Influencer marketing is getting a lot of buzz in the marketing world. The technique involves forming a partnership with people who have a strong influence on a brand’s industry or target audience. Many swear by this marketing approach because of its ability to increase a brand’s exposure and authority which is necessary for building trust. It connects businesses with new audiences helping to drive engagement, website traffic, and conversions.
How do I find the influencers? How do I achieve ROI? Where do I even start? If you have never used the marketing technique before, you might wonder how exactly it works. Below is a step-by-step guide to doing influencer marketing the right way.
1. Define Your Goal
The very first step in influencer marketing begins with outlining your goals. What is it that you want to accomplish with your campaign? Is it brand awareness, engagement, conversions, or a bit of everything?
Defining your goals early on in the process helps you shape a consistent strategy and gives you an idea of the metrics to track and monitor to measure your success at the end of the campaign. Your goals will also help you determine the kinds of influencers to work with, and how best to execute your campaign.
2. Creating an Influencer Marketing Plan
Now that you have your goals defined, it’s time to start thinking about the type of influencer marketing you want to execute. However, before this, you might want to determine a few key things to help set the stage. Among them include;
An effective strategy requires you to speak to the right people using the right tools. Outline specific details about the people you want to connect with through your campaign. A tip here is to create a buyer persona profile that fits your brand. Understanding who your audience is will make it easier to identify the top people they follow.
While influencer marketing isn’t always expensive, it’s always good to consider your budget and make plans accordingly. With proper budgeting, you can help avoid unnecessary costs.
Influencer marketing can be done in a number of ways. Some of the most popular types of campaigns include:
Sponsored Content – This involves paying for your brand to be featured on an influencer’s social media channel or blog.
Contests and giveaways – Everyone loves free stuff. Running a contest and offering giveaways can draw lots of attention to your products and services.
Discounts/affiliate links – Giving an influencer a unique discount code to promote to their audience is powerful. The discounts can even be tracked using affiliate or referral links. Discounts are often combined with sponsored content.
Publishing influencer content on your channels – Featuring an influencer’s content on your socials for a set amount of time.
Brand ambassadorship – An influencer that is a fantastic fit for your brand can be a brand ambassador. This is a form of long-term influencer marketing.
3. Find the Right Influencers
To have an effective influencer marketing campaign, you need to identify the right social media influencers. This is one of the most challenging steps of working with influencers. You need to be clear about what you’re looking for in an influencer, and top in the list should be;
- Relevance – People that are relevant to both your brand and campaign
- Engagement – Creative and engaging i.e. should have a high engagement rate
- Reach – With a significant reach in your industry
A great way to find people that can represent your brand is to search the top Instagram hashtags in your industry and look for the posts with high engagements. Also, using tools, such as Whalar and BuzzSumo allows you to look for influencers in your market by using relevant keywords. They compile a comprehensive list of influencers, with stats showing the number of followers, location, engagement rate, etc.
There are many tools that can help you find Instagram influencers, the best ones are those that show you estimate engagement rate, followers, verified accounts, and help you search based on location.
4. Agree on a Collaboration Structure
Now that you have found the influencers to work with, engage in a collaborating structure. You both want to understand the best way of working together, which will be mutually beneficial. Be specific on aspects like;
Campaign goal – Ensure they understand the goal you’re trying to achieve with your campaign.
Content Output – Be clear with what you want them to produce. However, trust them to create engaging and unique content that will resonate with their audience. Don’t try to have too much control over how they promote their brand or products.
Payment – Influencers expect to be paid for their work. Discuss the payment terms, it’s important.
Timeframe – What timelines are you working with and do you need content published by a deadline?
A good start is by using an influencer contract template, like the one compiled by Ninjaoutreach, a comprehensive template that can help you sign in a contract with an influencer with ease.
5. Campaign Support
Finally, be available on a supportive role to help your influencer create engaging content for your brand. Therefore, suggest content ideas and aesthetics, engage in their posts and repost and use their content in quotes and testimonials. In short, do everything possible to help the influencer’s campaign run smoothly.
Having executed your campaign, don’t forget to track progress to see the kind of results your influencers are driving.
The future of online marketing lies in influencer marketing. With the current trend, it’s only going to get bigger and better as new platforms launch and brands continue to develop new ways of working with influencers.
For more information about this topic; Shopify has made a comprehensive guide for beginners that cover all aspects of influencer marketing on Instagram; a good starting point. However, the topic is deep and complex, but rewarding for any business owner who wants to tap into social selling.
Author Bio: Saif Abbas is an experienced marketing consultant and the founder of incify.co, an outreach agency that connects influencers with businesses. He specializes in delivering website traffic, conversions, and revenue growth from organic search through results-driven technical content, and digital PR initiatives.