Have you ever considered working with a popular public figure to promote your brand? If so, you're jumping on the influencer marketing bandwagon.
According to a Social Media Today podcast, sponsored by Blog Meets Brand, 59 percent of marketers will increase their influencer marketing budgets next year. This might be because marketing-induced consumer-to-consumer word of mouth generates twice the sales of paid advertising, according to the podcast.
But it's not just celebrities who can influence your target consumers. "Micro-influencers" — namely, bloggers and social media "stars" with dedicated, highly engaged followers — can also be incredibly persuasive, and are often more affordable than big-name celebs.
Bloglovin', a lifestyle social discovery platform, surveyed 2,500 of its micro-influencers to identify the top trends that address the state of the influencer marketing industry and ultimately help brands better develop their influencer marketing strategies. [See Related Story: Turning Social Influencers Into Brand Advocates]
"While the influencer industry is exploding, a lot of brands are unaware what the best practices are," said Rohit Vashisht, president of Activate by Bloglovin', Bloglovin's influencer marketing platform. "By surveying our own micro-influencers, we're able to share primary insights that marketers really need to pay attention to in order to put together impactful campaigns."
Which social media platforms work best?
Based on Bloglovin's survey results, here's how micro-influencers view some of the most popular social networks:
1. Instagram – Nearly 60 percent of surveyed influencers feel that Instagram is the most effective platform when engaging a target audience. Half said that Instagram is also the best for branded collaborations, and 42 percent of influencers who use Instagram have sponsored posts on the platform.
2. Facebook –Eighteen percent of influencers voted Facebook as the most effective platform for engaging a target audience, and 10 percent voted it best for branded collaborations. About one-third said they have used Facebook for sponsored posts.
3. Snapchat –Only 1 percent of survey respondents said that Snapchat is good for engaging a target audience, but half said that it is their favorite social media platform. This indicates the potential for growth and future effectiveness.
4. Blogging –Blogging was found to be the most popular method of influencer marketing, as 54 percent of influencers said they have worked with brands on sponsored blog posts.
5. Twitter –Twenty-nine percent of influencers said they have worked with brands for a sponsored Twitter post.
The costs of influencer marketing
While it's certainly not free, tapping into the micro-influencer community can be a more affordable tactic than trying to secure a celebrity endorsement. Ninety percent of the influencers surveyed charge less than $250 for a branded post, 83 percent have fees under $150 for a branded tweet and 84 percent will do a branded Instagram post for less than $250.
But don't think that micro-influencers are all in it for the money: Only 7 percent of influencers join a new platform solely for that purpose. In fact, most influencers join new platforms to expand their audience (46 percent) or express themselves creatively in a new way (40 percent). More than half of influencers have never promoted a post on their social media platforms.
Because Bloglovin' found that micro-influencers are more interested in earned, rather than paid, impressions, it's important to choose influencers who fit your brand well and have a natural connection to your product. In another Business News Daily article, Marco Hansell, CEO of influencer marketing company Speakr, advised focusing on engagement rates rather than follower count, and making sure a person's followers really care about the content coming from that individual's feed.
"Social influencers can drive a much higher impact than you ever could [by] pushing out your message through your own company voice," he said.