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All you need to know about Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing employs leading, niche content creators to improve brand awareness, increase traffic, and drive your brand’s message to your target audience. These content creators already market to your ideal audience across different channels which allow you to expand your reach across your buyer personas.

A decade ago, the influencer marketing arena was limited only to celebrities and a few dedicated bloggers. Now, it seems like we’ve seen influencers rise, saturate the market and even get caught up in fraud.

If you’ve started researched on influencer marketing before, you may have found conflicting information, with recommendations that range from you should absolutely be using influencers or that they’re not necessary for growth.

Influencer marketing strategies are more difficult to navigate than ever as a brand, but here are some strategies which will guide you to make sense of it all.

  1. Define Your Goals

Like with any smart marketing plan, start by outlining your goals. Set your intentions for what you would like to accomplish with your campaign.

Defining your goals in the early stages of planning will help you shape a consistent strategy throughout your campaign, and it will also give you an idea about the metrics you should track and monitor to measure your success at the end of the campaign.

2.     Define Your Target Audience

Your influencer campaign can’t be all things to all people. An effective strategy requires you to speak to the right people using the right tools. Before moving forward with your influencer marketing strategy, work with your marketing team to develop and learn about your buyer personas. This will help you identify the exact type of customer you’re going after and, therefore, help you determine what type of influencer and content will appeal most to them to ensure your target audience is aligned with that of the influencer. The tighter you can define your target audience, the easier it is to find influencers who are relevant.

  • Find the Right Influencers

With your audience clearly defined, you can finally start seeking out the influencers who will help you reach your goals and connect with your target market.

As you consider your options, explore the following types of influencers:

  • Bloggers
  • Social Media Stars
  • Celebrities
  • Industry Experts
  • Thought Leaders
  • Customers
  • Noncompeting Brands

Once you determine the type of influencer you want to use, start researching individuals or brands in that space. The more you know about your niche and target audience, the easier the task you will have finding the best possible influencers.

4.     Look for engagement and trust with the right audience

The key is trust.

Your audience must trust and respect the opinion of the influencers you partner with. Without the trust component, any results will be superficial. You’ll struggle to see a tangible business impact from your efforts.

How do you tell if your potential influencer is trusted? Engagement. You want to see plenty of views, likes, comments, and shares. Specifically, you want to see these from the precise follower segments you’re trying to reach.

A good engagement rate also means a loyal following, rather than an inflated follower count bolstered by bots and fraud accounts.

5.     Work with Influencers to find Opportunities

Your influencers can help you shape your content strategy by showing you what most engages your target audience.

By allowing your influencers to share your content you can better spot trends and opportunities. They can also help to guide you about what your target audience wants.

By actively listening to your influencers you can understand the types of conversations your target audience are having. The influencers know these people very well. They understand the types of content that work – and the types that your audience don’t care about. They can also guide you to areas where there are gaps, waiting for you to create content where there is a demand. The influencers know your audience’s worries and concerns, and they know the types of questions your audience often ask.

6.     Go for a consistent look, feel, tone, and values

You need to find someone who’s producing content with a look and feel that complements your own.

The tone must also be appropriate for the way you want to present your brand to potential customers. This will ensure things don’t feel disjointed in either party’s social media posts.

7.     Prepare a Content Plan

Once you have decided the general topic areas that might interest your audience you will want to create a content plan.

You are going to want to prepare a coordinated series of content that will meet your audience’s needs. It is a great idea to set up a content calendar when you decide what content you need to create by what dates.

You want to think through the specific topics that you want to cover. This is also a good time to determine which influencers will be best for sharing particular types of content. In some cases, you may opt to contract particular influencers to create specific items of content which they can share at set points in your campaign.

A content calendar helps you plan and coordinate the content you share with your target audience. It also helps you work in with the schedules of your influencers, and anybody you may work with to help with content creation and editing.

You should try and ensure that you are always planning at least a month ahead. If you are using busy influencers, you may even want to create greater lead time, especially around busy times of the year.

8.     Go for a consistent look, feel, tone, and values

You need to find someone who’s producing content with a look and feel that complements your own.

The tone must also be appropriate for the way you want to present your brand to potential customers. This will ensure things don’t feel disjointed in either party’s social media posts.

9.     Keep Up-To-Date With Relevant Issues in Your Niche

You have presumably selected your influencers based on their knowledge of the niche. Thus you should follow the other content your influencers share. They are likely to be cutting edge in your niche. If they are going to share your content it is useful to see what else they share with their followers. How does your content fit in with the bigger picture?

By studying what your influencers say to their followers you may find more opportunities. It is one way that you can keep up with the trends and remain relevant to your target audience.

Don’t be afraid to go back and revise your content calendar so that it reflects the topics that truly interest your audience. You can use your influencers to guide you with up-to-date areas of focus and interest. In turn, you can create content that people see as ground-breaking, rather than simply “me-too” material.

Once your campaign is underway, keep a close eye on how it progresses. Take a good look at comments made in relation to your shared content. Take particular note of questions asked and problems referred to.

10. Keep an eye out for sponsorship saturation

Take a look at what your potential influencers are posting. How often are they sharing sponsored content?

If they’re already hitting followers with tons of paid posts, their engagement rate may not last. Look for plenty of organic, non-paid content to keep followers interested, enthusiastic, and engaged.

Keep this in mind when thinking about what you’ll ask the influencer to post, as well. Asking for too many posts in a short timeframe will make your offer hard for the influencer to accept, even if it comes with a large paycheck.

11. Plan your budget

Influencers with extensive reach rightly expect to be paid for their work. Free product might work with nano-influencers, but a larger influencer campaign requires a budget

Think about what kind of payment structure makes the most sense for your goals. But be willing to consider the influencer’s needs, too. For example, an affiliate or commission structure might be an option instead of a flat fee, or to reduce the flat fee.

Remember that micro-influencers and nano-influencers will have more flexible payment terms.

12. Collaborate With Your influencers to Produce Quality Content

For an influencer marketing campaign to be successful, you need quality content for your influencers to share. The influencers may have followers who trust them, but nobody is going to spend money simply because an influencer told them to.

When influencers communicate with their followers it is to inform, entertain, educate or inspire them, usually in relation to their specialist niche. Thus for influencer marketing to work, any content that the influencer shares about your product must also be informative, entertaining, educational or inspiring.

Your influencers need to constantly be on the lookout for compelling content. You can help them in this process. Provide them with resources they can use for their content. If it would help them, give them an insider’s view of your business. Provide your expertise to assist them – this could be data, expertise or inside knowledge of the industry.

You could negotiate with an influencer to co-create an item of content. While this could something as simple as a blog post, you might consider something larger, such as a white paper or research report, a webinar, or an online presentation.


13. Track and Analyze Your Results

When you complete an influencer marketing strategy campaign, it can feel like a victory just to see the brand mentioned or shouted out on social media. But just getting an influencer to promote your content or messaging isn’t a sign of success.

To find out if you’ve reached your goals, track and measure your results. Use metrics to measure your success depending on the initial marketing objectives you set for the campaign.

  • Brand Awareness Metrics: website traffic, page views, social mentions, time on site, site users
  • Building Brand Identity Metrics: social mentions, PR coverage (number of articles or links)
  • Audience Building Metrics: opt-ins, follows
  • Engagement Metrics: shares, comments, and likes
  • Lead Generation Metrics: opt-ins
  • Sales Metrics: new sales, revenue changes, price per ticket
  • Customer Loyalty Metrics: customer retention rates, renewal rates
  • Link Building Metrics: number of links, quality of links

Track the data for each of your influencer marketing campaigns so you can look back and reflect on what worked and what didn’t. Use the data to guide your next influencer marketing strategy. Repeat your successes and halt efforts that don’t produce results.

 But you can only achieve these results if you have a strong, organized, and data-driven influencer marketing strategy.

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