Influencer marketing is not an emerging trend anymore but a strategic part of companies' overall digital marketing budget.

While a decade ago, influencer marketing did not exist, the adoption of influencer marketing is rising fast and 93% of marketers use it today.

Ignoring the benefits of influencer marketing campaigns can spell doom for companies. But what is influencer marketing, and how can you develop an influencer marketing strategy that works?

What is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is a marketing strategy in which brands partner with social media influencers to promote their products and services.

Influencers have an engaged and large following on social media platforms due to their knowledge, expertise, or unique point of view. They typically share content with their followers on diverse social media platforms such as:

  • Podcasts
  • Online blogs on WordPress, Wix, or other online content management websites
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • TikTok
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Snapchat
  • Twitch

Brands benefit when they team up with an influencer to increase brand awareness, reach a new audience, and drive sales of a new product. Companies get organic exposure to their target audience when influencers share brand messaging on their social media accounts.

Social media influencer marketing

Social media influencer marketing is a marketing methodology in which brands partner with social media influencers to build meaningful customer relationships.

By working with influencers, brands can capture the attention of their ideal demographic and promote relevant and helpful content for them.

When Pantene partnered with Hollywood actress Jada Pinkett Smith, it allowed them to promote their message to Jada's 1.23 million Twitter followers.

Benefits of influencer marketing

The influencer marketing industry will surpass $16.4 billion in 2022. Around 68% of brands plan to increase their influencer marketing budgets in the coming years. Let's discover the potential benefits that companies can get from influencer marketing:

Build trust and credibility

Influencers build trust and credibility with their followers by sharing their knowledge and expertise on a specific topic. Followers engage with their content, get inspired, and respect their recommendations.

When the influencer posts brand messages on their social media accounts, they pass on the trust they have inculcated to the brand. 

When followers see the influencer promoting a specific product or service, they find it helpful, informative, and useful.

Boosts brand awareness

By partnering with influencers, brands can connect with their ideal target market online. They can expand brand reach while getting their product in front of an engaged audience.

Building such an engaged following would otherwise take immense time and resources.

Reach the right audience

Recent statistics say that 80% of advertising reaches the wrong audience. The majority of mid-sized and large organizations have advertising budgets from $400k to $2 million. That's a lot of dollars going down the drain.

Influencer marketing helps avoid this common mistake while saving time and money. Market identification and testing are not required, as influencers can share psychographic and demographic stats about their followers.

Grow business, traffic, and revenues

89% of marketers said that influencer marketing's return on investment (ROI) is better than or on par with other channels. Brands positively influence customers' purchase decisions by associating with influencers and their niche audiences.

They inspire the influencer's followers to take action, which can result in:

  • Driving website traffic
  • Increasing leads for a specific product
  • Getting sign-ups for a particular campaign
  • Obtaining early feedback on a new feature or product

How to develop an influencer marketing strategy

Every marketing tactic needs an intentional strategy for it to be implemented successfully. Use these steps to develop a winning influencer marketing strategy for your brand:

  1. Do your research: Identify the social media platform that your ideal audience frequents. Assess influencer fees considering the potential reach based on the nature of the industry. Decide whether you prefer engaging well-known celebrities or micro-influencers.
  2. Create a plan: Set up an influencer management strategy, timeline, and budget for the campaign. While ad strategies may be automated, influencer partnerships can call for higher monitoring and follow-up. See if you can manage it all in-house or need an influencer marketing agency.
  3. Determine brand goals and messaging: Zoom in on your brand goals. For example, do you wish to target women aged 18-25 or a male demographic from 30-55? Since influencers have very targeted audiences, it’s important to nail the exact audience attributes that fit the brand’s needs.
  4. Conduct influencer outreach: Deploy influencer marketing tools to see if your shortlisted influencers are legitimate, relevant, and have worked with similar brands. Then, reach out to those you feel will work well for your brand.
  5. Monitor, refine, and repeat: Tracking results becomes simple when you set identifiable influencer marketing KPIs. Identifiers include using a specific hashtag, an affiliate discount code, or tracking links to monitor direct results from influencer campaigns.
How to Develop an Influencer Marketing Strategy 2
Photo by Maddi Bazzocco on Unsplash

Tips on creating influencer marketing strategies

In 2022, companies make $5.78 from every dollar spent on influencer marketing. To maintain such an impressive ROI, consider these influencer marketing tips:

  • Plan and create an organized influencer marketing strategy with a budget and timelines.
  • Find influencers with an audience that matches your ideal target market, including your favored social media platform, age group, and demographic attributes.
  • Finalize how you will do influencer outreach — directly or by enlisting support from an influencer marketing agency.
  • Decide on an influencer campaign and goals that fit your mutually agreed schedules.
  • Monitor the progress of the influencer marketing campaign to keep it aligned with a product launch or promotion dates.

Trends in influencer marketing

If companies want to embrace influencer marketing, they'll need to be aware of the latest influencer marketing trends. So, let’s check out the influencer marketing trends that are expected to make waves in 2022:

  • Video marketing: Consumers prefer highly engaging audio-visual content. In 2022, video and podcast content is expected to grow, while sponsored posts are projected to dip.
  • CGI influencers: Computer-generated imagery (CGI) influencers are growing in popularity. Check out the widely popular CGI influencer Lil Miquela, who has three million Instagram followers and has partnered with Prada and Diesel.
  • Instagram influencer marketing: Apart from having $1.3 billion users, Instagram also has the most engaged audience. No wonder 29% of marketers spend their ad budget here. Influencers also prefer to utilize Instagram over other channels for their marketing campaigns.
  • YouTube influencer marketing: YouTube may be a passive experience, but it is the world's second most visited site. It also reaches a disproportionately high number of millennials and Generation Z and builds trust and credibility at scale.
  • TikTok influencer marketing: With a whopping 70% engagement rate and over one billion active users per month, marketers need to have a robust TikTok influencer marketing strategy. Brands can partner with TikTok creators to tap into niche communities, drive sales, and generate viral campaigns.
  • Influencer marketing tools: Many brands opt for an influencer marketing agency to partner with influencers, while others prefer doing it themselves. Influencer discovery platforms such as Upfluence reduce the time and resources required to seek out best-fit influencers for your brand.

Examples of successful influencer marketing campaigns 

Before launching your influencer marketing campaign, get inspired by these successful influencer marketing examples.

Amazon-owned Audible offers audiobooks to its listeners. It wanted to drive its monthly membership sign-ups and partnered with various influencers across gaming, film, animation, how-to, lifestyle, and entertainment. 

As a direct result of the campaign, Audible reached 132 million people and the video campaign gained 83 million views.

When Dunkin’ Donuts wanted to improve brand awareness on National Donut Day, they created a US-centric Snapchat campaign and made a special offer for the day. 

Eight Snapchat influencers took over the Dunkin’ Donuts Snapchat account for 24 hours across three different US time zones to connect with viewers and boost reach. The brand reached 3 million people and gained 10x more followers in a day than they usually did in a month.

How much does influencer marketing cost?

In 2022, companies worldwide will be investing $16.4 billion in influencer marketing. It is a great way to reach social media audiences for small, medium, and large brands.

However, how can companies find the right influencers without breaking the bank?

Influencer marketing costs differ based on the platform, business goals, influencer reach, industry, and posting frequency. Check out the factors that have an impact on influencer marketing costs:

  • Social media influencer follower count, reach, and engagement rates
  • Social media platforms used, such as Snapchat, TikTok, Instagram, or YouTube 
  • Frequency, nature, and type of social media content, such as image posts, long-form videos, short-form videos, product unboxing videos, testimonials, and more
  • Cross-promotion of social media content on other platforms
  • Influencer marketing fees (if a dedicated agency is retained)

How to find the best influencer marketing agency for you

Many brands find the entire process of influencer marketing time-consuming. For these companies, hiring an influencer marketing agency makes perfect sense. This is a brief list of ways an influencer marketing agency can help brands:

  • Identifying the right influencers that fit brand goals, budget, and overall strategy
  • Negotiating with and managing influencers on behalf of the brand
  • Supporting influencers and brands in content creation
  • Tracking influencer campaign performance with KPIs and analytics

Before choosing an influencer marketing agency, consider these tips:

  • Transparency should be present across their processes and pricing
  • They should have experience in managing influencer marketing campaigns in your industry
  • They can provide social proof, such as past client testimonials and positive word-of-mouth

How to plan your influencer marketing campaign with Wrike

When it comes to influencer marketing campaigns, maintaining balance is key. With multiple influencers and social media platforms to navigate, teams need great marketing project management software to deliver high-performing campaigns.

Wrike allows you to track digital campaigns to see if brand messages are resonating with the audience and influencer partnerships are going on smoothly.

Start a free Wrike trial to boost brand awareness, increase conversions, and successfully execute your influencer marketing campaigns.