Creating a marketing plan that will most effectively benefit your business can feel like an overwhelming task. With so many different marketing channels, tactics, and companies claiming they have it all figured out, it’s easy to understand why. While there are certainly many different avenues you can take, you will most definitely want to include influencer marketing as a part of your overall marketing plan. In this guide, you will learn exactly what influencer marketing is, how it can benefit your business, and simple and effective strategies to connect with the right influencers and build thriving campaigns with measurable results.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing refers to the process of connecting with high-profile individuals, businesses, and industry leaders on various social media platforms in an effort to get them to promote your product or service. An “influencer” may have an extremely large number of followers, extensive knowledge and expertise in a given field, the absolute trust of their audience, or any combination of these values. The one thing they will all have is the ability to persuade their followers into trying something new and potentially unfamiliar. Some examples of influencers are celebrities, bloggers, journalists, or industry experts.
How Will Influencer Marketing Help You Grow Your Business?
Working with an influencer can be a game-changer for your business. Different types of influencers will have different impacts, but all are equally important. Mega and macro-influencers will have followings up into the millions and are extremely helpful in building brand awareness. This is an integral step in the marketing process as, obviously, the more people see your brand, the more familiar they will become with it, and the more likely they are to build trust in it.
Working with micro-influencers, who have smaller followings (anywhere from 1,000 to 100,000 people) and are generally considered experts in their fields, can showcase your depth of knowledge to a niche audience who are far more likely to convert to purchasing customers. Advocates and referrers will be able to offer their audience a more personal look at their own experience with your brand. This can be extremely powerful to build trust and credibility, as consumers are, according to prdaily.com, 83% more likely to purchase a product that has been recommended to them through a third party. Whichever type of influencer you choose to work with, you can guarantee an effective campaign will increase your reach and traffic and help you to spread your brand message quickly and easily.
Setting Yourself Up for Success with Influencer Marketing
If you do decide to implement influencer marketing into your campaign, there are a few simple steps you will want to take, to help ensure your success.
Determine Your Target Market
You may know exactly who you intend to sell your product or service to, or, your intended audience may be so large you don’t even know where to start. Creating a buyer persona (or multiple ones if need be) is an imperative step in finding the right influencer, even if it may feel a little daunting. A buyer persona is a fictional representation of a person who would be the most likely to benefit from or relate to your brand. You can use any feedback from previous marketing campaigns you’ve run to help figure out who seems to be paying the most attention to you. Once you’ve determined this, you will know where to start searching for influencers who resonate with the same demographic.
Define Campaign Goals
If you don’t know why you are running your marketing campaign, you can rest assured your efforts will not get much traction. Before reaching out to anybody, you absolutely must clarify your goals for working with them. Is your intention to drive more traffic to your website, increase product sales by a certain number or percentage, gain more social media followers, help your audience to better understand your brand message, or something else? Clearly answering these questions will help you to create a campaign that’s meaningful and successful.
How to Choose People For Your Influencer Marketing Campaign
Now that you know who you are targeting and why, you’ll need to find the right influencer. Do you plan to spend hours perusing Facebook and Instagram yourself? Does it make more sense to hire a professional? You may choose, instead, to rely on one of the many tools available (such as BuzzSumo or MozBar) to help you find the people and businesses who will best represent your brand. When going through this part of the process, don’t forget to connect back to the campaign goals you’ve set as this will help you get clarity. If you’re trying to gain more followers, for example, choosing a mega or macro influencer is probably your best bet.
Related Resource: Learn about the six main types of influencers here (including mega and macro influencers): A Step-by-Step Guide for Connecting With Influencers
Make the Connection
Once you’ve found the right influencer, you’ll need to get prepared to reach out. Before you do, however, you’ll need to make your presence is known to them. Learn as much about them as you possibly can. Follow their social media, read their blogs, share and/or link back to their content and comment and ask questions on their posts. The more familiar they become with you the easier it will be to ask for their assistance. When the time finally comes to take the next step, be sure to keep your email short, sweet and to the point. Tell them exactly what you are hoping for from them. Tell them what you are willing to offer in return, why you believe they would be a great fit for your brand, and how to contact you if they are interested.
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Growing Your Relationship
Once you’ve reached out to your prospective influencer, the real work of nurturing a thriving relationship with them begins.
1. Create Quality Offers
If you are reaching out to an influencer, chances are other people are, too. Make sure your offers stand out and add value to their lives. You may choose to provide them with monetary compensation in the form of commissions. Or, offer free products to them and/or their followers in exchange for reviews. Also, you can figure out a collaboration or contest that benefits both of your brands. Another idea is to ask for the opportunity to write guest blog posts for them, to name just a few.
2. Communicate Effectively
Once an influencer agrees to work with you, keep up your communication. Let them know where you are on holding up your end of the deal. If your influencer has to work harder than you, chances are good it’s the last time they’ll be working with you at all.
3. Stay Professional
Your influencers are not your friends (unless, of course, they are, in which case you should commit to full disclosure about your relationship). They are here to perform a job, as are you. Treat them with the respect and professionalism you would extend to any other colleague, boss, or employee.
4. Be Open to Suggestions
Understand your social media influencer has worked hard to build their own brand. They aren’t likely to agree to a campaign that isn’t a positive reflection of what they stand for or what their audience is interested in. Allowing your influencers to have some creative control over your project will likely stand to benefit you both.
Measure Your Results
As your campaign runs, you will need to work diligently to track its progress. This is to determine where it had success and what might need to change for any future campaigns. Here are a few of the KPIs (key performance indicators) to watch for.
Reach and Engagement of Posts
Did working with your influencer drive new followers to your brand? How many people did each post in your campaign reach? And, of the number reached, how many directly engaged with your post through likes, comments, questions, or shares?
Website/Landing Page Visitors from Campaign
Even if driving traffic to your website wasn’t one of the initial goals of your campaign, it is valuable information to track. Website/landing page visitors increases the likelihood of conversion, making it an important element to any campaign.
How many new sales were made as a direct result of your influencer marketing campaign?
Marketing Messages That Got Attention
Which brand messages received the most likes, shares, retweets, comments and clicks? Were they funny, sad, informative, or something else? Tracking this information will help you clarify how best to speak to your target audience.
Creating an influencer marketing campaign has many steps, but it is well worth the investment of time and energy. Once you’ve found the right influencer(s) to work with, you can build valuable relationships that will benefit you both for a long time to come. For help with your marketing strategy, feel free to contact us. Our team would love to help you with your marketing!