Gone are the days when Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, and other social media platforms were just a place for friends to connect—they’re now also home to billions of dollars worth of marketing campaigns.
Influencer marketing, according to Influencer Marketing Hub, “involves a brand collaborating with an online influencer to market one of its products or services.” It’s a rapidly growing industry—while influencer marketing had a market size of $1.7 billion in 2016, it’s expected to rise to as high as $13.8 billion in 2021. 86% of women rely on social media for purchasing advice and almost half of consumers depend on influencer recommendations.
The numbers speak for themselves. When influencer marketing is leveraged correctly, it’s a powerful tool that can help your brand tap into audiences it couldn’t otherwise reach. Influencers have already predefined and built a relationship with a niche audience that trusts them. Working with influencers helps you reach these audiences and has proven effective to boost engagement rates, traffic, and ultimately conversions.
Influencer marketing can be a gold mine for brands seeking to increase engagement and conversion with new audiences. One study suggests that the average influencer marketing campaign generates $6.50 for every $1 spent on the campaign, with 13% of campaigns generating more than $19 per dollar spent.
Like most marketing, however, influencer marketing is only effective when it’s done right — and that starts with making data-backed decisions in every step of the process.
Before deciding which influencers will best represent your brand, you first need to know as much as you can about your current customer base. Learn your customers’ gender, age, and location so you can find influencers with a similar demographic in their follower base. By finding influencers with a high percentage of followers that meet your target demographic, you can maximize the efficacy of your campaigns.
It’s also important to be selective in terms of interests. If you own a beauty brand, for example, you should only collaborate with influencers who are active and engaged within the beauty niche.
At Pattern, we focus on working with micro-influencers—influencers with a follower base between 15,000 and 100,000. Micro-influencers have proved to be the most effective in driving engagement. Below 15,000 followers, the reach of posts is limited; above 100,000 followers, influencers tend to have a weaker connection with their audience, and followers are less likely to purchase recommended products.
Influencers with low engagement rates may be a viable option if you’re simply aiming for visibility or brand awareness, but when conversions are your main goal, it’s your best bet to work with influencers with an engagement rate of 4% or higher.
It can be intimidating to find influencers with a high engagement rate whose content aligns with your brand, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Pattern brands have access to a database of more than 4 million influencers that can be filtered by location, interest, and follower demographics. Even though it’s more time-consuming, you can also find influencers manually by searching through relevant hashtags.
Collaborating with influencers with a high engagement rate maximizes your odds of running a successful influencer marketing campaign. However, there are many factors involved in such campaigns, and high engagement rates aren’t a guarantee that your campaign will do well.
If the content an influencer creates to promote your product isn’t in tune with your brand, the campaign may fall flat. Brands can avoid this disconnect by requiring brand approval for any paid influencer content. Be careful with this strategy, though—if brands tweak an influencer’s content too much, it may become inconsistent with the influencer’s style, and the audience can lose trust and become hesitant to purchase the recommended product.
It’s a delicate balance to ensure that influencer content is both consistent with your brand’s story and the influencer’s personal style. At Pattern, we see the best results come when brands require content approval but otherwise give the influencer free reign to create content in line with their own style and profile.
As an incentive to drive conversions, it’s a good idea to give influencers a coupon code or link for their followers to use. This serves as both an incentive for purchasing the product and as a useful tool to track how many purchases come as a result of an influencer’s posts.
While choosing your influencers correctly, getting content approval, and driving conversions are the foundation for any influencer campaign, those aren't the only areas that affect success.
When working with influencers, be mindful of the fact that many influencers have fake followers that will never boost engagement or conversion rates. Robot accounts can inflate an influencer’s follower account, making them appear more popular or influential than they actually are. Influencers may buy these followers or attract them with messages promising a gift in exchange for a follow.
Pattern tools help us identify what percentage of an influencer’s followers are genuine. We avoid working with influencers who have a following that is less than 95% genuine.
Once you initiate a relationship with the right influencer, put in the extra effort to continue building that relationship. Give your influencers positive feedback if they do a good job with their content. Make the process of working with your brand as simple as possible. Consider sending them gifts.
When brands put in the effort to build a relationship with their brand advocates, they may find that influencers will start to love the product so much that they will begin posting about it without requiring payment.
Even if you don’t see this outcome, it’s still a good idea to build relationships with influencers so they’re willing to work with you for new product and collection releases in the future. Working with the same influencers over time helps the entire process go quickly and smoothly since both parties know what to expect and the brand knows the quality of the deliverables.
The best way to know if your influencer marketing campaign is working—or what changes you need to make—is to track the performance data. Pay close attention to how many page visits the influencer generates and how many units they sold. This will give your brand a benchmark so you know what kind of results to expect from future campaigns. It will also make it easier to determine whether your investment in influencer marketing is paying off.
It can seem overwhelming to begin an influencer marketing campaign. It may be difficult to know where to start, how to find influencers that are a good fit for your brand, or how to ensure that content is in line with both your brand and the influencer’s style.
Our data-driven tools and world-class marketing teams can help you take the guesswork out of the process. Working with us gives you access to a database of more than 4 million influencers that we can easily filter based on location, interests, and follower demographics. Our tools can also filter through fake followers and track performance data. The best part? When you partner with us, all of this is available at no extra cost to you.
Ready to see where your brand can go? Start the conversation today.
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