Brands often use celebrities in their Super Bowl ads because they want to connect their products or services to the fans and followers of these high-profile people.
They’re willing to pay $6.5 million for 30 seconds for an ad to make that connection. Paid influencer marketing can do something similar for B2C and B2B brands that want to reach a big audience without spending millions.
I’ll discuss effective paid influencer marketing strategies, including leveraging influencers to connect with your target audience, generating more leads and sales, and capitalizing on the latest trends.
Influencer marketing involves a business working with someone (i.e., an influencer) who has an audience – usually on social media – the company wants to reach. In most cases, the influencer is compensated for posting on social media to help the company sell a product or represent its brand. Some prefer to partner with affiliate links, earning a commission on each sale. Other influencers will want a one-time fee or ongoing sponsorship fee. Some, often those with smaller followings, will accept free products or services as compensation.
Brands want to work through influencers because followers are 92% more likely to trust what they say than they would a traditional advertisement or celebrity endorsement. That trust among the influencer, audience, and your brand can strengthen lead generation and conversion rates.
Now, let’s look at five examples of paid influencer marketing strategies.
1. Find influencers with audiences relevant to your brand
Social media is your first stop. Use applications like TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter.
IKEA uses influencers to infiltrate new markets quite effectively considering the company’s international growth. For example, they teamed up with Drew Scott who built the Lone Fox influencer brand, which started as a YouTube channel that now has over 1.5 million subscribers. Lone Fox specializes in home decor, specifically hand-made design elements.
In this video, Lone Fox uses IKEA furniture, as well as furniture sold by other brands, to create custom pieces.
TIP: Given his blend of furniture sources, it’s obvious IKEA gives its influencers the freedom to create without strict content control by the brand.
2. Focus on ongoing partnerships
Too often, companies treat an influencer partnership as a one-time deal. They launch a product or service and pay an influencer to review or post about the product once who never speaks about it again. It might result in a spike in sales for a few days, but views and conversions likely will drop quickly.
Online discounter Jomashop has a long-term influencer marketing strategy. It partners with influencers to sell its watches, sunglasses, perfumes, and other luxury brand products. In the last few years, they partnered up with Ashland Kirtland of Gents Scents, a macro influencer with over 280,000 followers on his YouTube channel. He starts some of his videos by offering a discount code for Jomashop. Ashland gets a percentage of sales using that code (i.e., affiliate marketing).
Jomashop also features a Gents Scents page on its site, as shown in this image featuring a billboard image connecting to the influencer – “Top Picks From Gents Scents as seen on YouTube” – followed by 21 fragrances available for purchase.
Bloggers are influencers, too. They can work especially well for B2B companies wanting to create online authority. Similar to influencers on social media, blogger influencers write about the partnered brand’s services or products. They may add them to listicles, reviews, and even daily blog articles.
Adam Enfroy draws an audience interested in his online marketing-focused content. Having him include your brand in his content could get your company good exposure. In this article, Adam details the best social media management tools in 2022, but it’s the disclosure lower on the page that indicates he’s a paid influencer. (All influencer relationships must be disclosed publicly in the content.)
As Adam explains in the disclosure, he may earn a commission on products purchased through some of the links on the site. Affiliate marketing is a frequent form of compensation in paid influencer marketing.
Blogger influencer marketing tends to happen in one of two ways:
The brand approaches the blogger to offer a paid deal if it’s added to a listicle or review-type article.
The blogger writes the listicle or review and then approaches the mentioned companies to do a deal.
The blogger is compensated with a percentage of sales earned through the included link (affiliate marketing), a one-time payment, or a free product.
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4. Create an experience around your brand
An influencer flaunting your new service or product won’t be enough to differentiate your brand in social marketing’s sea of noise. Instead, team up with the influencer to use your product.
Sparkling water brand LaCroix partnered with Julie Ertz, who has almost 1M followers on Instagram, to show off her mixology skills using its product.
5. Collaborate with influencers with small audiences
LaCroix hasn’t limited its influencer marketing to those with big audiences. It promotes micro-influencers — those with less than 1,000 followers – with a post-publishing compensation strategy. When micro-influencers tag them in their posts, LaCroix sends them vouchers for free products. That strategy can encourage the influencer to continue posting about LaCroix.
The company also uses the micro-influencers’ content in its social feeds. In this Instagram post, LaCroix Water shares an image from Cole Pomrenke, who is flying a plane while holding a can of LaCroix’s limoncello flavor.
With a paid influencer marketing strategy, return on investment becomes even more important to understand. To optimize ROI for your paid influencer marketing strategies, you should:
Set goals for your influencer marketing strategy.
Choose key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure those goals, such as revenue vs. conversions or page views vs. impressions.
Outline individual goals and detail success metrics in each paid influencer marketing agreement.
Evaluate your investment against the results individually and overall.
Paid influencer marketing can be an excellent component of your overall marketing strategy that can help your brand, whether B2B or B2C. It can be a great way to build trust among your clients and customers, as well as get the word out to people you might not reach otherwise.
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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute
Cynthia Ramsaran is director of custom content at Third Door Media, publishers of Search Engine Land and MarTech. A multi-channel storyteller with over two decades of editorial/content marketing experience, Cynthia’s expertise spans the marketing, technology, finance, manufacturing and gaming industries. She was a writer/producer for CNBC.com and produced thought leadership for KPMG. Cynthia hails from Queens, NY and earned her Bachelor’s and MBA from St. John’s University.