Whether we like it or not, influencers are an integral part of life and marketing. Getting your product or service in the hands of the right mega, macro, or micro-influencer can often significantly impact brand awareness, sales, and word of mouth.
Celebrity influencers like Kim Kardashian, however, are fast losing their appeal for marketers and brands. And not just because the ticket price is so high that you can only work with one or two celebrities, which also increases the pressure on choosing the right person to endorse your brand and because consumers are trusting the opinions of celebrities less and less.
A recent survey of 14,000 consumers in the US showed that marketing with brand influencers is one of the most effective methods for driving sales. Marketing research company Collective Bias published a report that found 30% of consumers are more likely to buy products and services endorsed by a blogger than a celebrity.
That study also reported that 70% of Millennials prefer peer endorsements – from family, friends, or social media stars) over celebrity endorsements.
Moreover, the micro-influencer category is proving to be even more powerful for marketers and agencies than celebrities or mega-stars of Tik Tok, YouTube, and Instagram.
Depending on your favorite definition, a micro-influencer is someone who has between 1,000 and 100,000 followers. These individuals focus on a niche area and are generally regarded as industry experts or topic specialists. Adobe, Squarespace, SAP, Microsoft, and more have used micro-influencers to great effect in recent years.
But what if you’re a micro-influencer, and you want to convert your followers into revenue? How do you go about it, and where do you learn what it takes to become a product or service endorser?
One influencer marketing startup, Humanz, has launched an online influencer academy to help micro-influencers make the most of their social media status.
The Humanz Influencer Marketing Academy is free for all registered users of the Humanz platform and is equipped to provide data-backed insights to both parties on fine-tuning and improving their approach.
It also educates its attendees on tracking progress, not just through the analytics tools available on each social media platform but also via other mechanisms. The training platform is made up of videos, text, and multiple-choice questions. If done in one sitting, it takes between one to three hours to complete.
“The point of the academy is to support both marketers and influencers,” Liav Chen, CEO & cofounder at Humanz, told me. “These positions are merging in time, and as social media grows, so the marketers want to understand better the ways of working with influencers and vice versa. We have managed to provide all the tips, tricks, and methodologies of working together for both sides.”
That support is valuable at this time since the social media influencer market is still fresh, despite being worth around $10 billion in 2020.
“We believe that in every fast-growing and new industry, the users need guidance, and that’s our way of connecting both side’s interests to work together,” Chen said. “You’ll see their good and bad examples of campaigns, you will learn the relevant phrases and words that you have to be familiar with, and you will get a glimpse of the social influencers’ lifestyle.”
Interestingly, Humanz also uses AI to help marketers find influencers and understand what their interests are and those of their followers.
“Humanz is using machine learning and deep learning capabilities to profile users on the social media channels – both the influencers themselves and their followers (consumers),” Chen said. “Based on the behavior of a given user Humanz can understand their gender, age range, fields of interest, location and if it’s a real or a fake user – just as a human eye can understand that.”
Using AI to help determine the validity of an influencer is significant since there has been a sharp rise in influencer fraud over recent years, and marketers need all the help they can get to avoid having their budgets squandered.
Providing an academy for micro-influencers is an interesting approach. It could help those who have amassed a small following for a particular niche topic to gain extra revenue, which many need at this most extraordinary time in history.
“Micro-influencers are your close friends that you trust,” Chen said. “They are the experts in certain niches, and they will work with a certain brand only if the brand is relevant for their niche. Most of the time, they don’t even understand they are worth money, and that’s the brand’s point of leverage.”