This article has been contributed by Vincent Sevilla.
Anyone who has worked on their social media strategy has heard of influencer marketing. It’s one of the most pervasive digital marketing techniques today, and for good reason. If you are looking for ways to boost brand awareness, then working with influencers is a strategy that will definitely pay off.
In this post, we we discuss why you should consider influencer marketing and how to drive sales with a 7-step process.
Why You Should Consider Influencer Marketing
By now, you probably already know how effective influencer marketing is if you want instant exposure to thousands or even millions of potential customers. What you might not realize, though, is that influencer marketing is so much more than a shortcut to a wider audience.
Here are some of the other things it can bring apart from an expanded reach.
1. It Helps Establish Trust
When influencers decide to work with you, you instantly receive their “seal of approval.” That is a big deal because their followers see these influencers as figures of authority in their respective niches. When they promote your products and services, it’s like they’re telling all their followers that they can trust you and that you deserve their attention and support, too.
2. Influencer Marketing Drives Sales
Everybody knows that working with influencers is one of the best ways to improve conversion rates. What influencers say about your brand does make an impact. According to a study conducted by Annalect and Twitter, followers trust social media influencers as much as they trust their peers. Forty percent of followers say they bought at least one product because their favorite influencer uses or promotes the brand.
When you are able to cultivate trust, conversion usually follows.
3. You Get to Engage your Targeted Audience with Relevant Content
No matter how much you spend on advertising your products, if it’s not relevant to your target audience, it wouldn’t make much of an impact. Followers watch and support their favorite influencers because they already like what those influencers are posting online.
If you work with an influencer who is already trusted and followed by your target market, then you know that your ad will reach the right people – those who are likely to give your products a try and may even become your loyal customers.
4. You’ll Enjoy Excellent ROI
Image Source: Big Commerce
Understandably, small business owners are a bit wary about investing in influencer marketing, but they shouldn’t worry at all. Almost 90% of marketers find that return on investment from influencer marketing is comparable to or may even be better than other channels of marketing. According to Burst Media’s survey, on average, influencer marketing campaigns get $6.85 in earned value for every dollar spent.
As well, if you have relatively smaller resources for influencer marketing, there are micro-influencers honing their craft and building their following that are more affordable to work with than their more established counterparts. These micro-influencers may have much smaller following, but their audiences are typically more engaged than those of A-list celebrities.
5. Influencer Marketing Offers the Opportunity for Unlimited Social Media Sharing
You don’t have to pay for impressions and clicks because when you do your campaign right, the followers of the influencers you are working with will share your content for you. As well, audiences of these influencers usually share content with peers that have the same interests. This means that if you tap the right influencer for your brand, you can let them and their audiences spread the word for you.
How You Can Build a Successful Influencer Marketing Strategy
Just as there’s a content strategy guide that can help you nail your approach to content marketing, there are also ways that you can ensure influencer marketing success.
Here are the 7 key steps to building a successful influencer marketing strategy:
1. Choose Your Primary Goal
Before you start to conceptualize the foundations of your campaign, you have to determine what you want out of it first. What’s your main goal? What are the things you want to achieve? Knowing what your primary goal is from the very beginning will help you in planning and executing every stage of your campaign.
Your goals will be your determining factor as to which influencers you should reach out to, as well. Some of the most common goals are building brand awareness, attracting a new market, and getting more leads.
If your main goal is to increase brand awareness, you might want to work with influencers in your niche with the most number of followers. On the other hand, if your brand is established and you want to drive sales for your newest product, you can work with influencers who are known for their honest in-depth reviews of products and services.
2. Document Your Goals and Key Performance Indicators
Some brands who are investing in influencer marketing for the first time might feel that what they’re doing is a big gamble, and in a way, it is. It’s because they are not investing their time, effort, and resources in thoroughly testing it as an effective channel. They also do not set clear goals and specific metrics to use for tracking their progress.
Once you have set your goal, figure out how you’ll measure its performance and return on investment. Is it measuring an increase in followers? Is it how much engagement the campaign garnered? Taking note of these key performance indicators allows you to see what works, which doesn’t, and provides you insights on how you can improve on your influencer marketing campaign.
You should know which partnerships are delivering the results you want. Note that if you want to directly track sources, you should utilize certain codes and have a specific landing page for every influencer you work with.
3. Collect Quantitative as well as Qualitative Data for Your Campaign
You want to be thorough when measuring your campaign’s success, so make sure to collect data both for quantitative and qualitative goals. For your quantitative data, choose at least two ways to add context to the figures you get. For instance, if you’re working on a review campaign, one quantitative factor you should watch is the ratings given to your product. You should also pay attention to the kind of reviews you are getting – whether they’re positive or negative and what parts or features of the product are getting positive feedback.
Paying attention to both qualitative and quantitative data allows you to see the bigger picture when it comes to your campaign performance. This gives you invaluable insights that you can use not just for the existing campaign, but for future ones as well.
4. Understand the Influencer Landscape
One of the biggest factors that contribute to the success of an influencer marketing campaign is finding a relevant influencer who can understand what your audience wants to see, what they need to know about, and how they would feel towards your campaign approach.
Instagram would naturally be the first platform that you’ll think of when you’re looking for the best influencers. It is, after all, the top platform for influencers, with more than one billion users and an ever-growing number of influencers creating sponsored posts. However, that does not mean you should ignore other channels. Always consider what platform your target market prefers. If your target audience is on YouTube or Facebook more often than they are on Instagram, then you should find influencers who are more relevant in those channels, too.
Don’t focus solely on getting influencers with millions of followers. You should consider working with micro-influencers who are known for their efficiency in engaging their audience better. Instead of focusing on follower count, look at their follower to engagement ratio. Less than 1% is considered low engagement rate, between 1% and 3% would be average to good, and between 3.5% and 6% would be high.
5. Build Your Campaign
Just as how determining your goals enable you to set the KPIs with which to measure it, crafting the details of your campaign allow you to find influencers that are aligned with your brand values and messaging.
You might be wondering why you should have a detailed plan when you don’t even have your list of influencers to work with. The reason is that you don’t want to reach out to them before you are ready.
One or more of them could get back to you soon after you contact them, and you don’t want to present a half-baked plan. Just as you want to work with consummate professionals, they also want to work with brands that know what they are doing.
What should be included in your plan?
- What activities you are thinking of asking influencers and those who will join your campaign.
- What you will provide the influencers for your campaign. These may include videos, images, content for the social media posts, and more.
- Any giveaway prizes or sample products you want to provide.
- Design templates you want to be used for your campaign.
- What output you expect from them and what compensation you’ll be offering for it.
Make sure you have these details down before you start reaching out to the influencers you want to work with. You have to capitalize on their enthusiasm when they contact you. There’s a risk of losing the chance to partner with them if they sense that you are not doing things properly on your end.
6. Do Your Research
With your campaign plan ready to roll out, you can start your hunt for the right people for your campaign. You can use tools like BuzzSumo, Mention Influencer Score, and BuzzStream to find relevant influencers and know more about their reach and engagement performance.
How do you use these tools? First, you can set up a Mention alert for products that are similar to what you are offering. Take note of the ones with the highest scores. You can then use BuzzSumo to see which influencers get the most social media shares. Finally, you can search for their contact details and track them all on BuzzStream.
7. Make Contact and be Ready with Your Pitch
Do you have your list of the influencers you are considering for your campaign now? Is your campaign plan complete? Then it’s time to make contact.
Remember that it’s not as simple as simply sending a message to express your intent. In a way, you are making a pitch – and it should be an effective one if you want them to agree to work with you. While they may respond to direct messages on social media, it will be better to initially reach out to them via email.
When you construct your email, make sure to personalize it. Include the influencer’s name in the email’s body so they know that the invitation to collaborate is specifically for them. Do not beat around the bush and be brief but polite. Indicate your offer and what you expect from the collaboration and how you are willing to discuss things in detail at a time convenient for them.
Simply put, you should offer them what you think will convince them (as long as you can keep your word).
Building an influencer marketing strategy that will deliver great results is not an easy task but it’s not rocket science, either. The important thing to remember is that you should not take shortcuts and skip steps, as all of them will contribute to the success of your campaign.
Keeping a business afloat requires constant effort and different marketing approaches. Influencer marketing may be the strategy to bring your business or the brand you are working on to where you want it to be. Follow the steps above and reap the rewards of a carefully planned influencer marketing strategy.
About the author: Vincent Sevilla is a professional graphic designer and inbound strategist for Xight Interactive Asia. His goal? To innovate ideas, create good music, and to travel all the best places in the Philippines.