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The influencer marketing industry is expected to grow to $16.4 billion in 2022—a sign that this marketing strategy isn’t going away any time soon.
In addition, 61% of consumers are likely to trust recommendations from an influencer over the brand itself. Working with influencers helps you reach a much wider audience—after all, the brand Zara was the most mentioned brand on Instagram due to their influencer efforts, reaching over 2 billion people.
However, you likely already know how influencer marketing can help your brand. The question is if your brand is ready to dive into influencer marketing.
We’re going to walk through five major signs that you’re ready to hop on your first influencer marketing campaign and cover three brands that have done an amazing job with their influencer campaigns.
So you’re considering incorporating influencer marketing into your marketing strategy, but you need to know if it’ll work for your brand.
There are five main indicators that you can look into to help decide whether or not your brand is ready to start working with influencers.
A successful influencer marketing campaign means that your brand will be placed in front of an entirely new audience, leading to new sales and customers. If your infrastructure isn’t able to accommodate those new orders, you need to address that first.
For example, if you’re still managing the complete order process solo—from order to product creation to fulfillment—an influencer marketing campaign might bring in more sales than you’re prepared for.
And being unable to handle an influx of new customers could cause some serious damage to your business’s reputation. Delayed order fulfillment, being unable to keep up with customer service requests, and potential mistakes when fulfilling orders are all real dangers that can happen if your business gets overwhelmed. The last thing we’d want is for bad reviews to come in about the customer experience before your influencer marketing channel even gets to take off.
Before you start reaching out to influencers, take an audit of your business’s internal processes, especially when it comes to order fulfillment. Make sure you have enough staff to manage an increase in orders and that your team knows when your influencer campaigns go live so they can adequately forecast sales.
This might seem obvious, but you’re not likely to get many influencer partners—or many sales from the partnership—if you don’t have a good product.
But more than that, you need to have a good product that stands up to scrutiny. If you’re starting to put your product out there via influencer campaigns, you’ll get a lot more eyes on your brand. This opens the door to more scrutiny and more feedback.
This means you need a solid product that can stand up to any potential negative comments your brand might receive.
You also want to make sure you have a high-quality product that influencers actually want to promote. While working with brands is how influencers generate income, they still want to make sure they’re only providing legitimate recommendations, or their followers will start to doubt their authenticity.
Start by validating your product and only reach out to influencers once you’ve built an established customer base that has provided stellar reviews and feedback for your product.
Social proof is a psychological concept that means people are more interested in something (like a product or service) when they see others using/buying/doing it first. And influencer marketing is a great way to build up that social proof and increase trust in your customers.
Other well-known forms of social proof include:
But influencer marketing is one of the biggest as well. If your business requires that extra level of trust (as so many ecommerce brands do), influencer marketing is going to be a great option for growing your customer base even more.
Nycole Kelly, VP of Client Strategy at Outloud Group shared, “We work with a lot of brands who have optimized their paid social and SEM programs to the max and are looking for the next source of growth. Influencers provide an efficient way to increase reach to a new audience and also drive efficient customer acquisition.”
Many industries are becoming saturated, with competition popping up everywhere you look. We’re talking about vying for the same attention from potential customers, competing for high-volume keywords that rank well, and trying to top each other with better products. If you notice this happening in your industry, influencer marketing is a great way to stand out from the crowd. And in fact, it might be one of the only ways to stand out.
Instead of relying on customers to believe you when you say you’re the best option (because spoiler alert, they won’t), you can work with influencers who can do that for you—and be much more trustworthy when they do.
According to Nycole, influencers also work really great for “disrupter” brands, especially DTC. Those emerging brands don’t typically have the budgets to compete with the “big brands” in traditional media like TV and influencers are a space where they can win and really own the share of voice with a large, engaged audience at a very reasonable price.
Keep in mind that brands that aren’t in competitive industries can still see great results from influencer marketing. But if you’ve noticed that there are a lot of competitors out there, getting in front of new audiences is key.
The last sign that your brand is ready for influencer marketing is that you’ve already pinpointed relevant influencers that would make sense for your brand to work with. Finding the right influencers is a big part of getting started because you can’t work with just anyone.
We’ll look at an example to show you what we mean. Let’s say Burger King is looking to start partnering with influencers to promote a new menu item. They’re not going to reach out to health and fitness influencers as a part of this promo.
Because health and fitness influencers tend to promote healthy lifestyles, (a) they likely wouldn’t say yes to a Burger King (or any fast food) promo and (b) their followers would probably be pretty confused if they did.
Instead, Burger King would need to partner with general lifestyle influencers or food bloggers as a way to reach an audience that might be interested in their new menu item.
One great tip that Nycole shared with us was that YouTube influencers in particular work really well for high consideration or complex brands. “YouTube creators have such strong connections to their audience and can explain nuanced products in a way their audience understands and trusts. That trust between the creator and their audience can be that much more meaningful the larger the purchase or commitment.”
Once you’ve found influencers that align with your target audience and would be likely to say yes to a partnership, you’re ready to start your outreach and plan sponsored content together.
If you’re new to influencer marketing for your own brand, it can be helpful to get inspiration from other brands’ influencer campaigns. Here are three brands that put together successful influencer marketing campaigns that you can take reference from.
With over 100 million subscribers, YouTuber PewDiePie has consistently had one of the most subscribed-to channels. So to say the Swedish gamer is popular is an understatement.
This is why it was such a great idea for G FUEL to collaborate with him by creating their own PewDiePie line in 2019.
And this collaboration has been an ongoing one. In 2021, G FUEL released "Yuzu Slash” being the second flavor that G FUEL and PewDiePie co-developed and launched.
With PewDiePie likely getting a cut of each purchase, he’s incentivized to promote the energy formula in his videos and on his social media. This gives a bigger presence to G FUEL while being mutually beneficial to both parties.
TULA Skincare was on a mission to build confidence and promote body positivity after learning that the average person has negative thoughts about themselves 19 times a day. So they created a campaign with fashion and beauty influencers like Tess Holliday, Tennille Murphy, Nyma Tang, Chizi Duru, and Weylie Hoang.
These influencers create a diverse group of body shapes and sizes, as well as skin issues they’ve experienced in the past. As a part of this collaboration, each influencer created their own #EmbraceYourSkin kit, ideal for dealing with some of those skin issues.
While the kits are no longer available, this collaboration helped launch their #EmbraceYourSkin movement, where they focus on skin diversity and inclusivity, as well as body positivity.
Bespoke Post is a monthly subscription box that shares unique products with each of its customers. As they branched out and tested new marketing channels, they found success with YouTube influencer marketing.
With a subscription model like Bespoke Post has, unboxing videos—a popular YouTube video type—make for the perfect influencer collaboration.
Take a look at this video example:
To ramp up its influencer marketing strategy, Bespoke Post worked with the agency Outloud Group, and through that partnership, the company has generated 17.4 million YouTube video views and has been able to reach all of their marketing goals.
Is your business ready for influencer marketing? The next step is to find the right influencers, reach out to them, and start discussing your partnership. Just make sure that you more or less have the confidence hitting the five criteria we discussed earlier before you get started.
Here are some articles related to influencer marketing that we think might be useful in your journey: