We’re living in an age where even your best friend’s cat identifies as an influencer.
Almost everyone is doing it on some scale. From micro influencers (yes, it’s a thing), to macro influencers (didn’t we leave that term in 2017?!) to public figures and full-blown celebrities, you can’t open Instagram without being “influenced”.
Influencer marketing divides the masses.
While some are rolling their eyes, others are counting significant spikes in sales.
The fact remains: it still works and isn’t going anywhere.
Today’s coveted demographic for advertisers (ages 16–35) probably can’t remember the last time they took action following a TV or radio ad.
Marketers are smarter. They’re inserting two-way communications in their audience’s favourite social channels and TV shows, straight from the mouths of their favourite influencers and celebrities.
So, what works and what doesn’t?
When can users see right through your attempt at “subtle” advertising and when are they reaching for their credit cards?
The answer largely comes down to what you say, and who says it. Do smaller personalities or major celebrities hold the most power for your brand?
Smaller Personalities & Their Mini Empires
Fashion eCommerce influencer marketing has become a billion dollar industry. And almost anyone can cash in.
So long as you’ve got the look, the voice and the following, you don’t have to be a famous figure to give value to brands.
But what is a micro influencer?
The definition of a micro influencer is still up for debate, though the current consensus seems to be anyone with less than 10,000 followers.
The most effective way to sell a product is through a referral, and micro influencers make money by doing just that.
As brand advocates trusted by their empire, micro influencers offer that “real person” voice and opinion.
Sure, they’re being paid for that opinion, but so what? As long as the message comes across as sincere and they’re advertising products their audience cares about, they could bring an incredible ROI for brands in every industry.
Considering 40% of Twitter users made a purchase following an influencer’s tweet, influencer marketing seems to be a worthwhile investment.
Micro Influencer, Massive Reward
Thinking about forking out half a million bucks to get David Beckham to wear your sunglasses and tell his fans to buy a pair?
Hold that thought. You may be able to score a phenomenal sales increase by using someone who’s right foot isn’t insured for $200 million.
There’s an argument that says micro influencers bring about superior results for some brands and that reaching out to non-celebrities is a move that could be packed with rewards.
If you want to join the party of businesses that are finding a non-famous face for their brand – well, you’re already late.
The key deciding factor for what makes a micro influencer? Influence. Not reach.
Imagine you had too many friends (woe is you). You wouldn’t have the time to give each friend the attention they wanted, so you’d lose some.
The same is true for Instagram stars. Studies have shown, when an account reaches 100,000 followers, engagement dips 20%.
Image source: Markerly
Micro influencers exert a hardcore passion for their niche. In the case of Erin (ex-Love Island Australia contestant) above, her niche is fashion and beauty. This passion is what drives authentic conversation and engagement with her followers.
That engagement leads to action. (Or sales, as any eCommerce brand would term it). 82% of people said they would be highly likely to trust the recommendation of a micro influencer.
Endorsements can feel forced, so much so that the recent introduction of the “paid partnership” disclaimer seems redundant.
Micro influencers have the “word-of-mouth” vibe celebrities don’t, and because they’re more relatable than say, Drake, we trust their recommendations will fit our own lifestyles.
As staged as photos can be, it’s easier to believe micro influencers actually use a particular protein bar after a workout, or drink a certain juice each morning.
That level of authenticity builds awareness around your brand, so next time someone wants to pick up a protein bar, they’ll think of picking up what they’ve seen work: the one their favourite influencer eats.
The price of a micro influencer marketing campaign is a tiny speck on the sum you’d pay for a celebrity endorsement.
So how much does a social media influencer cost? While there’s no scientific formula, it depends on factors like following, niche and engagement levels.
To maximise a campaign, a tip for any eCommerce fashion brand would be to do your research and select an influencer that’s well-respected in their niche. Do this right, and you could see a return of $6.85 for every $1 you spend.
The Power of A-list Backing
With so many micro influencers dedicating their social platforms to advocating brands, why do businesses still spend a fortune on celebrities?
Famous people are pickier about the brands they partner with, they cost more and they’re anything but relatable.
On the flip-side, they add value to a company an everyday person never could. For brand evolution via social media, enter celebrity influencers.
While micro influencers capitalise on current trends and smaller demographics, well-known celebrities are timeless. They create a long-term image for your brand that people don’t forget.
Though this can go wrong (think Kendall Jenner x Pepsi and cue a facepalm), your star of choice can project a certain image onto a brand and change the way the world thinks of them.
A Harvard study found that high-profile partnerships can result in a 4% annual sales increase.
A good match has legs and, while it may be more costly than working with a micro influencer, the reward is also greater.
Take George Clooney as an example.
His social media presence isn’t groundbreaking, but he’s well-suited as a representative for Nespresso.
When you want to get your product on show to as many people, as fast as you can, there’s no limit to the reach you could achieve when celebrities give you a mention on Instagram.
Selena Gomez tops the list with 133 million followers.
Nowadays, brands pay for eyes. Gomez became an ambassador for high-end designer label Coach, for an estimated $10 million (USD). In return, Coach saw a 50% year-on-year increase in social media followers, with posts featuring Selena performing particularly well.
What makes celebrities like Selena Gomez so attractive to larger brands? An immense social following, an association with high-end designer clothes and the maintenance of a squeaky-clean Disney image.
In September 2016, Vanity Fair reported that just one of Selena’s posts is worth around $550,000 USD.
Should You Invest in Fashion eCommerce Influencer Marketing?
If you’re in the business of online fashion, you’ve probably thought about engaging an influencer.
When done intelligently and by partnering with relevant figures, the potential return on investment from fashion eCommerce influencer marketing is… impressive.
Carefully consider your brand and your campaign. If your budget permits a collaboration with a celebrity, you’ll find that they work wonders for brand awareness. However, micro influencers are where people turn for product reviews because they usually feel they can trust and relate to these people more.
Consumers regularly make purchase decisions based on a recommendation from a micro influencer, which is great news for smaller eCommerce brands that don’t have the cash flow to spring for a celebrity. For businesses with a bulky budget, you have the freedom to explore what celebrities and micro influencers can do for your brand and, as long as the influencer fits the campaign, both can lead to a powerful outcome.