There are many benefits to influencer marketing. It can help you increase your customer reach, improve your brand awareness, and eventually result in more sales and leads. But before you start your first campaign, learn about the basics of influencer marketing strategy. The more you know, the better chance you have at success.
Your brand needs some serious attention, but the methods you’ve been using to reach your customers are not enough to help you rise above the competition. It’s time to add a personal touch to your stale editorial delivery. If you want to succeed in this crazy, fast-paced world, you need a fresh face and approach to your marketing. So how do you raise brand awareness, create a close connection with your audience and increase ROI? Why influencer marketing, of course. Before we launch into how you can use influencer marketing to increase customers, leads, and sales, let’s talk about what influencer marketing is and isn’t.
What is influencer marketing?
Remember the time when you’re kid couldn’t stop talking about this incredible hairstylist, fitness guru, gamer, etc. Anything these experts or bloggers liked and used your kid needed as well. You were sick of constantly hearing about the same people but grateful because you didn’t have to guess what gifts to give for their birthday or the holidays. You may not have known it at the time, but your kid and your pocketbook were targets of a sophisticated influencer marketing campaign. Did you buy the items they wanted to get some peace? Then it worked! These are perfect examples of influencer marketing endorsements used to promote a companies’ products or services. Influencer marketing isn’t new; it’s been around since ancient Rome. Back then, gladiators would express their approval of certain products to be sold to the masses. Today, social media platforms, blogs, and podcasts provide fertile ground for influencers to thrive and connect with their audience. In influencer marketing, companies use well-liked bloggers, social media butterflies, or celebrities to promote their products or services, often in exchange for money, gifts, or free subscriptions. Initially, influencers used to share products and services they loved with their audience without payment or provocation. But now that marketers realize the potential of their support, influencers can earn a decent living doing what they love.
What influencer marketing isn’t
I know this gets tricky, but even if your eyes are on an influencer you believe could boost your brand awareness into the stratosphere, there are still some key points to consider:
–It’s not a magic formula for viral content
Unless you’ve secretly discovered the unicorn of content creation, basing your marketing strategy on going viral isn’t a sound way to grow your business. Since the phenomenon of going viral is unpredictable, it’s a recipe for madness. Even if you’re working with the golden goose of influencers, it’s still not a substitute for valuable, relatable content. If you don’t put the time and effort into researching your audience’s pain points, needs, and motivations, you won’t achieve your desired results.
-It’s not a sales magnate
While influencer marketing may encourage more click-throughs to view your product or service, that doesn’t mean your audience will buy from you. The content your chosen influencer promotes may inspire your audience with a heartfelt story or lead them to consider your product or service as a viable option. Unfortunately, it doesn’t necessarily drive them to make an immediate decision.
–It’s not a cheap, quick way to boost brand awareness
Influencer marketing takes time. Though it may be more cost-effective than other types of marketing, it’s not always inexpensive. If the influencer is a celebrity or social media star with tons of followers, you can count on shelling out a decent amount of cash.
–It’s not an event filler
Despite influencer marketings’ ability to bring more people to your website, high event attendance isn’t a certainty. Unless there’s a big enough incentive, for example, an in-demand product or cause that touches hearts, it’s probably not going to happen.
–It’s not a reputation redeemer
If your business has burned up the pages of Trust Pilot with negative reviews from angry, unsatisfied customers, a well-planned influencer marketing campaign won’t make them love you. Before you put your next innovative marketing strategy into action, you have to fix the issues that cause the most customer complaints.
Creating An Influencer Marketing Strategy
Still excited about adding influencer marketing to your overall marketing plan? Well, here’s how to do it! According to Kim Kosaka, Director of Marketing at Alexa, there are several steps you need to take to make your next influencer marketing campaign a success.
Set your goals
Building a great marketing plan requires that your company layout the goals you wish to achieve for each campaign. Not only does this help you form a dependable strategy throughout the campaign, but it also shows you which analytics software and metrics you’ll need to measure your results. Are you having trouble nailing down goals for your campaign? Don’t worry. Kosaka has some thoughtful suggestions about what you need to consider. Marketing goals such as increasing brand awareness, reaching new audiences, improving sales, and generating more leads are all necessary to help your business thrive.
In addition, Kosaka suggests you identify the type of influencer campaign you’ll create. Knowing this vital information, she says, will give your marketing purpose and direction. When you’re ready to approach an influencer, she identifies three distinct ways to utilize their super social media abilities: you can inspire them, hire them, or employ a mixture of the first two tactics. The exciting thing is, you don’t have to stick to the same approach for every campaign. There are several different types of influencer marketing strategies you can use. Giving free products for a review, providing discount codes, contests, and creating content for their blog is a fraction of the unique and fun ways you can encourage an influencers’ endorsement. Be flexible in your marketing efforts. Suggestions are suggestions; they’re not a paved way to marketing success. Kosaka says instead to combine types to form an influencer marketing strategy that’s right for you and your business.
Know your audience
Before you ever decide to hire an influencer, you have to identify your audience. Making a list of qualities that your repeat customers have in common such as pain points, employment, and hobbies, will allow you to produce a more accurate picture of which influencers would most appeal to them. For this task, Kosaka maintains that marketing segmentation is crucial to a thorough understanding of your customers’ distinct needs and values.
Choose your influencers
Now that you know your audience, you’re ready to find the perfect influencer for your specific market. There are many places to look for influencers. Industry experts, loyal customers, and enthusiastic bloggers are but a few examples of viable influencer sources. After choosing the type of influencer; you’d like to work with, examine individuals or brands with experience in that area. It’s crucial to select influencers who also share your audience. You can do this by utilizing Alexas’ all-in-one software or performing a Google search for websites directly related to your industry. These sites provide an excellent opportunity for guest blogging and adding content you know the audience you’re trying to reach will enjoy. Another way you can discover influencers is by checking your competitors’ backlinks. You can achieve this by using competitive keyword analysis software such as Alexa or Ubbersuggest. These tools allow you to see the backlinks of your competitors. That way, you’ll know who is most likely to work with your brand. When you follow the backlinks, you’ll discover guest posting opportunities, types of popular, published content, and more. To find social media influencers on Twitter and Instagram, check appropriate hashtags.
While you may feel the sudden thrill of discovering influencers to represent your brand, you have to make sure their values and interests align with your business. Work with an influencer whose audience is closest to your ideal customer. Don’t be fooled by large influencer audiences. If an influencers’ audience doesn’t represent your target audience, they’re not a good fit. An influencer with a smaller audience that uses products and services similar to yours is your best option. Visit an influencer’s website to access trends in engagement. Which content are their subscribers responding to the most? You can also use tools like Alexa, Ubbersuggest, and BuzzSumo to view detailed analytics reports on their audiences’ hobbies, interests, and behavior. If you’re working with a smaller budget, visit the influencers’ Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter pages. You should pay close attention to who’s following them and who engages the most with their content. After this, create a list of their biggest fans and go to their pages. You’ll want to record each fan’s interests, hobbies, and values. Uncovering the potential reach of an influencers’ audience is essential to choosing an influencer that can help you expand your business. Each potential influencer candidate should have a large enough audience to give your business the exposure it needs. For instance, when researching their social media accounts, notice the number of followers they have. Another key metric to note is the number of likes and engagements they get per post. Also, make sure that the influencers’ content is similar or compliments your brand’s mission, core values, and excellence.
Create unforgettable content
Yes, content is still one of the most vital aspects of your business. Without it, you won’t reach your target audience or grow your brand. This knowledge also applies to your marketing strategy. When you’re working with an influencer, offer a wonderfully creative or innovative approach to your content contributions, especially if you’re creating content for an influencers’ website or guest posting. It’s always crucial to create content that benefits you and your influencer. Then it’s a win-win situation. When you develop strategically targeted content, use focus on popular keywords commonly used by the influencer and your industry. Always provide content that your influencer hasn’t added. This way, the content is new, fresh, and adds to their authority while filling in the gaps. Being aware of an influencers’ website needs will make it easier for you to produce mutually beneficial guest posts.
Organize your method of communication
Keeping track of influencer email contacts will aid your guest posting efforts immensely. Mail Chimp, Capterra, and Emailigistics are a few examples of email management tools to make this time-consuming job bearable. Using them ensures that you’ll never send repeat messages to the same influencer or send emails to the wrong influencer on your list. They allow you to look professional, competent, and on top of your game. When maintaining a system for tracking your email communications, Kosaka says to consider these helpful points:
- Who’s responsible for touching base with influencers? Is it one person, or are there many?
- What time, day, week, or month did they communicate?
- Who exactly did they contact? Was it the influencer or an employee?
- Record notable aspects of the communication? What stood out to you? Did you notice any patterns?
- Organization of follow-up emails
- Determine whether the influencer is interested in working with your company, in the process of making a decision, or is still in the awareness stage of getting to know your brand.
Research and Review your results
Seeing your influencer marketing campaign come to fruition can make you feel victorious, but a popular influencers’ approval doesn’t necessarily spell success.
Achieving your influencer marketing goals, Kosaka says, is the determining factor. That’s why it’s necessary to assess and calculate your success. Use metrics to track the results based on the goals you set at the beginning of your campaign. Examples of these might be how many social likes, mentions, or shares your content received, the number of customers who remained or renewed subscriptions, and the number of sales and revenue generated.
Compare your recent and past influencer marketing efforts to determine which marketing tactics succeeded and which ones failed. The insight you’ve gained from these experiences will help you to create better campaigns in the future. Throw out what doesn’t work and keep the methods that brought you the most profit and exposure.
Although influencer marketing can increase brand exposure, awareness, and ROI, it’s not for everyone. For it to work, you have to be far enough along in your business that you can either afford to hire an influencer or provide them with a service or experience they can’t get somewhere else. If not, there are plenty of other ways to generate exposure while your business is growing and improving. If you’re ready to work with an influencer, utilize these helpful tips and plan your first influencer campaign today!
Meet The Author
Marisa D. Aceves
Hello, my name is Marisa D. Aceves. I’m a forever curious B2B freelance writer, artist, and marketer. When not slaving away in the studio, I enjoy sharing marketing strategies, SEO tips, and tools and technologies. Follow my blog and receive my latest tips on art marketing, digital marketing, and business software reviews.