In the past few years, social network algorithms have evolved at a fast pace and users are increasingly relying on more relatable, immediate word-of-mouth recommendations. This has directly led to a growing number of brands turning to influencer marketing to maximize the reach of their messaging. In 2018, this is set to grow even higher.
An influencer campaign is similar to sponsored content but unlike a pop-up ad there is a genuine human connection. From someone telling their friends and family members about a brand on Instagram to a YouTube personality with a large following sharing product reviews, influencer marketing is both prevalent and pertinent in today’s market.
When done in the right way, with the right objectives and proper planning, influencer marketing helps build consumer trust and ROI (Return On Investment). Here are five key categories of influencers to consider in your brand’s marketing strategy for 2018:
1. The Celebrities
These are the celebrity ambassadors such as actors, entertainers, or athletes, who become the public faces of the brand and star in advertising campaigns, attend events wearing the brand’s products (in the instance of designers, make up, accessories etc), or post images from their trips to a location owned by the brand (e.g A luxury hotel, restaurant, or gallery)
Examples of such are Waje for Airtel, Hugh Jackman for Montblanc, Serena Williams for Tampax
Celebrities tend to be the most expensive influencer category and working with them should be reserved for big campaigns and contracts. Celebrities, who already have a large following, are key to getting a large number of their following to view, talk about, and engage with your product, especially when they share it on their social platforms.
2. The Professionals
These are not the traditional definition of celebrities though they might have a large following of hundreds of thousands or more. They are the super bloggers and professional Instagrammers and the group most often referred to when someone says they want to work with an influencer. Some have a successful blog or YouTube account and may even have a team of experts to help with photo shoots and editing. Often spotted in the front row of events or acting as consultants for brands. Also in this category are the microbloggers, With fewer followers, but a niche range of influencer,‘microbloggers’ have significant prominence in certain sectors and have followers from 50k-100k or less.
Examples of people in this category are Ono Bello, Diary of a Single Naija Girl, Cup Of J
This is the most competitive field amongst the influencers and it’s best you aim for professionals with a high engagement rate, shared values and a platform that caters to the group you are trying to reach.
Read Also: Developing a Strong Personal Brand
3. The Media Players
These are the publications, writers, and journalists who curate content that often influences brand aficionados and consumers. Though some of them might have held sway over the print industry in the past, these individuals and media players have evolved with the times into the digital sphere, often having great social media followings too.
Examples include lifestyle publications like Ndani Lifestyle or more general news outlets with a dedicated journalist or section by industry, e.g This Day, Vanguard e.t.c
The most effective way to work with them is by inviting them to your key events, sharing press release information, offering exclusive interviews or behind-the-scenes content. This is like the traditional PR route but with an added layer of digital content and storytelling. There can be a great SEO benefit here, with backlinks and mentions of keywords too.
4. Your Customers
Your actual customers who have a genuine love for your brand, product or service can be your most effective influencers. According to a global report on consumer trust published by Olapic, almost 76% of regular social media users view user generated content as more trustworthy than ads, so a key category not to be missed. You can optimize this by regularly posting/re-posting your customers well-taken photos and testimonials. You can find this through consumers who tag you to pictures of them using your product/services or through a hashtag dedicated to your brand and your products. You can also take it a notch higher by inviting your loyal customers to learn more about the brand, giving them access to content, new products and behind the scene experiences.
5. The Creatives
These comprise of the artists, photographers, and artisans who are passionate about making great works but are in a field or expertise not similar to your brand’s. The value of your brand and theirs has to be similar in order to have a great work synergy, working with them is great for introducing their audience to your brand or for amplifying your own values to your audience.
Examples of these are the collaborations between TY Bello and certain Brands. The most effective way to work with them is through working on content or product co-creation or inviting them to an event to bring buzz or bring their expertise into your industry.