Influencer marketing might have changed considerably over the years but still continues to bring excellent results for marketers in most industries. That’s because influencer marketing gives you many business advantages that put you ahead of other marketers. In 2023, it’s not just about “selling your wares” or winning the favor of a big celebrity influencer.
Rather, influencer marketing is an excellent long-term marketing strategy that not only promises scalable sales but helps your brand establish unshakeable credibility in your niche. As social media continues to evolve, there are many tools at our disposal and strategies that make influencer marketing work for you.
75% of marketers use influencer marketing. And interestingly, a lot of marketers are now focusing on micro-influencers (with 100,000 followers or less) instead of targeting big celebrities. Micro-influencers are known to have a highly-engaged niche audience. Earning their trust and having them promote your products or services can not only help generate serious sales but also raise long-term brand awareness.
However, this is only sustainable if you’re reaching out to micro-influencers in big numbers. This could become difficult because it’s extremely tedious to contact that many influencers and keep track of your campaign performances without automation. And that’s where Influencer Marketing Automation comes in. Let’s talk about what influencer marketing looks like in 2023 and what you can do to scale it through automation.
What’s Influencer Marketing in 2023?
Modern influencer marketing is a mix of old and new strategies. The goal is still to place content on content-driven platforms through celebrity endorsement. However, the key element of a successful influencer marketing campaign is that the final piece of content is a collaboration between the influencer and the brand. Instead of targeting big pools of audiences, the micro-influencer marketing method is used to build credibility among niche audiences. The key to success is how you pick your influencers.
What’s a Modern Influencer?
A modern influencer is different from a viral celebrity. Viral celebrities don’t particularly specialize in any niche but have a lot of followers. They are usually paid to endorse a brand without needing to specialize in or serve as an opinion leader in that particular niche. They can be used to raise brand awareness, however, they’re not always a reliable solution to establishing yourself as a credible authority in your industry. Influencers, on the other hand, are not someone you can just “pay to say good things about you”.
They are those highly-niche experts who have an established rapport and reputation among your target audiences. These people might not necessarily be considered “famous” in real life. However, their opinion has extreme value to their followers. They might not have a huge follower-base (most micro-influencers have less than 100,000 followers) but their content usually gets a lot of engagement.
An influencer is anyone who:
- Has power to affect or “influence” purchase decisions of their audiences due to their authority or strong well-known opinion in the community.
- Has a following in a particular niche. The size of the following depends on the popularity of a niche.
The ability to influence is not only limited to video content creators or big celebrities. Influencers can be anywhere. Anyone from someone who runs a successful Twitter thread, to a LinkedIn column writer to an active blogger. Identify these influencers by looking at how much engagement they get in the community. They have spent time and effort into building their reputation by producing regular content and their opinion is valued.
Which is why in many cases, highly-engaging influencers don’t necessarily produce content for the sake of “winning sponsors” but rather to educate and to serve as an authority figure in their niche. And to get these influencers to promote your brand, you have to convince them of your actual value proposition and the benefits you present to their community.
The Content Marketing Mindset
The key to getting the most value out of influencer deals is by always looking towards building long-term credibility in your niche. Just like Content Marketing, the purpose of every influencer deal should be to create content that delivers extreme value to your target niche. And when you do it in collaboration with an already-established authority figure, you attach yourself to an influential name, making your brand synonymous to the particular problem you solve or service you offer. In addition, influencer marketing helps you to clearly design your brand’s voice and content. Especially when you’re starting out writing content plans and ideas, think of marketing to the influencers instead.
Remember; these influencers are the prime authority figures in their niche. If you’re able to produce content that resonates with them, you will earn their favor and it will become easier to collaborate with them. This might even cause them to be more inclined to collaborate with you if your services and content offer real value to their followers. And the best part is that it’s very easy to determine what kind of content might resonate with these influencers – all of their information is public and you already know what they like or dislike.
Just consume their content to learn more about them! You can’t say the same for your target audiences unless you’ve been marketing in the niche for a really long time. These influencers have worked hard to build a loyal group of followers who trust their opinion. And they will not agree to a collaboration until they know that your brand’s values and content resonate to their own. So in short, by marketing to your influencers you essentially develop ways to get a deeper understanding of your niche. If your content shares the values of the influencer, you are likely to get the attention of their audiences as well.
Scalability Through Automation
Now, there are many tools out there that can be used to put your micro (or macro) influencer marketing campaigns on autopilot. Before you start looking for influencers on social media, make sure you’ve set the foundations right by following the tips above. Get a clear understanding of your influencer persona. Do that by studying the top authority figures in detail and building a content plan that would resonate with them. Finally, use an influencer marketing tool to automate the process of discovery, outreach, content creation and tracking.
Use an influencer search engine like Paysenger to start cataloging influencers of authority in your target industry. You can do that easily from inside the tool. Remember; you need to take into consideration the platforms on which the influencers publish their content (and have established an authority).
Any particular niche could have many different influencers who have a following on multiple different platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, YouTube or blogging. This is bad for automation because influencers are spread all over the internet and you need to track them in one place. By using a tool like Paysenger, you can search for influencers on different platforms specializing in a particular niche. This is what the process looks like on Paysenger:
- Find an influencer by using the search tool
- Check out their portfolio
- View their price and offering
- Send a paid message if you need more information
With paid messaging, Paysenger allows you to connect with influencers in real-time. It’s generally super hard to connect with influencers on platforms like Instagram (or via email) because these people get spammed on a daily basis and your message will simply get lost in the noise. Paid direct messaging on Paysenger allows you to immediately get their attention by paying for their time. You can have a real-time conversation with them and sort out sponsorship deals much faster.
Almost 60% of marketers use influencers for content creation because it’s quicker, cheaper and much more effective. A platform like Paysenger also makes it simple to request content from influencers. Once you have found an influencer that you’d like to work with, simply go to their profile, view their pricing and then:
- Tap on one of their offers (for example, Video Post)
- Describe your content requirements in detail
- Pay and send a request to collaborate
- You will get notified once the influencer fulfills your request
Moreover, Paysenger’s technology enables both you and the influencer to claim joint ownership of the content. Both you and the influencer jointly own the content because you paid for it and they created it. The platform readily mints content into NFTs to secure ownership of every party involved.
The performance of your influencer campaigns can only be measured once you have a clear set of goals. After that, always look at the entire campaign instead of individual collaborations. In the beginning of your influencer marketing campaigns, you might be able to track their performance using spreadsheets. However, as you start scaling your business, you will need to use an influencer marketing platform to keep track of all campaigns in one place.
Upfluence, for example, is a great tool that not only lets you find influencers but also track the performance of your campaigns. The key performance indicators (KPIs) you need to track depend on your goals. Here are some KPIs that you should be wary of:
For brand awareness
If your goal is to primarily grow your brand awareness, you need to see how much people interact with your brand and how they react to your content.
- Followers: If you’re getting more followers from your influencer marketing campaigns, then it’s a good sign that the campaigns are working. Monitor your follower growth rate before and after you launched influencer marketing.
- Branded hashtags: Use your branded hashtag in influencer campaigns. This will not only allow you to track growth in brand awareness but also allow people to generate word-of-mouth content using your hashtag.
- Growth in engagement: If people are engaging to your content, it means people are becoming more aware of your brand. People are less likely to interact with brands they don’t know of.
Conversion rates tell you how much of your ads are turning into sign ups, clicks or purchases.
- Click-through-rate: The CTR tells how many people click on your ads to go to the next stage on your funnel. This can easily be tracked using platforms like Upfluence or using analytics on Meta Ad Manager. If you want to track CTRs on your own (without a platform), then use trackable links for people to click.
- Affiliate links: Offer discount or personal affiliate links to influencers. Brands usually offer special discounts to people who make purchases through an influencer they love. This is a great way to track conversion rates.
For more examples on which KPIs to use, read this article.
Importance of Using an Influencer Platform
The biggest time-wasting aspect of running an influencer campaign is the process of reaching out to influencers and ordering content. You have very little control over how long the influencer takes to respond to you. Depending on the size of the influencer, you might have to send many messages and follow up constantly to close the deal. In addition, you have to have multiple sessions of back-and-forth communication to ask for pricing, more details, other requirements and so on until you’re ready to pull the trigger. That’s why a platform like Paysenger is essential to run your influencer campaigns much more efficiently.
On this social marketplace, you can easily filter through the noise and send a paid message to immediately get an influencer’s attention. In addition, the platform has a built-in interface that allows you to simply click and order content without any back-and-forth communication. Join Paysenger’s social marketplace to send paid requests to influencers, purchase content, reach out to celebrities and get the attention of anyone online. Monetize content, run social campaigns and launch full hashtag challenges as well.