Influencer marketing has become a popular marketing strategy in recent years, with businesses of all sizes utilizing social media influencers to promote their brand and reach new audiences. This blog post will explore influencer marketing, why it has become so popular, and how businesses can plan and execute effective campaigns.
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing involves partnering with individuals with a large following on social media platforms, such as Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok, to promote a brand or product to their audience. These influencers are experts or personalities in a particular industry, and their followers trust and value their opinions and recommendations.
The growing popularity of influencer marketing
Influencer marketing grows increasingly popular as people rely on social media to find information or entertainment. Influencers are useful in helping a brand grow and connect with its audience, as they can increase brand awareness or traffic every time they share the brand’s product or service with their followers. Consumers also tend to believe in a brand’s authenticity if they learn about it through an influencer.
For example, Jollibee, a fast-food brand with a small presence in Malaysia, aimed to expand its reach among local Gen Z and young Millennials through a strategic influencer marketing campaign. The campaign included collaboration with well-established food influencers to increase brand credibility and awareness, while micro-influencers, everyday consumers with loyal followings, generated buzz and personalized content. A total of 35 influencers were engaged, including 15 macro-influencers and 20 micro-influencers, resulting in an average engagement rate of 6.83%. The campaign focused on sharing the Jollibee experience through high-value content development, including behind-the-scenes peeks and authentic, in-the-moment experiences. A community-driven social media contest encouraged user-generated content, further strengthening the Jollibee community. This campaign resulted in 122 shared influencer posts, resulting in an average engagement rate of 12.34% and significant growth across Jollibee’s social media platforms.
Another great example would be AIA Singapore’s campaigns, where they successfully implemented innovative influencer marketing campaigns that outshined their competitors. The first campaign, launched in mid-2021, introduced the AIA Absolute Critical Cover (ASCC), addressing the increasing concern among Singaporeans about critical illnesses. According to the AIA Health Matters Survey 2021, nearly 60% of respondents expressed growing worries about the burden of critical illness, a 10% increase from 2016. Given the timing of the COVID-19 pandemic, this makes sense, of course.
Despite the high importance placed on being adequately covered, the Life Insurance Association of Singapore (LIA) reported that Singaporeans and Permanent Residents had an 80% critical illness protection gap. AIA used social media platforms to engage the community effectively, particularly TikTok, collaborating with popular influencers like Benjamin Kheng, who created a catchy jingle called “Scared What Scared” to promote ASCC. The campaign achieved impressive results, with Benjamin Kheng’s video garnering over 400,000 views and reaching 2.6 million impressions and 1.7 million people. Additionally, AIA partnered with Tosh Zhang and Wang Lei, generating over 1.5 million and 700,000 views for their respective videos.
Why is influencer marketing effective?
Influencer marketing is effective for several reasons. Firstly, influencer marketing leverages the concept of social proof, which suggests that people are more likely to trust and follow the actions of others. According to a survey by Hubspot, half of the millennial population trust product recommendations made by influencers. Meanwhile, in the past three months, one-third of Gen Z individuals have purchased a product based on an influencer’s recommendation.
Whenever an influencer promotes a brand, their followers see it as a trusted recommendation, which helps in terms of brand awareness and sales. This is especially true if a community perceives an influencer as a trusted voice of authority in their respective fields. For example, consumers are more likely to buy a new makeup product if a famous beauty guru reviews it on social media. This is useful for more niche or new businesses looking to enter the market with services that may need more knowledge to fully understand and appreciate.
Secondly, influencers often have a relatable and authentic approach, making it easier for their followers to connect with the brand personally. Many influencers share personal stories, opinions, and experiences with their followers, which helps to humanize the brand and create an emotional connection. This can increase brand loyalty and advocacy, as followers feel a sense of ownership and connection with the brand.
Planning an influencer marketing campaign
A survey that revealed that 82% of brands reported receiving higher quality leads through this form of marketing compared to other types of campaigns showcases how effective influencer marketing can be. This statistic underscores the importance of businesses leveraging influencer marketing to achieve their marketing goals. However, running an effective influencer marketing campaign requires careful planning and consideration of various factors.
One crucial step in establishing a successful influencer marketing campaign is defining clear and measurable goals and objectives. By doing so, businesses can clearly understand what they aim to achieve and track their progress throughout the campaign. Common goals for influencer marketing campaigns include increasing brand awareness, driving website traffic, and boosting sales. By setting quantifiable objectives, businesses can effectively measure the success of their campaign and make informed decisions based on the results.
Once businesses identify their goals, they must carefully consider their target audience and select influencers who can effectively reach and engage with this demographic. It is crucial to find influencers whose values align with the brand’s values and who have a following that resonates with the target audience. This alignment helps create authenticity and credibility, enhancing the effectiveness of the influencer marketing campaign. Thorough research and analysis of an influencer’s audience demographics, engagement rates, and content quality are essential in the selection process.
Moreover, determining the most appropriate platforms and content formats is another vital aspect of an influencer marketing campaign. Different social media platforms offer unique advantages and attract diverse user demographics. Understanding the target audience’s preferences and behavior on different platforms enables businesses to choose the most suitable channels for their campaign. Similarly, considering the content formats that best resonate with the target audience, such as videos, images, or blog posts, ensures that the campaign effectively captures their attention and generates engagement.
Tailoring the influencer marketing campaign to the target audience is crucial for maximizing its impact and achieving desired outcomes. Businesses can effectively reach and engage with their target audience by selecting the right influencers, leveraging the appropriate platforms, and utilizing compelling content formats. This personalized approach increases the chances of building brand awareness, driving website traffic, and boosting sales.
Collaborating with influencers
Approaching influencers and negotiating partnerships can be daunting for businesses venturing into influencer marketing. However, following certain steps and strategies can increase their chances of successful collaborations. Here are some ways to get started:
Thorough research of potential influencers
Businesses need to conduct comprehensive research before reaching out to influencers. They should explore various social media platforms and identify influencers who align with their brand’s values, target audience, and niche. Additionally, analyzing influencers’ engagement rates, such as likes, comments, and shares, can provide insights into the level of audience interaction and the potential impact of partnering with them.
Establishing alignment with brand values
When considering influencers, businesses must ensure that these individuals resonate with their brand’s values and image. Partnering with influencers who genuinely support and believe in the brand’s mission will make the collaboration more authentic and effective. By aligning values, businesses can leverage the influencer’s credibility and trust among their followers.
Building strong relationships
Successful influencer marketing goes beyond mere transactions; it involves cultivating strong relationships with influencers. Businesses should strive to establish a genuine connection with influencers by communicating openly and effectively. Regularly engaging with influencers and showing interest in their work helps build trust and rapport. This can involve liking and commenting on their posts, sharing content, or sending personalized messages to express appreciation.
Crafting resonant content
To maximize the impact of influencer partnerships, businesses should collaborate closely with influencers to create content that resonates with their audience. Influencers understand their followers best, so giving them creative control over the content can produce more authentic and engaging material. However, providing guidelines or briefs can help align the content with the brand’s messaging and objectives.
Long-term relationships and brand ambassadors
Businesses should aim to foster long-term relationships with influencers instead of focusing solely on one-off collaborations. According to a survey by Aspire, 50% of brands recognize the value of such relationships and turn influencers into brand ambassadors. By nurturing these relationships, businesses can tap into the influencer’s loyal audience over an extended period, generating ongoing exposure and trust.
Incentives for influencers
Businesses can incentivize influencers through various means to establish mutually beneficial relationships. A common practice is offering a commission on sales generated through their promotions or providing a flat fee for their services. Additionally, businesses can provide influencers exclusive access to products, services, or events, allowing them to create authentic and personalized content that resonates with their audience.
Ethics and disclosure
In influencer marketing, transparency and ethical practices have emerged as crucial factors in establishing consumer trust and credibility. This is especially true when it comes to disclosing sponsored content or partnerships. Local regulations have been implemented in countries like Malaysia and Singapore to ensure that influencers and businesses adhere to these guidelines. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in severe consequences such as hefty fines, loss of credibility, and a damaged reputation.
However, the significance of complying with these regulations extends beyond mere avoidance of penalties. It directly contributes to an influencer marketing campaign’s overall credibility and trustworthiness. When consumers are made aware that a post is sponsored, they are more likely to trust the information provided by the influencer. This transparency empowers consumers to make informed decisions about the advertised products or services, thereby benefiting both the business and the consumer.
Influencers and businesses can forge a strong and trustworthy relationship with their audience by prioritizing transparency and ethical practices in their marketing campaigns. Influencers’ disclosure of their partnerships and sponsored content demonstrates their commitment to openness and honesty. This fosters a sense of authenticity and reliability, encouraging consumers to engage with the influencer and the brand.
Moreover, ethical practices in influencer marketing involve more than just transparent disclosures. It includes promoting products or services that align with the influencer’s values and the interests of their audience. Ethical influencers strive to maintain the integrity of their content by ensuring that the products they endorse are of high quality and genuinely beneficial to their followers. This approach establishes a sense of authenticity and integrity, enhancing the influencer’s reputation and fostering long-term loyalty from their audience.
Furthermore, ethical practices in influencer marketing also extend to the way influencers interact with their followers. Genuine engagement, responsiveness, and respect for the audience’s opinions and feedback contribute to establishing a positive and ethical influencer-consumer relationship. Influencers who value their audience’s trust and prioritize their needs are more likely to succeed in the long run and build a loyal following.
In a nutshell, influencer marketing is a very effective way for businesses to market their brand, increase website traffic and sales, and reach their target audience. Businesses can use influencer marketing to their advantage by fully understanding the power of influencers, planning strategic campaigns, partnering up with suitable influencers, and sticking to ethical practices. If you are a business owner in Singapore, partnering up with a reputable Singapore PR agency can be crucial to your marketing campaign success in the Singapore market.