Money, they say, makes the world go round, but influencer marketing chooses its direction.
This became crystal clear when Kylie Jenner's 18 word tweet wiped $1.3 billion off the value of Snapchat in 2018. The celebrity super model and entrepreneur had merely questioned whether she is the only one that stopped opening the app.
Series of events over the years have shown the mass amount of commercial clout influencers wielder, to make or break a brand. In 2019, Cardi B sold out all 82 styles of her collection within minutes of hitting Fashion Nova's website. Nigeria's very own Tacha sold out over 1500 glasses for the luxury eyewear brand, House of Lunettes, within two hours of announcing her as the brand ambassador.
All the handwriting on the wall suggests that consumer behaviour are dictates of their favourite dignitaries, celebrities, and content creators. What monkeys see, monkeys do!
Consequently, a new race has begun and every business hunts for their own ‘Kylie Jenner’, but the terrain of influencer marketing is one deadly jungle for dubious creatures, landmines, and treasures. The upsides are great, but it is unsafe to walk this path on gut feelings and trial-error approach.
This article serves to be the ‘Kama-Sutra’ of Influencer Marketing, a light to your path, to walk you through the isle of securing the ‘highest trust’ for your brand.
I will help understand what exactly influencer marketing entails, uncover which celebrity is best for your brand, detail the exact cost of onboarding, and project the potential ROI (return on investment) with a fraud proof process to track the progress of your influencer marketing campaigns.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is the new word-of-mouth with faster reach and greater credibility. It's people with earned permission sharing what they love with their communities.
Influencer marketing is a type of social media marketing that uses endorsements and product mentions from persons with popularity, fame, and huge social media following. It is an attempt to reach a large audience through its touch bearer.
As sweet as this sounds, it’s one big lucid daydreaming to assume influencers will do the mentions and endorsements out of good will. Usually, in return, the brand pays the influencers with cash, free products, or other rewards.
Although, culture hackers like Logocify ran a fifty million naira (#50,000,000) Influencer Marketing Campaign with a zero-marketing budget in the 2019/2020 fiscal year. How is that ever possible?
Before we dive into the tips and tricks, let’s explore a borderline question of what contributes to the fame of Influencer Marketing. Why is influencer marketing so popular?
What use is Campaign after Election?
The truth is: consumers already elected their favourite, and there are no more free lunches. People have preferred those they yearn to see on their feed.
In 2013, standing out on Instagram was easy. Today, if your posts make the Explore page, you need to thank your stars. Gone are the days of organic reach.
Reaching people without intrusive adverts has practically become impossible. There is only one way out, get famous!
Elon Jobs, the best selling author of the book Catalyst, provided the perfect caption that illustrates this point: “This is the first rule of the influencer economy: You have to become famous to become fortunate. You must be popular to populate profits.”
Hence, brands that intend to dominate had to collaborate with those calling the shots. So it’s either you “Get Known or Get Lost”.
Ads are Less Effective
Since the surge in the use of ad blocker, advertising has become more expensive. Cost per click has gone off the roof and the competitor is not slowing down.
Needlessly to cite stats, scroll through your WhatsApp to count the numerous This & That Collections that hunt you with broadcast messages, and the tons of skincare brands that beg you to switch to them.
It's no longer the battle of products nor advertising, but of personality. Consumers have way too many options but a simple choice: “I want the kind of soap that will make my face look like hers.” Hence, brands are turning to influencer advertising.
Who do you want to become?
At the core of our humanity, we have a deep rooted need to be socially accepted. This need makes influencer marketing super effective.
Influencers are magnifiers of social proof. Just as you’d trust your friend’s opinion over a stranger, followers trust influencer's opinions on what is trendy, social or worthy of purchase.
Influencers have culminated as brand assets just as logos, taglines, trademarks, designs, sounds, jingles, etc.
How Influencer Marketing Campaign Works
There are many influencer marketing methods, but these seven (7) are some of the most common. Most brands combine multiple of these tactics when they work with an influencer.
1. Mentions/ Shout-outs
This is the most common form of Influencer Marketing. It's usually a one-off strategy. It often draws lots of attention to the brand.
Cubana Chief priest mentioned @adaowerrikitchen in the caption of a video while eating her moin-moin, the video had over 400k views in one week and she had gained over 6000 followers as at the time of writing.
Mentions are often effective because they are perceived as an organic recommendation.
2. Contests and giveaways
As the saying goes, wherever the carcass is, the vulture will gather. We all love to get freebies. Oftentimes, influencers are paid to offer products his or her audience is highly interested in as giveaways.
Contests draw lots of attention and reach thousands of people. They also have chances to turn lucky winners to customers especially when rewards are sponsoring brand products.
Also, contests in the form of video challenges are effective for populating brand hashtags and presence. Octa-Fx dualife challenge hashtag generated over ten million views on Tiktok alone.
3. Brand Ambassadorship
If you find an influencer a good fit for your brand, you might consider signing them as a brand ambassador.
A brand ambassador is not just someone who works with your brand for a short period of time. They are the face of your brand. They help build a solid brand identity and reach consumers on a consistent basis.
Brand ambassadorship is a long term strategy and it's important you get your choice right because they go a long way in determining your brand's value in the long run. Nike and Michael Jordan's partnership is the perfect model for this.
4. Running Sponsored Ad From their Page
Integrating paid ads with influencer campaigns can go a long way to getting the most return on investment (ROI).
By leveraging a multichannel marketing approach, more people can be reached, even more often, with your brand message, and as such, increasing the chances of conversions.
5. Discounts/Affiliate Links
Everyone loves discounts, and influencer-specific discounts are often powerful. These discounts are usually tracked using special affiliate or referral links.
Even when you’re not offering a reduction, they’ll still use referral links to trace and analyze the campaign. Discounts are nearly always combined with sponsored content.
6. Events Sponsorship
Sponsoring events is another way to go about influencer marketing. In 2017, Kylie Cosmetic sponsored a ‘Helen show’ by giving out around one million dollar ($1m) to women empowerment and feminist organizations . Such collaborations help you make bold statements with massive impressions.
7. Meet and Greets
Some brands organize new store openings, mega products launches with big budgets, do jingles, even brand commercials with light skinned models, anticipating mammoth crowds, only to be disappointed with the turn out.
These brands fail to recognise the fact that ‘nothing moves a man or else the things that moves him’. People will not skip their busy schedule for no tickling reason.
Tell them Erica will be attending your store launch and watch the stampede. I saw this play out at Deshapeables special sales events in February this year. Where a fan ( ' an elite' as her fanbase identify themselves) travelled all the way from Osun state just to meet and greet with Erica at the Deshapeables sales event in Lagos.
8. Publishing Influencer Content on Your Pages/Channels
Most times, influencer marketing campaigns only have influencers showcasing products on their channels, but this technique flips the switch.
By contrast, contents posted by the influencer can also be published on your platforms too, it often drives tons of social media traffic your way. Infact, when you have them on your platform, you build more trust for your brand when clients, especially new ones see their favourite celebrity endorse your products on your page.
Also, your cost per click reduces when you promote your contents with influencers, so brands are increasingly adopting this model.
9. News Coverage
When you sign new ambassadors and influencers, it's important you get it covered by hot news platforms, it increases the media value of your campaigns. Free media comes by default, when you collaborate with A-list celebrities.
Ensure you get your brand partnerships featured on Punch newspaper, Channels tv, Tunde Endut, Gist Lover and if you have the money CNN.
10. Chase Clout
One of the most effective methods of going about influencer marketing is orchestrated controversies. You need to actively chase clout.
When you sign influencers like Bobrisky, you can barely run out of dramas. People love gists, such clouts will make free news. More people get to know about your brand. Don’t be surprised if you later get to discover the issue with Jenny’sGlow was staged, because the same brand went ahead to sign her as brand ambassador for their hair brand months later.
Bukunmi Adesina and Avia Luxuries collaboration is a good example of subtle yet weird clouts. Spark up rumors, the press is starve of gossip, feed them.
What Makes an Influencer Marketing Campaign Successful?
Go For the Highest Trust
If you can afford it, Davido is your best bet, and Regina Daniels is your Kylie Jenner. They make the news almost every minute, and atop the lists of most searched individuals on the internet in Nigeria.
When Bitsika announced partnership with Davido as the face of the brand, the CEO of the fintech company tweeted that “David crashed the 10 servers they sprang up for him, and they had to add more servers to share the load”.
That's what it looks like when you secure the highest trust with over 40 million followers across all social media. You make bold statements, sell out in seconds, and make endless free media coverage.
Consistency is Key
Don’t flip-flop. Your Influencers must match your story.
Consumers can see through the bull-shits. Influencers that are not true testimonies of your products are not good for your brand in the long-run. If your slimming tea works as claimed, go ahead and sign Influencers like Eniola Badmus, make her lose ‘100 pounds in 24hrs’ as promised.
Don’t sign the lousy influencers that are inconsistent and jump around from one skincare brand to another.
Spot the Fandom
This is very important. My company enjoyed this during our Influencer Marketing Campaign with Simplytacha, the Titans came through. Our followers grew over 1000% in under 45 mins, our DM was flooded with orders, revenue blew up. Instagram had to block our page for sending too many messages and exceeding the limits.
When collaborating with influencers with a strong fan base, it is best to direct the audience to make purchases on your e-commerce website, preferably built with Cloud based e-commerce platforms like Kitcart.net so it can power unlimited transactions.
Relevance to Your Niche
Influencers that have audiences built up around a similar interest to what you sell makes great for an awesome collaboration, their audience are already qualified or at the very least curious about your products.
Catch them Young
Signing influencers before their break out period is one of the greatest things that can happen to a brand. It fosters long term partnership. It allows you to tell a lifetime story to the world.
Nike signed Micheal Jordan at 21 years old while he was still a rookie. He went on to become a legend, till date his collections with Nike remain their best selling.
Good sighting ability is key here, and the fastest finger wins.
Micro influencing is fast becoming mainstream. It's not just a cheaper route to go, the ROI is also impressive.
Although they have a moderate amount of followers, their effect is mind-blowing.
They've got the curves, banging body, and glowing skin that appeals to almost every audience. They are low budget Kim Kardashian. I often refer to them as freelance influencers, they run the influencer economy.
The Jean Shop Ghana grew from 100k followers in January to over 198k as of this writing, with three (3) curvy jeans models showing off dangerous curves in Jeans daily and we are not getting tired of keeping up any time soon.
Go ahead and recruit micro influencers en masse. Micro influencer marketing is a great strategy for early stage traction.
Remember Storytelling is King
You are not Kylie Jenner, and your brand is not Apple. But you have a story about why you started, the gap you desire to fill, the culture you long to create, and the offers you feel the market cannot resist.
Those are the substance of your story, start telling it in all the ways you can to all the people that care to listen.
No one can tell your story like you. Whether you are introverted or shy doesn’t matter: success is your duty.
In Elon Jobs' words, it is better you tell your brand's story and fail, than allow others to write your postmortem. The choice is yours!
How do You keep track of Your progress?
Set a campaign objective
What you don’t keep track, you lose track. It's important you do things that count, but you also count the things you’ve done. A clearly defined influencer campaign goals and objectives makes it super easy to account for the profitability of your influencer marketing effort.
They say when the value of a thing is not known, the abuse is inevitable. You need to set clear expectations from your Marketing Campaigns with predetermined KPIs (key performance indicators).
Whether it's followers or subscribers growth, revenue growth, launch of your new collection, download of your resources, sign ups or whatever your expectations are, track it.
The following are, therefore, a list of major things to track and how to go about it.
1. Earned Media Value (MV)
Tools like Sprout social, Hootsuite, lets you grab useful analytics and track what people are saying about your campaigns. You can also use other functions, also softwares like trackr helps you measure follower growth, profile visits, impressions and hashtags volume.
2. Ad Cost
An unpopular yet cogent metric to track the success of your celebrity collaborations is what your cost per click looks like when promoting the contents across ad networks.
You know a campaign has sheer success when you have a significant drop in cost per click.
3. Generated Revenue
This is the hallmark of a successful campaign, it determines the sustainability of the campaign. You need to track the exact revenue growth projected as well as what the return on investment (R.O.I) becomes all along the campaign period.
This will help you judge if it was a fruitful partnership, what more you can optimize to get the most out of it as well whether the partnership is worth a renewal at all.
4. Use Affiliate Marketing Software
Affiliate marketing systems like Goaffpro or Rewardful are useful tools in tracking success of your influencer marketing campaigns. If you are on Kitcart.net premium, you can track all your campaign efforts right from your dashboard.
Beware of Influencer Fraud
We’ve seen the case of popular Nigerian crossdresser, Bobrisky and Jenny's Glow fighting tooth and nail over breach of terms of agreement after payment of over 4 million Naira. The skincare brand alleged that the influencer went ahead to promote a fellow competitor against their terms of agreement.
A recent case of Nina Ivy breach of contract with the body enhancement product brand, Mav Herbals is worthy of mentioning. The brand accused Nina of conducting butt surgery barely weeks from announcing Nina as brand ambassador.
That's why you need a reputable Influencer Marketing agency Like Viral Effects to help you through the process.
Properly file your legals. It’s not all about the old-fashioned blue cover paper with spiral bind, you need to ensure the details of the contract lack all ambiguity that may cause troubles down the line.
Likewise, avoid Influencers that jump ship to ship every six months, they are bad for your brand, they are bottom line negative in the long and short run.
Do not be deceived by influencers with fake followers, fake views, auto-generated likes, and comments on the streets of Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. Signing them is a path to zero conversion. Audit their page before throwing money at them.
People trust people more than they trust brands. As such Influencer marketing is the most effective leverage today's brands rely on to create goodwill towards the brand.
Seth Godin once said there is no more powerful tribal marketing connection than this: “People like us do things like this” .
If you’re new to the world of influencer marketing, or trying to get along it's time to start collaborating with influencers to dominate your space.