Influencer marketing is a type of social media marketing that uses endorsements and product mentions from influencers and/or individuals who have a dedicated social following and are viewed as experts within their niche. Influencer marketing works because of the high amount of trust that social influencers have built up with their following, and recommendations from them serve as a form of social proof to your brand’s potential customers.
Quite simply, an influencer is someone who can influence others. In influencer marketing, that influential person collaborates with a brand to promote something. Celebrity endorsements were the original form of influencer marketing. But in today’s digital world, social content creators with niche audiences can often offer more value to brands. These people have dedicated and engaged groups of followers on social media.
THE VALUE OF INFLUENCER MARKETING
While Instagram influencer marketing is a well-known strategy, many other networks are growing for influencers. Other networks like Snapchat, YouTube, and TikTok have their own set of influencers with different demographics.
HOW TO CREATE A SUCCESSFUL INFLUENCER MARKETING STRATEGY?
Like any marketing tactic, an influencer program takes deliberate targeting and planning. You won’t find strategic success just by sending free things out to everyone or your existing friends and acquaintances.
Here are the steps explained in detail –
1. FINDING INFLUENCERS AND PAYING THEM
Much like any strategy, research is the first step. Choose the platform you want to focus on first. You can always expand to other platforms later, but if you’re just starting, stick with one. The industry you’re in also matters when you’re planning to implement an influencer marketing strategy. For example, Beauty and fashion brands shine on Instagram and YouTube.
During your research phase, look into the type of influencers you’re interested in. Are you going for celebrities with massive followings? Or micro-influencers with less than 2000 followers? Whatever you decide to focus on will determine your budget.
2. SETTING UP A BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT STRATEGY
Now that you have some idea of what to pay influencers, you need to create your budget. Be sure to also factor in time for planning, executing, and reviewing your influencer program. Running a successful influencer marketing campaign is not a set-it-and-go type of strategy. It’ll involve careful monitoring and follow-up.
If you have the time and money, consider setting up a formal ambassador program. For brands that need a wider pool of influencers, hiring an influencer marketing agency that will do the research and coordination for you is a good option.
3. DECIDING GOALS AND MESSAGES
The two most common reasons for using influencer marketing are to elevate brand awareness and increase sales. Influencers can reach very specific audiences. Instead of you relying on thousands of followers, influencers will help you ensure a very targeted audience who is likely to be interested in your product reads and engages with your content.
Your message is just as important as your goal. While you don’t want to stifle an influencer’s creativity and uniqueness, you also don’t want them to post about something unrelated to your campaign. Determine how you want to structure your influencer marketing campaign and message, so you can stick to it later on.
4. CONTACTING AND OUTREACHING INFLUENCERS
Back to step one: research. With a plan set around your network, goals, and what types of influencers you want to target, we go back to researching how to find the right influencers to work with. During this research, keep in mind the following points –
- Do they post similar things related to your service?
- Are they legal?
- Have they worked with similar brands before?
5. REVIEWING YOUR STRATEGY
Even if your influencer marketing campaign is ongoing, you should still have pre-determined dates where you’ll measure its progress. The next part of this guide will go into how to track your results. Not all campaigns are successful, but hopefully, you’ll learn with each one you create.
6. TRACKING INFLUENCER MARKETING CAMPAIGNS
There are a few ways of measuring the success of your campaign. You can create a specific hashtag to track what your influencers are doing. If you’re aiming for more sales, giving out affiliate codes or tracking links is an easy way of seeing how much is being generated from influencers.
Influencers are here to stay, but how the world of influencer marketing looks and operates has changed a great deal in a short time, and in five years may be drastically different from today.
Still, while there are some unique considerations to working with influencers, setting up a campaign is the same as most marketing campaigns: research, set a budget, determine goals, find your influencers, and review and revise.