Want to promote your company online but old marketing channels just don’t bring the desired outcome? Learn how to boost your sales and brand awareness by using influencer marketing!
When influencer marketing arrived on the scene in 2017, the results were shocking. Do you want to know how to integrate the kind of marketing that blows up social media into your cannabis company’s general marketing strategy? Let’s get right to it.
What Is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing uses partnerships with social media influencers to promote products or services. Many famous brands hire influencers to promote new products, and cannabis companies can likewise attract new customers by including influencer marketing in their advertising strategy – the benefits can be huge if done right. Most influencers promote their content through paid advertising services and base their payment on their number of posts. Since its inception, influencer marketing has undergone many changes, the most significant being the requirement that influencers and brands disclose their collaboration by marking their posts as paid affiliate advertising. This happened after the US Federal Trade Commission approved requirements for influencers and brands in the field of advertising on social networks. In addition to Instagram, popular influencers are on Facebook and YouTube, and the popularity of influencer marketing on these platforms is only growing through vloggers and Facebook videos that are attracting even more attention from potential customers.
The volume of this marketing channel is only growing. It is estimated that by 2022 influencer marketing will reach $15 billion in spending. As more and more companies begin to experiment with this channel, influencer marketing will continue to develop and adapt to the cannabis market.
Who and What Are Influencers?
In order to effectively use influencer marketing, cannabis companies first need to understand the types of influencing that exist on social media. It is not enough to simply collaborate with an influencer; you need to conduct preliminary research by looking at an influencer’s subscribers to find someone with whom your product or service will match.
Classification of influencers by the number of subscribers:
- Micro-influencers – from 5 to 100 thousand subscribers;
- Mid (medium) – from 100 thousand to a million;
- Macro-influencers – more than a million subscribers.
But these two categories are also divided into types. There are seven main types:
- Bloggers and Vloggers;
- Popular users of a social media;
- Brand journalists;
- Opinion leaders.
All that is required to find your social media influencer who would match perfectly with your goods or services.
Reasons Why Cannabis Brands Should Work with Influencers
In the US, 72% of readers trust the recommendations of bloggers, and the size of the advertising market for opinion leaders is close to 7 billion dollars a year. Let us examine why this type of marketing is so effective and why you should consider using influencer marketing to grow your cannabis-related business.
- Communication with a loyal audience
Opinion leaders have their own audience. These are loyal subscribers who know and love their idol and believe that he will never recommend bad products or services. In addition, this audience is engaged, as influencers constantly involve subscribers in their posts.
- Advertising as a recommendation
Internet users ignore ads and content reminiscent of ads. This is called advertising blindness or banner blindness. Brand information on behalf of influencers is perceived as a recommendation, not an advertisement. It is not conspicuous or annoying.
- Influencers help to create content and promote it
Opinion leaders communicate with their audience every day. They know which posts are becoming popular and which publications their subscribers love to go through. Therefore, they can present an advertising message so that it is positively perceived by the target audience.
- Ability to work with a narrow audience
You can choose a suitable channel and audience for promotion. For example, YouTube is perfect for educating potential customers about your cannabis product through useful pre-rolls in an influencer’s videos. Within the framework of the platform, you will also find influencers with the target audience you need.
- Sales growth
If advertising through stars and celebrities works to promote the brand, then advertising through small influencers brings real leads and sales. This is possible because subscribers often rely on their opinions in choosing goods and services. During one study, about 40% of respondents said they made a purchase after they saw a blogger’s recommendation on social media. Of course, for these influencers’ subscribers to become your customers after viewing a sponsored post, you need to work with them.
- Promotional posts on behalf of opinion leaders have great viral potential
Content published on behalf of an opinion leader is additionally distributed by its subscribers and may even become viral.
The Best Types of Influencer Marketing Campaigns
According to a survey of influencers, the most popular platforms are Instagram (87.1% of respondents chose it) and YouTube (8.5% chosen by respondents). Popular promotion formats have already been formed on these platforms. Here are the main ones:
- Product Reviews
You offer influencers a product for review, and they show it and share the impressions.
- Product Placement
This is a practice when the influencer accidentally shows a product. Such advertising is often used in celebrity and top influencer accounts and works to increase brand awareness and product status.
This is a video format on YouTube or Instagram Stories when bloggers unbox and discuss goods. Unboxing is used as a hidden way to talk about the product.
- Branding a profile or category
This is a format that involves long-term collaboration and works on brand recognition among the influencer’s audience.
- Contests or giveaway
Competitions are used to attract the attention of a large number of people to the brand, to increase the number of subscribers. Usually, a company offers a prize and asks the audience to perform a simple action: subscribe to social networks, mark a friend, or leave their contact information.
- Special Projects
Special projects can be short-term or long-term. They are usually tied to the info line and involve branding of the account and the content of the influencer.
Steps to Follow Before Implementing Influencer Marketing
Before you start working with influencers and integrating influencer marketing into your general strategy, you should conduct some kind of preliminary research and take a few necessary steps. Here are the main ones:
- Formulate the purpose of your cannabis company promotion
What is your main goal: to increase brand awareness, increase sales, and attract subscribers to the company's social networks? The choice of channel, type of content and content of the advertising message will depend on the answer to this question.
- Describe your audience
Make a portrait of the client: age, gender, income, where they work and how they relax. This will help in choosing opinion leaders, as you will have a clear understanding of what kind of audience you are looking for.
- Examine influencer profiles and choose the right ones.
Select from the initial list of opinion leaders to whom you want to send an offer:
- Analyze the content: how much it matches the image of your brand;
- Check for posts that could negatively impact your reputation;
- Examine audience engagement: how actively they comment on posts, whether comments seem artificial.
There are services that help you check if the indicators are boosting likes, views, and comments. Examples of such services: LiveDune, FakeLikeInfo, Panda Rank, Hype Auditor.
- Message influencers and agree on collaboration
To work with opinion leaders, you need to plan a course of action. First, write a letter with a clear message. Secondly, collect materials that will help acquaint the influencer with the product: description, marketing kit, and video.
Try to analyze different influencers and their prices to promote your goods or services. Do not get obsessed with the number of their subscribers. Sometimes micro-bloggers may be much more useful than influencers with millions of followers.
Tips for Finding the Right Social Influencers for Your Brand
When searching for influencers, use different approaches. To search for experts, you should monitor profile blogs and social media, or browse the lists of speakers at conferences. To find bloggers, you can use the following methods:
- Search for keywords related to your business and hashtags. Hashtags help you find bloggers on Instagram. The combination "keyword + YouTube" works when searching for video bloggers.
- Blogger Exchanges – Epicstars, Getblogger, Vlogster, Incense, Influence.co, LabelUp. Exchanges offer convenient filters for searching bloggers for certain parameters and ensure transactions. The exchange takes a commission for these services.
So Why Use Influencer Marketing?
Many companies have already felt the benefits of influencer marketing. For example, recently The Bloom launched a marketing campaign that hired both the macro and micro opinion leaders to increase sales and brand awareness. The brand chose two types of influencers for its purposes: experts and popular users of social media. These influencers were given unique discount codes that they had to share with their subscribers. So, the company got the opportunity to track sales of its products through the use of the discount codes to see the effectiveness of each influencer. Thus, influencer marketing brought them new customers and increased brand awareness.
By analyzing the effectiveness of influencer marketing, a company can clearly determine if their marketing strategy is working and which influencer is most suited to their business needs. If a type or category does not work, they can always be replaced with more effective ones.