Influencer marketing is exploding as social media becomes one of the primary avenues for businesses to reach their audience. From YouTube vloggers to Instagram personalities, millions of consumers religiously follow their favorite influencers for content, product reviews, and lifestyle tips.
Influencers are a unique marketing tool for businesses because they establish a sense of authenticity, which builds an innate trust with their followers. Users prefer getting info from an individual sharing their thoughts, ideas, and reviews more so than a brand, which inherently has ulterior marketing motives.
So marketers have been looking to capitalize on this follower-influencer relationship through influencer marketing. In fact, more than 86% of surveyed marketers have incorporated influencer marketing in their budgets.
How should you discover, attract, and work with the best influencers for your marketing campaign?
1. Know your KPIs.
Before you even consider working with an influencer, you need to determine how this will fit in with your overall marketing goals. What will an influencer add to your marketing campaign?
Designate the specific goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) that you’re looking to see in response to the influencer campaign. Common examples of campaign goals:
Generate buzz and brand awareness
Launch product or event
Share discount or promotion
KPIs you might work or and analyze during and after the campaign:
Note: Influencers work especially well to give visibility to small online businesses.
2. Choose an audience and budget.
Who is your target audience and how will you reach them? This will determine the ideal platform, the type of content, and the influencers you’ll use for the campaign.
How much can you spend? An influencer campaign is just like any other paid or sponsored advertising campaign. You need to spend money to receive a quality advertisement in return.
Be specific about your audience and budget. These should be at the foundation of your campaign to ensure success without overextending yourself.
But keep in mind that influencer marketing is worth the cost. Influencers have become one of the most successful advertisers in the digital world. Learn more about the benefits of influencer marketing for your business here. Dedicate whatever marketing budget you can to ensure you’ll meet your necessary KPIs.
3. Discover new influencers.
How do you find influencers that might work for your campaign?
Start with a hashtag search on your primary platforms. Look up relevant keywords on social media to find influencers posting about your industry.
Another great way is to look at people who are already posting about your brand online. Then, see the influencers that they follow. Who are your brand fans following? This can give you an idea of relevant influencers in your industry.
You can also try out an influencer marketing software or hub. These are tech platforms that help pair brands and influencers. You’ll set up a profile and campaign with demographics, interests, and deliverables. You can then search for influencers, and they can apply to your campaign. The software helps weed out poor performing influencers who don’t meet campaign requirements while amplifying those who are most suited for your business. These platforms can also help you track and analyze your campaigns based on crowd response, activities completed, and engagement level. Learn more about influencer and seller programs here.
4. Do influencer research.
The most important strategy for recruiting influencers is making sure you find the right influencers. An influencer could be a blogger, vlogger, social media personality, public speaker, or celebrity. But you don’t just want the one with the most followers. You want someone who has an engaged, relevant following that will link their audience to your brand. You want someone who has established credibility within your target audience.
What to look for when doing your influencer research:
Who is their primary target audience?
Are they in your niche?
How engaged is their audience (likes, comments, shares)?
How frequently do they post on social media?
Do their tone and style match your brand?
If relevant, are they local and do they have a local following?
Don’t confuse follower count with followers that count.
5. Reach out to influencers personally.
When recruiting influencers, you usually want to reach out to several at once. You don’t know how many will respond—besides the more, the merrier!
The majority of social influencers prefer businesses to reach out to them directly, as opposed to working through an agency. So don’t be afraid to “slide into their DMs” with a compliment and a mutually beneficial proposal.
Always start by talking about why they are the right fit for your brand. You want to start the relationship out on the right foot, which means you want to begin by building rapport. Tell them what you like about their page and style. Offer them a solution that will be a win-win.
Here’s a good template to use when reaching out:
A brief explanation of your brand
A compliment about their page, style, tone
An honest explanation of your strategy
Invitation to talk further
Make sure you communicate in your brand voice to illustrate the tone and direction of your company. Keep it short, sweet, and to the point. Don’t beg or exaggerate. Tell them what you want, what you’re going for, and how you’ll provide value in response. Think of it as a sales pitch—but you’re selling your entire brand rather than your products.
6. Determine How to Showcase your Brand
Different influencers will make different kinds of branded content. They might review the product on their blog, use it in their Instagram story, use a branded hashtag, or other reasons.
How do you want your influencer to showcase their experience with your business? This is where you’ll come up with the “deliverables” of the campaign. For example, you might request that the influencer uses your product in a live video, uploads an image of them with the product, includes a review on their blog, and/or shares a certain phrase or hashtag.
You usually want to present these deliverables to influencers, but stay flexible in case they have any ideas. Influencers know a lot about how to interact with and engage their following, so don’t be afraid to ask for their input and ideas as well.
7. Offer incentives.
Influencers are in it for the incentives. If you want to attract an influencer, you need to present a mutually beneficial relationship.
Not all influencers want cash. Influencer campaigns are good for small businesses because you can offer different types of incentives that won’t kill your marketing budget. Common motivations for influencers include:
Increase reach / grow their audience
Create quality content for their audience
Shape their image
Get perks, discounts, or freebies
Have new experiences, like trips or events
Offer incentives that the influencer will want and that are relevant to your brand. If you’re a skincare brand, give them free skincare products to try out and review. If you’re a Harry Potter themed coffee shop, invite them to come to a coffee tasting event for free.
Note: Make sure you draw up a contract that outlines payment, licensing rights, deliverables, and timeline. Think of an influencer campaign like you would any other marketing campaign or paid partnership. Always get everything in writing.
Influencer marketing is one of the best ways to boost reach, enhance your brand awareness, promote content, and further establish your business within your industry. But influencer campaigns can be hit or miss based on how well you establish your goals, campaign deliverables, and relationship with the influencer.
Not sure how to incorporate influencers in your marketing campaigns? Seller’s Choice can help you create a strategy that will help you recruit the right influencers and create the best content for your digital strategy. Contact us now for a free consultation.