Influencer marketing is a powerful method of connecting with your target audience, and for companies of all sizes, influencers can help achieve targets for user acquisition, brand awareness and reputation. Marketers also recognize the potential of this marketing method, with 65 percent of influencer marketing budgets increasing this year and 17 percent of companies spending more than half their marketing budget on influencers. In this guide, we’ll be sharing best practices for social media influencer marketing for ecommerce, mobile gaming and lifestyle apps.
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is the practice of collaborating with someone who has a considerable online presence, leveraging their influence to achieve your marketing goals. The ways in which companies work with influencers will depend on their campaign goals, their target audience and the scale of an influencer’s following.
Social media influencers can be anyone with a significant online following, often built as a result of their expertise and online persona. However, influencer marketing isn’t all about followers: you’ll also need to consider engagement statistics when choosing which influencers are worth your ad spend.
Three essential questions when spending on influencer marketing:
1. Who is your target audience?
This is a critical step that will inform every aspect of your influencer marketing strategy. Your target audience will determine which influencers are relevant to your campaigns and the best-suited social media channels. For example, B2B companies may want to work with thought leaders on Linkedin to target industry professionals, while a mobile game targeting younger audiences may prefer influencers using YouTube and Twitch.
2. Which regions do you want to target?
Identifying this will determine the influencers you work with and how much you are willing to spend.
3. How will you find and communicate with influencers?
Once marketers know who they want to target and their primary goals for their campaigns, the next step is to find a shortlist of influencers that are most suitable for their marketing objectives. In addition to your own team’s knowledge of the industry and further market research, onlines tools such as Hootsuite and Buzzsumo can also help you discover social media influencers.
How can influencer marketing drive growth?
Influencer marketing can drive conversions and improve brand reputation because users are responsive to authentic, transparent content. By working with an influencer, you connect with their audience through a trusted voice. In fact, CEO of Broadsuite Media Group, Daniel Newman, believes that “Influencers may be marketing’s next ‘golden goose,’ as people no longer trust ads, but they do trust people”. Research from Tomoson, a software company focused on influencer and micro-influencer outreach, supports this statement. The company’s study shows that brands are making $6.50 for every $1 spent on influencers, and the best performing 13 percent of those brands earned at least $20.
How B2B influencer marketing differs
When using influencer marketing to promote your app, you should be aware that the impact of your campaigns may take longer than for B2C companies. This is because the purchasing decision can be far longer and more involved, at a higher cost. Unlike B2C transactions, B2B investments often require more than one stakeholder to agree on the purchase.
B2B marketers also need to be aware of potential conflicts when working with influencers. You’ll need to ensure you know which companies influencers have previously collaborated with and whether any professional obligations conflict with taking payment from your company.
Best practices for influencer marketing on social media
1. Encourage influencers to be creative
While it’s natural for marketers to want their own input on their influencer’s content, being too prescriptive can diminish the authenticity of the campaign. Influencers have built a large, active community because they understand what works on their platform and have an authoritative voice or expertise. When working with influencers, ensure that you use their talents to your advantage by giving them opportunities to channel their creativity and – most importantly – be themselves. With this in mind, a positive trait to look out for when communicating with influencers is their interest in your product. It’s a good sign if an influencer is taking the time to get to understand the details of your product so that they can create effective content on their social media channels.
2. Be consistent with your marketing approach and values
Follow count is an important factor when choosing who to work with, but you should also look for influencers who create content that aligns with your company values. Looking through an influencer’s social media channels and looking at previous examples of sponsored content, and how it was received by their followers, is a smart way to set expectations.
3. Test and optimize your influencer marketing strategy
Just like with every other marketing strategy, it’s essential to measure the results of your influencer marketing efforts. This will help you to learn the best ways to attract new users, the type of content that made a positive impact on your brand image and how your influencer marketing has raised brand awareness.
Influencer marketing per vertical
Marketers can work with influencers in different ways depending on the nature of their app. With examples for each vertical, we’ve shared a breakdown of how ecommerce, mobile games and lifestyle apps can leverage influencer marketing.
Fashion and ecommerce influencer marketing
Product placement: Marketers can pay influencers to wear and display products as a paid advertisement on their social media channels. For example, fashion influencer Chiara Ferragni – who has an Instagram following of over 22 million followers – can be seen here sharing product placement for MooRER coat jackets. In this scenario, it’s essential - and a legal obligation - for influencers to be transparent when their posts are sponsored in this way.
You can also work with influencers to post competitions. This is a form of paid product placement that directs users to a call to action that benefits your brand. For example, users who follow your account, install your app or sign up to your newsletter will then be entered into a competition to win some of your products.
Free products and reviews: Brands can also send influencers products and gift cards, so they can be featured on the influencer’s social media channels. This is a cost effective marketing method that can generate authentic exposure for your brand. However, marketers will have no control over the content that is shared.
Collaborative content: If you have an ecommerce website and blog, you can work with influencers to generate exclusive content such as look books, articles, and videos. This content can then be shared on social media by the brand and influencer. When negotiating with influencers, note that collaborative content can be mutually beneficial: not only will their followers be directed to your app, but your audience will also be exposed to the influencer across several channels. For example, fashion brand ASOS collaborated with Leigh-Anne Pinnock, Co-founder of luxury bikini and swimwear brand In'A'SeaShell, by sharing a blog interview and an Instagram Live Q&A.
In addition to co-founding the luxury brand, Pinnock is a member of British pop group Little Mix and has 6.2 million followers on Instagram. The Instagram Live Q&A, which was hosted on ASOS’ account, used the tool to connect Pinnock with fans who could ask her questions directly.
Lifestyle app influencer marketing
Lifestyle apps cover several different topics such as fitness and health, dating, music, food and travel. Regardless of a lifestyle app’s niche market, there will be influencers with a considerable audience that marketers can work with to promote their brand. Here are five ways you can work with influencers to promote a lifestyle app.
Social media takeovers: This requires you to give an influencer control over your social media channels for a set period. For example, if you have a food & drinks app, you may want to give your Instagram account to an influencer chef for the day. That influencer can then share a step-by-step Instagram Story sharing how to make one of their recipes. Takeovers can be a great way to get original content and encourage an influencer’s fanbase to follow your account. The same principal can be applied to your website and blog. Guest posts can be shared across an influencer’s social media channels.
Discount codes: Lifestyle apps can drive installs by offering discount codes and promotional deals. For example, recipe delivery app HelloFresh offered Rauljvallejo’s followers $90 off five orders with a unique code.
Gaming influencer marketing
Sponsored streams: Live streams are a core component of gamer culture that can be leveraged by marketers to gain exposure and drive installs. Marketers can pay influencers for a live stream of their gameplay. This is an effective way of sharing your gaming experience with an influencer’s audience.
A sponsored live stream can also be a good starting point for identifying influencers who may be effective brand ambassadors. This is a long-term marketing method that helps you win over an influencer’s fanbase.
Freebies: Just like fashion apps, mobile games can offer goods in exchange for exposure. For gaming apps, this could be a free subscription service or in-game currency, ensuring the influencer gets the best possible user experience for your game.
Gamer events: Marketers can also recruit influencers to take part in online events and tournaments to promote their app. For example, YouTube and Twitch streamer Cupquake took part in a special event to promote Disney Emoji Blitz, a mobile game developed by Jam City, Inc. The campaign also gives users an opportunity to win an in-game character.