How to… Influencer Marketing

11 min

What is Influencer Marketing?
What are the top 5 social networks for influencer marketing?
What content is suitable for which social media channels?
Social media channels and their target groups
Which content formats on which platform?
Which social media channels are suitable for which industry?
How do you find the right influencer?
Where do you find influencers?
What does influencer marketing cost?
How can results in influencer marketing be measured?
Advantages and disadvantages of influencer marketing

What is Influencer Marketing?

Influencers can steer people’s buying behavior in a certain direction by sharing their own opinion about it with their followers. This happens within the framework of a defined cooperation with a company or brand. This means that influencers are compensated in a certain way for doing so. Whether in the form of money or free products often depends on the popularity of the influencers or the number of their followers. However, the consensus of a fixed payment in influencer marketing has now become established, as this type of cooperation also includes the creation of suitable content, which can be more or less extensive and time-consuming depending on the format and social platform.

It is therefore a form of online marketing in which influencers are used as opinion leaders and brand ambassadors to promote a product or brand.

What are the top 5 social networks for influencer marketing?

Depending on the target group, industry and content format, the suitability of different influencer marketing platforms can vary. The top platforms include:

What content is suitable for which social media channel?

Meanwhile, certain content formats and content are no longer reserved for single platforms. Where videos used to be shared primarily on YouTube and photos mainly on Instagram, influencer platforms are versatile. In general, however, it can be seen that short videos between 5 and 60 seconds in length are among the most popular content formats and that these generate more interaction than photos and texts.

These content types are conceivable:

Social media channels and their target audiences

Instagram seems to be the preferred social network for influencers, as the platform generates a high engagement rate, i.e. interactions.

Overall, users and target groups in Germany break down as follows:

PlatformUsers Target group
Instagramapprox. 30 million 25-34-year-olds
Facebookapprox. 46 million 16-64-year-olds
YouTube approx. 73 million children and young people
TikTok approx. 17 million 10-15-year-olds
LinkedIn approx. 18 million (DACH region) over 18-years-old

Table 1: Target groups of the different social networks

The target group here is the largest user group.

Which content formats on which platform?

Which content formats are suitable for the respective cooperation depends on the one hand on the advertised product and the brand, but also on the influencer himself. Of course, the social network itself also plays a role.

So you should not commit to a certain format from the outset or request a certain format when making contact. Here, the influencer is the expert and knows exactly which format for your product is best received by his followers.

When creating the content, it is also important to ensure that the publication is unique content, i.e. that the post has not already appeared or will not appear elsewhere on the web in the same or very similar form.

The influencer’s previous content habits also play a role. Your product post should fit perfectly into the influencer’s profile and not stand out. Authenticity is the most important thing. If what the influencer presents seems too rehearsed or dictated, this can have a negative impact on both the influencer and the brand.

The following formats are suitable for collaboration:

Content formatPlatformDescriptionProduct placementOnline duration
PhotoInstagram post, Facebook post, LinkedIn postA single photo or multiple photos are published in a post and a caption is added Product in the photo and mention and/or tagging of the company profile, on Facebook and LinkedIn also linking (= external link) to the company website possiblepermanent, if not manually deleted/archived
VideoInstagram video, Facebook video, YouTube, LinkedIn A video, longer than 60 seconds, is published and supplemented with an optional textProduct in video and mention and/or tagging of company profile, on Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn also linking to company website possible permanent, if not manually deleted/archived
Short videoInstagram Reels, Facebook Reels, TikToks, YouTube Shorts Short videos (max. 60 seconds) can be published optionally with stickers, text, images and can be provided with an optional textProduct in video and mention and/or tag company profile, on Facebook, YouTube, also link to company website possiblepermanent if not manually deleted/archived
StoryInstagram Story, Facebook Story Photos, short videos or texts can be published on a daily basis and provided with optional stickers, effects and textProduct in the Story and mention and/or highlight of the company profile, also linking to the company website possible, for example by “Swipe Up”24 hours as a Story, can be permanently saved as an Instagram highlight
TextFacebook post, LinkedIn posttexts, with hashtags, links, profile links are published as a post.Product in text and mention and/or highlight of company profile, also link to company website possiblepermanently if not manually deleted/archived
Text in imageInstagramA text is published as an image and can optionally be expanded or described with a captionProduct in text and mention and/or tagging of company profilepermanent if not manually deleted/archived

Table 2: Content formats
Figure 1: Publication with link to campaign

Which format it will be in the end depends on the desired scope of your cooperation.

It is also important to consider the online duration. While most posts can remain online permanently, Instagram stories are only online for 24 hours. However, they can be permanently saved as Instagram highlights.

All posts can be manually deleted or archived at any time and are then no longer visible to followers. Here, it is important to specify the online duration in advance.

In general, it is important to select the content format as an interaction with the influencer, platform and product.

Excursus: For every sponsored post, the advertising labeling obligation must be observed. This is necessary as soon as there is an advertising surplus, i.e. a product/brand/performance is highlighted in a positive, praising and special way. The media authorities have published a clear table here.

Which social media channels are suitable for which industry?

According to Statista, the fashion, e-commerce, beauty and retail sectors achieve the most interactions on Instagram. A similar trend can also be seen on Facebook, where, according to Emplify, the most interactions are attributable to the beauty, gaming, fashion and e-commerce industries. In general, the fashion industry is the most developed influencer marketing industry with 81.4%. However, there is no general recommendation on the individual influencer platforms.

Figure 2: Influencer marketing industries
Source: 2020 Influencer Marketing Report: A Marketer’s Perspective

Rather, a distinction should primarily be made between B2C and B2B. If you are targeting the consumer with your product, it is usually the likeability that is shown to the influencer by his followers that is decisive, whereas in the case of products for business people (=business), the competence and expertise of the influencer is decisive.

Purchase decisions in the B2B sector are therefore influenced less by emotions and instead more by facts and reason. Expertise and brand competence are more important here than specific key figures. The goals of a B2B influencer marketing campaign are also, as with B2C, usually first and foremost to increase brand awareness, acquire leads and increase sales. Therefore, when choosing an influencer, more attention should be paid to the brand fit (= brand and influencer fit together).

According to OMT, 74% of marketers agree that B2B influencer marketing improves the experience of customers or prospects with the brand.

How do you find the right influencer?

First of all, choosing the right influencer depends on the goal of your campaign. This goal is usually different from the goals of influencers. While they primarily want to inspire their audience with high-quality content and earn something with it, the goals from a brand’s point of view are mostly:

The influencer’s impact should not be limited to the number of views or likes (quantitative), but should also include a qualitative factor. This can represent trust, which results in the equation R x V (reach x trust). This factor must always be determined in relation to the influencer in question. The so-called sponsorship ratio can be used for this measurement. Here, influencers with many sponsored posts would receive a lower factor than influencers who rarely recommend products.

The engagement rate takes on an equally important role here. Influencers with a high engagement rate generally have a higher value, as they can increase the market volume enormously. You should always keep a watchful eye here: Because high follower numbers with a below-average engagement rate can indicate that they are fake likes and fake followers. Bought bots, followers and likes can also artificially increase the engagement rate. However, this becomes noticeable after a certain period of time, which would damage the brand’s image.

Influencers can be divided into different sizes:

Nano Influencer:up to 10,000 followers average engagement rate of 3%
Micro Influencer: from 10,000 to 100,000 followers average engagement rate of 2.5%
Macro Influencer: from 100,000 to 1,000,000 followers average engagement rate of 1.6%
Mega Influencer: from 1,000,000 followers average engagement rate of 1.2%

Table 3: Influencer types

Another evaluation factor is the quality of the content. Whether an influencer writes high-quality posts can be easily recognized by the previous posts. You can ask yourself the following questions when assessing quality:

The influencer’s target group represents another factor. Depending on the subject area in which the influencer is located, the types of followers also change. For example, an influencer with two small children is more likely to have mothers and family people in their followers, while an influencer with a focus on travel is more likely to have a younger target group with an affinity for travel.

In addition to the measurable evaluation factors, we should also take a look at the non-measurable factors:

These points play a major role with regard to the authenticity of the influencer and therefore also the authenticity of the cooperation. An influencer with a focus on sustainability is more likely not to promote a fast-fashion brand, and an influencer who regularly promotes fast-fashion products, conversely, does not seem very authentic if he suddenly promotes sustainability.

Figure 3: Sustainability campaign published on Facebook

The influencer’s interests and image also need to be evaluated, as does their personality. Do they fit into one’s own brand strategy or would a conflict of interest arise here?

The influencer’s persuasiveness (= social authority) is an equally important factor. If the influencer can convince his followers of new products and even persuade them to buy, this is an indication of a promising and sales-increasing collaboration. You can recognize this by the comments on previous sponsored posts. Many positive comments or comments about a made purchase speak for a great persuasiveness.

Creativity: Posts should have a rather large variation of posts, a good mix of image and video posts, a mix of sponsored posts and your own posts. This way you can be sure that the post for your product will also be a thoughtful, authentic, individual and creative post.

Where do you find influencers?

To find the right influencer, you don’t have to spend hours searching the social networks. There are many tools and platforms that can help you find the right influencers.

The SEO tool SISTRIX has developed its own search function for influencers on Instagram, TikTok and YouTube with SISTRIX for Social.

Figure 4: SISTRIX for Social

The IROIN® Influencer Marketing Suite goes one step further here. Here, you can not only find the right influencers, but also read real-time data from their profiles. It also helps with the control and evaluation of individual collaborations, as well as the entire campaign.

You can already make a good pre-selection by filtering by age group, topic area, number of followers and engagement rate. However, you should always get a picture of the influencer profile yourself and not just rely on tools. The authenticity, quality and image of the influencer is not measurable and therefore cannot be mapped in tools and metrics.

What does influencer marketing cost?

It is difficult to put a figure on a lump sum. As is often the case, the common statement here is “it depends.” Namely on:

Again, measurable and non-measurable metrics play a role. The follower count and therefore the scale of the influencer is the first aspect of pricing. For example, a large following generally costs more than a small follower count. In addition, the engagement rate should be taken into account here.

Furthermore, the scope of the entire cooperation, i.e. whether it will be one or several posts, whether it will be a story, a video or a photo post, is important. Here it is also important to consider the online duration. Should the post stay online for a month, a year or even forever, or is it a story that will disappear after 24 hours?

Of course, the amount of content creation is a factor in pricing. A photo generally takes less time to create than a video. A creative and high-quality post should be worth more than an ordinary post with no individuality.

Last but not least, the pricing of an influencer collaboration includes the test products provided to the influencer for content creation.

How can results be measured in influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is measurable because growth, decline and also feedback are visible. The following key performance indicators (KPI) usually serve as a basis for measurement:

These can be determined according to the respective goal and using different tools and calculations.

Google Analytics & UTM parameters

After an influencer marketing campaign has been created, it makes sense to look at success control. Here you can track how many users reached your website through which campaign (see conversion rate). Such evaluations require good forethought and tools, such as Google Analytics, with which you can get an overall view of all channels and evaluate individual campaigns. This is where so-called UTM parameters are used to monitor the success of advertising.

UTM parameters record the clicks of users on a link with such a UTM parameter. This allows you to find out how many users came to your website via which links, which is not only important for measuring the success of your influencer marketing campaign, but can also be used to target your website users even more specifically and efficiently.

Engagement rate

The engagement rate shows you how many users who see a social media post actually react to it, be it with a like, comment or through shares. There are different ways to calculate this here.

The engagement rate by reach (ERR) indicates how strongly your target group interacts with the content by determining the percentage of users who have responded to the content. The engagement rate can be calculated for individual posts or as an average for multiple posts.

ERR = all interactions per post / reach per post x 100

Average ERR = total ERR / total number of selected posts.

The engagement rate is more meaningful than the number of followers, because – depending on how the algorithm plays out the content – not all followers get to see the entire content and at the same time users also see the post who are not yet followers, for example by sharing the post or using hashtags.

To determine an exact value for post-per-post engagement, the calculation of the engagement rate by post (ER Post) is suitable. Here, however, it is not the reach but the number of followers who interact with the content that is determined.

ER Post = Total engagement of a post / Total followers x 100

Average ER per post = Total ER per post / Total posts

If you want to find out how often followers interact with an account on a daily basis, the Daily Engagement Rate (Daily ER) calculation formula is suitable.

Daily ER = Total engagement in a day / Total followers x 100

Total engagement in X days / (X days x followers) x 100

It is also possible to calculate an engagement rate by impressions (ER Impressions), which shows how often a post is viewed by users.

Total engagement a post gets / Total impressions x 100

Total ER Impressions / Total Posts

If videos are the main format of your influencer campaign, the engagement rate by views (ER Views) is a good way to determine how many users interact with the videos they watch.

Total engagement of a video post / Total video views x 100

Total ER View / Total Posts

However, it is important to note here that the engagement rate only indicates how many users interacted with the posts, not whether they were positive or negative feedbacks.

Furthermore, there is no single recommendation on an ideal engagement rate. Various studies come to differing results, but the average engagement rate is currently around 2.8% on Instagram, around 0.2% on Facebook, and even around 5.8% on LinkedIn.

It is important to note that the rate always depends on the number of followers, because the larger the number of followers, the lower the engagement rate on average.

Sentiment analysis

Sentiment analysis, also called sentiment analysis, helps you find out the emotional value of your communication. This analysis technique uses statistics, Natural Language Processing (NLP), and Machine Learning (ML) to determine the emotional value of the communication. This is done using text-only analysis as well as audio and video. In addition to customer messages and online reviews, posts in social media are also evaluated.

Such an analysis is quite extensive and requires certain analytics tools, which you may already need for document capture and evaluation or for customer experience processes.

Advantages and disadvantages of influencer marketing

Minimal wastage
Since followers usually share the influencer’s interests, companies can place ads much more effectively by choosing the right influencer.

High authenticity
Followers follow influencers because they share their values and interests. As a result, there is a certain level of trust when they make recommendations. However, the prerequisite is that the influencer has already established a positive relationship with his followers through high-quality content.

Improve communication with the target group
The influencer usually has better access to the target group than the company itself. They speak the language of the target group and communicate with them at eye level.

Stronger reach
In influencer marketing, companies can benefit from the reach that the influencer has built up over many years.
Content generation
Companies themselves only have to worry a little, or possibly not at all, about producing content, since the influencers take care of that themselves.

Lower costs
Compared to traditional marketing methods, the costs for influencer marketing are lower. This is because campaigns with micro-influencers can be started with a small budget. In the process, micro-influencers can even lead to a higher ROI (= return on investment), as their engagement rate is often better than macro or mega-influencers.

This approach, associated with less work for the company in terms of content creation, the high reach of influencers and the realization at an already low budget, is promising and efficient.
Loss of control
Cooperation with influencers can also harm companies under certain circumstances if the cooperation was negative and the influencer publicly turns against the company.

No expert opinion
Often (exception B2B influencer marketing) influencers are not experts, they just share their opinion as a consumer about a certain product or brand.

Decrease in credibility
Influencers who share a lot of sponsored posts often quickly lose credibility. It is equally important to be careful not to choose multiple influencers with the same community at the same time, as followers will then see the same advertisement in different profiles in their feed and credibility can suffer.

An immature market
Influencer marketing is still a fairly young business, in which unethical behavior can sometimes be observed, as rules and regulations are sometimes lacking or not yet fully developed.

Complicated measurement of success
Sales goals are easy to track through links and mentions, but it becomes more difficult when measuring goals such as brand awareness or credibility.

Table 4: Advantages and disadvantages of influencer marketing

One thing is clear: influencer marketing in online marketing is more relevant than ever. So if you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet, now would be the right time.


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