Influencer marketing has gone from a fringe buzzword to a $16.4 billion industry in the space of a few short years.
7 out of 10 teens trust influencers more than celebrities. 8 out of 10 consumers have bought something after seeing an influencer recommendation. And 9 out of 10 brands find influencer marketing effective.
Mic, meet floor 🎤👇
With an annual industry growth rate of 18.8%, it's clear that influencer marketing still has serious potential for growth. That’s why brands of all sizes are asking themselves if now is the time to join the influencer revolution… odds are you’re the same.
If you’re reading this guide that we lovingly crafted with a decade of industry experience as Australia’s leading marketplace for influencers (and plenty of coffee), it means one of two things is happening.
a). You haven’t collaborated with influencers yet but you want to learn how to do it right
b). You have collaborated with influencers but feel your results could be better
In either case, this guide will give you everything you need to know. There’s no better time to get started but you need to get on the bandwagon now or risk missing out (said with love!). So put the phone on ‘Do Not Disturb’, cancel that afternoon meeting you didn’t want to go to anyway and get ready for a crash course in influencer marketing.
Ready to win customers and influence people?
Let’s dive right in.
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
- What is influencer marketing?
- The history of influencer marketing in 30 seconds
- Here’s why influencer marketing is effective
- How influencer marketing can generate $$$
- This is the BEST platform for influencer marketing…
- How to spot the best influencers (The 3 R’s)
- Influencer types explained
- Is influencer marketing a worthwhile investment?
- How to build an influencer marketing strategy in 9 steps
- How much influencer marketing costs (7 metrics)
- Influencer marketing ROI formula (Steal this!!!)
- The fastest, easiest way to run influencer campaigns [GUARANTEED]
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is a collaboration between a brand and an online influencer to market a product or service, improve brand recognition, or drive conversions.
Influencers can be anyone from a well-known celebrity to an ordinary social media user. What makes them influential isn’t just the size of their following but their ability to sway an audience.
As well-known and trusted social media figures, influencers have built dedicated and engaged social followings. More than a popularity contest, influencers are seen as experts in their field. By recommending, endorsing or partnering with a brand, an influencer improves brand recognition and influences purchasing behaviour among their audience.
That’s influencer marketing in a nutshell.
When did influencer marketing start?
Using well-known public figures to promote products is nothing new.
Influencer marketing can be traced waaay back to Roman gladiators who “endorsed” products thanks to their popularity in the Colosseum. Yep, influencers are literally ancient history.
Fast forward a few thousand years and modern influencer marketing has its roots at the start of the 20th century. Whether it was Coca-Cola introducing the modern image of a red Santa Clause that exists today or the ‘Marlboro Man’ portrayed by different actors to promote cigarettes, influencers have existed long before the internet.
The logic was, if people loved the person promoting a product, they’d love the product too.
As social media platforms grew - we’re talking about Facebook (2004), YouTube (2005), Instagram (2010) and TikTok (2016) - everyday people had a chance to share their lives online. From a well-known celebrity who fans wanted to be like to a mummy blogger sharing recommendations for other parents, social media created a platform for people to build audiences and influence them.
And modern ‘influencers’ as we know them were born.
Wait, so influencer marketing isn’t just celebrities spruiking products?
While the early days of influencers might have been about celebrity endorsements, brands quickly realised that a celebrity’s ability to reach an audience didn’t necessarily translate into audience growth, clicks or sales.
Just because Kim Kardashian endorses a product doesn’t mean her millions of followers will buy it, ya know what we mean?
Sure, celebrities can generate significant exposure. But a successful influencer marketing strategy will often include nano-influencers (1,000 - 10,000 followers), micro-influencers (10,000 - 50,000 followers), and mid-tier influencers (50,000 - 500,000 followers). This mix of audience sizes can reach a diverse audience and carry your brand’s message in a more authentic way than Kim Kardashian snapping a picture with your latest product.
Compared to celebrities, athletes and reality stars, most influencers are just like you and me. They don’t live in mansions or charter private jets on the weekend. Instead, they post authentic and relatable content about their lives.
And that’s exactly what makes them effective.
Consistent authenticity earns influencers a high level of trust and authority. And the best influencers can leverage that trust and authority to recommend products or endorse brands without coming across as fake or forced.
An influencer’s authentic interest in a brand drives conversions. Influencers are inspirational and aspirational figures that their fans want to emulate. That’s why 80% of consumers admit to making a purchase based on an influencer’s recommendation.
Why is influencer marketing effective?
As consumers become aware of traditional advertising strategies, the easier it is for them to see through it. Case in point, an estimated 40% of internet users use ad-blocking technology.
If you’re pouring money into a Facebook or Google Ads campaign, there’s no guarantee your audience will ever see them. Worse still, with a widespread distrust of advertising, you can annoy people who do manage to see your ads.
With millions of consumers rejecting ads, partnering with an influencer allows brands to promote their products and services to a willing audience. Instead of pushing an ad on people who don’t want to see it, influencers introduce branded messaging to followers open to recommendations.
If an influencer trusts a product or service, the odds of their audience trusting those same products and services goes up.
But does influencer marketing actually generate sales?
In many cases, the answer is a resounding YES. 62% of marketers report increased sales when working on an influencer campaign. As an example, here’s why influencer marketing is so effective…
You’re a popular fitness brand with a small Instagram following. Instead of running paid Facebook Ads (that annoy people who are on social media to unwind), you partner with a fitness influencer with 13,000 followers. In return for a small fee and free samples of your latest activewear line, the influencer posts about your awesome new products. Instead of rolling their eyes, the influencer’s audience loves what they see. They look to this influencer for workout tips and gym recommendations, which makes the partnership relevant, credible and authentic.
In this example, the influencer leverages the trust and loyalty they’ve developed with their audience. While a traditional Google Ad or Facebook Ad for a sportswear brand can easily be skipped or scrolled past, an influencer endorsing that same sportswear brand is seen as authentic which helps bring new customers to your store.
What platform is best for influencer marketing?
That’s like asking parents to pick their favourite child! They’re all great (but they could all be better too).
Influencers can engage with their followers across practically any social media platform - though certain platforms have more power than others. Odds are you’ve got Instagram in mind as 4 out of 5 brands use Instagram influencers. But that doesn’t mean you should neglect the other social media platforms.
Here’s a quick overview of the most popular channels for influencer marketing
P.S. Here’s how you find the BEST TikTok influencers in 5 repeatable steps
How to spot an influencer: Look for the 3 R’s
Where does a social media user end and an influencer start? 🤔
That’s not a rhetorical question by the way. As a brand you want to collaborate with social media thought leaders who can generate exposure, create buzz around your products and drive sales. Unfortunately, in an era where it’s easy to buy fake followers, you can’t just look at audience size to measure an influencer’s ability to deliver on your campaign goals.
To assess the ‘influence’ of an influencer, take into account the 3 R’s:
#1 - Relevance
Relevance is the overlap between your brand, an influencer’s content, and the interests of their audience. The right influencer should always share content that’s relevant to your brand. For example, if you’re a skincare company, you want to work with influencers in your niche. No amount of followers would help in this example if the influencer you’ve partnered with only posts about camping, hunting or fishing.
#2 - Reach
Reach is the number of people you could reach through an influencer’s follower base. Bigger audiences can generate greater reach, but bigger isn’t better by default. A small but highly engaged audience can be more effective than a large but uninterested audience. For example, a micro-influencer with 10k followers can have an audience that’s more interested in what they post than an influencer with 100k followers who have varied interests.
#3 - Resonance
Resonance is the potential level of engagement an influencer can create through a branded partnership. Again, a massive audience may not drive results if the product endorsement doesn’t resonate with followers. In contrast, niche influencers can share branded messages that do resonate because their audience is interested in a specific subject matter.
The sweet spot between relevance, reach and resonance is where the magic happens ✨
Influencer types explained
We’re sure you’ve heard the terms ‘micro’ and ‘macro’, but what does it all mean? And what’s right for your brand? This list will help demystify those industry terms.
Is influencer marketing a worthwhile investment?
Ooooh great question. 🔥
As a marketing manager or business owner you don’t want to pour money into anything without results. Although social media influencers are no longer new, everyday consumers still look to their favourite accounts for inspiration.
There’s no doubt that influencers do influencer purchasing behaviour. Don’t believe us? Check out the following statistics to get a feel for the lay of the land:
- 71% of marketers say the quality of influencer-driven traffic is better than other sourcers
- 70% of teens trust influencer recommendations more than celebrity endorsements
- 74% of consumers use social media to discover new brands and products
- 60% of Millennials prefer YouTube influencers to traditional media personalities
- 80% of consumers have bought something after an influencer recommendation
- Influencer marketing ROI is 11x better than banner ads
But let’s be honest, you’re not here to hear how powerful influencer marketing can be (odds are you already know). You want to know how to get your own collaboration started. So go ahead and steal our 9-step process (seriously, we want you to take it!) and start enjoying the benefits of your own influencer collab ASAP.
Wondering how many influencers to hire? We have the answer here 👈
How to build an influencer marketing strategy in 9 steps
Like any marketing strategy, a successful influencer collaboration requires planning. You can’t just select the most popular social media figures, send them freebies and expect the cash register to start ringing hot. Influencer marketing takes deliberate targeting and planning.
To help you avoid wasting time, money and energy, here’s how you can build your own campaign in 9 proven, repeatable steps.
Step 01: Define your target audience
Who is your target audience?
Clearly answering this question is an often overlooked step from brands who rush to choose an influencer and forget that their audience doesn’t exist everywhere. Maybe you’re a skincare company targeting women. Or a restaurant targeting families. Or a SaaS company targeting professionals. Before you scroll through a single IG feed or TikTok video, you’ll need to clearly identify *who* your audience is.
When answering this question, consider your ideal consumer’s age, location, demographics, and interests to make sure the influencers you choose can help you tap into the right audience.
Step 02: Set your campaign goals
Next up, it’s time to define your campaign goals.
Like any other marketing strategy, where you invest your spend will be largely dependent on your KPIs. Your influencer campaign should have different goals based on your long-term objectives and contrary to popular belief, these won’t simply revolve around revenue. Some of your goals could include:
- Driving website traffic
- Increasing brand awareness
- Generating sales
Once you’ve picked your goals, identify the metrics you’ll use to measure them. These could include:
- Follower growth
- Brand mentions
- User-generated content (UGC)
Make sure your goals are specific and measurable. For example, a goal like “we want to increase sales” is too vague to measure. Instead, a specific growth target like “we want to increase sales by 20% in Q3” can be measured and tracked. Once you’ve narrowed down the goal (or goals) of your campaign, you can start planning which social media platforms to focus on.
Step 03: Choose a social media platform
It’s time to identify the specific platforms you want to focus on.
You can always expand and choose more down the line, but it’s best to start small and scale up. Ideally, your brand should already have a presence on the platform you choose (or be planning to expand on it) so if you’ve got an IG following or built a YouTube audience, that’s a good clue on where to focus your energy.
Influencers exist on every major platform so odds are you’ll be spending the most time researching Instagram, YouTube and TikTok. But don’t overlook platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest too.
Step 04: Choose a type of influencer
Partnering with the wrong influencer is like driving with a flat tyre - you won’t get far and you’re in for a bumpy ride.
When picking the right influencer, you should ask yourself if you’re looking to partner with celebrities with huge follower counts. Or, would you prefer to partner with micro-influencers with smaller followings but highly engaged audiences?
Your focus will typically come back to the goals of your influencer marketing campaign. Smaller influencers tend to be focused on niche topics and drive purchasing behaviour more than celebrity influencers who may not drive sales but can drive brand awareness in a way that smaller influencers cannot.
TRF TIP: When trying to decide on which type of influencer to engage with, it’s important to think about your main goal for the campaign.
Are you looking to raise brand awareness, and are you looking to reach audiences globally? Or is it to increase sales and in a particular niche? Who you look to work with is of course also dictated by your budget. It’s important to make the right decisions for your brand, one that authentically reflects the kind of message you are wanting to share with your new and existing customers.
Step 05: Create an influencer shortlist
Once you’ve nailed your strategy, it’s time to narrow down your options for the perfect creative partner. Social media is the most common way to find influencers, but it’s also time-consuming. You can search by topic to find popular content creators in your niche whether that’s looking for hashtags via Instagram’s search bar or tapping the search icon in the top right corner of your TikTok homescreen. But this will be a serious drain on your precious time.
As you compare options, track ALL your findings. A database of influencers will help you avoid the mess of reaching out to anyone and everyone. There’s no need to slide into everyone’s DMs when you can track who’s right for your brand and who isn’t.
For every influencer you research, look to add the following information to your database:
- Audience Size
- Social Channels
- Strong Points
- Weak Points
- Contact Info
- Notes (e.g tone of voice, experience, # of sponsored partnerships)
You’ll also want to make sure an influencer is legit. Take the time to scroll through their feed and check out a few posts. A poor engagement ratio to follower count or spam comments may be a sign they have fake followers.
Prefer to save time?
Use an online influencer marketplaces like theright.fit to save time and connect with Australia’s leading influencers at the click of a button. You can browse, compare and book influencers without spending hours comparing your options. With analytics to track an influencer’s engagement there’s no risk and plenty of reward.
Browse thousands of influencers on theright.fit
Step 06: Reach out to influencers
Finding the perfect influencer is one thing. Convincing them to partner with your brand is another.
Remember, you don’t need to spend your weekends sliding into DM’s or firing off emails (plus there’s no guarantee these strategies will work). When contacting an influencer, be clear on the
value YOU bring to the collaboration. This may be financial compensation in return for sponsored content. Or, you can offer free products in return for shout-outs and endorsements.
Unfortunately, it would take an entire guide to share everything you need to know about influencer outreach.
Fortunately, we’ve already created that guide. 😉
Check out our ‘Influencer Outreach Guide’ for all the strategies you need to connect with Australia’s leading influencers. It includes:
- Tips to nail your next influencer outreach campaign ✅
- How to connect with influencers on Facebook, and Instagram 🔥
- Influencer outreach mistakes that will cripple your success rate ❌
BONUS: Claim 3 x FREE Influencer Outreach templates (send this to your favourite influencers to spike your reply and success rate).
Looking to give away freebies to partner with the world’s best influencers? Explore #gifted to start your contra gifting campaign today.
Step 07: Don’t be afraid to give up control
Ok this isn’t *technically* a strategy, but it is a crucial aspect of successful influencer campaigns.
If you’ve run a traditional marketing strategy, then odds are you’ve been in control of everything. From how it looks to how it’s distributed and even the font choice on your marketing materials, chances are you’re used to calling the shots - but that needs to change.
Each influencer you collaborate with may have a different approach to content creation and messaging. You should get comfortable in handing over control. After all, influencers have built loyal audiences on the back of their creativity, so recognise that each influencer will know what resonates with their audience.
Does that mean you’ll let an influencer say and do whatever they want? No. You should still maintain oversight of an influencer campaign to ensure a brief is being followed. But steer clear of micromanaging influencers and give them space to be creative.
Step 08: Build long term relationships
Long term relationships are beneficial to brands and influencers.
For your brand, it means collaborating with someone who understands you and your message. Less time spent briefing and managing influencers means more time focusing on your business. For influencers, a long term relationship is a sign of trust and helps an influencer’s audience come to know and love your brand - after all, they see it often in their favourite influencer’s feed.
Instead of a one-off sponsored post, try to think of how you can work with an influencer in the long-term. Get creative with account takeovers, brand ambassadorships or product collaborations. When you align your brand with influencers over time, you’re able to tap into their influencing power and squeeze the most valuable possible from the partnership.
Step 09: Track your results
The final step of your strategy is to track your results.
Go back and compare your results to the goals you identified for your campaign. Have you seen an increase in website traffic? Did you see your audience grow? Did you increase product sales?
Answering these types of questions will help you determine if your campaign was a success. There are many ways to track your results from specific coupon codes to UTM tags attached to your influencer’s URLs to track results via Google Analytics. As powerful as these methods are, they’re also time-consuming and frustratingly complex.
Track the results of your partnership with theright.fit to receive insights into your campaign, the influencers you partner with and their social metrics. When you collaborate with influencers using theright.fit, you can paint a complete picture of your campaign and see what impact it is having on your business.
LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW THERIGHT.FIT WORKS
How much does influencer marketing cost?
Oh boy, that’s the million-dollar question.
Thankfully, influencer marketing is much more affordable than that 😉
Unfortunately, there is no magic formula for pricing influencers. An influencer can work their magic on multiple social media channels, so a “fair” price on one platform won’t be appropriate on another. Check out the graphic below for a look at the average rates paid for influencers on theright.fit Keep in mind, working with an influencer across a campaign can be a much more affordable strategy than one-off posting.
Check out our premium price guides to help you save money on your next campaign:
- What Should I Pay for Models, Actors & Influencers?
- How Much Should I Pay an Influencer? 2022 Price Guide
- Influencer Rates by Follower Size
Since influencers can be anyone from Kim Kardashian to a mummy blogger writing about her favourite time-saving recipes, prices vary. Influencers are able to set their own value based on a range of factors that influence your overall influencer marketing costs.
Here’s a few of the factors you’ll need to take into account…
#1 - Social media platform
The cost of hiring an influencer will depend on the platform they use and the number of channels you plan to use. Put simply, there is a market rate for each social platform. The more platforms you use, the higher your costs. Instagram is seen as the most influential platform. An influencer with 100,000 followers on Instagram will typically command a higher fee than an influencer with the same number of followers on Facebook or Twitter.
#2 - Follower count
An influencer’s follower count will go towards their rate. However, you’re not just looking at quantity. How many of their followers have been vetted and are real accounts? The purpose of an influencer partnership is to generate exposure and to reach an audience. An influencer with more followers can impact a larger audience, but that audience should be real accounts. Since an influencer’s follower count has (in most cases) a direct impact on their reach, this is often the most important metric in determining rates.
#3 - Engagement
Engagement is another metric used to determine an influencer’s rates. It’s easy to buy fake followers but an inflated audience won’t correspond to improved engagement. The more engagement a post gets, the more an influencer is able to charge. An influencer’s engagement rate can help determine your expected ROI.
#4 - Industry
Influencers are available in practically every niche you can think of and prices vary from industry to industry. For example, a luxury fashion influencer may cost more than a mummy influencer. For example, a brand in the fitness industry wouldn’t be getting value for money by partnering with an influencer in the crypto space. In contrast, a health and fitness influencer can charge more because they bring more value to the partnership.
#5 - Single post vs. multiple posts
Are you planning a ‘one and done’ campaign or an ongoing collaboration? You’ll typically pay more for multiple posts than a one-time post. Most brands work with influencers on a contract basis (average 3 to 12 months) to receive more accurate insights. As a bonus, a consistent message from your influencer reinforces their message and boosts brand awareness which can help drive ROI.
#6 - Exclusivity
Many influencers rely on sponsored partnerships to make a living. Many brands work with influencers on an exclusive basis. This means the influencer cannot work with competing brands. This is great for your brand (you get an awesome influencer all to yourself) but limits an influencer’s earning capacity. A non-compete contractual arrangement may be in place that prevents an influencer from working with your competition. If this is the case, expect to pay extra.
#7 - Usage
Are you planning to repurpose an influencer’s content to be used in a paid ads campaign or in other promotional materials? You’ll need to pay extra for this usage. As a brand you can choose where you want to reuse images, when and for how long. You’ll need to compensate an influencer for the ongoing use of their content. A paid collaboration is considered as ONE product. If you want to reuse that content for future campaigns (paid ads, catalogues, promo materials), you’ll need to pay for that as an additional product.
As a final note, although cash may be the most common form of payment, it’s possible to partner with the world’s best influencers by giving away your awesome products and services.
Download the #gifted app to start your own influencer gifting campaign today 🎁
How to measure influencer marketing ROI
Three of the sweetest letters in the English language .
Well, maybe a close second after Friday Afternoon Drinks and Public Holiday Monday.
It’s easy to hear stats like the 90% of brands who believe influencer marketing to be an effective form of marketing and assume everyone wins. But you didn’t get where you are by making decisions in the dark. Throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks is a terrible way to run a business (and a terrible way to cook spaghetti).
Measuring influencer ROI can be a challenge when you’re measuring impressions or website visits or brand awareness. But that doesn’t make it impossible.
To identify your ROI, here’s what you can do:
➢ List your influencer marketing goal. (E.g. awareness or conversions)
➢ Track the performance you’ve achieved in terms of KPIs. (E.g. # of people reached, video views, sign-ups, etc). If you work with multiple influencers, you can use these strategies to monitor individual performances.
➢ Estimate the total cost of your campaign. (Include fees paid to influencers, hours used to manage influencers, agency fees, software required, etc).
➢ Use the above figure and divide by your chosen metric to estimate the Cost Per Result for your campaign. This can be Cost Per Reach, Cost Per Video View, Cost Per Sign-Up, etc.
➢ If your campaign involves generating actual product sales, you can identify your ROI as a percentage with the following formula…
INFLUENCER CAMPAIGN ROI = [(Revenue - Cost)/Cost] x 100
Let’s say you spent $5k on your campaign and generated $20k in sales. Your ROI would look like this:
[(20,000 - 5,000)/20,000] x 100 = 75% ROI
As long as you can quantify the revenue coming from your influencer campaign and your costs, you can quantify ROI. This isn’t a perfect science, but it can give you the confidence to continue future influencer marketing campaigns.
Looking for a faster, easier way to run your influencer marketing campaigns?
Wouldn’t it be nice to know if an influencer was a good fit for your brand before you worked with them?
You could invest in your next campaign with confidence. Avoid wasting time on fake followers. And give your brand the push it needs to grow whether you’re a new kid on the block or an industry legend.
With theright.fit, that’s exactly what you can do.
As an online marketplace for influencers, you can access an influencers analytics before ever working with them. More detailed than the insights provided by Instagram, signing up to theright.fit shows you an influencer’s engagement rate, followers, previous jobs, average engagement per post, comment authenticity, audience growth, audience quality score and much, much more.
So, what happens next?
We hope this comprehensive guide was as much fun for you to read as it was for us to create. Influencer marketing is an incredible tool - but like any tool, you need to know how to use it. When used strategically, influencer collaborations can have a markedly profitable and positive impact on both your brand and your business.