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Influencer Marketing

What Is Influencer Marketing: A Definitive Guide for Beginners

These days, influencer campaigns can be seen literally everywhere. People love influencers and trust their opinions. Therefore, this form of marketing is trending these days and is proven to bring multiple benefits to businesses.

If you also want to get all the benefits of this method of promoting products and services but don’t know where to start, Belkins has you covered! After reading our guide, you will learn:

  • The definition of influencer marketing and influencers + types of influencers that are there;
  • How to craft a winning influencer marketing strategy;
  • Top tools that will help you take your influencer marketing campaign off the ground;
  • Top platforms that will connect your company with the right people for your influencer marketing campaigns.

Read on to find all the answers!

What Is Influencer Marketing?

With the rise of social networks, influencer marketing is now one of the most powerful and widely used ways to market products and services. But, what does it stand for?

In a nutshell, this type of marketing implies that a particular brand can team up with the right influencers to promote its products or services through branded content posted on the influencer’s channels. Such collaboration's core goals are to build brand awareness and boost sales. Simply put, it is a way for your business to receive social proof from someone whose opinions your prospects trust.

One of the first notable influencer marketing examples is a horror film campaign run through YouTube’s star influencer’s channel - PewDiePie, with (at that time) a 27 million subscriber base. The filmmakers of a movie called “As Above, So Below,” shot in the catacombs under Paris, turned to PewDiePie to help them pitch their film before its release. The influencer created a series of videos in which he went to the catacombs himself and underwent a number of challenges. As a result of this sponsored content, PewDiePie got high-quality material that his audience loved, and the movie’s trailer received twice as many views as expected.

This explains how influencer marketing works. However, it’s just one of the many influencer marketing examples. If we look at other ones, we can see that this form of marketing can be incredibly versatile. It can be applied to all industries or niches and come in different forms.

Today, influencer marketing is one of the leading marketing trends. But where did it all start?

The history of influencer marketing started with Ted Murphy. Murphy was the first one who came up with an idea to create a dedicated influencer marketing agency that would reach out to MySpace celebrities and offer them to share branded content with their audience for a promo code or gift card.

In 2006, Murphy also created the first platform that enabled brands to pay bloggers for sponsored content creation. So, that’s how it all started. However, it is worth noting that the concept of such marketing wasn’t quite new at that time.

This form of promotion has basically taken the idea behind celebrity endorsements and applied it to the modern world that revolves around social media. The key difference is that now brands pay not only to actual celebrities but to social influencers, who typically don’t consider themselves famous in an offline setting. And this brings us to the next term that must be defined.

Social Influencers Definition

Since influencer marketing spins around influencers, getting the social influencers' definition right is important too.

So, who are they? And what does a social media influencer do?

Briefly speaking, influencers are individuals who are niche content creators. They typically choose a specific niche for themselves and build their following by creating relevant and engaging content. And most importantly, influencers are those people who have the power to influence the ideas and purchasing decisions of others thanks to their following, authority, position, knowledge, or relationship with their audiences.

Influencer Types

Now that we’ve defined who social media influencers are, it is also worth mentioning that there are many different types of them.

For building an effective influencer marketing strategy, your brand must be able to identify influencers that match your goals and needs. Therefore, you must know what types of them are out there and how they differ.

Here’s a brief explanation:

  • Mega Influencers or Celebrity Influencers - These social media influencers are the ones with the most massive followings (one million and higher); thus, this category can include active celebrities on social networks.
  • Macro Influencers - Such influencers have between 500K and 1 million subscribers.
  • Mid-Tier Influencers - Those who have between 50K and 500K followers.
  • Micro-Influencers - This type of influencer involves people with 10K to 50K followers.
  • Nano Influencers - The largest group with the smallest number of followers (1K to 10K).

Knowing these categories and their differences will let you find influencers that match your budget and your influencer marketing strategy. Read on to learn how to create a sublime strategy for your influencer marketing campaigns.

How to Create a Winning Influencer Marketing Strategy

Now that you know what it’s all about, chances are that you are wondering how to craft an outstanding influencer marketing strategy. At this point, we must admit that influencer campaigns aren’t that easy to create. It takes lots of research and planning. But, if you are ready to get started with your influencer marketing campaign, below is a step-by-step guide that will help you with this:

1) Set Clear Goals

A good strategy is a goal-oriented strategy. Therefore, the first thing you should do when building your influencer marketing strategy is to identify your marketing goals.

Most often, the core goal of every influencer marketing campaign is to reach a larger number of potential customers, in other words, lead generation. Another core goal is to boost your engagement rate. And driving sales is actually the last goal because most influencer marketing campaigns focus on reaching a new target audience and not necessarily selling to it immediately.

In any case, take time to set clear and measurable goals for your strategy.

2) Identify Your Target Audience

The next stage in building your influencer marketing strategy is to identify your target audience. Your task is to create the right target audience personas that you want to reach with your influencer marketing campaign. Think about who these prospects are, where they are located, etc.

Defining this will help you find the right influencers whose following matches your target audience.

3) Create a Broader List of Suitable Bloggers

The next step in creating an influencer marketing strategy is making a list of potential bloggers you’d like to collaborate with.

There are many factors to consider. Namely, you should carefully research every influencer’s following base, engagement rate, and quality of content. You want to find a trusted blogger with loyal (and not fake) followers and who receives solid engagement on every Instagram post or publication on other social media platforms. These factors indicate an influencer’s ability to affect their audience’s decisions. And this is exactly what you are looking for.

Also, you should be very thoughtful about their niche. It should go in line with your industry and brand image. For example, if you plan to promote products in the nutrition and supplement category, you will want to look for a health and lifestyle blogger. For more ideas, study influencer marketing examples of different brands to see how your competitors matched their products to influencers’ niches.

4) Set Your Budget

An essential part of your influencer marketing strategy is its budget. By defining a specific budget for your influencer marketing campaign in advance, you will better understand which bloggers you can afford.

If your budget is broad, you can afford celebrity and mega influencers, which will undoubtedly help you reach many prospects. If your budget is restricted, you will probably want to stick with bloggers with a smaller following.

Once you set your budget, revise your initial list of bloggers, do some additional market research, and narrow down your options.

5) Connect With Chosen Bloggers

Finally, when you clearly understand who suits your influencer marketing strategy best, it’s time to reach out.

Suppose you don’t mind paying an additional agency fee. In that case, you can turn directly to a reputable influencer marketing company like Influencer Marketing Factory, which represents top-rated influencers and will be an intermediary in your collaboration. If that’s not an option, you can message the chosen blogger directly or use a special platform to connect with suitable influencers. Later in this article, we will give you some ideas on what platform you can use for this purpose.

6) Discuss the Terms and Create Content

The next stage requires discussing the terms of collaboration with the selected blogger and creating the right content. Here, everything gets down to your specific goals and needs.

Sometimes, a company can give bloggers total freedom in terms of content. In other cases, a blogger will create content together with the company to ensure that everything matches its vision.

7) Track and Measure the Results

Finally, just like any other marketing campaign, your influencer marketing campaigns need careful tracking and assessment of metrics. Keep an eye on the results you receive and don’t hesitate to make any amendments that will help to improve the outcomes, especially if it is a long-term collaboration.

Influencer Marketing Examples: Cost

As you now know, brand influencing is gaining momentum these days. By 2022, the total amount of money spent on influencer marketing campaigns has increased almost twice, from $2.42 to $4.14 billion. Given such large numbers, it is natural to start wondering how much such a campaign can cost you. So, let’s look at a few influencer marketing examples of the cost to see how expensive it is.

Now that you know that there are five different types of influencers, it should be easy to guess that the rates for influencer posts depend a lot on their follower count. For example, individuals from the Nano group are often willing to promote products or services for a barter, discount code, etc. However, those who have an extensive outreach will, of course, expect you to pay for the content they create for you.

Since the rates can vary, how can you know how much your influencer marketing campaign will cost?

Luckily, there is an unspoken industry standard that will help you calculate the estimated cost. Typically, it is assumed that brands should pay $100 per every 10,000 followers on the blogger’s accounts. As a rule, the price calculation formula looks like this:

$100 x 10K followers + extras = total rate

What is included in the “extras”? First and foremost, it provides for the type of content (video, post, stories, etc.) that an influencer creates for you and the amount of content they make. But that’s not all.

Here are a few other factors that can increase the cost of your influencer marketing campaign:

  1. If your brand wants to retain the usage rights for the created and published content;
  2. When you include an exclusivity clause and demand a particular influencer to work only with your brand;
  3. Cross-posting on different platforms;
  4. If a particular blogger has an audience that is pivotal for your industry, they can charge extra;
  5. Some bloggers are represented by an influencer marketing agency or a manager; in this case, you will have to cover agency fees;
  6. The duration of your influencer marketing campaign also affects the price;
  7. If you want the content creation to be quick, be ready to pay rush fees;
  8. If you want a blogger to place unique links to your website or promoted products in their bio, this is charged additionally;
  9. If a blogger feels like your brand doesn’t really go in line with their industry and audience, they can charge you additionally;
  10. Different production-related costs (such as hiring a location, photographer, etc.) can also increase costs.

So, this is how to calculate the budget of brand influencing. We have to say that it can be quite costly in some cases, especially if you hire a celebrity influencer. However, it is important to say that there are other payment structures too. Instead of paying a flat fee, you can consider other methods of compensation, for example, an affiliate or commission. Remember that not all influencers will be willing to collaborate on such terms. But, this often works with nano and micro-influencers, who generally have more flexible payment requirements.

Top 7 Influencer Marketing Tools

Now that you have all the knowledge to start building your strategy, you might be as well wondering how to make your campaigns seamless and stress-free. Luckily, plenty of tools can help you make the most of your efforts.

In this part of our guide, we will review some of the most powerful and trusted tools for planning, creating, and running winning influencer campaigns.

1 - Influencer Marketing Hub

Influencer Marketing Hub has everything you need to get started with your influencer campaign. On this website, you can discover a large collection of reports, stats, and helpful articles with expert tips that will help you develop effective data-driven marketing tactics.

Also, Influencer Marketing Hub can equip your company with the right services and platforms to make your influencer campaigns simpler yet effective. Finally, this hub is the perfect place to discover the right influencer marketing agency you can cooperate with. It reviews and ranks the most popular agencies, such as the Influencer Marketing Factory, and helps brands decide which agencies can suit their needs. And there is even more cool stuff at Influencer Marketing Hub, so you definitely should try it.

2 - Hootsuite

Another great tool that will come in handy for all marketers who deal with influencer and social media marketing is Hootsuite. Hootsuite search streams enable brands to monitor conversations related to their industry across different social media platforms and other channels and, thus, discover influencers that match their needs.

Then, after making a list of suitable social media influencers, marketers can also add them to a stream and track their content and engagement. By doing so, brands can identify which bloggers are the most relevant to their target audience and, thus, decide who they can collaborate with.

3 - Right Relevance Pro

Another fantastic service that will help you discover relevant bloggers is Right Relevance Pro. It is an app that allows marketers to research influencer content based on industry, topic, and location. With its help, you can track the quality of content and the engagement every blogger has and, based on this, identify the right bloggers for your influencer campaigns.

4 - Insense

If you need excellent content for your influencer marketing campaigns, Insense can be a great tool to try. It connects you with a vast pool of proven content creation experts who can craft custom branded content for your company, following your marketer's plan.

Companies can use Insense to obtain high-quality content for any kind of influencer campaign. The content you can request via this tool includes ads for different social media platforms, videos, blog post drafts, etc.

5 - Trufan

Every growing company wants to have a tool like Trufan. It can have multiple uses. First of all, it can help you discover and connect with nano and micro-influencers who can collaborate with you. But that’s not all.

Trufan is also used to help companies identify their biggest fans on social networks. These fans can be potentially used as your ambassadors to help grow awareness and increase sales.

6 - Fourstarzz Influencer Recommendation Engine

Fourstarzz is another app designed to help brands identify influencers for their campaigns. However, its functionality is much broader than that. Fourstarzz doesn’t just show you relevant recommendations. It also lets you calculate an influencer campaign's approximate engagement, reach, and other results. And it also helps marketers create effective campaign proposals.

7 - Facebook Brand Collabs Manager

Lastly, one more tool that marketers should bookmark is Facebook’s Collabs Manager. This tool helps companies discover a wealth of pre-screened social media influencers and content creators on Facebook and Instagram.

There are two significant benefits of this service. First of all, it is free of charge, which is great. But secondly, it only connects you with pre-screened and verified content creators. It means that it won’t connect you with scams or people who have fake followers.

Influencer Marketing Platforms

Finding and reaching out to the right bloggers directly can be difficult. That’s what influencer marketing platforms are there for.

Basically, they are designed to support influencer marketing. On these platforms, an influencer marketing agency or a specific company can quickly research potential influencers by the industry, engagement rate, the size of a loyal following, and other factors.

A trusted platform can power up your influencer marketing campaigns by letting you identify influencers that match your goals and connect with them quickly and easily. Here is a quick overview of some of the most trusted platforms to try:

  1. Aspire (previously AspireIQ)
  2. Grin
  4. Upfluence
  5. #paid
  6. Heepsy
  7. Klear
  8. Refersion
  9. NeoReach
  10. Influencity