We are constantly bombarded with the “we are in a creator economy” statement, and the rapid growth of influencer marketing does back that up fairly. The ad spend on influencer marketing went from $500 million in 2015 to a whopping $13.8 billion in 2021.

But the question still remains: how does a brand use influencer marketing strategies to achieve its goals. That’s what we break down here.

What in the world is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is when a brand uses people of interest and relevance on social media to promote their product or service. It’s done either in exchange for a fixed monetary fee or free products.

Who are these people of interest? They are creators who are relevant in their field or have expertise or authority on a topic. They have a loyal fanbase that follows the creator for their content, which can be entertaining, informative, or supportive. 

While there is no threshold that a person needs to cross to be called an influencer, there is a broad generalisation to categorise them depending upon their size. 

Creators with a few thousand followers are called nano-influencers. Ones with 10K to 100K are micro-influencers, and creators with upwards of 100K are macro-influencers.

Qualitative and quantitative influencer marketing strategies for different goals

Collaborating with any random creator doesn’t bring results. Nailing the right approach to your influencer marketing campaign is essential for getting the most returns out of your investment.

What is a quantitative influencer marketing strategy?

Quantitative influencer marketing is a good strategy to use if your goal is to increase brand lift. That means more reach, more awareness, more social media interactions, and more knowledge of products in the target audience.

In this influencer marketing strategy, a brand collaborates with as many creators as possible. Typically, it involves working with a lot of nano-and micro-influencers as brand advocates. Brand advocacy showcases your product being implemented in day-to-day life of everyday people. Such use case scenarios build trust.

The goal of a quantitative influencer marketing strategy is seeding. Working with hundreds of small creators simultaneously spread the word far and wide on social networks. The strategy is ideal for:

  • New product launches
  • Or to quickly expand the brand recall

Why use multiple nano and micro-influencers instead of one celebrity?

One, they’re cost-effective. Two, they offer unparalleled visibility. Three, their content is seen as authentic and genuine, which attracts more customers.

A very good example is YouTube tech influencers promoting apps in their videos. It’s common to see most of them talking about the same app at the same time. That’s not a coincidence but part of the marketing strategy. When consumers repeatedly see an app (or any other product) being mentioned everywhere, they become interested in the brand and sales explode.

What is a qualitative influencer marketing strategy?

Quantitative influencer marketing finds its advantages in achieving short-term goals of generating more eyeballs, clicks, and overall brand presence. For long-term goals like sustaining a brand image and increasing sales, brands need a qualitative influencer marketing strategy.

As the name suggests, it relies on using quality content. The number of creators used for the campaign is lower, but the collaboration is long-term. Moreover, the synergy between the brand and creator is absolute. The voice, the tone, the personality and the values match completely. 

Additionally, the brand doesn’t impose its campaign brief or content ideas on the creator. Rather, they integrate their product into the creator’s universe. It results in more traffic, higher purchase intent and sales. 

Think MRF and Sachin. We still associate the brand with his bat, rather than a tyre manufacturer. The aim is to consistently increase positive association with a few selected quality influencers who embody the true essence of your brand.

What to keep in mind when using the qualitative strategy?

Influencer marketing works because of mirroring. A consumer sees their favourite creator using a brand and thinks, “if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me.” Repeated collaboration reinforces this feeling, generating actual sales for the brand. 

But the key here is to discover creators who truly believe in your brand and share the same values. The best practice would be to use a personality-based search when looking for influencers, and not just a keyword-based one. 

What is the best influencer marketing strategy for you?

You need to assess what your immediate brand goals are. If you are looking to grow your audience and gain more attention, the best option is a quantitative influencer marketing strategy. The more buzz you generate, the more it will help your brand. 

On the other hand, if brand safety is crucial to you, and you want to run an outcome-based influencer campaign, a qualitative strategy is the correct choice. 

Irrespective of which influencer marketing strategy you choose, both need to have 3 pillars: the right kind of creators, transparency, and creativity.