The form of collaborative advertising with external characters is actually as old as marketing itself. In recent years, with the increasing opportunities to “collect” followers and communicate with them through various social networks or other online platforms, influencer marketing is certainly booming. As well as many brands that have carried out such cooperation in the right way. But let’s start with what this type of marketing activity is, what benefits it brings and how you can use it to … tarnish your brand image.
Influencer – Closer Knowing!
Influencer is a word with a very broad definition – everyone influences someone in the end. In the context of influencer marketing, we can call an Internet influencer a personality who has built a specific community and has an impact on it. Brands eagerly use this relationship, seeing it as an image or sales potential.
Of course, online activity does not have to be the basis – an influencer can be any athlete, musician, beautician, journalist or scientist who runs a profile on social media (and most often in many social media at once), e.g. on TikTok, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and they gathered an audience of a certain size there. The collection is therefore very extensive. It will also be the owner of a small YouTube channel on the history of computer games, a popular Twitter political warrior or a fashion blogger.
Influencers are most often divided in terms of the number of recipients they reach – from nano-influencers (around 1,000 subscribers), through micro-influencers (up to around 80,000-100,000), macrofinfluencers (around a million subscribers in the border) and large influencers (also known as megaifluencers), who offer to multi-million groups of fans. In fact, this division does not matter much, because in advertising cooperation on the Web it is not the coverage that usually plays the main role – but more on that later.
Influencer – that sounded proud
As with many internet-marketing phenomena, influencer inflation quickly appeared with the boom in this form of marketing. Encouraged by the fast and relatively low-energy profit, Internet users began to massively set up and expand their profiles in social media, YouTube channels and blogs. The absorptive market meant that even microscopic initiatives devoid of meaningful content were stormed by various companies in accordance with the principle that the brand should be everywhere. And it was not always an illogical solution. Small and very small influencers often establish cooperation on the basis of barter – in return for recommending a product to their community, they receive a free copy directly from the manufacturer. In this way, the company receives online exposure, paying for cooperation only with the product. Top influencers operate on completely different rates – In the world, leaders can receive up to several hundred thousand dollars for a single advertising post.
Above all, however, it should be remembered that the rumors about the death of influencer marketing are greatly exaggerated. It is easy to be malicious and point out the industry’s undoubtedly high concentration of absurdity. It’s easy to notice spectacular mishaps, budget burnout, galloping artificiality or mechanics in the style of “quickly before it reaches us that it makes no sense”. Despite all this, it cannot be denied that a well-executed influencer campaign can pay off for all parties to this transaction – the company increases brand awareness and sales, the influencer or influencer earn, and the community purchases products that meet their requirements.
Cooperation with an influencer – analysis above all
A popular form of brand-influencer cooperation is organizing a joint competition. Such an initiative can actually increase brand awareness, although experience clearly shows that people participating in competitions with specific prizes rarely buy these products later – if the campaign is aimed at increasing sales, then do not expect large increases.
A good idea to test the effectiveness of cooperation may be to provide the influencer with a code or password with which his community can obtain a discount on the advertiser’s products / services. This way, you can easily measure the actual effectiveness of the collaboration – the numbers don’t usually lie.
Choosing the right influencer for your campaign is a difficult task. There are many questions that need to be answered before starting cooperation. At the forefront of the peloton are some of the most important ones:
Does the influencer community fit the brand’s target group?
Every marketer knows that it is difficult to overestimate the importance of the right selection of a group of customers. Although it is highly probable that there will be single individuals, the community built around the fashion channel will not be broadly interested in marketing training, a new line of monitors or a series of toys for children. A parenting blog is generally not a very good place to advertise sports accessories, and technology fans will usually prefer products or services related to their interests, rather than tickets to a concert of the current teen idol.
There are, however, interesting “interspecies” collaborations between a brand and an influencer that seem to come from different worlds. The key to the success of such initiatives, however, is always a thorough analysis of the target groups – and what if, despite the apparent differences, you can find many common points?
Can an influencer engage his community?
When assessing the potential of influencer cooperation, many marketers take into account only the reach achieved by a given creator. Reach is a value… and a trap at the same time. The fact that the Internet personality reaches thousands of people will do little if the engagement rate remains very low. The ability to properly animate your fans is far more important than the reach itself – it is what really determines the profitability of cooperation. A real influencer influences the assembled community and his words do not hit the void.
In addition, there is the still quite common practice of buying followers or reactions to posts, as well as participation in “like 4 like” initiatives. Bots do not buy – the ranges built on such activities are completely worthless from the advertiser’s perspective and do not translate into real sales or image profit.
You have to bear in mind that usually as the number of subscribers increases, engagement percentages decrease. Firstly, this is due to the scale. The more followers, the less likely you are to reach everyone – and usually the first subscribers are more active and have a more intimate connection with the character. The second reason is social media algorithms. Large social media like Instagram limit the organic visibility of posts to force the profile owner to invest in advertising tools and build paid reach.
Remember also that the engagement rate can be easily increased by publishing a post calculated to cause cheap controversy and resulting in an avalanche of negative comments – the engagement rate then increases, but does it have a good impact on the effectiveness of potential advertising cooperation? Usually not.
Is there any potential for creative collaboration?
Another common disadvantage may be the overproduction of collaborations – if an influencer promotes new products on a “tape” basis, focusing on quantity and putting in the absolute minimum of effort, advertising your brand will probably not hurt anyone. And it will not help – it will simply disappear quickly in the flood of subsequent content, not bringing any profit, and as an advertiser you will be left with the invoice to be settled. In the face of ubiquitous marketing stimuli from every influencer’s side, for a message to break through tons of competing posts, videos or stories, it needs to be creative … or at least well planned and presented.
Will the influencer’s image hurt the brand?
Not all internet developers are reliable. Not all of them represent the values with which the brand identifies itself. Some influencers – even those from the media premier league or the first league – engage in cooperation, which is later reflected in image hiccups. We are talking here especially about advertising shady shops or products that do not meet the declared functions. The lack of selection of advertised brands is the most popular sin of digital celebrities – before establishing cooperation, a mandatory point is to carefully study the advertising history of a potential brand ambassador.
In addition to reliability, you need to take into account the creator’s Internet “look”. For a brand with the archetype of a guardian or a sage, cooperation with a controversial influencer who is famous for his vulgar language and numerous scandals may turn out to be a shot in the foot, even if KPIs temporarily increase. As always – it depends.
Separating the grains from the chaff
Is it worth cooperating with influencers in marketing activities? Yes of course. Working together with an influencer, a brand uses the reputation that a given creator has developed in a given field. Sometimes you don’t have to search the top of the popularity rankings. Each subject gathers true enthusiasts around them, and many of them are also able to “media” and are able to build, engage and influence the community. The influencer industry is neither a business paradise for the brand (as marketing enthusiasts define it) nor a minefield (as skeptics bitterly claim). The key – as always – is proper planning of the entire cooperation.