Influencer marketing campaigns can give your company the required edge in terms of popularity, awareness, authority, and brand exposure. With the meteoric rise of social media, influencers have gained a massive following among the masses.
Platforms like YouTube and Instagram are littered with influencers that provide brands the opportunity to connect with hundreds of thousands of people. From shampoos and skin-care products to gaming and book reviews, influencer marketing is catching up and enabling brands to develop active communities. These communities purchase products and services and also bring numerous referrals by spreading good word-of-mouth.
Although influencer marketing has various benefits, companies often find it challenging to execute successful influencer marketing campaigns. They often get confused about whom to approach, how to begin the campaign, and how to measure the success of the campaign?
This article describes the nitty-gritty of an influencer marketing campaign and how you can build one from scratch.
What is Influencer Marketing?
At its core, influencer marketing is all about exposing the company’s offering — products and services — to a broad audience through the influencer. Companies need to start by identifying influencers who have a massive following in their respective industry and exercise command over their followers’ minds and hearts. A survey conducted by Annalect and Twitter shows that 49% of the respondents depend on social media influencers for product recommendations. Moreover, 40% of the respondents said they purchased a product only because they saw the influencer using it on social media platforms. That’s a considerable number, and companies wouldn’t like to miss the significant exposure and engagement they can get by tying up with influencers.
Companies should keep in mind that an influencer is not always a celebrity who has millions of followers but someone who dominates a niche. Your goal shouldn’t be reaching as many people as possible but getting the right audience.
Let’s talk in detail about finding the right influencer for your brand and the steps necessary for creating an influencer marketing strategy.
Steps to create an Influencer Marketing Strategy
Lay down the objective neatly
Like every other marketing campaign, it’s essential to jot down what you want to achieve by running an influencer marketing campaign. When you have a crystal-clear clarity of your goals, it becomes easy to accomplish them. Following are a few objectives that you may want to achieve through an influencer marketing campaign:
- Brand awareness: Gaining exposure to your company’s offerings by making people aware of them.
- Audience building: Getting more people to talk about your brand and drive engagement on social media.
- Developing brand identity: Letting people know about your brand values and what it stands for.
- Lead Generation: Attracting more people to sign up for your newsletters, product inauguration functions, and brand building events.
- Building brand engagement: Brand engagement refers to getting more likes, comments, and shares for your content.
- Link building: Getting more backlinks for your content that helps improve your search engine rankings.
- Increasing sales: Encouraging more people to buy/subscribe to your company’s offerings — products and services.
- Customer Loyalty: Building a robust and long-lasting relationship with your customers.
Select the right influencer marketing strategy
There are various kinds of influencer marketing strategies, three to be precise, as described below:
- You can inspire the influencer to share your content across different social media handles.
- You can pay them for sharing your content.
- The third strategy entails a bit of both.
The list below explains different kinds of influencer marketing strategies that you can opt for:
- Guest Posting: You can create content — blogs, audios, videos, infographics — and post them on the influencer’s website.
- Gifting: You can provide your products for free and ask the influencer to write and share reviews with their community.
- Social media branding: You can ask the influencer to talk about the product on social media platforms and tag other influencers. It will create a snowballing effect.
- Sponsored content: You can pay the influencer to write a blog or prepare a video on your behalf.
- Co-creating content: You can collaborate with the influencer to create engaging content, which can then be posted on your website, the influencer’s website, or a third-party website.
- Influencer Takeover: You can allow an influencer to take control of your social media handles for a specified time.
- Contests and giveaways: You can increase audience engagement by asking the influencer to run contests and giveaways on their websites.
- Affiliate marketing: You can allow the influencer to run advertisement campaigns on their websites and give them a share of the sales they drive.
- Brand ambassadors: You can ask your loyal brand followers to create content and share it with their peers in exchange for early-bird offers and free products.
- Discount codes: You can create a unique discount code for your products and services and allow the influencer to share it with their audience.
It would be best if you used the influencer marketing strategies mentioned above in different combinations to make the right impact on your audience.
Understand your audience
It’s essential to gain a thorough understanding of your audience. The following points will allow you to know your audience better:
- Geographic details
- Demographic details
- Behavioral details
- Psychographic details
By segmenting your audience according to the points mentioned above, you can know their needs, wants, desires, and aspirations that can help you create and execute impactful marketing campaigns.
Once you know who your target audience is and their online preferences, you can select the right influencer who will help you connect with them. Start by creating a buyer persona to understand your client base and then strategize accordingly.
Find the right influencer
Once you know your target audience, you can begin your search for finding the right influencer. The following list will shed light on the various kinds of influencers whom you can approach:
- Social media stars
- Movie Celebrities
- Industry experts
- Loyal fans
- People who become celebrities overnight
- Though leaders
- Non-competing brands
- Institutes of international importance
You can also search for influencers based on topics and backlinks.
Prepare metrics to rate your influencer
It feels great to begin your journey to find the right influencer for your brand. But you need some metrics to rate their performance. Here is a list of metrics you should keep in mind before zeroing in on an influencer.
a. What kind of audience does the influencer has?
It’s essential to check what kind of audience the influencer interacts with. A smaller audience that exactly matches your ideal market is better than a broader audience that doesn’t. Critically analyze the influencer’s audience by visiting their website. One of the ways to get these insights is to use AI Powered ERP Software to visualize trends and get insights about what kind of people consume the influencer’s content.
Following are some data points that ERP software can capture:
- Traffic source type
- Watch time
- Engagement rate
- Past brand collaborations
- Positive or negative comments
- Audience type
Proceed forward with the influencer only if you feel that their audience is the right fit for your business.
b. How much engagement does the influencer get?
Once you know the kind of audience that consumes the influencer’s content, it’s imperative to find the level of engagement the influencer gets. Run through their social media handles and check how many likes, shares, and comments they receive on average. Don’t forget to inspect the number of subscribers the influencer has.
For blog posts and website, focus on metrics such as:
- Number of views
- Number of visitors
- Bounce rate
- Number of backlinks
- Search engine rankings
- Average time spent on site
If the influencer’s reach is limited and falls below your set threshold, consider searching for someone else. It doesn’t make sense to invest your marketing dollars in something that doesn’t guarantee a meaningful return.
c. What kind of content does the influencer create?
Content creation is the last but undoubtedly the most significant out of all metrics discussed above. As a company, you should collaborate with only those influencers who speak your language. If the influencer’s target market is very different from yours, you should avoid associating your brand with them.
The following points will shed light on what you should keep in mind while examining the influencer’s content:
- Is the content relevant to your brand, products, and services?
- Does the content wield power to influence the audience to purchase the product?
- Is the content aligned to your brand’s mission, vision, and values, or does it drift away?
If the answers to all the above questions are a resounding yes, don’t hesitate to associate with the influencer.
The digital uprising has given birth to numerous content creators that have become prominent influencers. They wield power to shape their audience’s purchasing pattern. Companies realize the importance of these new-age influencers and how profitable they can be for them. This is why businesses across industries associate with influencers to leverage the latter’s popularity to sell their offerings. This article taught you the essential things you should keep in mind while selecting influencers. Right influencers can help you reach the right audience. In contrast, a wrong influencer can make a dent in your brand’s image. So select wisely!
Nishant likes to read and write on technologies that form the bedrock of modern-day and age like ERP, Web Apps, machine learning, data science, AI, and robotics. His expertise in content marketing has helped grow countless business opportunities. Nishant works for Sage Software Solutions Pvt. Ltd., a leading provider of CRM and ERP Software to small and mid-sized businesses in India.