How to Use Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Influencer Marketing
Love them or hate them, you can’t deny the sway that influencers have on public discourse. They’ve almost become a separate communication channel, featuring prominently in any marketing or communication strategy. The industry was valued at $16.4 billion in 2022 and is expected to hit $21.1 billion in 2023 - which just shows how strong it’s growing.
But what is influencer marketing?
It’s a type of marketing where brands and companies collaborate with social media influencers to promote a product or a service to their specific audience. Influencers vary based on the number of followers – Mega, Macro, Micro and Nano. Most of them function in certain niches and industries, which makes them an effective route to promoting products within those niches.
The aim of influencer marketing is to create content that leverages the influencer’s reach and builds a perceived-authentic connection with the product or service. Almost 50% of millennials trust product recommendations from influencers, showcasing the impact they can have on your product sales. But if this association seems inauthentic, it can have a negative impact as well. With 93% of marketers using influencers, it’s important to find ways to build efficiency within this realm of influencer marketing.
And Artificial Intelligence (AI) might just be the solution.
How can AI help with influencer marketing?
It’s evident that AI has taken the world by storm, affecting almost every industry and sector. Conversations around AI range from excitement to despair, with influencer marketing moving in a similar breath. So what can AI do for this channel of marketing?
Influencerselection – How do you find the right influencer? You might have heard of one from a colleague or a peer and believed that this is the ideal candidate to promote your product or service. But is there someone better out there, especially for the audience you seek? What if you don’t need a mega influencer, and a nano influencer with less than 1,000 followers could do the trick?
Using AI-based tools, you can analyze vast amounts of data, including audience demographics, location, interest, engagement rates, impressions, reach, and content relevance. You can match the influencer to your own brand and see if it fits. AI-based tools can also help you identify influencers who might come cheaper on the dollar. You might want to try tools like HypeAuditor, Klout, or Upfluence.
Prevent fraud – Everyone is out to make some money, and there are a host of fake influencers who try to fool brands. Purchased followers and engagement is common practice, with 1 in 4 influencers apparently buying fake followers. This can have a severely negative impact on your brand’s integrity, especially with fake collaborations. AI tools, like HypeAuditor and Klout, can identify suspicious patterns in growth by analyzing the influencer’s social media data. Content marketers can also do this manually, but you’d rather let an AI tool do the heavy lifting.
Faster content creation and curation – This revolution and noise around AI was brought to you by ChatGPT, and it’s a tool that marketers and influencers should be using extensively to create content. Natural Language Processing (NLP) algorithms like ChatGPT and Bard can be used to generate content ideas, themes, social media posts, captions, and video scripts. Learn more on prompts.
You can use platforms like Midjourney and Dall-E to generate images (Read our article). You can even automate your video content with AI tools. Almost every aspect of the content creation process can be automated, based on AI-analysis of past posts, engagement levels, and audience preferences.
Sentiment and trend analysis – Marketers are known for their insights within specific industries, which allows them to make better decisions in identifying trends and building specific campaigns. AI tools, like Awario, can help you in this regard, by monitoring social media conversations, analyzing comments, and identifying audience sentiment towards influencers. By processing large troves of data, AI can help you find emerging trends and topics to stay competitive. This is key in making adjustments and even selecting the right influencer.
Predictive analytics – It’s easy to analyze past data and try identifying trends. But as every financial disclaimer will say – past trends are not indicative of future performance. This is true with influencers as well. You have absolutely no idea if the collaboration will bear fruit, aside from having faith and assumptions. Predictive analytics is an aspect of certain AI tools, which can evaluate available data on influencers and trends to identify future reach, engagement and potential return on investment (ROI). Amazon was planning on shipping items to customers even before they ordered it, based on predictive AI analysis. Could you do the same with your influencer campaigns?
Campaign management – You already have tools that can handle aspects of an influencer campaign, but AI-powered platforms can even deal with tasks that involve generative content. Content deployment, payment processing, performance tracking, admin work, and even media contract negotiations can be handled by AI. This could severely save time and resources for both brands and influencers, allowing your content to get out to the audience much faster. Running multiple influencer campaigns simultaneously becomes seamless and less taxing.
Personalization – What if you could create content that is personalized to individual members of an influencer’s audience? What effect would that have on the customer experience? With generative-AI, you can potentially create campaigns that analyze individual audience data to generate personalized content. Influencers can create targeted and relevant content for their followers, understanding which brand association works for which audience member.
For example, an influencer could look at data for each individual follower - their tastes, their likes, their interactions - and then create individual posts tailored to that follower. If an influencer was to do this manually, it would take hundreds of hours. AI systems can automate this entire process, including the deployment of these posts. Leveraging AI chatbots can allow influencers to interact with each follower, answer questions, and provide personalized recommendations. Influencers can thus scale their interactions and allow for brands to connect with audiences indirectly.
Measure effectiveness of the campaign – Any marketing campaign must showcase the ROI that it provides to the brand and the company. Nobody is throwing money praying that a campaign works. AI tools, like Buzzstream, Upfluence, Klear, can help provide a detailed analysis of real-time performance metrics for influencer campaigns. They can track engagement rates, click-through rates, conversion, brand mentions, sentiment changes, and overall efficacy.
This enables marketers to make data-driven decisions in selection of their influencers, identifying the length of the campaign, and even in determining the compensation for influencers. AI can help with dynamic pricing methods, where influencers are paid based on the above factors.
Here are some tools you might want to explore:
HypeAuditor, InfluencerIQ, Upfluence - These are AI-powered influencer marketing platforms that help brands find and vet influencers. They scrutinize an influencer's social media data to determine reach, engagement, and authenticity, while providing insights into an influencer's demographics, interests, and content performance. These can also potentially help you identify fake influencers.
Klout - Klout is a platform that measures an influencer's social media influence. It scores influencers on a scale of 1 to 100, with higher scores indicating a greater level of influence. Klout also provides insights into an influencer's demographics, interests, and content performance.
Social Blade - Social Blade is a free tool that tracks the growth and analytics of YouTube channels, Twitch streamers, TikTok creators, Instagram, and Twitter accounts. It uses AI to provide real-time data on subscribers, views, and earnings.
ChatGPT or Bard– Generative AI platforms can help you produce and optimize your content. You can use this to accelerate your creation process, especially for social media posts, idea generation and influencer-led articles. It can also analyze SEO and develop targeted strategies.
AspireIQ or Klear – These platforms can assist in influencer pricing and campaign management. They consider factors such as engagement rates, reach, historical performance to establish fair compensation. They also provide features for content approval, contract management and performance tracking of campaigns.
What about AI influencers?
The influencer market is an extremely saturated one. In a 2019 study on millennials and Gen-Zers, 54% said that they would become influencers if they could. It shows the potential growth within this sector and its possibilities for influencer marketing. But an unlikely candidate has emerged - AI influencers.
Brands like Calvin Klein, Nike, Samsung, Balmain have worked with virtual influencers for their marketing and social media campaigns. Prada has created its own virtual influencer, Candy, which was intended to target the younger generation for its perfume brands. With virtual influencers outperforming human influencers in average engagement rates - 2.84% compared to 1.72% - it’s no surprise that brands are turning towards them.
Content marketers are already using these AI influencers, who can have life-like features and use generative AI to converse with their followers. Using platforms like Synthesia, you can also automate lip movement based on a pre-fed script to create video content. These video automations are now being linked to generative AI for real-time virtual interactions.
So the question arises whether there might come a time when AI influencers can replace human influencers altogether. What do you think is the future of AI in influencer marketing? Write to us and let us know.
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