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Influencer Marketing – The Silver Bullet

Last updated:
9th Oct, 2017
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Influencer Marketing – The Silver Bullet

Anyone who can exercise some influence can be called an Influencer, and Influencer Marketing is based on that premise.
We all understand the basic, human truth –

We value opinions of people we trust.

Recently, in one meeting with a large Influencer Marketing Agency, I wanted to know what they tell their clients…
They were quick, ‘The list of Influencers and their reach, interest, background, tone etc.’ I heard them out and asked them, ‘What else?’ They continued, ‘We brief them well, talk about the brand etc’. I said, Great. ‘What else?’ They looked around. Reassuringly continued further, ‘We also give them the ‘possible things’ to say. We don’t give them content to simply cut and paste, we are different.’ As the lead communicator took a sip of water I, as expressionless as before, thanked him for the great revelation, looked around and asked one more time, ‘What else..?’ Pin-drop silence. They now looked at me and said ‘What else..?’ It was my turn.

They looked around. Reassuringly continued further, ‘We also give them the ‘possible things’ to say. We don’t give them content to simply cut and paste, we are different.’ As the lead communicator took a sip of water I, as expressionless as before, thanked him for the great revelation, looked around and asked one more time, ‘What else..?’ Pin-drop silence. They now looked at me and said ‘What else..?’ It was my turn.

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I asked them three questions:
One, how many times have you used data? Data in terms of algorithm-based analytics, which can deeply convey the ‘nature’ of your influencer’s influence and convince your client all about the science, the influencer’s brand affinities, interests and so on and so forth.

Second, do you boldly dwell into the return on investment? For instance, how will it drive sales?
Thirdly, do you treat it like a campaign, developing a campaign strategy with a build up, an idea, the extensions, and amplifications leading to the KPIs?

I added one more, bonus question. How are you comparing your Influencer campaign with the clients’ other, currently running and traditional digital campaign; i.e. KPI to KPI?

Whether for budget-strapped start-ups or developed brands, Influencer Marketing is turning out to be a key element in the Digital Marketing mix. There are times it has delivered 10x returns! A brand called ‘Shoes of Prey’ tied up with a beauty blogger (vlogger) to enable a 300% increase in sales.

Some Influencer Marketing observations

Earned Media Value

It’s important to talk about the earned media that the Influencer campaign generated. Provide examples where it has resulted in ‘incremental sales’ when regular consumers were engaged with Influencer content for a corresponding test period.


Tie-in the Influencer campaign with a great offer or deal. This usually works wonders. Walmart clubbed both together and got a 45% increase in redemption. Another brand saw 30% increase in footfalls in their retail shop when measured before and after.


Don’t become obsessive about Influencers. Look for the more impactful Micro-Influencers. Sometimes, they can be better and more useful to you and your brand, than larger Influencers. It’s also not always required that you go with Influencers from the same industry. Influencers could be from an unrelated industry, as long as the connection is made and obvious to your user. An SUV model by Buick picked Pinterest influencers to create a unique proposition, rather than picking automotive influencers.

Influencer Marketing – The Silver Bullet UpGrad Blog


Social listening tells you who is talking about your brand and is happy with your product or service. Think of Fans, Super Fans, Micro-Influencers, General Influencers, Influential followers and so on. Another great discussion I had recently was about identifying influencers who are going to be big soon and bonding with them or developing long-term relationships to reap benefits in the future.

Campaign Mindset

There are several great examples of brands getting Influencer marketing right. Please don’t just scribble down a list and rush into it. Conceive it like a campaign, think before and after and build it through and through.

SAP used Influencer Marketing to sell its B2B conference. It got some influencers to create a video, which worked out really well for them. Another retailer got 50 Instagrammers to wear the same dress to promote the product itself as well as the brand.
Here are a few things to remember:

  1. Combine the Creativity, Storytelling, and Uniqueness of each channel and leverage what technology can enable.
  2. Instagram isn’t the only platform to use.
  3. Pleasantly surprise the audience with the choice of your Influencer. Refer to the ‘Got Milk’ campaign; nobody expected the influencers that were chosen to be chosen.
  4. Use both scientific thinking and creativity.

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Follow the ROARS Formula:

R (Research Research Research – this is the most important part) +O (Objectives, very sharply defined) + A (Alignment with the audience, brand) + R (Right influencer – Study their reach and engagement) + S (Scope for creativity, strong content and freedom to the Influencer to build authenticity).

Remember Influencer marketing will lead to advocacy, sales, buzz, SEO and everything else that comes with it. Whether your consumers are in the awareness stage, or active consideration or purchase stage, this tool for mass marketing will deliver if done right.

As a trend, some brands are getting Influencers to participate in long-term partnerships and collaborations to create new product designs. Two brands, Target and Band-Aid, are doing this as we speak.

So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and influence away! Over 200 million people are using ad-blocking software. Your users, current or potential, don’t want ads. They just want honest opinions and this is the time to leverage that sentiment change. So you see, with Influencer marketing, you’ve just found yourself a silver bullet!

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Have you tried out some form of Influencer marketing for your personal brand or business? Write your success stories here, in the comments section, for others to learn.

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Rajeev Sharma

Blog Author
Rajeev Sharma, is a recognized thought leader with over two decades of experience in digital media, social marketing, mobile and digital technologies. He was head of J. Walter Thompson (Digital), for 7 years and served as a member of the JWT’s Global Digital Council. Currently Rajeev works as an Independent digital consultant, through his Digital consulting firm Awrizon, advising start-ups and brands on digital transformation and growth.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1How to find the perfect influencer for my brand?

The influencer market is saturated right now. However, that doesn’t mean every influencer out there is going to help your brand make a sale. Finding the right influencer is key if you want to enhance your sales. Even before finding an influencer, you must decide the type of influencer you’re looking for. Is it a blogger, social media user, industry expert, thought leader or celebrity? Once you understand that, you can look for influencers on Instagram. A good place to start is by checking out trending hashtags. This will present you with the most popular content and there you can find influencers with the greatest number of followers.

2What are the steps to create a successful influencer marketing strategy?

Influencer marketing is growing at a very fast pace and is expected to grow further. It’s not as simple as just getting an influencer on board. If you really want it to work, it is important to have a strategy in place. The steps to create a successful influencer marketing strategy include – identifying goals, finding the most effective channels to promote products, testing and tracking the strategy and running your strategy through an expert to know you’re in the right direction. Reviewing your influencer marketing strategy from time to time is essential if you want it to work. Before running a full-fledged campaign, you can also consider doing a test run.

3Is Instagram the only channel to run an influencer marketing campaign?

No, an influencer marketing campaign is not restricted to Instagram. YouTube is the next best platform to choose. When you run an influencer campaign, choose the platform based on where your audience is. Only if it is relevant and you can reach a large number of people, it is worthwhile to invest your money on that channel.

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