Influencer marketing can be thorny and time-consuming, but it doesn’t have to be.
Advertising online has never been harder. According to a study by Hubspot, 83% of consumers never want to see a mobile ad again. How can businesses find customers without alienating them? Many brands succeed with influencer marketing, in which brands contract with social media personalities known for their expertise on a particular subject, and the people who follow them—in other words, your potential customers—to showcase the brand.
Influencers are the gatekeepers of trust in the anti-ad age, and the growing popularity of ad blockers means that the trend will likely continue. These six easy steps will help you find the right influencers so you can run a successful influencer marketing campaign.
Preparing To Work With Influencers
Before you start emailing social media stars, address the legal and technical concerns first. Typical collaborations involve the influencer creating original content, like photos, blog posts, or videos, that features your product. You’ll usually be expected to pay for the time and effort involved in content creation. Work with an intellectual property lawyer to write a contract outlining payment, deliverables, and scheduling. Contracts should also detail who owns the new content and what you’ll provide to the influencer for making that content, such as free products or an extended trial period.
If you plan to let influencers access proprietary resources online, such as a file server with marketing materials or a service restricted to paying customers, don’t forget to audit your network security. Different businesses have different network concerns, but those offering cloud-based services should pay extra attention to security, especially when considering IPS vs IDS approaches.
Understanding Your Goals
Choose key performance indicators ahead of time to shape your campaign and make data-driven evaluations of its success. KPIs can be anything from sales to website impressions to increased social media engagement, and each goal dictates a different approach. A sales-driven project could be an affiliate link campaign that tracks the purchases that come from each partner, but a push for social media engagement would be more likely to include a sponsored giveaway or an influencer takeover of your brand’s social media. In either case, clear goals keep your time and budget on track throughout the project.
Discovering Influencers in Your Niche
In most market segments, there are a few big influencers and a lot of smaller players, but don’t discount the importance of mid-tier creators; they’re often more engaged with their audience and work with businesses for a lower price, so they can be more cost-effective partners than the first names that spring to mind. Influencers have a following because they’re good at answering your customers’ questions, so invest time in analyzing your ideal customer’s needs and how you can address them. This exercise generates a list of search phrases associated with your segment; a new direct-to-consumer dog toy brand could study phrases like “durable dog toy,” “best new dog toys,” or “good toys for smart dogs.” With keyword research tools like SEMrush, you can see which influencers receive traffic from those searches and make a list of influencers with authority in your niche.
Choosing the Best Influencers for You
Limiting your efforts to just a few collaborations can seem difficult, so narrow the field by researching each influencer’s audience. Platforms like Find Your Influence offer a wealth of data about influencers’ audience makeup, including demographic data like age and gender so you can see if their audience matches yours. Engagement rate, which describes the proportion of their audience that interacts with an average post, is a key metric. Try to balance audience size with engagement rate; smaller audiences are more engaged, but eventually audience size constrains the amount of people who will engage with each post.
Pitching So Influencers Say Yes
Since influencer marketing is so popular, you won’t be surprised to learn that well-known creators receive hundreds of pitches daily. If you want to stand out, be personal: use their name in the salutation, mention a post that put them on your short list, and convey how your brand is a good fit for theirs. Given the quantity of low-quality proposals influencers get from brands who are eager to push through outreach and start a campaign, a concise, thoughtful pitch will make you stand out as a good partner and set a positive tone for further negotiations.
Reviewing Your Campaign
When your campaign is complete, look back at the KPIs you chose to measure success. Did the audience engage with your branded content at least as much as with an average post? Was there an increase in sales or traffic? Were your measurement tools robust enough to be sure that the campaign drove those increases? Beyond KPIs and tracking, consider how you felt about the partnership, and if you’d like your brand to work with the same influencer in the future. Iterating your marketing plan like this will produce better results for your next campaign.
Influencer marketing can be thorny and time-consuming, but it doesn’t have to be. By choosing the right influencer and running a smart campaign, you can earn your customers’ trust and achieve your business goals.
Freelance contribution especially written for Find Your Influence by Lindsey Patterson.