Influencers have become an important part of the content marketing world – and their impact is going to continue to grow.
For businesses that have yet to enter the influencer marketing sphere, there are some important points to note.
We outline the major steps in the influencer marketing strategy to make the process easier and more fruitful.
Finding the Right Influencers
There are numerous influencers at the moment, which makes choosing the right one for your brand a particular challenge.
While a wealth of choices can seem like an advantage, it often leads to marketers choosing the wrong influencers for their campaigns.
There have been recent incidents where influencers have failed to sell products or brought negative attention to a brand.
This happens because of a mismatch between the brand and the influencer. Just because an influencer has over a million followers, doesn’t mean that they are right for your company.
If your influencer campaign is focused on spreading brand awareness, you will want to look at influencers with the largest reach.
The more followers an influencer has, the more people will see a single post mentioning your brand, making the collaboration a success.
But you may not want your post to simply be seen – you may want people to actively engage with it and visit your website, or share a post.
Some influencers have more success with engagement, even if their reach isn’t that good. If engagement is what you want, these are the influencers for you.
But at all times, marketers must ensure that the influencer they collaborate with is relevant to the brand and the target audience they are aiming to reach.
The worst thing a brand can do is set up a collaboration with a high-profile influencer who has absolutely no relevance to your company.
This will lead to poor campaign results and may even negatively impact the reputation of the brand.
Do your research in advance and choose influencers in your niche, even if they don’t have the largest following.
Top or Micro-Influencers?
In the marketing sphere, bigger almost always seems better, but this doesn’t hold true in influencer marketing.
We have already touched on how reach, engagement, and relevance play into influencer marketing, and this knowledge will help brands make the right choice.
For instance, some of the top influencers – many of whom tend to be celebrities, aside from being digital influencers – could promise you massive gains from a single mention in a post.
However, such influencers are also extremely expensive to collaborate with.
This may not be a problem for large businesses, but small businesses would have to sink a huge chunk of their budget into such a collaboration.
On the other hand, micro-influencers have nowhere near the following of their high-profile counterparts – often less than 10,000 followers, if that.
However, micro-influencers also tend to have higher engagement rates – their followers are smaller and more manageable. They are more a close-knit community than a fan page.
For small businesses, investing in a small number of micro-influencers could be more beneficial, and more wallet-friendly than collaborating with a major influencer.
Brands also have the advantage of finding micro-influencers who are in the same location as their business.
This ensures that you see real results from a collaboration with a local influencer – it simulates word of mouth marketing to encourage people to patronize a local store.
While top influencers are attractive, you will see more positive results from partnering with a micro or local influencer.
Before you attempt to collaborate with influencers, you will have to contact them.
This is usually done through a private message on social media, or via their official email address, generally posted on their website.
You should contact a few as not everyone will be interested or available. Influencers are often booked in advance, so you will need some lead time before the partnership can begin.
Once you have positive confirmation from the influencers, you should create a contract on your company letterhead.
Remember that this is a professional partnership – a verbal agreement will not be enough if either one of the parties fails to keep up their end of the agreement.
You need to get the legal parts done before any money or products can be exchanged.
Give and Take
Despite the proliferation of influencers over the past few years, many small brands are still under the impression that working with bloggers and influencers is a free endeavor.
Influencers are professionals and they expect some compensation for the work they put in to give your brand awareness within their circles.
Many brands make the mistake of thinking that influencers will be happy with the free products that brands are giving them to be used in their posts.
While free products are great, and some influencers will be happy with them if they really believe in your brand, products do not pay the bills.
Many influencers are relying on brand partnerships for their salaries, and as they are professional contractors, they should be treated as such.
Thus, a compensation scheme should be planned out in advance. Most influencers will either expect a standard fee for the collaboration.
Some influencers may have a set charge for each post or charge via commission.
Plan your budget in advance and ensure that you set a reasonable give-and-take relationship with your influencer.
Influencer Goal Setting
We have spoken about the importance of reach and engagement when choosing influencers, but these should not be seen as goals for a campaign in and of itself.
You need to determine which KPIs you want to analyze before the campaign is implemented.
Aim for tangible goals with measurable values such as 40% more followers, 90 sales per day, 17% more subscriptions.
These goals will also give your influencers a mark to aim for with their posts, which will make the collaboration more successful.
Another point to remember is how influencers leverage social proof to increase brand awareness – this could mean that your reach has gone beyond the primary campaign.
Use social media management tools to monitor your campaign, the sentiments it generates beyond social media, and to ascertain the goals reached once the campaign comes to an end.
When done right, influencer marketing can have a positive impact on your brand awareness.
But first, you must determine which influencers you want to partner with – those with reach or engagement.
Even when you find relevant influencers, the high-profile influencers may not be right for your brand, while micro-influencers may produce results.
The collaboration process cannot be a verbal agreement so get everything in writing on a letterhead.
Always discuss compensation with your influencer – they aren’t doing this for free.
And finally, determine actionable and measurable goals that will give you a good idea of how successful your campaign was.
With these points in mind, your brand can engage in influencer marketing to great effect.