Influencer marketing can be a viable option for plenty of businesses that wish to target potential customers on social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube and TikTok, to name a few.
Whether you’re looking to raise brand awareness, grow your social audience or increase product sales, more and more marketers are turning towards influencer collaborations as an integral part of their marketing strategy.
If you’re struggling to build trust with your audience, working with an influencer that already has thousands, or hundreds of thousands, of engaged and trusting followers, can be a great stepping stone. In fact, 4 in 10 Millennials say their favourite YouTuber understands them better than their friends!
When was the last time you tried out a restaurant or bought a new t-shirt simply because you saw someone else on social media posting about it? This method of influencing consumer behaviour is happening way more often than we think and the numbers don’t lie. Here are just some of the top stats you need to know...
- 8 out of 10 consumers have purchased something after having seen it as a recommendation by an influencer. [Rakuten Marketing, 2019]
- The top three influencer categories for females to follow are beauty (56%), entertainers (48%), and a tie between celebrities and fashion (47%). Men, most commonly follow gaming influencers (54%), followed by influencers dealing with technology (46%), and then entertainer influencers (44%). [Rakuten Marketing, 2019]
- Businesses generate $6.50 in revenue for each $1 invested in influencer marketing. [Tomoson, 2015]
So influencer marketing can be beneficial for many businesses, but how do you get started? There are 7 vital steps required to create a successful influencer campaign…
1. Plan, Plan and Plan Again!
Before you even start looking at potential influencers to partner with, you must develop a cohesive strategy. Failing to plan is planning to fail, so set expectations and define clear action points ahead of time to ensure you have the best chance of reaching your goals. Consider the following questions…
- What budget do you have set aside for influencer marketing? Is this for a one-off campaign or an ongoing partnership?
- Are you planning to approach micro, macro or celebrity influencers?
- What are your expectations for timeframes and content turnaround?
- Which platforms will you be focusing on?
- How will you measure success? What are your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and how do these relate back to your wider business goals?
2. Finding the Perfect Influencer
In order for your campaign to reach the right type of audience, you need to find an influencer, or influencers, who are the right fit for your brand and will be a trustworthy advocate for your product or service.
To start with, you may want to look at industry-relevant hashtags, who your competitors are teaming up with and even running a Google search, putting together a list of interesting influencers that you have discovered.
If you don’t have resources available to search for influencers in house, consider teaming up with an agency that already has solid links with established influencers.
3. First Conversations
After you’ve done some extensive research, it’s time to reach out to your chosen influencers to see if they would be interested in a partnership.
The most important thing to take into consideration is even though this will be a business relationship, you still need to be friendly and conversational. Try to strike the perfect balance between formal and informal as you introduce your business, explain how you would like to collaborate and the value for both of you.
Most influencers will have a rate card and now is the time to ask for it to get an idea of their audience demographics, potential reach as well as their standard cost per post, etc.
4. Getting Started With Your Influencer
So you’ve found yourself an influencer to work with! What’s next? Try to meet face to face if possible, or schedule a phone or video call for a chat to lay out the foundations and set expectations for the partnership. Develop your working relationship by getting together for a brainstorm to develop some exciting and innovative content ideas.
If you’re happy enough for the influencer to go away and come up with their own concept, make sure to set our guidelines beforehand to ensure the content they create complements your business’ vision. But don’t be too overbearing! It’s a collaboration after all - influencers will translate your brand’s message into a way that speaks to their followers.
It’s a good idea at this point to talk timescales and KPIs to ensure everyone is on the same page and expectations can be managed throughout the project.
5. Offering Campaign Support
Now it’s time for your influencer to work their magic but don’t think your job is done… it’s not just yet!
You must continually support your influencer throughout the campaign duration whether this is supplying products to test or sharing the content that they’re creating on your own social platforms. Your business might want to consider asking for a joint copyright agreement so that you are free to use their content across emails, blogs and for other marketing materials too.
If your main objective is to increase product sales, set up a specific discount code for each influencer (such as NAME10 for 10% off) as this will help with working out ROI once the campaign has ended.
6. Boosting Your Campaign
Noticed a particular piece of content gaining traction? You might want to put some budget aside to place on paid advertising to strategically boost posts that are performing well to reach a wider audience.
Throughout the campaign, you might want to mix up the type of influencer content you’re creating using different product variations. Alternatively, could you repurpose content for a different platform? If you’ve collaborated with a YouTuber and posted a sponsored video, consider breaking the video into smaller pieces of content to share across your other social platforms and even on your website.
7. Analysing the Results
It’s the moment of truth - how well did your influencer campaign actually perform? Depending on your original KPIs, you might want to start by looking at your website traffic, focusing on referrals (using a URL builder is great for tracking specific campaigns) to see where your visitors were directed from.
Don’t forget to look at your e-commerce data to analyse any trends in product sales and discount codes during the campaign - did conversions increase when a specific piece of content was posted? Take time to analyse what type of content generated the most revenue to tailor your campaigns going forward.
Next, you’ll want to look at your social media growth and engagement. While raising brand awareness may not have a significant impact on sales at this stage, getting new people at the top of the funnel will be beneficial in the long run. Don’t forget to ask your influencer for some key post analytics to compare with your own data, including impressions, reach and engagements.
Ready to get started on your own campaign? They say two heads are better than one, and sometimes working with an influencer is just what your brand needs to pull something new out of the bag. Follow the 7 steps above to ensure your next influencer marketing campaign runs as smoothly as possible and boost your chance of success!