Influence cannot be gained overnight. Much like any other authority figure, a person is considered to be an influencer when they can influence audiences because they’re well-respected in the industry. It’s built on hard work, passion, and excellent relationship skills. Also, having a captivating or likable personality never hurts.
By the book, influencer marketing focuses on key individuals in their respective industries to distribute the content you’re creating. Many of these influencers have huge followings, so taking advantage of their sphere of influence has the potential to significantly increase your brand’s reach.
However, it’s a good idea to keep tabs not just on how many followers they have, but how active and engaged their followers are. An influencer is only as powerful as their audience makes them. Engagement levels are a good indicator of whether or not an influencer is worth pursuing.
According to a study by Tomoson, influencer marketing brings 51% better customers on average. This means that customers are more likely to spend more, be more loyal, and advocate for your brand when they’ve received the tick of approval from influencers.
In line with that, influencer marketing gives a strong return on investment (ROI). With an average return of $6.50 for every dollar your business spends, this strategy offers a significant channel for brands to build awareness, increase reach, and convert more sales.
If you’re planning to tap into this marketing strategy for your business, here are some tips you should keep in mind to truly influence, without being a nuisance:
1. Establish Your Goals
Just like any other marketing strategy, it’s important to outline key objectives for your influencer marketing campaigns. This will guide the entire process and allow for better monitoring and maintenance of your campaign performance.
While it’s a given that generating leads and sales takes priority, you should also look into other goals like boosting brand awareness, reaching new markets, and increasing your social media presence. Whatever your goal is, make sure to establish it well.
2. Allow Creative Freedom
These influencers probably know their community better than you do. They know what types of posts get the most engagement from their community and which ones fall flat.
Although it’s true that they’re working for your brand, you should still give them free reign (within reason) when it comes to how they want to approach specific campaigns. Any unnecessary guidelines will only work to restrict your campaign’s creative potential.
All that an influencer should need is a campaign brief and periodic reviews to ensure things are going according to plan.
3. Create a Story
Storytelling is a huge part of successful marketing campaigns. People find it easier to relate to and understand your message better when the ideas and thoughts are organized into a traditional narrative.
Your target market will trust you and the influencer more when there’s authenticity and “humanity” in the story. These stories should elicit emotions and aim to strike a chord with your audience, addressing their interests, needs, and wants.
You can create a strong storyline with an intricate understanding of how your product or service improves the lives of your customers. Make it about the experience.
4. Involve the Influencer
Always keep things transparent with influencers. They’re not just there to hit the “post” or “tweet” button. They have intrinsic knowledge about what makes their audiences tick, so you should keep them in the loop when making campaign-related decisions.
Be open-minded when it comes to their suggestions. These are influencers who’ve worked with numerous brands, and they should know what works. Involve them in the planning process whenever possible. You never know when they might be able to offer a unique perspective on something, potentially making your campaign more effective.
5. Do Your Research
Influencer marketing can also be called brand representation. These people will be the faces of your business, so it’s critical that you find out everything about them. If you come across red flags like controversial views or opinions, you might need to reconsider your options.
Furthermore, you’ll need to identify which channels these influencers are the most effective in. Of course, you’ll have to align the channel you want to maximize with the influencer dominating that platform.
Keep in mind that if a contracted influencer doesn’t appear to be supporting your objectives, it’s the brand’s fault for choosing that influencer. As a business, you should remember that you’re working with the influencer and not the other way around.
6. Look Beyond the Followers
Once again, it’s important to look beyond the number of followers an influencer has. What’s important is that the influencer has a healthy relationship with their audience. This involves significant levels of engagement on both sides, as well as a community-like system of support and debate.
Consider engagement rates and the types of engagement that these influencers are getting. Again, be mindful of quality. The context of their influence will dictate whether or not your campaign has the potential to convert.
7. Work with Micro-Influencers
Allocate your marketing budget properly. Aiming for micro-influencers who have relatively small followings rather than pseudo-celebrities might yield better results. The most popular influencers in your industry will almost always be in high demand, so choosing to approach these elite influencers might end up being more trouble than it’s worth.
Micro-influencers are everyday consumers with significant social media followings. Although their reach may be limited when compared to their macro-influential counterparts, studies have found that they tend to get higher engagement rates and more interaction.
They’re also likely to be easier to work with. After all, they probably don’t get approached much as influencers, so they won’t have any reason to have unreasonable expectations.
8. Be Mindful of the Budget
Negotiate influencer prices. While it’s safe to base everything on the rate card, it’s still recommended to small talk your way around your campaign’s cost.
Also, don’t forget to make use of what you already have. The product or service you’re marketing can also be beneficial to the influencer. Find the perfect balance of monetary compensation and collateral materials to turn your influencer into an effective brand advocate.
9. Make it Look Effortless
Ultimately, you should be trying to do influencer marketing without making it look like influencer marketing. The idea of tapping into a new audience is to make it seem as organic as possible. You really don’t want to give the impression that it’s all business or it’ll make your campaign seem less authentic.
Remember, people connect with experiences, and the influencer should talk about your brand based on their own story. It’s the influencer’s personal opinion that you’re after, which (as much as possible) should never seem promotional.
10. Monitor Your Campaigns
It’s critical that you’re able to isolate the effects of your influencer marketing campaign. Make sure you’re setting up tracking codes and channel reports, so you know exactly what your ROI is.
You can use tools like the Google Analytics Suite to keep track of your influencer marketing efforts. But don’t get distracted by metrics that don’t matter. Keep your focus on the key goals and objectives laid out in your influencer marketing plan.
Setting up and executing an influencer marketing campaign is a complex task for any brand. But laying the right foundation, tracking your efforts, and covering all your bases makes it a lot more straightforward to implement.
Be sure to make use of the right tools and best practices when it comes to implementing your influencer marketing campaign. Planning ahead will maximize your chances of success with reaching new audiences.
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