to make it evident when they are being paid, receiving free products or have any other form of incentive to promote a product or service.
Influencers are also expected to ensure that any information they provide about a product or service is accurate and truthful, and any promotion of health or food items meets specific health and safety regulations.
Having a written contract in place is recommended to protect brands and influencers during the course of the partnership. Contracts should outline the terms and conditions of the partnership as well as disclosure requirements and other legal obligations.
The key to successful influencer marketing is in adapting to the changing landscape. Preconceived notions of influencers often miss the mark; authenticity is the driving force.