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A Step-by-Step Guide to Influencer Marketing

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This article was contributed by Nick Rojas.

Everyone talks about influencer marketing but few understand it properly.

A really effective influencer campaign has a lot of prerequisites but even before that, marketers need to be sure about what they are looking for. While success would come only with perseverance, here is a step by step guide that should provide with an executable roadmap.

Influencer Marketing

Step 1: Understand

The very first point you need to do is to understand what an influencer means for you and what are you looking to gain from the activity. You must understand that an influencer is not necessarily a celebrity or a movie star.

An influencer is someone whose opinion is taken seriously by your target audience.
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For instance, if you are selling healthy food supplements, your ideal influencer would probably be a doctor who is active on Twitter and keeps giving tips to his followers. He probably won’t have a million followers, but if he endorses you, surely some of his followers will buy your product.

Step 2: Decide Your Ideal Persona

So, at this point you need to build an ideal profile of the influencer you are seeking.

· Is it a man or a woman?
· Are you looking for a matured person or someone with youthful exuberance?
· What kind of expertise do you want that person to have? For instance, if you are selling shoes, you can look both at Travel and Fashion niches.
· How many followers/fans do they have?
Make a detailed list of these questions so you can get a better idea of who you’ll be targeting.

Step 3: Budget

Now, if someone has to promote your product, you will have to give something in return.

A powerful influencer with a high number of followers will be expensive. So, there will be a trade-off between what you can pay and what you are looking for. If you do find the right people, you can make the most out of your budget. But take your time and be clear about how much you are willing to spend and what you expect in return.

Step 4: Identify and Choose

Now, based on the ideal persona and the budget described above, you need to find the influencers to approach for your campaign. There are various ways to do the same.

·  You can just browse through the social network you are targeting. If you are looking for a Twitter or Instagram star, just search some relevant #hashtags. For instance, if you are trying to reach a younger generation, you may want to use a Snapchat influencer. If yours is a more visual product, then you may want to find popular YouTubers with massively popular videos. That should give you an idea about the popularity and following of the person.

· Conversely, there are other agencies that act as a platform where potential advertisers can find influencers. However, such agencies also charge a commission and affect your budget.

· You can also use a tool like TrueSocialMetrics, Google Alerts or Tweetdeck to find out who is mentioning your brand and also to measure performance later on.

Outreach

Step 5: Outreach

Once you identify your influencers, it is the time to reach out. See here for how to create influencer outreach emails that work. Be professional and respectful in your mailers. Do not beat around the bush and come straight to the point. Tell them what you seek and what are you offering in return. Do not lose heart if someone does not agree to your terms. Just focus on the ones who do.

Step 6: Plan and Implement

Now you must prepare a plan to make the most out of the influencers. What you require them to do will depend on what they are good at and also the networks they are active in. For instance, suppose you are selling bespoke jewelry and there is a YouTube influencer running a fashion channel. You can ask her to wear your creations during a video and give credit to you.

On the other hand if the person is active on Twitter or FB, you can just tell them to share pictures and details of your creations and offer a discount for their followers. If the person is a good blogger then you can get a good blog post written about the experience of using your product. Just make sure that you use the most important skill of the chosen influencer.

Step 7: Measure, Modify and Repeat

Once you get going, it is necessary to measure the ROI of your campaigns. There are various ways to do it. You can check if it has increased your brand mentions or if your website is getting more traffic as a result. Eventually the key will be conversion, i.e. if the influencers are really making people buy your stuff. If you are not getting a desired result, just re-examine your plan, modify it and then repeat.

Case Study: Chobani

Chobani ran an influencer outreach program around their new campaign, Chobani Flip.  As part of the campaign, they created an infographic to be sent out to vloggers and bloggers. The graphic included a list of questions about what Chobani flavors they liked best. The objective of the campaign was for influencers to write about how their savory soulmate allowed them to experience both sweet and spicy flavors at the same time. This way, people following the influencers can read about Chobani and discover new products they could potentially try for themselves.

The campaign resulted in hundreds of placements. You can see a few examples here:

Chobani Burger

See the full post here.

Chobani Soulmate

See the full post here.

As a result of this campaign, Chobani earned many blog placements, gained new followers, and increased their site visibility substantially.

Stats

Influencer marketing is not hard to understand but the key is in finding the right influencers and providing them with an effective message to share with their followers. Take your time, plan well, use the right tools and approach the right people if you really want to succeed in it.







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