Influencer marketing is not the next big thing. It’s already here. Celebrities like Kendall Jenner and Selena Gomez are already raking in monstrously-sized checks for single Instagram posts. Where we’re seeing a significant shift and a notable level of growth, though, is with what’s being called micro influencer marketing. Brands and companies want to tap into those authentic relationships that influencers have with their followers.
The thing is that most of us, for better or for worse, aren’t Ariana Grande or Cristiano Ronaldo or Justin Bieber. Most of us don’t have millions of followers on Instagram or millions of subscribers on YouTube. If you do, go ahead and pat yourself on the back. If you don’t, especially if you have a very humble number of social media followers, you might assume that you have no shot of making any money through influencer marketing.
That’s just flat out wrong. And more and more brand managers who run these influencer campaigns are really starting to recognize these opportunities for mutual benefit.
Providing Value to Brands
I met up with a couple of fellow bloggers and social media types recently and the conversation quickly turned to influencer marketing. The mutual experience was such that many of the bigger public relations firms can get too caught up in raw reach. How many followers do you have? How many views will this YouTube video get? What’s your organic reach on Facebook? What are the typical number of page views you get each month on the blog?
These raw numbers are valuable and important, don’t get me wrong, but they only paint part of the picture. As you’ve likely noticed by now, there is a dark underbelly to social media marketing in particular where many accounts accumulate “fake followers.” They could buy them through a variety of marketplaces or they could game the system by using unauthorized software and services. This can bolster their numbers, but from the brand’s perspective, marketing to 10,000 bots isn’t going to do them much good.
You don’t necessarily need to criticize other influencers for engaging in such activity, but you do need to sell these brand managers on the value that you are able to deliver. A good friend of mine is very good at creating product videos, for instance. His YouTube channel continues to grow, but some videos just don’t get that many views. But for him, that’s not really the point.
Extending Beyond Social Media
Yes, he publishes and shares his high quality videos on YouTube. He might post them on Facebook too. They then get shared through Instagram, Twitter, Google+ and through his email newsletter. But that’s only one part of the value he is providing to the brand.
He also grants them the permission to use the video for other purposes. It can be shared with retail partners, who can then play the video next to the product display to help encourage more sales. It can be used in sales meetings with buyers and wholesalers who may be interested in picking up the product to add to their own stores.
This can lead to real sales and a real ROI for the brand, not just an increased number of potentially fake views on YouTube or retweets on Twitter.
The Right Audience for the Right Product
Here’s another way to approach it.
Let’s say that Website A gets 100,000 monthly unique visitors, but it is a general interest website with readers scattered all across the globe. Now, let’s say that Website B only gets 10,000 monthly unique visitors, but it is specifically a blog about a very particular niche with readers largely centered around one specific city. And the brand that is interested in leveraging influencer marketing is located in that city, only sells locally, and caters to audiences in that exact niche.
Which is the better fit?
It can take some time and effort before you get on the radar for different PR firms and marketing departments. If there is a particular brand that you want to work with, take matters in your own hands and pitch them with your creative ideas. Demonstrate the value you can provide, even if you don’t have millions of fashionistas following you on Instagram.