Influencers: Mega, Micro, Nano. What Next?
From start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, influencer marketing has become a trendy marketing channel for brand building and raising awareness. The industry is growing at a very rapid pace, and experts are estimating it to hit 10 billion dollars by 2020. Besides, almost 60% of marketers have increased their 2019 influencer marketing spending. Many brands view influencer marketing as one of the best ways of reaching their respective target audiences, thus a boost in their sales. However a massive 96% of consumers in the UK do not trust influencer content. Is brand advocacy at scale by mass-consumers the answer?
Unfortunately, not all businesses take enough time to establish if influencer marketing is really the best approach for them. It’s not uncommon to find a paying an influential social media personality thousands of dollars for a single promotional message post with little return. That’s quite pricey and a risky investment, considering the difficulties with calculating ROI from such campaigns.
Types of influencers
Influencers are grouped into three major categories: mega, micro and nano, depending on their number of followers on social media.
Mega influencers have the largest following globally. A mega influencer has a minimum of one million followers/subscribers on a social media platform. Therefore, they are are best when you are looking for global reach for your brand. World-known celebrities like Beyonce and Kyle Jenner are examples of mega influencers.
Although your promotional content through such influencers will reach a vast audience within a very short time, the approach might not be sufficiently effective for the establishment of a strong relationship with your customers. Such influencers attract less than 2% engagement from their audience. This is because the influencers don’t have real connections with their followers. Another downside is the cost involved. How much do you think you can pay Selena Gomez for a sponsored Instagram post? Be prepared to pay anything in the region of $800,000.
Micro-influencers form the largest group of social media influences. They are experts in specific topics and industries. Their mastery in their respective subjects enhances their credibility in the eyes of their audiences. As a result, the majority of their followers are very loyal to them. A micro influencer has anywhere between 5,000 to 100,000 followers. As a result he or she is able to maintain high audience engagement. Therefore, brands that want to promote their visibility in specific niches choose to work with such influencers.
Anyone with 3,000 to 5,000 followers has the option to identify herself as a Nano-influencer. Nano-influencers are the newest influencer type. Although they have minimal brand work experience and have the smallest number of followers compared to the other types, brands leverage on their high trust level to win the hearts of their followers. Nano influencers are the most trusted group of influencers by their followers because of their high engagement level with their audiences and their personal touch.
So what next?
As a marketer, it’s good to bear in mind that the most effective and effective word-of-mouth message is the one that comes from real experiences, and organic social media posts. But when money changes hands for someone to pass a message that’s intended to promote the funder, that seems like a business on its own. The authenticity and the trust then then rapidly falls for the creator.
It’s even more difficult for a mega influencer to convince her followers that what they are saying about a brand is true or just a marketing gimmick traded for money. But how can a brand encourage authentic advocacy at scale?
Advocacy at scale is the real deal
The main aim of your marketing efforts is not only to get people to know about your brand but to get them to know, trust and buy it. So, in as much as your influencer marketing is reaching a broad audience, there’s a lot more to be done to convince the audience that you’re the one to satisfy their needs. And the people who are best placed to convince your target customers are those well known to them. When it comes to trust, it’s mainly founded on real experiences that those expected to develop it can relate with. Such experiences come from the circles of friends and family. Crowdsourcing enough experience can therefore result in advocacy at scale.
For instance, seeing a car promo on a celebrity’s social media platform might not arouse your interest as compared to when a friend who’s used the same car model recommends it to you. Why? Because you trust the friend more than the celebrity. Besides knowing her in person, your friend has an experience that you can confirm and get convinced that the recommendation is genuine and worth your money. That brings us to advocacy marketing and the importance of building a loyal community of advocates.
Besides, people don’t share their experiences to promote a brand or to serve them. They don’t want to be influencers as such. They feel comfortable while sharing information that will help people who are close to them, not really to promote a brand. As such, brands should appreciate their customers for sharing their experiences. This is because it’s through word of mouth that they’ll be able to demonstrate their trustworthiness easily, and as a result, earn more loyal customers.
Therefore, advocacy and community marketing are more effective techniques than influencer marketing. The reach of each individual customer is much less compared to an influencer, but the engagement rate is 10x higher. Your brand will be into a winner if you can build a strong community of advocates to crowdsource assets and experiences on social media. This technique involves using existing customers to spread the word about a brand and its products.
Brands should focus more on using advocates drawn from their existing community of customers to create lasting and trustworthy relationships with their customers. You can use Pukket’s automated advocacy and community management platform to attract and retain your brand advocates.