What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is on the rise and there’s a good reason for it. Collaborating with social media influencers is the latest way of partnering your brand with key social media thought-leaders across a variety of niches to showcase your product or brand in the simplest, most effective way possible.
Influencers, or content creators as they’re also known, have a highly engaged following who trust their opinion and heavily rely on their honest reviews of products, brands or services, prior to making a purchase. An influencer’s content is executed in a trustworthy way and aligns with their audience demographic, in terms of their likes, dislikes and opinions.
We don’t just focus on macro influencers with millions of followers and likes – we carefully research hundreds of UK-based and beyond, micro, mid-tier and macro-tier influencers to best place your brand and product with the right influencer. This allows the brand to make a genuine connection with the identified target audience and provide a stronger ROI.
Why work with influencers?
Investing in influencer marketing and collaborating with influencers on engaging social media campaigns is a key marketing metric, when it comes to delivering a long-term audience growth and customer retention strategy for your brand.
Over the last 12 months, influencer marketing, as a stand-alone service, has played an instrumental part in the further development of the brands within our portfolio via influencer and social marketing.
A significant amount of influencer marketing activity takes place on social media. With Instagram, Instagram Stories and IGTV paving the way, collaborating with influencers allows brands to engage directly with the target audience and showcase personality via the use of a familiar face.
Content creators understand their audience perfectly and the type of content they enjoy and engage with. Allowing influencers the creative freedom to portray your brand messaging and KPI’s in a clear, concise yet relatable way, sways the consumers decision-making process whilst reaching and engaging potential new customers.
Influencer Marketing Case Study
Celtic & Co – Christmas Gifts Campaign
Celtic & Co wanted to raise consumer awareness and positive perception in addition to increasing consumer consideration for their seasonal Christmas gifting range of sheepskin knitwear and slippers. Hit Search decided to use an authentic influencer content campaign to accomplish this goal, collaborating with parenting and lifestyle influencers to drive sales and referral traffic to the ‘Celtic & Co' Christmas category pages and position the brand as providing the ultimate gift ideas for Christmas.
Hit Search collaborated with relevant UK-based parenting and family influencers to generate content for the influencer’s own platforms, whilst also creating backlinks from the influencers’ websites to support the on-page SEO strategy and producing content assets that could be used on the client’s various platforms too.
Hit Search delivered an integrated campaign solution for the Celtic & Co Christmas campaign, collaborating with six key UK-based influencers. The influencers were asked to produce high quality editorial content, promoting Celtic & Co and their seasonal knitwear and slippers, for the Christmas period. The blog posts and social media posts were designed to highlight the Celtic & Co brand and product offering to readers/followers. The campaign aimed to generate a strong brand presence throughout the seasonal period, utilising the beautiful image assets created by the influencers to support the campaign’s visibility on Instagram, whilst also speaking to the target audience through trusted influencers.
Collectively, the influencers delivered against the agreed deliverables for social post engagement, reaching a combined audience of over 250k. The organic content reporting showed the campaign brought revenue to the site in the lead-up to Christmas, leading to considered purchases made by the target customer base, six strong backlinks were obtained and the site experienced qualified referral traffic from Instagram Stories UTM parameters supplied to each participating influencer with Instagram Swipe Up capabilities.
We Can Help Your Business Too
How does it work?
Influencer Research & Identification
The parameters for compiling an influencer marketing strategy, and securing the correct digital creators for the campaign, are reach, engagement, authenticity, performance and niche.
Every successful influencer marketing strategy and social media campaign begins by identifying the most impactful influencers to participate. We tailor our influencer selection process to each brand, ensuring the digital influencers participating align with the target brand’s aesthetic, tone of voice and values.
We use performance data throughout each step of pairing the right influencer with a brand; from influencer selection to identifying correct posting times and persuasive calls to action.
We have a firm stance on eliminating influencers who have a fake following through the use of bots. Every influencer is vetted to ensure their following and engagement is organic and reflects their following. We use a series of tools to appropriately track this. Any influencers found to be suspect or using bot activity will no longer be considered.
We Build Influencer Relations
We have a large database of digital influencers who cover a variety of topics, including women’s fashion digital marketing, men’s grooming, beauty, parenting, food, interiors and lifestyle. Establishing genuine relationships with content creators is important so we can utilise their platforms and influence to help grow our client’s brand, expand the campaign reach and increase traffic and revenue.
Every client has a bespoke influencer strategy aligned with the over-arching KPI’s and this allows us to carefully identify which micro, mid-tier or macro influencers will work best. Operating on either a product gifted or paid basis, building strong relationships with content creators transforms them into brand ambassadors, instilling brand affinity with their followers and real-time engagement as a result.
Scale the Campaign
If a particular campaign is working well, introducing a second tier of influencers is a great way of scaling the campaign and expanding the audience reach.
We’ve found collaborating on longer-term campaigns across a three or six month timeframe leads to richer engagement, happier customers and provides us with marketing data that is more powerful and valuable for your business.
Types of Influencer Partnerships
Influencers can be defined and grouped into the following tiers -
Micro influencers are fairly new, up and coming influencers with a small, but highly-engaged audience. With up to 10k followers and a targeted and relevant following, the audience of micro influencers like to discover new brands, hear about product launches and trust the opinion of smaller influencer accounts.
Top-tier / Macro Influencers
With a well-established Instagram following and online presence, top-tier influencers are known for their brand partnerships and trusted opinions. Macro influencers also have a dedicated, large following that has grown organically over time and are on the course to becoming a power influencer. Despite being slightly more selective over the brands they collaborate with, the benefits of working with them are huge. Macro influencers deliver high-quality content that could be used across a variety of branded marketing channels.
Macro influencers enjoy using Instagram Stories because they can be more candid and real than in feed posts, and because they can disappear within the 24 hour timeslot. Stories are also helping to bring influencer marketing closer to the purchase decision, because they allow outbound links.
Another strand of influencer marketing is partnering with celebrities to endorse your brand or product. Aligned with macro influencers, celebrities are more well-known and featuring a household name within the campaign expands the reach and eliminates the problem of the campaign assets being impacted by social media algorithms.
When selecting celebrities to partner with, it’s worth noting that costs may be higher and a larger budget will be required. However, having a famous face, with a large organic reach that aligns with the target customer base participating, means the reporting metrics when evaluating the influencer marketing campaign success will be much greater.
YouTube vloggers are extremely honest about products they like and dislike, post regularly keeping their subscribers engaged in their content and deliver greater results than a typical AD campaign.
Their audience already have an interest in the brand in question and the products or services provided, which means when collaborating with a YouTuber – they already have an engaged audience that perfectly fits the demographics of your target market.
Digital bloggers or the practise of blogger outreach, as it’s otherwise known, means collaborating with bloggers on blog form content. This could either be a product review, a service review or introducing the brand to their readers. This type of content creation often aligns with your brand’s SEO strategy, with the purpose of building backlinks and raising brand awareness.
Digital bloggers will also have an Instagram channel; however the channel size and follower count may vary and therefore, may not carry the same level of influence that is required for a dedicated social campaign.
Defining the strategy
Once it’s been identified that an influencer-led approach is required to communicate the brand messaging and we’ve recognised the type of influencers needed, identifying the appropriate platform for the content to be housed upon and the type of content required is the next step.
This element of the strategy often derives from the type of content the influencers selected to participate already create, as we want the brand messaging to appear as natural and organically as possible, without eliminating their audience.
Every influencer partnership will be solidified with a contract for the campaign, finalising everything involved in the partnership, deliverables for both parties, deadlines, any social media messaging and ensuring both sides are aware of how payment will work and how the campaign will run.
Campaign measurement & costs
Measuring the success of an influencer marketing campaign is paramount, in order to obtain the desired results and clarify the performance of the influencer content creation. We use a variety of metrics and tools to measure success including tracking the campaign reach, campaign engagement and revenue generated, based upon referral traffic.
|The average budget share dedicated to influencer activity, is around 10% of a brand’s total marketing spend. Investing in influencer marketing is steadily growing with more brands wanting to invest in real-time relationships rather than faceless marketing campaigns. It’s a key channel for many marketers and a fantastic way to reach real people, whilst still aligning with your brand values.|