The why and how of influencer marketing
Expert Silvia Lange joins us for an interview to explore the rewarding discipline of influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing thrives on social bubbles
On social networking sites, like-minded people come together in relatively private, virtual spaces to discuss shared interests. Nobody has an overview of the entire World Wide Web; we only ever see snippets of it, which is hardly surprising given the endless amount of content that is produced and uploaded online. Influencer marketing is essentially about tapping into the social bubbles that naturally form as a result. For that purpose, companies join forces with creators from these communities to ensure that their marketing measures reach their target groups as precisely as possible. The idea behind this is that influencers come across as extremely approachable and relatable on social media and are usually in close contact with their followers, which in turn reinforces the trust that users place in these opinion leaders.
That’s of course reason enough for companies to incorporate influencers to a greater degree in their marketing strategy – and the past few years have shown that they’re no longer holding back in terms of the budget they’re allocating to this: in 2022, the market reached a record high at an estimated 16.4 billion U.S. dollars worldwide.
For companies to make the most of influencer marketing, they need to understand the basics behind the discipline. What mistakes do they need to avoid when implementing influencer marketing for the first time? And what KPIs can be used to measure the success of influencer marketing? We posed these questions to Silvia Lange, founder and CEO of the influencer tech platform “hi!share.that”.
The pool of creators is now so vast that there are suitable influencers for every product, each of them having already built a community and established a strong connection with their target group. That makes the target group more likely to make a purchase. The word-of-mouth principle plays an important role here because people trust sponsored posts by influencers more than other advertising channels. By reporting on their experiences and giving recommendations, they create a foundation of trust among their community. The community itself can also contribute to increasing a brand’s visibility by sharing personal experiences with products and giving mutual recommendations.”
How can that be expressed in figures? Can you actually measure the performance of influencer marketing?
Silvia Lange: “In the early days when influencer marketing was still a completely new discipline, influencers were paid a flat-rate fee for uploading posts. There was no accurate way of measuring their reach in order to pay them a commensurate fee. That’s now changed and a lot of progress has been made, especially in terms of measurability. A KPI known as the CPM (cost per mille) has consequently proven to be a useful basis for setting fees.”
A quick definition of CPM
Using this performance measure, influencers are paid based on the number of impressions. They then receive a certain amount for every thousand views.
“Aside from reach, progress has also been made with regard to other measurable factors, including performance metrics such as clicks, orders, registrations, subscriptions, etc. These KPIs make it possible to analyze the performance and success of an influencer campaign in detail.”
You mentioned that influencers generate an especially powerful advertising impact due to the trust they have built with their followers. Can you put a figure on that as well?
Silvia Lange: “Measuring intangible values such as authenticity is more difficult. Some influencers may be objectively more authentic than others, but that doesn’t mean that the community will respond positively to them or that this authenticity can be quantified as performance metrics. That’s why performance KPIs are the most accurate method of measuring the success of a campaign because they reflect the target group’s actual interest in the form of clicks and orders.”
What should companies be careful of when looking for suitable influencers to communicate their messages? What rookie mistakes do they need to avoid?
Silvia Lange: “Collaborating with famous influencers with a big following just to benefit from their name is rarely the right approach. Instead, companies should thoroughly research which influencers have already cultivated a good relationship with a brand or product and harnessed that. It’s also not really relevant whether an influencer immediately seems to be a good fit for your product or not – what’s much more important is that their community is interested in and already aware of the product.
Ideally, an influencer’s statistics should also be considered as part of the selection process. Taking a closer look at their figures will allow you to better assess how wide their reach is and whether their target group matches yours.”
How much can companies experiment when choosing influencers?
Silvia Lange: “It takes courage to try out influencers who may not directly fit your brand image. Sometimes it’s precisely this kind of collaboration that can deliver surprisingly positive results and win over new target groups. It’s important to be open-minded and consider various options in order to unlock the full potential of the influencer marketing strategy.”
Influencer marketing leverages social relationships
Influencer marketing allows companies to benefit from the authority of people who have already built a community that trusts their opinion. It’s the close relationship between influencers and their followers that makes this marketing discipline so effective. Companies should therefore be extremely selective when choosing suitable candidates for their influencer marketing strategy. There will then be nothing stopping them on their path to successful influencer marketing!