Effective Influencer Marketing Strategy In 8 Steps
Learn how to create an influencer marketing strategy to improve your business and to reach its marketing goals with an influencer marketing campaign.
Influencer Marketing Is An Effective Marketing Tool
In the 2000s, as content marketing had exploded on the Internet with emails, websites, and blogs, a new medium arose – the social platforms. The era of social media marketing started with the emergence of Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, LinkedIn, and Instagram – the giants that will eventually dominate this industry in the future.
Nowadays, when customers are more aware of traditional marketing content, influencer marketing emerges as a remarkable option.
Influencers become in the right hands of marketers, a way of communicating more effectively with the target audience and earn benefits for businesses.
So, how do you find the right influencers and achieve those goals successfully?
Like everything else, planning is crucial to attaining a good outcome.
Influencer marketing might take considerable time to thrive. Thus, you want to take advantage of every precious moment you have. You need to create a clear and detailed influencer marketing strategy first.
Learn through eight fundamental steps of executing an outstanding influencer marketing strategy below and see what is waiting for you at the end of the road.
Define Influencer Marketing Strategy Objectives
First of all, if you want to achieve anything, you need a goal. A goal will help you measure the result of your campaign. In this phase, you can apply the terms of SMART goals to your objectives, including Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
Goals for an influencer marketing strategy are leaning more to raising public perception and buzz, rather than boosting sales. However, it still depends on your business characteristics.
You should address some questions such as:
- Do you want to create a buzz?
- Do you want to build brand awareness through conversations?
- How about educating your customers?
The most critical point that you must cover in the campaign objectives is the reach – the ability to meet the target audience through an influencer. For example, how many people do you expect to see the content of your products posted by influencers?
Next, you should notice of the Relevance – the audience’s sense of relation to the brand name, product, or service via the work of an influencer. For example, the audience may begin to experience a strong connection with your product if they see a celebrity they love using the product.
Lastly, the ability to lead people to a specific action based on the influencer content – Resonance, is also indispensable. Resonance is the first element that helps you increase the number of users, boost traffic and conversions.
For instance, if a customer sees a photo of an influencer wearing your product, they may click on the link in the description that directs them to your website and eventually converts.
The organization’s priorities and expectations must be defined and spelled out precisely before approaching influencers during the process of planning influencer marketing campaign goals.
Define Audience In Your Influencer Marketing Strategy
No matter how powerful the influencer you are associated with is, your target audience must stay the same.
Different influencers may have different approaches to targeting your customers; however, your company’s general marketing goals and buyer personas should be consistent and unchanged.
To define precisely types of clients that you are aiming at, you should consult with the marketing department of your company to build and learn from the customers before going forward with your influencer marketing campaign.
Knowing your clientele also helps you decide what level of impact you need to have on them to gain traction and conversions, which is the premise of choosing a type of influencer to partner with throughout the campaign.
Set Budget And Choose Influencers Type
Similar to other marketing activities, you need a budget to run your influencer marketing campaigns.
If this is your first time launching an influencer marketing campaign, you should start with a small budget relative to your other marketing expenses. With this, you can still cover the main steps of a primary campaign while you can figure out what works and what doesn’t.
You won’t know when new opportunities will appear to you; therefore, it is your responsibility to stick to your target and only invest money on where it makes sense.
ROI plays an essential part in this phase as it does not only help you to see what works and what doesn’t. It also makes you realize when is a suitable time to change your plan and increase the investment in the future.
Based on our categorization of the five key influencers (Learn more about the types of influencers.), you will be able to decide which influencer type fits well for your company’s objectives and target market. You need to include your budget into consideration in this phase.
For example, if you are a newcomer and you have quite a tight budget, nano- or micro-influencer might be a suitable partner for you. On the other hand, if you are a mid-sized business with more money, you can opt to a macro- or mega-influencer who is well-respected in the industry.
According to DigitalMarketing.org, the average cost of influencers based on their type of work, fan base size, and social media channels includes the following:
- A micro Influencer (less than 1,000 followers) is charging an average of $83 for advertising, up to $500 per piece of content
- Macro-influencer is charging about $1,000 to $3,000 per post or video on Instagram and Youtube.
- Mega-influencer’s cost is over $3,000 per Instagram post and up to $5,000 per Youtube video
- On Blog and Snapchat, the lowest average price is higher, while the maximum amount a blogger might charge could be around $5,000 to $10,000.
- All-star influencer, such as Selena Gomez with 122 million followers on her Instagram account, is charging for $550,000 per post.
Choose The Right Influencers And Review Their Work
There are many ways to research and identify influencers; two simple methods are demographic data and target market research.
You can manually use the Search tool of Google or Facebook to do the research. Both of them provide a search engine that will reveal who influences users. You can also use alternative search engines(link) to find influencers that competitors might have missed.
You will need to find out which platforms you want to use and how many influencers you want to target as you start searching for influencers.
Influencers have varying popularity on different channels. The level of popularity means some might be super popular on Facebook, while others are dominant on Instagram. You must be very clear at this step so that the following phases will not be affected.
Influencers will be the ones who interact directly with your potential customers, which is why you should consider your audience’s preferences.
For example, surveying which social platforms your customers use the most will help you to find the suitable influencer on that channel to communicate effectively with customers.
An influencer marketing strategy is not exclusive to anyone, and your competitors might run a similar campaign too. Researching your rivals’ influencer partners will help you avoid collaborating with the same influencers as them. In this case, partnering with competitors of the influencers is not a bad idea.
Evaluating Influencers Work In A Influencer Marketing Strategy
After you have found the right influencer, then you need to review and evaluate their work.
In this phase, the three critical criteria mentioned when defining your goals will step in: Reach, Relevance, and Resonance.
The questions below might help you decide better:
- Who is this influencer’s current audience?
- Is your target audience active on the platform/channel primarily used by this influencer?
- Has this influencer ever used any of your products or services? Are they a customer?
- How is this influencer personality and lifestyle?
- Is it fit your brand image?
- Would you like to work with a said influencer?
- What will this influencer expect from you?
Develop Campaign Guidelines For Influencers
After you have chosen and approached an influencer, it is time to define an influencer agreement, in which the relevant terms and conditions are listed and explained clearly.
The more detailed the agreement is, the lower risk of conflicts and arguments you will have throughout the partnership.
Then, you need to create a thorough campaign messaging and content guidelines the influencer needs to follow.
A guideline should include:
- Your brand story
- Tag lines
- Language to avoid
- Graphical guideline
- Anything of importance to your brand
Make sure you clearly explain your expectations and requirements to avoid misunderstandings.
When you want your brand to be exclusive, you need to be 100% original in designing the brand message and style of your campaign. These are the most powerful tools that will impress audiences and remain in their mind for a long time.
The right platforms are also fundamentally important in helping the influencer deliver your brand message to the target audience.
For example, ff your customers are, mostly, end-users, you shouldn’t spend your time on LinkedIn influencers or advertising since it is the more suitable platform for B2B communications.
You should also prepare alternative tools for the influencer to post content accurately, no matter how many times they post about your product or service. Technical problems are out of your control sometimes, and you might not want your business partnership to be negatively affected.
The method of partnering, whether they will join you in content creation, should be determined in this stage. Regardless of the type of collaboration, you should give your influencers the power to use creativity when creating content.
Finally, remember to discuss also how they can help you to improve the traffic and specific target metrics for each posting.
Finalize Campaign Expectations With Influencers
Influencers might also work for different companies throughout their career path. Thus, they may have their way of doing business before partnering with your brand. You must examine all your expectations for them and what they have for you before starting the campaign.
Additionally, depending on the sort of influencers, their requirements for the partnership is different. For instance, you might need to work with an agent to reach a celebrity, while a micro-influencer may connect directly via their inboxes. Besides, how you communicate with a nano-influencer will be different than interacting with a mega-influencer.
Also, expectations and inquiries from both of you to each other must be carefully discussed, documented, and signed in this finalizing stage. Documentation allows you to avoid any issues and discrepancies along the way.
There are some essential deliverables that you should include in your influencer contract, which you can determine by answering the following questions:
- What you need the influencer to do? Publish a photo, video, or blog post?
- What are the timeline and deadlines?
- What requirements do you have for each post?
- What will be the content delivery format?
- What will be the review and approval process?
- How do you want the influencer to include disclosures?
- In which channels will the content be distributed?
- What about their publishing rights? Can they re-use the material that they create for your campaign on their channels after a fixed period?
- Can you repurpose content?
- What are the KPIs you will use to measure the success of the campaign, and which one is your top priority?
Last but not least, remember to discuss the form of payment, the length of the partnership, and communication methods before starting work together.
Like anybody else, influencers are working to make money. After all that they have done to help you, they deserve sufficient compensation.
Different kinds of influencers may come with varying expectations of reward for working with a brand. For example, nano- and micro-influencers may accept free products or gifts as compensation, while mega- and all-star influencers may require monetary payment via their agencies.
It is always worthwhile to research and to evaluate an influencer’s profile and online presence to verify their background before handing over a more significant amount of money.
You can reward your influencer in many ways, including:
- Pay per sponsored post
- PPC (pay-per-click)
- PPE (pay-per-engagement)
- Commission (affiliate marketing)
- Flat rate fee for a predetermined amount of content throughout a campaign
- Swag (clothing, accessories, or product samples)
- Free products
- Coupons and discount codes
- Promotion on your website, blog, and social media platforms
Moreover, maintaining a positive relationship with partner influencers after the campaign is over is always a good idea. Who knows, perhaps you would like to work with them in the future if everything goes well.
Your initial offer to an influencer is crucial in building a well-established relationship. Don’t try to cheap out on your influencers and always compensate with a proper market value in mind.
Having strong ties with influencers in the long-term will enhance your influencer marketing strategy as it moves forward. Referrals from influencers help other key influencers see your brand in the industry.
The more connections you have with influencers’ community, the more beneficial deals you will get for your marketing campaigns.
Measuring The Results Of Your Influencer Marketing Strategy
Measuring results is the essential step as you can only know if your influencer marketing campaign is successful by measuring its results.
Referring back to the SMART goals you set at the beginning, you should focus more on the metrics below and answer the following questions:
- Engagement rate: How many likes, shares, comments do you have per post? How many mentions and direct messages you get?
- Your reach: How many views do you have per post? Based on that, how many people see the content, your influencer is sharing about your brand?
- Resonance: What do your audience do after they interact with the influencer’s post about your brand? Do those actions turn into conversions?
- Brand recognition: How many people share the influencer’s content about your product? What is their feedback in your awareness surveys? How many times are you tagged in communication between people on social media platforms?
- Click-through rate: How many clicks do you have on the influencer’s posts? How many of them lead customers on your website? How many times do customers click on a CTA button? How many people fill in the signup form? How many people participate in social media giveaways?
- Conversions: How many followers of the influencer become your customers? How many people use the promotion codes that are shared by the influencer?
- Return on Investment
- Follower Count: How many followers/subscribers/customers have increased after this campaign?
Influencer Marketing Trends
As we have gone a long way throughout the history of influencer marketing, regardless of some visible drawbacks, its effectiveness is undeniable. As any demand shifted over time, influencer marketing must respond to follow these changes.
Content Marketing, Social Media Marketing, And Influencer Marketing Strategies Will Merge
Since they are all branches of a single online marketing process, businesses will no longer engage in only one of these marketing activities.
Instead, they will choose from all three the bits they like.
Let’s visualize the whole online marketing industry as a tree. Content marketing is the root system that provides branches with nutrients through the creation and sharing of content.
Both social media marketing and influencer marketing are branches and foliage that are linked together by social media accounts to form an increasingly sizeable spreading tree – the whole content distribution process.
Micro- And Macro-influencers Will Be The Center, While Celebrities Will Become Less Relevant.
Micro- and macro-influencers might have small followings (10k-500K), but their engagement rates are impressively higher than celebrities’. As they have fewer followers, they might spend more time interacting with their fans, which helps establish strong relationships between them and the audience.
Nowadays, people would prioritize authenticity rather than popularity.
Influencers with a smaller fan base bring a more natural feel to their fans and brands. The followers trust their recommendations, and their advice has a substantial impact on consumers’ purchasing decisions.
Companies find it more affordable and more productive when working with this group of influencers as they are easy to access and have a relatively high conversion rate.
Celebrities, on the other hand, are not engaging much on social media channels. Although they have a massive number of followers, the amount that companies need to pay to have them promote for their brands is too high, and the conversion rates are not that good.
The Long-Term Partnership Will Become The Norm And Require Fewer Transactions In Between
Short-term partnerships were common during the early years (in the form of campaign-by-campaign collaboration), regardless of companies that would sometimes re-partner with those influencers.
Nonetheless, as the influencer marketing sector grows, brands discover the advantages of long-term partnerships with their influencers, which makes sense to both brands and influencers as they are mutually beneficial to each other.
One-time campaigns have become too transactional and too obvious, while a longer-term relationship between brands and influencers looks more genuine to audiences.
For example, customers would trust the influencer who has been using a product for a year rather than ones that have just posted about it for one month.
Besides, according to the Influencer Marketing Benchmark Report 2020 of CreatorIQ and Influencer Marketing Hub, the conversion is now the most common metric for influencer campaign performance.
Brand objectives have shifted from sales to awareness. ROI will no longer be measured mainly by traditional digital metrics such as website traffic, newsletters, or blog views. Instead, James Nord, founder of influencer marketing platform Fohr, recommends brands to use Instagram profile visits, follows, story highlights, and make them all shoppable.
Video Will Rule Over Other Types Of Content In Your Influencer Marketing Strategy.
Video marketing becomes more prevalent nowadays. Internet speed and bandwidth have been improved dramatically over time. Video creation and sharing have become easier than ever.
With the development of Youtube – one of the quickest growing social platforms, and the likes of Twitch and Tiktok, video is predicted to represent 80% of all internet traffic by 2021, said Cisco.
According to Biteable’s video marketing statistics:
- Video has been used as a marketing tool by 81% of companies
- 6 out of 10 people surveyed would prefer watching online videos to television
- Mobile video consumption increases by 100% each year
As the best format to show step-by-steps, Q&As, and tips, video is exceptionally popular in the community of beauty bloggers, career coaches, health and fitness experts, any other influencer categories.
Live streams have emerged stronger and may have persistent influence due to their capability to increase and maintain relatively high engagement rates.
As digital marketing industry is shifting rapidly, it is better late than never to learn about an influencer marketing strategy and start implementing it into your company.
The more influencers arise in the market, the more options you will have.
As long as you have determined who is your target audience and set attainable and realistic goals for your influencer marketing campaign, there is always a chance for you to find the right influencer.
Working on rock-solid relationships with the chosen content creators and guide them through processes to have a successful partnership will earn you significant benefits.
As the campaign is carried out and comes to an end, measuring marketing results based on previously set goals will help you assess what you have achieved and what is lacking, thereby drawing the experience for the next campaigns.
The world is changing every day, and the marketing industry is not an exception. This guide will help you get going, but like any social strategy, it’s essential to be ready for changes.
Constantly and regularly updating for new trends will help you capture market changes faster and make appropriate improvements to your influencer marketing campaigns.