What is influencer marketing and how does it work

ÁLvaro Vázquez

Álvaro Vázquez

Digital Marketing Manager

Influencer marketing is perhaps one of the most resonant terms in the industry at the moment.

The so-called “influencers” continue carved out a niche in the market and have even gone from being figures exclusively on social networks to being present on television, participating in films or attending the most important events in the world.

When we talk about influencers, we refer to people with a huge number of followers on social networks, a strong influence and voice on these platforms and leaders of the communities they form.

Through the networks, influencers create content according to the area in which they are specialized and they show authenticity and closeness, especially with younger audiences. 

The fact is that the entry of millennials and generation Z into the consumer market is changing the game rules. They are much more digitally active generations with entirely different consumer habits and an unconditional devotion to social media.

This has been more than enough reason for companies to take the step of extending their communication to the networks in order to reach larger audiences.

What is influencer marketing?

what is influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is a very current marketing strategy. It consists of the collaboration between brands or companies with characters of great presence in social networks with large communities of followers behind them.

Such is its relevance that according to a study by Morning Consult, approximately 72% of millennials and generation Z follow at least one influencer. 

These influencers are similar to traditional public figures with the difference that they reach much larger and more segmented audiences, which is something that companies use to promote their products.

While celebrities used to be chosen to advertise products, this study shows that influencers now have a greater impact on sales than celebrities or athletes.

In the end, companies have had no choice but to adapt to digitalisation. While it is true that a few years ago, TV ads were a very useful way to promote products because of the audience they had, today, the rise of the internet and digital entertainment platforms or social networks, have moved all that audience to new channels, leaving the traditional ones somewhat obsolete.

However, to carry out a campaign with influencers, you must first establish an influencer marketing strategy with its corresponding communication plan.

Why do brands choose influencer marketing?

Previously we mentioned that 72% of young people follow an influencer, however, companies have a greater interest in data that can affect conversions.

For instance, 88% of millennials and centennials learn about the products they like through social networks.

But this is not all, the most shocking data is that 56% of this audience buy products after seeing it on an influencer. 

Yes, more than half of the people in this generation buy products after seeing it promoted by an influencer, which is an extremely high conversion rate.

Therefore, brands are becoming interested in collaborating with influencers as diamonds in the rough.

Until now, the stars of brand advertising were singers, celebrities, actors and actresses. In other words, characters considered leaders but whose followers come from the profession they work in.

This is completely different to influencers, who are social leaders who create interest in their audiences based on their daily lives. 

Advantages of using influencer marketing

advantages influencer marketing

People follow influencers because of the content they create and even the products they promote, which turns us into potential consumers clamoring for advertising.

This is probably why brands consider them as diamonds in the rough, because they create the need for the audience and it is the consumer who demands the brand rather than the brand demanding consumers.

On some occasions, there are items from highly renowned shops that, without standing out, all it takes is for an influencer to upload a photo of their look and the item ends up being an absolute “sold out”. 

Another advantage of working with influencers is that it creates a very strong brand identity as it improves the transparency and credibility of the company, which translates into an increase in sales.

After all, through influencers, the audience receives a humanized communication through a figure they admire and who speaks in a completely natural way.

But if I had to highlight one quality of influencer marketing, it would undoubtedly be the ability to communicate with an already segmented group. 

Unlike advertising in other media such as television or radio where the audience is more diverse, using influencer marketing allows you to reach a larger number of people who have similar profiles, which is why the strategic efforts are much more optimal.

If you are a brand and you are thinking of carrying out a successful influencer marketing strategy, you will have to make a thorough study of your target audience, the kind of influencer you need and other aspects to define your strategy.

How to select the influencer that best fits your brand?

When brands decide to carry out influencer marketing, one of the most common mistakes is to be guided by the number of followers they have. 

The number of followers is an important factor, but the main thing is the percentage of engagement they produce, i.e. the relationship that the influencer has with their audience and the ability to create commitment among their community.

Sometimes, there are micro-influencers who, without having many followers, have a loyal community and a great capacity to influence. Likewise, there are influencers with greater notoriety but whose audience hardly interacts with their content.

Another important factor when specifying objectives is to identify those influencers whose values are similar to those of the brand so that their followers match your target audience

The content and tone of the influencer should also be aligned with the brand. Followers want to receive information from the influencer’s perspective, who is the one they look up to. In contrast, using a different tone could confuse the audience and generate mistrust.

Finally, and although it may seem obvious, it is important to know which social network will be used.

Often there are cases in which companies use Instagram influencers to promote themselves and do not get the results they want. This happens when the target audience uses other social networks such as Facebook instead.

Although names such as María Pombo, Jessica Goicoechea or Tamara Falcó give great notoriety, as a marketing expert you should think about those influencers that allow you to get the results you are looking for.

It doesn’t matter if they are not well known or if you are not a fan, the main thing is that your target audience follows them.

The influencers marketing process

Once the company selects the influencers who can fit with the brand, they stablish the terms of the contract.

At this point, they also define the terms, requirements and clauses or agreements agreed by both parties, such as confidentiality or non-collaboration with competitors during the contract period.

After signing the contract, the company prepares a briefing in which a value proposition is made with the idea, objectives and strategy. 

All this information is collected in a document together with the campaign information and all the content and material needed for the influencer to be able to generate quality content. This includes images, videos or other documents of interest.

An action plan should also be set out in which both parties establish how the actions will be executed. 

This plan should include the publication dates, the times at which the content will be uploaded and the hashtags that will be used for the campaign, which is essential for optimal results.

Finally, both parts establish the KPIs, i.e. the indicators used to measure the campaign. The brand must correctly define the KPIs to be considered because the results depend on them.

When it comes to tracking and reporting results, the KPIs will provide information on the campaign’s results and possible changes or improvements that must be made in order to achieve success.

Once at this point, after seting the campaign, it is only necessary to execute it including all the necessary tasks and wait for the results in order to be able to make an assessment.

How to measure the success of an influencer marketing campaign

Measure influencers campaign

Measuring an influencer marketing campaign is the most important action for the company as it is the time to find out if their efforts have been as optimal as they had planned or not.

To measure an influencer campaign we will have to analyze one by one all the KPIs we defined above (this is why it was so important to take the time to choose the most relevant ones). 

With tools like Metricool we can gather this information, which must be complemented with the information obtained by the influencer. For this purpose, a document is usually sent to the influencer where he/she must complete the results obtained in his/her publications.