Influencer marketing raises several questions: Not only what is it, but is it still a thing?
Henny Mohenyi Maruapula adamantly affirms the second part. After all, he makes his livelihood in the trade. Through his business, he specializes in social media marketing and management, brand awareness, event logistics, influencing and public relations strategies.
“Influencer marketing is a form of marketing that focuses on influential people rather than the target market,” Maruapula said. “It identifies the individuals who have influence over potential customers and orchestrates marketing activities around these influencers.
“The content of influencer marketing may be framed as testimonial advertising where the influencers play the role of potential buyers themselves,” he said.
Influencer return on investment — known as ROI — can be attained in many ways.
“The most realistic is getting more traction and people talking about and using the product marketed by the influencer,” Maruapula said. “Another ROI is increase in sales or revenue and more penetration of the marketed product.
“Credibility, assurance and customer satisfaction about the marketed product or service can be ROI, based purely on the influencer’s expertise,” he said. “It is paramount to pick influencers who best suit the campaign and have the right people following or engaging with them.”
In short, the right target market equals quicker ROI.
Reach is an important metric in influencer marketing, depending on varied factors, according to Maruapula:
- Market Reach — the number of people an individual has the ability to connect with.
- Independence — whether an influencer has a vested interest in promoting a particular point of view.
- Frequency of Impact — the number of opportunities an individual has to influence buying decisions.
- Expertise — how much of a subject matter expert is the influencer?
- Persuasiveness — the degree of consequence in ignoring an influencer’s advice.
- Thoroughness of Role — the extent to which influence is exerted across the decision life cycle.
“Reach is important, but these key aspects are equally critical,” Maruapula said. “True but sad, most companies don’t bother to look for these criteria or check if a particular influencer ticks all the right boxes. They just check for reach and then bypass the other checkpoints.
“You can reach 100 people and only one person buys, but reach 10 people and three buy,” he said. “See how the one with less reach can make more impact and more sales percentage-wise. Think about it.”
Success of influencer marketing campaigns can be both tangible and non-tangible.
“It’s tangible in the sense that you can readily touch and see money coming in — if its product — or non-tangible — especially if it’s a service or brand awareness,” Maruapula said. “In this case, success could be having more inquiries about the service.
“Success also can be post-marketing,” he said. “This might be more talk on media platforms after the campaign. Thus, the influencer marketing campaign would have created a long-lasting effect in the minds of people.”
When looking for influencers, Maruapula recommended these categories:
- Activists: Influencers get involved with their communities, political movements, charities and so on.
- Connected: Influencers have large social networks.
- Authoritative: Influencers are looked up to and trusted by others.
- Active minds: Influencers have multiple and diverse interests.
- Trendsetters: Influencers tend to be early adopters — or leavers — in markets So, the companies have to choose wisely for specific campaigns.
With those in mind, Maruapula defines these main types of influencers:
- Educators — Thrive on helpfulness and insightfulness.
- Coaches — Thrive on helpfulness and engagement.
- Entertainers — Thrive on engagement and inspiration.
- Charismatics — Thrive on insightfulness and inspiration.
“Influencers should deliver a change in attitude toward the client’s brand or product,” Maruapula said. “The change of the attitude from the potential customer or client takes place based on the content influencers produce.
“There is a model referred to as RACE, which stands for reach, act, convert and engage,” he said. “These steps are designed to help brands engage with their customers throughout the customer lifecycle.”
- Reach: Find the available influencer and access the information distribution channel such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
- Act: Encourage participation by creating a secondary marketing campaign to generate greater awareness to reach a larger scale of target consumers. Encourage target customers to share their opinions on social media to participate in the subject.
- Convert: Influencers should convert their followers into customers of the product. After forming the understanding of the product, make a purchase decision. Influencer marketing is believed to be a powerful tool to generate sales.
- Engage: Building customer relationships is the key point. Influencers should turn the first-time customer into a loyal customer of the product.