Brands everywhere are expanding their social media strategies to include the latest trend of influencer marketing, but what exactly is influencer marketing and why has it become such a powerful- and popular- tool?
Before you invest your marketing budget into influencer marketing, there are a few things to consider to make the most of this potentially powerful channel.
We explore 6 top tips for beauty and skincare brands to consider before creating a top-performing influencer marketing strategy.
Why more beauty brands are investing in their social media strategy
As an industry in 2021, skincare advertising costs-per-click (CPC) grew by nearly 4% during 2020 and has continued to grow thanks to increasing competition. With more competition online within the industry, it means brands have to get more creative with their marketing strategies to help those all-important conversions.
Influencer marketing has fast become one of the more natural ways for brands to communicate directly with their audiences within channels they’re familiar with. This directly impacts the ROI from campaigns and as more social channels make it easier to create sponsored posts, it’s no surprise influencer marketing has become popular.
In fact, stats indicate nearly 90% of businesses who have used influencer marketing in 2020 reported their ROI outperforming other marketing channels they’ve previously tried. 84% of businesses said influencer marketing had a better return than any other channel.
Social platforms have also recognised this change in marketing approach, adapting the way brands can advertise on their channels. TikTok and Instagram have recently introduced e-commerce and affiliate links directly on posts and in stories and Amazon is creating online shops with influencer-recommended products.
In addition to increased revenue, influencer marketing also helps brands:
- Build deeper connections with audiences as brands know and recognise what they want and who they like/follow/engage with
- Increases product consideration- influencers are typically respected and ‘influential’ in their consumer habits, helping to actively encourage their own audiences
- Drive sales as the follower network are influenced by people they follow/ interact with
Whether your brand has never tried influencer marketing, or you want to improve the performance of your existing campaign, we’ve got 6 tips to help make the most of your marketing budgets.
#1 Evaluate your audiences- and influencers- before partnering up
If you’re considering investing in influencer marketing it’s important to evaluate your own audiences and the current activities on your own social channels so you can pair up with a popular influencer on the same platform. You’ll probably already know which channel performs best for your brand and what your audiences are most likely to interact with, so find an influencer who has a strong presence on your preferred channel.
Once you’ve found an influencer that would compliment your brand, look at their following on the channel- are they regularly interacting and engaging with audiences that are similar to yours?
With 8- 10 million fake accounts being challenged every week on YouTube alone, fake profiles are a very real threat to brands and their budgets. As you’re investing budget into this activity, it’s really important to check their audience is authentic and you’re likely to get a solid ROI.
Some key points to consider before investing in influencer marketing is:
Are their audiences authentic? Do the number of followers they have match up with the general engagement they receive
Do they get a lot of engagement on certain types of posts- if so, what format works best?
Does it align with your content format or will it be an experiment for your brand to try Instagram reels, for example?
#2 Choose the right influencer advertising strategy for your brand for a seamless campaign experience
Once you’ve decided on the right social channel, you’ll need to choose the right influencer strategy for your campaign as this will shape the message you want to be communicated. From the format of your ads to the copy you use, combining the right messaging with the right format will have a significant impact on the outcome of your marketing.
When it comes to choosing the format of posts on social channels, brands have a few options including:
Paid posts– A quick and easy post that can be tracked easily directly within the platform you’re using such as Facebook and Instagram. Paid posts are labeled as such on the channel so consumers are aware the influencer is in a paid agreement and will typically have a link to the product to help users click through. Tracking that URL is imperative for understanding the overall performance of your campaign so make sure your brand shares the right URL with the influencer.
Ambassadors- Who is in a long-term paid agreement to collaborate and share with brands when they feel. This fits in well with beauty and skincare brands as there are a lot of influencers within this space already, meaning audiences will be quicker to trust an influencer. Ambassadors typically commit to several posts or product sharing over a period of time so their audiences don’t tire of seeing the same messages.
Affiliate posts- When influencers share a product or post and get a % of sales when their followers click through or buy products. Affiliate posts are another good way for brands to directly measure how many sales come in as a result of influencer marketing. Influencers typically use customised discount codes to help brands recognise how many new customers they’ve brought through their adverts which helps build ongoing relationships between brands and influencers too.
Organic posting or promotion- When influencers share their experience with a brand organically. This is one of the most lucrative forms of influencer marketing as it doesn’t cost brands anything initially but they potentially benefit from the exposure amongst new audiences. Brands that can gain this level of promotion should also look to track or measure engagement from the influencers post as there could be further potential for collaborating.
#3 Think about the type of content you create and where to publish based on how your audience engages with your brand
The crux of a top-performing campaign is how well the content performs, so it’s best to collaborate with the influencer you’re working with. If they’re confident in their video editing and the evidence is there on their feed, let them get creative.
Marketing stats from 2020 show the most popular content format for sponsored influencer marketing posts was on Instagram, with 85% of paid influencer posts being on Instagram stories.
It’s important to recognise the right kind of post that resonates most with your potential customers as well as being led by the stats. Instagram has been ranked #1 for the most important channel for influencer marketing, followed by YouTube, so if you’re using either of these channels make sure your content meets their guidelines.
Do your research- do your audiences respond better to Insta-stories, Facebook posts, reels or TikTok videos? If you’ve never tried reels, for example, it might be best to leave them out of the campaign or take the lead from the influencer as they’re likely to have a preferred format.
#4 Choose influencers that compliment your brand and speak directly to your audiences (and set your brands boundaries)
According to the American discount site, Save my Cents, 61% of businesses admit to having issues finding relevant influencers for their brand but choosing the right representative on social media is really important to the success of your campaign.
Think about your audiences and what they’re likely to be interested in outside of your product or brand. Consider their demographics and research the types of influencers they’re likely to already follow as it’s easier to market to people who already trust the person you’ve chosen to represent your brand.
If budgets are tight, bear in mind micro-influencers with around 10,000 followers or less charge between £100-£1000 for a post so if the influencer you’ve reached out to is charging more consider finding someone who can meet your budget expectations. According to market research, businesses typically spent 25% of their annual marketing budgets on influencer marketing in 2020, so if you’re thinking about how to divide your budgets, this is a good base to use.
#5 Use incentives such as offers or discounts for cost-savvy consumers
We all love a bargain and as search for terms like ‘discount codes’ and ‘sales’ grew in 2020 by 39% consistently across the quarters, it’s clear consumers are shopping smarter than before.
Offering discounts or perks like free delivery is a great way to introduce your brand to new customers which is part of the strategy when using influencer marketing, as consumers are more likely to convert if they feel there is a deal to be had!
Combining a great influencer with a discount code or offer will not only help your audiences convert but your brand will be able to directly track just how many users convert via the influencer’s posts. Tailored hashtags and discount codes are a great way to measure your campaign accurately, as well as using campaign trackers on the URLs that are shared- which leads us to tracking your campaign.
[H3] #6 Track your campaign closely and cleverly [/H3]
One of the most important parts of any marketing campaign is the reporting which is as valuable as the data you collect. Accurate data collection is one of the main weak points for many brands who are either unaware or don’t have the right KPI’s, data tracking or simply haven’t set measurable goals.
Set some tangible goals before your campaign goes live so you can measure the performance of using influencer marketing. Some general KPI’s to use when your campaign is running could be:
The engagement– how many views, likes, shares and comments your sponsored posts get- how does this perform to your normal engagement levels? Brand awareness is generally measured through impressions, reach and engagement metrics and they’re key for any marketing campaign. Make note of the typical engagement vs. your sponsored posts and make comparisons.
The social reach– has your audience grown in following since the campaign started? Have your impressions or subscribers increased too? Make a note of these figures before your campaign starts so you can measure the performance of your campaign from a more holistic view too
The lead generation/ sales– how many direct sales or leads came directly from their sponsored posts, measured accurately using campaign builders like Google’s free tool.
By setting out some good key performance indicators for your brand before the campaign kicks off, you’ll stand a better chance of understanding its true success.
Become familiar with analytics platforms too like Google Analytics which is a free data tracking tool. Social platforms will also have in-platform analytics you can use from a business account to help understand your performance within the channel.