Influencer marketing is the process through which a company or organization pays a person with a following on social media to post about their product, service, event, etc. The goal of an influencer marketing campaign can be for example to drive traffic or to increase brand awareness. The collaboration can take the form of a simple one-off campaign. But nowadays, companies are increasingly partnering with content creators on a more long-term basis, which is both efficient and profitable.
This article gives you a rundown of influencer marketing as it pertains to recruitment specifically.
- The benefits of influencer marketing
- Influencer marketing for recruitment
- How to select influencers
- How to reach out to influencers
First, let’s look at 4 of the main factors behind the success of influencer marketing.
The benefits of influencer marketing
• It’s a worthy investment
Nearly 9 out of 10 marketers surveyed in 2019 by Mediakix stated that the ROI achieved from influencer marketing is comparable or superior to other marketing channels. According to the same source, over 70% of marketers agree that the quality of customers and traffic from influencer marketing is better than other forms of marketing.
• It's a multi-platform trend
Instagram is known as the platform of choice for influencers. In fact, a 2017 survey conducted on influencers by the content marketing platform #HASHOFF revealed that 92% of responders cited Instagram as their #1 platform of focus. However, fruitful collaborations between brands and influencers are also happening on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok, LinkedIn, and a plethora of smaller platforms. Marketers adopt multi-platform trends such as influencer marketing because they can exploit each platform’s features to tap into new audiences in unique ways.
• It's rapidly growing
According to Later, influencer marketing is on track to become a $15 billion dollar industry by 2022 and shows no sign of slowing down. In fact, 63% of marketers intend to increase their influencer marketing budget in the next year. “2021 is the year we believe influencer marketing will be seen as its own media channel outside of tactical ‘problem solving’ or ‘nice to have content’”, predicts Brandon Perlman, Founder and CEO of Social Studies, Inc.
• Influencers are trusted
What distinguishes influencers from other marketing vehicles is the personal relationship they foster with their audience. Jennifer Li, CEO of MuseFind, told Forbes “Influencer marketing is based on the economy of trust”. Through hard work and patience, influencers have built and nurtured an image, a brand, a reputation, a loyal fan base, an interactive community, and more. And as consumers’ trust for traditional ads keeps decreasing, influencers' advice, tips and recommendations are actually perceived as more authentic than other forms of promotional content.
Influencer marketing for recruitment
Now that we've seen influencer marketing’s recent triumphs & impressive stats, let’s go over what makes it an interesting choice for people looking to fill positions within an organization.
• It’s underutilized by recruiters (for now)
While social media platforms are overflowing with influencer marketing, much of this activity is sales-based. The recipe of product promotion by influencers is now a tried and true one. Less exploited are the treasures of using influencers to promote employer brand & job offers as opposed to tangible products. In today’s candidate-driven market, you want to get the first piece of the pie. Now is a good time to get in on the action before the market gets saturated with your competition’s content.
• Influencers create high-quality content
Influencer-generated content is inspiring, engaging, creative, and motivating. Influencers are essentially professional photographers, artistic directors and editors. The content they create is much more authentic than stock photos or videos. What’s more, in many cases, you as the client get to keep and repurpose user-generated content for your website, career page, social media, posters, promotional pamphlets, and more.
How to select influencers
Now that you are ready to jump on the influencer marketing train, you are contemplating who to work with. The 5 main elements to take into consideration while selecting content creators are credibility, followers, engagement, connection and location.
Content creators’ credibility in their niche or field is of great significance. You must pick people whose expertise is established. There must also be coherence between their content and the values they claim to uphold. For example, if someone is preaching eco-responsibility online, and yet does product placement for one of the most polluting companies, perhaps they are not the ideal face for your hiring campaign. Before messaging an influencer, it’s a good idea to thoroughly examine their recent posts, and maybe see which brands they’ve worked with before, to determine if they fit what you are looking for.
Ah, the magic number. Followers have been dubbed “the currency of the 21st century”. But are they really that important? Experts say they are not. While not completely irrelevant, follower counts can effortlessly be artificially cranked up by different tricks, such as buying fake followers in bulk. When considering the preponderance of bots, it’s easy to remain unimpressed by large follower counts. Fortunately, many analytical tools exist to verify the authenticity of follower counts. These can come in handy when selecting influencers.
Have you ever heard the saying “Sometimes the best gifts come in small boxes”? This can apply to influencer marketing. Indeed, recent studies have demonstrated the value of small-scale influencers, such as nano-influencers and micro-influencers. These smaller content creators are more accessible, they tend to have better engagement rates, and they are more cost-efficient than bigger creators.
Reach, likes, impressions, shares, saves and comments are all measures of engagement. More relevant than a follower count, an engagement rate (the level of interaction followers have with someone’s content) is one of the most important quantifiable indicators to consider. What is a high engagement rate? That depends on the industry, audience size, audience type, and the format of content published. Generally, industry standards place a high engagement rate between 3.5 and 6%. Here is a tool from the company Grin that calculates engagement rates for you.
This is primordial. The content creators you choose to work with must be connected to what you offer. If you want to attract job seekers to your organization, you need to collaborate with content creators whose audiences overlap with yours. Shared values, shared goals, and perhaps similar aesthetics are all elements to bear in minds throughout the selection process.
Your industry could also impact which platform you choose to advertise on. The point is to make contact with your target audience in ways that feel familiar and genuine to them.
For example, a recruiter in the restaurant business can look into the Insta-foodie community. A video game company can search for collaborators on Twitch. An IT company can work with a tech influencer whose reviews are praised on specialized forums or blogs.
Depending on your hiring goals and company size, geographic location could be an essential factor in choosing which influencers to collaborate with. Ask yourself whether your recruitment campaign is taking a global approach or a local one, and if the roles you are looking to fill are specific to a certain region. What language does your ideal candidate speak, and are they willing to relocate? Answering these questions will help you narrow down your search for content creators.
How to reach out to influencers
Once you have narrowed down a list of interesting influencers, you'll want to message them. How exactly do you go about doing that?
• Know your goals
First, you must know what your company stands for. When your values, your tone and your EVP are all firmly established, it’s easier for influencers to perceive you as a potential partner and to imagine their brand converging with yours. You must also know your recruitment goals, and what you hope to achieve by introducing influencer marketing into your hiring strategy.
For example, are you specifically looking to increase applications by 10% this year, or do you want to generally increase your employer brand awareness among the youth? Whatever they are, your goals will guide your communications with influencers. Another important factor to keep in mind is the law. Some countries require influencers to disclose paid endorsements, so make sure you and the people you choose to work with follow local laws and regulations.
• Consider third-party options
At this point, you probably know your employer brand like the back of your hand. You are thus well-equipped to communicate it yourself to potential collaborators. The tasks of selecting, messaging and nurturing relationships with influencers can all be done in-house or through your own network at a low cost. If you are looking for more guidance, you can also use the services of an influencer marketing agency. These agencies have experience in influencer discover, management, content creation and analytics, and they can help you throughout all stages of the influencer marketing process. For example, Cure Media collaborated with the Swedish Police Academy to help them increase their applications rate by developing and implementing a successful influencer marketing campaign.
Running influencer marketing campaigns can enrich your recruitment strategy, increase your employer brand awareness and build trust with your target audience without breaking the bank. In fact, some influencers might be closer than you think. Leveraging your own staff in your social media recruitment strategy is a wise move, as employee-generated content offers first-hand insights into the benefits of working at your company.
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