Influencers are people who can spread information quickly and meaningfully through a certain reach and awareness. It is considered a very modern form of marketing. A particular advantage is the fact that influencers are people like – and you and me. This often appears authentic and therefore differs from the product view to the person marketing by the influencer. Over the past few years, I have been able to gain close to 25,000 readers per month through my blog, more than 5000 users in the newsletter and close to 10,000 followers on social media. With the help of this reach, I spread the latest news on digital transformation and agility. Of course, I want to keep my authenticity but also share relevant information with my network. The key is to find the balance between promotion and information, especially in negotiation. I have had numerous large IT companies and consulting firms as clients and partners.
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I have been running the blog agile enterprises since April 2016, and there are now over 300 articles on the topic of the digitization of companies. Important aspects are virtual teams, work 4.0, agile organization and leadership. On the one hand, I blog scientific content well explained for practice as well as my own practical tips from everyday life in companies. Furthermore, I blog about scientific practice, which is especially exciting for students TARGET GROUP Target group 1 are managers and professionals who show interest in digital transformation. Target group 2 are students who are about to graduate and are looking for a topic for their thesis. ACQUISITION OF READERS The blog obtains most users through SEO and is growing permanently. The current visit numbers can be found in the graph. Furthermore, before COVID, I gave 2-3 talks per month and am currently pivoting to webinars. There is also a telephone consultation and meanwhile 5 reference books to the blog, published by Springer Gabler (circulation 25.000).
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For several years now, social media platforms have been more popular than ever. New formats are constantly being added and thus also promote another branch: Influencer Marketing. Many companies have long since recognized this trend and rely on the help of so-called influencers within the strategy development for marketing their products. What exactly this topic is about, how influencer marketing is defined and how it is implemented will be explained in more detail in this article.
WHAT IS INFLUENCER MARKETING?
We all know the constant promotional posts that many profiles on social networks post over and over again. Often, these are well-known social media moguls with millions of followers, daily stories and posts. But is everyone who has a few more followers and publishes advertisements also doing influencer marketing?
WHAT IS AN INFLUENCER?
To get to the bottom of this question, we first need to define the term “influencer” itself. The word is based on the English verb “influence”, which translated means to influence or shape. Influencers are therefore all those social media profiles that have a great influence on their followers, for example because they have their trust and affection. To be able to influence other people, however, you have to stay in the conversation with speeches and actions. This is precisely why influencers are also defined by the creation of regular and public content. Finally, the production of this content is often used to enter into collaborations with companies and in this way to market the products or services of the clients to his followers via his own platform.
TYPES OF INFLUENCERS
A distinction is made between different types of influencers, such as
In addition, influencers are often divided into the following 4 subcategories based on their number of followers:
- Mega Influencers: more than 1 million followers
- Macro Influencers: 50,000 to 1 million followers
- Micro Influencers: 10,000 to 50,000 followers
- Nano Influencers: less than 10,000 followers
However, Nano Influencers are not necessarily less valuable than Mega Influencers. Instead, each category has its own unique weaknesses and strengths, as the following overview proves:
In addition to the position and the number of followers, the industry and the field of activity also play a role in the categorization of influencers. Thus, influencers can be found primarily in the following areas:
Depending on the orientation, companies therefore usually look specifically for influencers from their own industry in order to significantly increase the reach and influence of customers.
BUILDING INFLUENCER MARKETING
However, daily promotional posts alone do not constitute genuine and professional influencer marketing. After all, there is much more to it than that. Namely, the planning, management as well as the control of deployed measures to actively influence the buying behavior of customers. Influencer marketing thus describes the targeted and planned collaboration of influencers with clients, such as large corporations, with the aim of producing content that significantly increases the companies’ sales. In return, the influencers are billed according to pre-agreed payment systems. Ultimately, however, this is intended not only to influence the consumer behavior of the target group in the short term, but also to promote a positive brand message in the long term.
HOW DOES INFLUENCER MARKETING WORK?
influencers use various ways to distribute promotional posts. These include, for example, postsStoriesIGTV (Instagram TV) and Sweepstakes, Discount codes, Unboxing, Tutorials and Short-term account takeovers as well as Live events
These formats are used on various platforms, sometimes also underpinned by actively set links to each other (e.g., by setting links with reference to a YouTube video). Among the best known are, for example: Facebook, Twitter,Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat, Twitch, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Xing and Blogs.
During the contract negotiations for the cooperation, a payment system is also agreed upon. Various options and pricing models are used.
- CPM (cost per thousand contacts): Payment according to costs incurred per 1,000 followers reached
- CPE (cost per engagement): Payment according to costs incurred per interaction (e.g. like, comment, share or click)
- Contribution-dependent costs: Payment according to a precisely defined contribution in advance
- Daily rate or annual cooperation: Payment according to a precisely defined contribution in advance
- Affiliate: Payment according to performance and target achievement (e.g., payment if a certain conversion rate is achieved)
In principle, however, fixed prices can never be defined here, since the payment always depends on the awareness of the company and influencer, effort, contract range, type and form of the advertising post, and its content.
ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF INFLUENCER MARKETING
Influencer marketing promises many advantages, which also explains why it is used so specifically by so many companies. At the same time, of course, there are some disadvantages.
Creativity and variety
Since influencers produce their own content, this forms a completely new form of creativity for many companies, which they themselves may not implement in their other marketing strategies. Additionally, the symbiosis also guarantees a certain level of engagement on the part of the influencer. After all, in order to keep the job, he or she must record successes and will thus commit to high-quality and varied advertising measures on his or her own profile.
In addition, profiles of large and well-known influencers in particular offer the opportunity to significantly increase the reach of companies and their products and services. In addition, the voluntary affiliation of followers to their own profile makes it much easier for influencers to target groups.
Many followers often find influencers more credible and authentic than large corporations because they have already belonged to the profile for a longer period of time and can freely decide to follow an influencer on a social media platform. Since advertising is also sometimes published and disseminated subliminally, followers do not immediately feel compelled to make a purchase and are more open to accepting recommendations.
Since everything posted on the Internet remains somewhere, companies in influencer marketing also benefit from the permanence of the advertising posts.
While old-fashioned newspaper ads or posters, but also newer measures such as TV commercials, have an expiration date, posts on social media exist virtually indefinitely. At the same time, influencer marketing offers the advantage that its success can be monitored and measured relatively easily. The methods to be used range from regular KPIs to exact sales figures. Frequently used metrics include
- Reach: cumulative reach of all follower
- views: Cumulative number of all followers who have seen the post
- Impressions: Cumulative number of all possible views
- Interactions: Cumulative number of all likes, comments, shares, etc.
- Click counts: Cumulative number of all clicks on a set link
- Conversions: Cumulative number of all converted actions (e.g. search query to link click)
With the amount of influencers that now cavort on all social media platforms on the net, it is not always easy to make the right selection. And this in turn can have negative consequences for a company. Because if a message is not conveyed to the right target group or the content is distorted, costs have been spent but in return the expected success has not paid off.
Loss of control
At the same time, although companies often plan the structure of the promotional post in cooperation with influencers, at the same time it is not under full control. If messages are conveyed incorrectly or if there are disagreements between the two parties, this can have a negative impact on the company’s sales. If companies also antagonize influencers, this can have fatal consequences, such as damage to their image, due to the negative word of mouth that follows.
And basically, of course, it should also be noted that influencer marketing has its price. The big social media moguls in particular know their value very well and do not sell themselves short.
CHALLENGES IN INFLUENCER MARKETING
But even if influencer marketing seems like the near-perfect strategy, implementing it in reality is not always quite so easy. In particular, hurdles like finding the right social media profiles can turn into downright Sisyphean work for many companies. After all, it’s not just a matter of filtering out the right influencers from the masses, but also of finding those that fit into the given budget framework. When these are found, it often comes to detailed and lengthy contract negotiations that cover many eventualities and must precisely describe tasks and service areas. It is often worthwhile to enlist the help of professional influencer marketing managers, which, however, also results in an increase in costs. And yet: Many companies continue to see themselves exposed to a certain loss of control afterwards. Posts are agreed upon in terms of content, but at the same time they must leave a certain amount of room for the influencer’s own creativity and personality for the purpose of authenticity. Beyond that, however, another challenge arises. Due to the high reach and trust of followers, influencers have a lot of power and influence over their community and can of course also use this against the client in case of doubt, which in turn can have fatal consequences for the company’s image.