In 2018, expect influencer marketing to be a defining digital advertising trend.

Why will this be the case?

Well, marketers themselves are saying it’s true.

A recent WhoSay poll revealed that 89% of marketers believe an influencer marketing strategy boosts positive brand awareness.

Also, 70% of U.S. firms say they’ll increase their budget for influencer marketing in 2018.

social media influencer marketing - perception

Image source: https://www.emarketer.com

In this post, we’re going to look at the reasons behind the surge in the appeal of social influencer marketing.

We’ll also explore how you can do influencer marketing and optimize a campaign to achieve your target objective.

Whether you’re looking to build brand awareness or earn tangible returns, a paid influencer marketing strategy can be just the boost your advertising campaign needs.

Here’s how and why:

Does Paid Influencer Marketing Work?

One of the greatest obstacles to social influencer marketing for businesses so far has been measuring effectiveness.

As demonstrated by the Who Say study, brand awareness and image is clearly one way to measure the impact of a social media influencer marketing campaign.

But what about earning real, tangible revenue?

A Collective Bias study looked at the effects of social media influencer marketing on boosting sales.

One of the factors investigated was the redemption rate of coupons after a social media user viewed influencer content.

In one case, the paid influencer marketing content boosted redemption rate by 3X.

Another area the study investigated was influencer effects on in-store traffic.

Again, the results were positive:

48% of those exposed to social media influencer content visited the retailer featured within four days of viewing an ad.

Meanwhile, only 29% of the control group (those that did not experience influencer marketing) visited the store.

When it comes to measuring the success of your own influencer marketing strategy, first consider what your KPIs are.

social media influencer marketing - metrics of success

This can be an earned media value (EMV) that you attribute to things like web traffic or shares.

Or, it can be actual revenue generation.

With the advent of social media marketing agencies that specialize in paid influencer marketing, tracking and optimizing these campaigns has never been easier.

Additionally, there are self-serve tools like BuzzStream Discovery and HyPR you can always turn to for help.

How to Do Influencer Marketing

Just saying you’re launching an influencer marketing strategy doesn’t specify necessary features like:

  • What platform to use
  • What influencers to align with

In terms of what platform is best, Instagram is a clear leader.

Among 80% of micro-influencers, Instagram is their most popular platform for posting original content.  

Also, 59% of this same demographic believe Instagram influencer marketing is the most effective social media platform for reaching a target audience.

Besides blogs, this app is also where the most paid influencer marketing is occurring.

To speak to this, 42% of brands that have paid for influencer content have done so on Instagram.

So, if Instagram influencer marketing is the platform of choice, now it’s time to decide which accounts to partner with for your brand.

There are four major items to consider when looking for an influencer partner:

  • Field of expertise: Is the influencer knowledgeable in your industry, product, service, etc.? Make sure the content they’ve already released is relevant to your brand, and that they can be good advocates in a paid influencer marketing situation.
  • Follower base: Do they reach enough people for an influencer campaign to be effective? Look at their number of followers and engagement metrics on the platform.
  • Persona: Does the influencer match your target demographic? They should be able to speak to the customers you want to reach, and have shown they can already do so effectively before you establish a partnership.
  • Positive reputation: Influencers may be popular, but that doesn’t mean they’re well-liked. Make sure you look for a partner that won’t estrange any potential customers and that you believe can represent your brand in a positive light.

Social Media Influencer Marketing Case Studies

When it comes to getting an influencer marketing strategy right, it helps to look at some of the most successful examples already out there.

Hulu

Hulu  partnered with HyPR to promote their new show, Casual.

The media platform chose Andi Dorfman as its key influencer, and used her huge popularity on Instagram and among the target demographic of young women to achieve immense success.

social media influencer marketing - Hulu

The results of the paid influencer marketing campaign were as follows:

  • Reached over 1.3 million people
  • Achieved 13,716 likes
  • Shared 96 times
  • Earned 81 comments

RESCUE

RESCUE Remedy is another excellent example of Instagram influencer marketing.

The natural remedy company launched a paid influencer campaign with a buy-one-get-free coupon that was intended to build brand awareness and promote their product trial.

Across channels like Instagram, blogs, and Twitter, the company achieved incredible results.

social media influencer marketing - REMEDY

Image source: https://shanebarker.com

To name a few, their metrics included a 258% jump in Instagram followers, over 6,000 clicks to the coupon page, and 133 million impressions.

Daniel Wellington

Fashion watch designer, Daniel Wellington, stuck to Instagram influencer marketing for its foray into this type of advertising.

In fact, the brand was one of the first to partner with social media influencers as they clearly became effective as brand advocates.

social media influencer marketing - Daniel Wellington

By utilizing discount codes in many of their posts – and besting the competition based on their sheer number of sponsored posts – Daniel Wellington was able to measurably track performance.

Firstly, the discount codes contributed directly to revenue, and were trackable as a conversion from Instagram.

Second, the amount of conversions from a single influencer’s content could also be tracked and thereby prove which social media influencers were more successful.

With this information at their disposal, the brand could optimize and develop their Instagram influencer marketing strategy more effectively.

And it clearly worked for them:

  • Almost 3.7 million followers on social media
  • 31% follower growth in 2017
  • Over 136,000 social mentions in 2017
  • Over $62.8 million EMV by the end of 2017

Launch Your Social Influencer Marketing

To get started with your influencer marketing strategy, consult a social media marketing agency or specialized, paid influencer advertisers.

Whether you go it alone or enlist the help of professionals, consider what your objectives are and scout out the best partners to be your brand advocates.

Also, consider how much of your advertising budget to spend on social influencer marketing.

Some brands, like Daniel Wellington, devote most of their budget towards it.

Others are still exploring how valuable it is for their product and industry.

With the right metrics and tracking in place, you can determine the effectiveness of a social media influencer marketing strategy.

Don’t be surprised if – like most marketers are predicting doing so for 2018 – you end up increasing your paid influencer marketing spend.