A better return on investment and increased loyalty thanks to ultra-precise targeting: it is indeed social media influencer marketing!
This communication and promotion strategy is widely used by brands. These are gradually turning away from classic advertising, often considered misleading and distant, in favor of influencers. Others supplement their existing strategy with this method, which brings the end customer and the brand closer together.
Categories of influencers, marketing strategies and drifts, discover in this article the wonderful world of influence on social networks!
You can become an influencer on any social network. Of course, you have to consider the giant of the sector: Instagram. It is the most popular application (66.7%) by brands, to get in touch and collaborate with influencers (and vice versa).
Precisely, what does the activity of influencer cover within the framework of the implementation of an influence marketing strategy ?
Influencer marketing is based on the very principle… of influence. A brand and an Internet user with a social network begin a collaboration, paid or unpaid, the purpose of which is to promote a product, a service or the brand in general. These partnerships can be one-off or repeated, over a long period.
The influencer has a role in its own right in promoting a brand since it does not only transmit a predefined message. More often than not, it's a personal storytelling and sharing of the experience between the influencer and the product (or service, brand, etc.). It is this search for authenticity and proximity that makes influencer marketing so powerful.
For its part, and upstream, the brand does preliminary research on the most relevant influencer. Many criteria are taken into account:
- How many subscribers does he have?
- What is the average age of his community?
- Does it offer quality content?
- Does the tone of his page match the brand identity?
- Is it already affiliated with another brand?
But before discussing the types of influence strategy, it is necessary to know the typologies of influencers. We can distinguish 3 main categories , each with its specificities.
Is considered a “star”, an influencer whose account exceeds one million subscribers (the equivalent of the city of Bordeaux and its agglomeration). This huge community represents so many opportunities for a brand to become known.
There are 2 types of star influencers, depending on the origin of this notoriety:
- anonymous people who made themselves known through social networks
- personalities from sport, music, cinema, reality TV… followed on the networks by their fans
Some speak of fame more than influence. We then join the concept of celebrity marketing which uses this notoriety to sell.
Companies that partner with these star influencers have big marketing budgets. Indeed, the contracts that govern collaborations can reach several thousand euros for a single Instagram story, for example.
Below 1 million and up to 100,000 followers, they are considered macro influencers.
Between 20,000 and 100,000 subscribers, they are average influencers (or “mid-influencer”, it is immediately classier).
Mid-influencers are increasingly sought out for their proximity to their community . This is a real advantage when brands want to highlight a product. Indeed, the opinion and feedback of influencers will be taken more seriously. The return on investment is therefore very interesting.
At this level of influence, collaborations are not always financially rewarded. They can be concluded on the basis of gifts, which the influencer tests and then keeps. This operation is all the more advantageous for the brand!
Regarding macro-influencers, their contracts can allow them to make a living from it. Their profession therefore comes down to creating content and animating their community on a daily basis.
Between 5,000 and 20,000 subscribers, these are the micro-influencers. If the denomination evokes a restricted community, it is all the same very fascinating to animate it. Often, the activity of influencer allows an additional income but it is not necessarily possible to live from it.
Finally, nano-influencers have a number of followers of less than 5,000. This is the most common type of account.
Micro and nano influencers are a special category since they usually have a niche community . This means that their content, their universe and their personality correspond to a particular type of community.
Schematically, an account on social networks dedicated to knitting will be followed by fewer people than an account on make-up. On the other hand, the first account will have more active and involved subscribers in the community. It is possible to interact with the influencer more easily than if he has hundreds of thousands of followers.
A majority (84%) of Internet users trust word of mouth more than traditional advertising. Based on this observation, brands have seized the challenge and the opportunities around influencer marketing.
Then, as the craze for influencer marketing grew, the strategies evolved. In this ultra-competitive universe, brands must certainly differentiate themselves, but first find the influencer who best suits them.
Yet widely used on social networks, influencer advertising is not an influence strategy.
This relay of promotional information via a personality (more or less influential) corresponds to a traditional means of sale. In addition to being as inopportune as daily advertisements, this type of method borders on a lie for some.
Under cover of their role as ambassadors, influencers can highlight a brand but avoid proclaiming loud and clear that a post or story is sponsored. Especially if the service or product has nothing to do with their universe. (And that it is therefore a purely financial collaboration).
Problem: it is mandatory to indicate that content is sponsored, and it must be done visibly. It is the ARPP (Professional Advertising Regulatory Authority) that oversees the correct application of one of these control criteria.
To sum up, an influencer offering a promo code for a product, with an unnatural visual and recited text is not real influence marketing.
We discussed above the question of the choice of influencer. Indeed, you should not seek your notoriety at all costs, but rather target your community. It is the reflection of the influencer.
You also have to ask yourself about his past collaborations. Is this a common practice for him, implied: will he offer a coherent vision of the brand, according to the codes that govern this environment?
This upstream research work makes it possible to select the influencer who will enjoy collaborating with you, for a lasting relationship. Because it is also regularity that creates attachment and trust. If the influencer highlights a brand several times, it is because he endorses it; Internet users can therefore trust it.
This long-term collaboration can be established in stages: presentation of the brand at first, competition for the release of a new product, promo code for special occasions, etc. In addition to highlights, the influencer is free to highlight the brand of their own free will, and without prior contract.
This type of partnership implies for the brand to trust its influencer. She cannot control all the talk and reactions, both from the influencer but also from the community. It means exposing oneself to more candid judgments and feedback since each of the actors in this collaboration feels more free to express themselves. Another reason not to neglect research and discussions upstream before concluding the contract.
As part of a long-term collaboration, a brand can invite its influencer(s) to develop their own product. It is therefore a partnership that goes beyond the very closed circle of social networks, and which extends to physical stores for example.
It is increasingly common for influencers to co-create clothes, or even lines or collections. This is the case of Léna Situation with Jennyfer in 2019. This type of partnership works very well because the followers materialize their interest in the influencer through a purchase. It is no longer just a question of consuming a third-party brand, we are getting a new piece, from an individual who until now was only accessible via social networks.
While many influencers value relationships of trust with brands, promoting only products they believe in, others see influencer marketing on social media as a quick and easy way to make money. .
As long as a collaboration is remunerated, can we consider that the approach is totally honest?
The question of trust on social networks
This is both the critical spirit of the follower but also the responsibility of the influencer. It is all the easier to fool an individual if he trusts us. This trusted trio system between brand, influencer and community can be used for purely monetary purposes. And therein lies the limit of this marketing model.
Beyond a breach of trust which, in the end, “only” calls into question the integrity of the influencer, there are totally fraudulent practices.
A widespread practice in e-commerce, dropshipping consists of offering products held by a wholesaler on your own site. The reseller therefore does not have physical stocks and does not take care of delivery to the end customer either. It only serves as an intermediary in the transaction.
The particularity of this method: the prices displayed on the reseller site seem extremely low compared to the initial price. The consumer therefore thinks he is getting a very good deal!
This fraudulent system is all the more devastating as it is relayed by influencers. Again, the question of trust comes into play, especially if the influencer is mainly followed by young Internet users. The latter will be seduced by the low prices and convinced by the apparent benevolence of the influencer who gives them a good deal.
Influencers highlight products that may not be recommended for certain audiences.
Whether it is a purely financial promotion or a sincere but ill-suited promotion, they can endanger Internet users. Again, if the followers trust the influencer, they will not necessarily find it necessary to inquire about the product considering that any danger would have been reported.
All of the excesses of influence marketing on social networks are the direct consequence of the very principle of this model: proximity and trust. It is the responsibility of brands to learn about the past practices of influencers on social networks.
Influencer marketing on social networks is a vast field, evolving every day and whose contours are still quite vague today. This is why some authorities are trying to regulate and contract this emerging practice.
One thing is certain, this marketing strategy has a bright future ahead of it.