ROI and the Power of the Mid-Tier Influencer at Scale

Your 2017 marketing budget: should it be allocated for content creation, ad spends, PR, or influencer marketing? While the answer is likely to be a mix of the above, only one of these options allows you to slash your content creation budget, increase the ROI of your social media ads, and increase exposure (measured by both impressions and increased follower counts). And that’s influencer marketing.

Specifically, influencer marketing at scale among mid-tier influencers leads to all of these positive outcomes. At Obviously, we have seen this strategy of engaging influencers at scale work for our clients because it accomplishes each of these marketing goals -- with a multiplier effect.

Why work with mid-tier influencers?

Let’s face it, celebrities like Kim Kardashian don’t care about your product or telling your story, and their fees are significantly higher than influencers who are much more targeted in terms of aesthetic, interest, and location. So when you pay for Kim & Co., you’re getting blanket exposure from sources who have no emotional attachment to your brand, among audiences who are largely unlikely to convert.

Working with 25-150 mid-tier social media influencers, however, accomplishes the goal of exposure, but in a targeted way. Working with a larger number of mid-range influencers has much more of an impact on the ROI tangibles such as follower growth (for continued exposure), increased ad efficacy, and ability to reduce expensive content creation budgets. And since Obviously influencers receive product rather than payment, they only collaborate with brands they love, insuring that their posts will be authentic, genuine, and effective.

Who is a mid-tier social influencer?

The definition of an influencer can vary widely in the industry. We at Obviously define mid-tier influencers specifically by the following characteristics:

  • Have between 2,000-70,000 followers. Depending on the type of vertical a brand is functioning in, the audience size of an influencer will vary. For instance, a surf company geographically targeted to the northeast will have more niche influencers in the 2,000-10,000 follower range, whereas an international fashion retailer will be more likely to work in the middle and upper ranges of these follower counts.

  • May or may not have a blog. A lingering misconception about influencer is that they are necessarily bloggers. Not so. While many influencers do have incredible blogs, most influencers of today and tomorrow are solely focused on creating beautiful social content.

  • Have a well-developed aesthetic and persona. Whether it’s monochrome urban, gentle country pastels, or colorful prep, influencers have a signature personal aesthetic and brand that has allowed them to build and retain an audience. These unique visual signatures allow our account managers to strategically select influencers who are already working in a brand’s style and tone of voice.

What results are you likely to see from these types influencers?

We don’t call them powerful for nothing. The combined power of 25-150 mid-tier social influencers posting within a condensed span of time means that brands gain exposure, which in turn results in increased organic followers for your brand -- also known as people who will have hundreds of touchpoints with a brand as they follow its Instagram account, for instance. Each of these events increase the likelihood of conversion, and long-term customer loyalty.

Let’s do some influencer marketing math. An athleisure brand wants to reach more women in their mid twenties in cities like Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and Austin as they launch flagship stores. They also want to increase exposure for their brand and create hundreds of pieces of content featuring products that their social team can start using right away.

The brand contracts us to create a network of 150 influencers in these cities, running 2 campaigns over the course of 2 months. Influencers are gifted with product, and instructed to post to Instagram using the brand’s handle and hashtag. On average, the influencers have 27,000 followers.

The results from the creation of this mid-tier influencer network, and the deployment of two campaigns, would be:

  • 300+ pieces of content created for brand to use on its own channels -- that’s enough for 5-7 months
  • 4,050,000 impressions by end of campaign 1
  • 8,100,000 impressions by end of campaign 2

Compare these results with the 10 pieces of content that a brand would receive from working with 5 large influencer bloggers (for a hefty fee), and it’s clear which approach is better for ROI.