6 Steps to Successful Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing has moved out of the “shiny new thing” category in marketing to a mainstream strategy driving growth for brands. According to a survey by Tomoson, companies are making on average $6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing, with the top 13 percent earning $20 or more. When asked to rate the average quality of customers acquired through the channel, more than 50 percent of marketers believe they acquire better customers through influencer marketing. These are just a few proof points demonstrating how influencer marketing initiatives add value to your brand and impact the bottom line.
Big brands and nonprofit organizations alike have had great success partnering with influencers to promote products and carry forth key messaging to their followers. Before going full steam ahead with an influencer strategy, take a step back to make sure it’s the right approach for your brand. Don’t just add it to your marketing mix because everyone else is doing it. Here are 6 steps to implementing a successful influencer initiative:
Define Your Strategy
Have a clear understanding about the business objectives you want to support with an influencer strategy. Are you trying to raise brand awareness or increase product sales? Determine your target audience and the best ways to reach them. The goals and objectives of your marketing strategy will inform whether an influencer approach is viable.
Do Your Homework
Brands looking to align with influencers need to do their homework. Before taking the first steps toward implementing an influencer program, you must first understand and accept that you will lose some of the control you are used to having with traditional advertising. There is some risk, but due diligence on the front end can minimize risk.
Spend time researching bloggers and other influencers who you believe align with your brand and messaging. Start by focusing on your target audience and understanding who or what influences purchase decisions. “Listen” to the conversations taking place online to get a better sense of who is leading or participating in conversations that you want your brand to be part of.
Vet Potential Influencers
Once you have a list of influencers you’d like to partner with, take time to thoroughly vet each person. Vetting influencers takes time and effort, but it is time well spent — given it’s your brand’s reputation we’re talking about. Here are some of our criteria:
Read their content. What topics do they write about? What’s the tone?
Check out their stats. How many followers do they have on their social channels? Are their followers your target audience? Are you looking for a micro-influencer with a smaller but engaged following or a well-known influencer with big follower numbers?
Get a feel for their personality. Chemistry must exist between an influencer and a brand they represent. You want to partner with someone who is authentic and who personifies your brand character.
Clearly communicate your objectives and expectations to your influencer partner. Don’t forget influencer partnerships are a two-way street. What are you asking of them? Perhaps your goal is a 10 percent increase in revenue or you are seeking to gain new followers on your social media channels.
Consider how your brand be of value to the influencer and their followers. Will you set aside a portion of your ad budget to promote a sponsored article they write for you? Or, if the influencer speaks on behalf of your brand at an event, pay for their travel expenses.
Before you hit the go button on your campaign, the next step is to set goals and determine the key performance indicators. Measuring the ROI of influencer marketing initiatives has been a struggle for many.
The State of Influencer Marketing 2018, a study from Linqia, found measurement for influencer marketing to be the number one challenge for marketers. How are you linking your influencer’s content to your owned channels? Make sure to use UTM codes to track the source and medium so you can show the connect traffic on your website to the influencer marketing initiative.
Let Them Be Authentic
To be effective, influencer marketing must be authentic. I’ve seen social posts and videos that talk about a product in a way that feels very forced. It’s awkward and doesn’t position the influencer or the brand in the right way. How the influencer talks about your brand or your products needs to be genuine. We follow influencers and read their posts because we value their perspective.
A post on The Fashion Law speaks to this. “These [influencers] are generally posting as themselves. The presentation is casual and often appears very authentic. It is how we would expect a (very polished) friend might share something with us on social media.”
Influencer marketing initiatives have proven to be successful for countless brands. Follow these six steps to determine if an influencer strategy is right for your brand. If you’ve struggled getting an influencer strategy off the ground, let’s discuss how we can help. Let us put these six steps to work for you.