In celebration of Derby Week in Kentucky, if social media channels were thoroughbreds in an influencer marketing horse race, the order of finish for the top five horses would be:  Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Blogs, and Twitter.  Those “in the money” in the race would be Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook – by a nose over Blogs.  Once considered “much the best,” (which means the winner by a lot), Instagram may now be in a closer contest with competitors gaining ground.  Still, a few furlongs behind would be Twitter.  And at the back of the pack would be LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitch, the dark horse TikTok, and Snapchat.

Sticking with our horse theme, these are the “stable” of products offered by each channel:

Instagram: Instagram Post, Instagram Story, Instagram Video, Instagram Reel, IGTV
YouTube: YouTube Video, YouTube Live
Facebook: Facebook Post, Facebook Video, Facebook Live
Blogs: Blog Post
Twitter: Twitter Post, Twitter Video
LinkedIn: LinkedIn Post, LinkedIn Video, LinkedIn Pulse
Twitch: Twitch Livestream
TikTok: TikTok Videos

In the post-race analysis, it is currently a “three-horse race.”  Instagram is a powerful and dominant “favorite” channel due to its ever-expanding functionality and user base.  YouTube remains impactful, holding its “place” position as the largest video provider.  Facebook fits the profile of a “show horse” – a consistent performer and the popular fan choice.  From the perspective of an influencer considering the entire “field” of channels to use, it is beneficial to recall what will interest businesses most:

-How well does the channel’s demographic audience match the target audience?
-What is the channel’s preferred content format?
-Is the channel’s pricing within the budget?

Let’s study the channels and determine how to build a successful strategy that will put you and your business partner in the “winner’s circle.”

INSTAGRAM
Instagram is considered “aspirational, informative, and user-friendly.”

Audience: Instagram’s base is primarily Millennials and Gen Z, ages 18 to 34.  Females favor Instagram, with 56.4% female users and 43.6% male users.  Mid to high-income level users prefer it:  39% of the people earning $30,000 – $74,999, and 42% who earn more than $75,000 use Instagram.

Content: Instagram Posts allow influencers to showcase businesses and products with appealing photos and videos with a caption. Influencers can make their content more searchable and expand reach by using hashtags.  IG Stories and IGTV let influencers share real-time content with their audience.  The Instagram Shop feature enables influencers to easily tag businesses and products on their posts and then guides users to a check-out page. This enhanced shopping feature drives sales and brand awareness.

Pricing: One common method of determining price points is to calculate pricing based on the number of followers an influencer has. On average, Instagram influencers charge roughly $10 per post for every 1,000 followers.  The method that takes results into consideration calculates pricing based on engagement (e.g., likes and comments).  On average, influencers could charge $250-$750 per 1,000 engagements.

YOUTUBE

YouTube is generally considered the most likely channel to lead to a purchase.

Audience: YouTube has mass appeal across demographics.  Its most frequent users are in the 18 to 34 age group.  Females and males view YouTube in an equal ratio.  The content that they view reflects traditional interests.  Male viewers prefer categories related to sports, gaming, and fitness.  Female viewers follow cosmetics, skin/nail care, and weight loss categories.

Content: Because YouTube focuses on long-form video content, it is the ideal vehicle for influencers to promote businesses, share product tutorials, and review products and services in full detail.  Influencers can also attach business website and product links within the video description.  These features make YouTube especially effective in converting consumers into buyers.

Pricing: YouTube influencers can calculate their price based on either their follower count or the number of views from their videos. On average, YouTube influencers charge about $20 per video per 1,000 subscribers.  For YouTube creators who charge according to the number of views, they typically charge $50 to $100 for every 1,000 video views.

FACEBOOK
Of course, Facebook is the originator of social media and has a massive reach with more than 2.7 billion active users.

Audience:   Facebook users represent nearly all age demographics, and the most active group is in the age group of 25 to 39-year-olds.  Younger audiences prefer Instagram, YouTube, Twitch, Snapchat, and Tiktok.  Although Facebook’s users skew towards older age groups, these groups also have higher income levels. More than 70% of mid to high-income people on social media use Facebook.

Content:  Facebook has improved its content options with Stories, Facebook Watch, Facebook Live for real-time content, and Facebook Groups for open discussion among interest groups.  Influencers who partner with community-oriented businesses may find Facebook’s tools very accessible and a useful secondary channel for amplification.

Pricing:  Facebook influencers charge an average of $25 per post per every 1,000 followers.

BLOGS
Since you are reading this blog, you are probably not surprised that more than 70% of people online refer to blogs.

Audience:  Blog readers tend to be older than other social media users with an average age of 41.  Male readers seek out blogs more frequently than females.

Content: Blogs rely on a long-form storytelling format. Blogs exist to inform, educate, and persuade audiences.  Influencers can effectively leverage this platform to write about their personal experiences with a business and its products and services.  They often pen descriptive and utilitarian “how-to” articles.  A major benefit of blogs is that they are archived in an organized fashion, which ensures that they are readily available and do not get lost in the shuffle of cluttered and changing formats.  One of the common forms of collaboration with bloggers is sponsoring blog posts.  Successful sponsorships build organic search traffic by driving traffic directly from the blog to the business website.

Pricing:  Bloggers charge an average of $60 per blog.  Factors in pricing include the length of the blog, the specificity of the topic, and any additional expenses incurred in researching the topic if it relates to first-hand knowledge or experience with the product or service.  Although they are not flashy, there is inherent value in the relatively long shelf life of blog posts.

TWITTER

Technically Twitter is a “microblogging” system.

Audience:  Millennials constitute the largest user group on Twitter.  Male users gravitate to tweets much more than women; 65% of males use Twitter compared with only 35% of females.

Content: Twitter’s unique format of “tweets” allows users only 280 characters to make a post.  It is quick and engaging, but limited.  Twitter is therefore not ideal for influencers to provide rich context or wax effusively about products and services. Focused on real-time info related to news and events, it is best when promoting corporate events or industry news briefly and in combination with hashtags.

Pricing: 
Twitter influencers charge approximately $2 per post per 1,000 followers.

TikTok

TikTok has perhaps taken the reins as the most creative and entertaining channel.

Audience:  TikTok took the world by storm as the fastest-growing social media platform with about 700 million users.  TikTok’s audience base is roughly a pyramid.  Its foundation group is made up of teens, followed by users in their 20s.  Its smallest demographic is those 50 and over.  Slightly more of TikTok’s users are male.

Content: 
TikTok is famous for its short-form videos that allow creators to add audio and visual effects.  It is especially known for trending challenges.  Rapidly jockeying for position, what has differentiated TikTok from the social media giants (Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter) is that its “secretive algorithm appears to prize engagement.  The app serves videos that it determines the user is likely to watch for longer.”  Therefore it gives all creators the feeling that they could be discovered next, even if it is a long shot.  TikTok is currently set to introduce automated captions that will automatically add subtitles to posts.  The intent is to make its products more accessible to users, especially in the deaf community, and less burdensome to creators.

Pricing:  TikTok influencers charge from $5 – $25 per post per 1,000 followers.

Play of the Day Tip:
Just as audiences’ interests and preferences are constantly evolving, so is social media.  As an influencer, you should understand the various channels in order to most effectively harness your horsepower.  Be selective and innovative in connecting with followers/potential customers to avoid becoming a one-trick pony.  Influencers who work with partners to choose the appropriate channel can inform, entertain, and win the trust of their target audience and in turn capture the “trifecta” – their hearts, minds, and business.

REACH Influencers is the world’s first marketing platform focused on connecting micro and nano influencers to businesses.  Coming in 2021:  the addition of TikTok and YouTube to our platform!  Follow us on social to learn more about how you can build your influencer marketing strategy.