In the past few years, influencer marketing has been a hot topic in the marketing world — for good reason! Word of mouth and influencer marketing is an incredibly powerful tactic for marketers since consumers are much more likely to trust recommendations from a third party than a brand itself. Not only can you reach a new audience and build brand credibility, utilizing influencers can help your search rankings, too!
By using social media, you can build a network of influencers who will provide your product the positive word of mouth it needs to stand out among the competition. If you haven’t considered an influencer campaign yet, here are some stats to consider:
– 93% of marketers found influencer marketing to be an effective channel for brand awareness.
– 25% of search results for the 20 largest brands are links to user-generated content published on social media
These impressive stats only confirm how important it is to develop a strong influencer marketing campaign for your brand. If you’re not sure where to begin, here are some helpful hints to help get you started.
Before you find influencers for your campaign, you’ll need to determine how the overall success of your program will be measured. Are you looking for SEO benefits? Promoting a new product line? Looking to promote your content? Promoting an event? Once you’ve identified the overarching goal of your program, attach 2-3 KPIs for each of these goals.
Maybe you’re looking to drive leads, increase your social media reach, or improve your follower growth. These things should be outlined before moving on to the next steps.
Choose the Right Social Media Channels
The social media platform you choose for your influencer campaign will depend on your end goals. Different platforms are better suited for different audiences and demographics. Not only does each channel convey a different feeling for users, but also the channel you pick will be the basis for determining the ROI you can expect.
As a rule of thumb, beautiful photographs belong on Instagram, while interesting videos perform better on Facebook. Therefore, not only should you choose the right social media channel for your campaign, but you’ll want to identify the best tactics for that particular platform.
Since each social media platform presents their own pros and cons, it is important that you do extensive research into what platform your customers spend the most amount of time on. For most campaigns, you’ll find it ideal to utilize a combination of multiple platforms to maximize your exposure. Test out various platforms to find what helps you reach your target audience effectively, then try optimizing the message until you get the best return.
How to Identify the Right Influencers for your Campaign
Next, you’ll want to find the right influencer for your product or service. Brand influencers should have built up a solid following on social media and have the credibility and expertise to recommend your product.
When looking for influencers to reach out to for your campaign, evaluate the individual on this criteria:
– Reach and size of audience: Although audience size and reach is important, it’s not the most important factor. In fact, in some cases, it might make more sense to work with a blogger that has a following of 10,000 than it does to work with one that has 5 million, because their audience may be more engaged. In fact, Digiday found that the influencers with the most engaged audiences have between 10,000 and 100,000 followers, not in the millions. You can also use tools like Quantcast, Klout, and Alexa to give you a better indication of someone’s level of influence.
– Type of audience: You’ll want to ensure that their main audience closely aligns with your target market. Many influencers have data about who their target audience is, so you may be able to reach out to them to get that type of information.
– Relevancy: Make sure that your product would be relevant to their followers to make the campaign effective.
– Consistency: Choose an influencer that has a similar look and feel to your own, and whose tone is appropriate for the way you want to present your brand to potential customers. This will make it easier for you to collaborate with the influencer.
Now that you have defined the ideal influencer you want to reach out to, the next step (and arguably the hardest step) is to find them.
You’ll need to monitor your brand on social media in order to find brand advocates that fit your criteria. The easiest step is to see who is already talking about your brand. You can reach out to these individuals to discuss a deeper partnership. In order to help your research, identify valuable hashtags that your target influencers are using. This will help you manually find influencers who post about your industry.
There are also a ton of awesome tools that can help you find untapped influencers to partner with. BuzzSumo is great for identifying key influencers. You can search by a certain topic, keyword or hashtag, and then use that information to identify the individuals who will be able to amplify your own content marketing. You can even follow influencers directly from BuzzSumo and add them to your Twitter lists to build a list of prospects that you want to reach out to.
Effective Ways to Engage Influencers
After you’ve identified the influencers, you’ll want to start building a relationship with them. We recommend starting slow. Perhaps you start engaging with them on social media via Twitter or Instagram, liking and sharing their content. From there, you can move onto traditional outreach methods, such as:
– Direct outreach campaigns
– Asking influencers to create content for your brand
– Asking influencers to review your products
While it may be tempting to outsource your influencer outreach, we recommend to reach out directly. 79% of social influencers prefer businesses to reach out to them directly, rather than through an agency.
Additionally, you’ll want avoid sending out mass generic emails. Generic subject lines look spammy and can turn off potential influencers from partnering up with you. While it’s acceptable to start with an email template, make sure that each email is personalized to the influencer. When you’re crafting your pitch, always include reasons why you think they would be great for your campaign.
Make it Enticing and Mutually Beneficial
Any savvy influencer is going to ask, “What’s in it for me?” It’s important to sell the influencer on the benefit of the relationship, not only the value to the influencer, but to their audience as well. This will help create a meaningful and lasting relationship between your brand and the influencer.
In order to make it more enticing for the individual, considering offering an affiliate program. An affiliate program will give the influencer a chance to generate revenue by promoting your product or service. Coupled with a compelling offer, the influencer will work hard to develop new and interesting ways to promote your product or service.
Your company can also provide discount codes for the influencer. Although this is similar to an affiliate program, a discount code also provides benefits to the influencer’s audience. Since it’s likely that the discount code will infiltrate social media, tracking the true effects of the discount code can get a bit tricky, but it’s still an overall effective influencer tactic.
By no means is an influencer campaign a “set-it-and-forget-it” type of strategy. You’ll want to be constantly monitoring your results to identify areas of success and areas for improvement.
Refer back to the KPIs you defined at the beginning of the process. Have you made any progress? What areas could use improvement?
Dive into your Google Analytics and look at your referral traffic to see if you notice a large increase from the social networks you are running influencer posts on. You can also use influencer analytics platforms like Zoomph, Klear, and Hyprbrands to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns. Do you notice a large increase in sales or leads? Have your social profiles seen an increase in followers and/or engagement?
Influencer marketing is a hot online trend right now, however, you still need to do your research and ensure that your efforts align with your overall marketing strategy. Test and track your results to improve performance, just as you would with any other marketing channel.
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