Best practices for Influencer Marketing for the US Hispanic and Latin America markets: our learnings

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Millennials and Gen Z are social media savvy and want authentic communication from brands. This means advertising should only be a factor in the marketing toolbox. Content creators can provide an authentic and organic take on your brand, if done correctly.

As marketing experts, we have been increasingly faced by this type of challenge. Influencer marketing has been growing steadily, and so have the options, platforms, and the number of people that dedicate themselves to the activity. This resulted in a democratization of the process: microinfluencers are gradually gaining room among those with more followers. Why? Commitment and authenticity are key.

Influencer marketing can be a very effective strategy to generate consideration and sales, but it's also a great way to establish brand loyalty. The challenge is ,  finding the right influencers and creative execution to increase your ROI. In this article we'll walk you through the main elements of influencer marketing, including why it's important for your business and how you can effectively use it in your digital marketing strategy.

 

Social media is constantly changing

Social media has changed a lot since its creation. Initially it was used to connect with friends and family. In the Facebook era, it was a catch all, with friends, news, and entertainment. With the advent of Instagram and TikTok, it's becoming a channel for entertainment, discovery, and business.

With this change, influencers and content creators came about and they have been growing empowered by the arrival of Generation Z and Millennials as active consumers, representing two thirds of social media users.

To fully understand the powerful tool that is influencer marketing, as well as to effectively connect with different audiences, it's necessary to look closely at influencers and their characteristics. 

What's the difference between an influencer and a content creator?

An influencer is basically someone with a lot of followers in social media, who earns money by publishing posts about products they receive from brands. They usually charge brands to participate in their sponsored ad campaigns and, when they do collaborate with brands, the goal is usually to generate traffic and awareness around the brand. There are many success stories around collaborations between influences and brands. Content creators, on the other hand, create content for their own social media accounts, even if they don't necessarily have a lot of followers. Their posts revolve around the content they create and are not necessarily tied to promoting products. They tend to focus on an area of expertise or interest (eg soccer, fitness routines, food, business, makeup, book reviews, etc). These are the ideal group of people for brands to collaborate when they want to generate a more solid connection with their audiences, as we're about to see.

 

What is a brand ambassador?

A brand ambassador is someone who promotes a brand for a pre-determined and relatively long period of time, creating a relationship with the consumers and an association with the brand's products. They're the ideal ally, demonstrating admiration for the brand, of which they speak positively throughout multiple channels that can include both digital and offline. They're active engagement generators: they recommend, stand by, and reflect the passion for the brand throughout their social accounts. 

 

Who are the celebrities?

Last but not least, we call "celebrities" those social media influencers who are well-known not only for their digital activity but also outside of it. In other words, their popularity in social media is due to their general popularity.

Many of the initial social media influencers, are ‘celebrity influencers’ or just celebrities. They usually became famous through traditional media (TV, movies). Their social media following may be older millennials if they started in the early days of Instagram. For example, the Kardashians started on reality TV and became social media celebrities while many content creators and other influencers started on digital platforms and in some cases expanded to traditional channels. 

 

What are Macro vs Micro influencers

Another way to classify influencers is by number of followers. These can vary according to the social network, but generally speaking they are:

Nano Influencers: from 1k to 10k followers.

Microinfluencers & Mid-tier: from 10k to 50k - 500k followers.

Macroinfluencers: from 500k to 3-5 million followers.

Mega influencers (Celebrities): 3 million and up followers.

These numbers are a general guideline and may vary by platform and industry. Some TikTok content creators have millions of followers but are still macro influencers. 

Macro vs Micro influencers: engagement rate

Another key factor when it comes to an influencer marketing campaign is the rate of engagement they have. This is taken into account when deciding who to hire, because it represents the rate of interaction that influencers have among their community of followers in each post. This Engagement Rate is a metric that reflects and measures the rate of interaction of consumers per content. For example, the number of people who like, view or share the post.

Genuine interest for your brand: what is an advocate 

The best supporters of a brand are those that demonstrate a genuine interest in your product or service, and have an establish relationship with your brand. It's likely that they're passionate about your company and can help you promote your content by engaging their own followers to interact with your brand too. An important part about seeking brand supporters is to listen attentively to what they say about you on social media.

Detecting those who are genuinely interested in engaging with your brand through their social activity is crucial to bringing in new customers - and even new influencers as partners. 

For example, Sprint mobile partnered with Prince Royce because he used to work at a Sprint store in the Bronx. His support of the brand was very credible and a great sucess story that people love. 

Researching potential brand supporters through social listening and outreach can be an effective way of identifing brand advocates small and large. If you already have brand supporters in mind, begin by developing a strategy to reach them. Make sure that you approach influencers whose content and beliefs are consistent with your brand . Once you identify an influencer who could potentially be a partner, don't hesitate to reach out to them - check their bios for the best method to contact them or reach out to their talent agency contact. 

 

How to choose the ideal partners

Building your list of influencers and brand ambassadors is a crucial part of a successful influencer marketing strategy, but it's not all of it. There are other basic questions to be contemplated: if the goal is to produce ‘viral’ content or a more long-lasting feed we should pick mid or micro-tier influencers because they'll help us create more volume at a lower cost, since they're more active, despite their lower amount of followers. 

While the engagement rate of someone with 200 followers could be within the 8% to 9% range, there are celebrities with over 1 million followers that only reach 1% to 3%. 

With that in mind, here are some questions to ask about an influencer before deciding to work with them: 

Are they relevant for my brand, by consumers, my product? On what platforms are they strong? 

Think of a match between the needs of the brand and the influencer's audience - this in particular will help increase the commitment and conversion rates. It seems almost naive, but it's important to pick the people who will publish content that is aligned with what your brand promotes - that's the only way to reach the target audience. This match needs to be organic, compatible and credible, otherwise users will not believe it.

Does their audience match my target demographics? Do they have many followers from my target location? What percentage of them is engaging - liking and sharing - with each post?

Making these questions before choosing an influencer to partner with is vital because if their audience doesn't match yours, you won't see much impact on your ROI!

Before each campaign, calculate your "potential reach" (the total sum of followers from all participating influencers), an estimated reach (based on benchmarks or engagement rate) and the estimated CPM cost. This will help you evaluate the cost versus other media. If you’re paying a CPM of $10 for media that is performing well, are you ok with paying $60 for an influencer? Maybe that’s not the right influencer for your industry. 

Once the campaign is running, measure the number of impressions, views, and interactions for each influencer. Make sure your reporting/data needs are included in the influencer contract or agreement. For Instagram Stories, that should be checked within the first 14hrs. If it's a Reels, it should be calculated within one week - the same as a for YouTube videos.

The larger influencer will help you obtain reach because, by default, they have more impressions. But, microinfluencers can generate volume - with viral potential. If I have a budget of $20k, should I use 2 influencers of $10k each, or 10 influencers of $2k each? The decision should be based on your objectives, industry, product, engagement rate and audience percentage of each influencer in the region or country where your campaign is based.

 

Why the world is betting on microinfluencers 

Companies generally tend to use celebrities in their influencer marketing campaigns due to their reach and power over consumers. But, of course, reach doesn't always mean commitment. Large companies that need wide awareness (eg Pepsi) look for these mega influencers that will allow them to reach millions of consumers, but brands that want to connect with specific audiences (eg soccer fans) can benefit from a more nuanced approach. Microinfluencers with smaller audiences but higher engagement rates among specific niches, tend to deliver stronger connectiosn and higher conversions than celebrities with larger following.

The best part about working with microinfluencers is that they share interests, lifestyle and preferences with your target audience, which means that they may relate more easily to your products and services.

However, because they're so focused in just one or two content verticals, not every brand will suit the microinfluencer. They will look for shared values and align themselves with the brands that make sense to them. This doesn't happen with celebrities, who usually "adapt" to a scripted Ad for the large dollar amounts that they attract..

Microinfluencers do tend to assure you content that follows your requirements, too. Larger influencers are not used to following briefs to the T and neither are they interested in posting content that needs a brand's approval.

Microinfluencers tend to be more open to commit to your brand and create content that is aligned with its mission than their macro influencer counteparts. For example, if you work in the cosmetics industry, it makes more sense to use microinfluencers (who could be passionate about beauty products) instead of celebrities who don't create their own content and will not be seen as authentic. The exception is when shooting a high-impact commercial that will have a strong media support, of course.

This creates room for higher participation rates because the audience feels it has a more personal connection with the microinfluencer, and for that reason trusts them more in what they recommend or say about your brand.

Brands should also look for authenticity over celebrity status. Many influencers make their following organically, through hard work and dedication, and these are the ones who will portray a more authentic image when posting content related to your brand. This, in turn, makes it possible for users to relate to what is said about your product or service.

 

Potential reach and commitment are key 

Reach (or potential reach) refers to the number of followers that an influencer has - their reach across social media. Commitment refers to the number of people who really engage with your brand, visiting your website, watching your videos, reading your blog publications, etc.

Most followers won't even see a celebrity's posts because their feed is constantly flooded by new content from other sources, day and night. So, even if a celebrity has millions of followers on Instagram, there's no guarantee that these millions of people will see and take action (visiting your website or buying your product).

The reason microinfluencers have been growing so much is that they have an audience that is much more committed than that of celebrities with a massive following. With the right tools and strategy, you can find microinfluencers who are culturally relevant and can promote your brand without charging exorbitant amounts of money.

Microinfluencers have, in fact, the highest commitment rate among all social media celebrities, which means they will get you more eyes and ears than any other influencer marketing campaign.

 

Authenticity over perfection: the power of organic content. 

When it comes to influencer marketing, authenticity is key. People trust the opinion of real people, with whom they share interests and values, over celebrities, whose content could be about any product: in this case, not all that glitters is gold.

When addressing an audience that shares interests and values with you through a microinfluencer, it's important to keep in mind that authenticity comes above perfection. That's why you should find the microinfluencers with the right audience and right type of content for you, as well as partner with them to give them a detailed brief of the brand and campaign. 

Example: you're thinking about which products to buy next time you go shopping - would you rather listen to a celebrity than can charge millions just to promote a single brand? Or would you listen to someone who speaks your language and who you know has tried the products before talking about them? That's how you know influencer marketing is your best option: instead of trying to reach millions of people through a celebrity, focus on getting a few hundred people to actually follow you and become brand advocates.

For all these reasons, it's crucial to keep the words "authenticity" and "relevance" always in mind, specially when planning an influencer marketing campaign. Because, when it comes to boosting your commitment among consumers, being real and accessible are the most powerful tools. 

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