The force behind influencer marketing is that consumers DO want to hear about your brand, but they DON’T want to hear about it from you!
Partnerships with influencers are a fantastic way to solve the conundrum of getting the word out about your brand in a way that resonates with consumers.
At the end of the day, influencers can say things about your brand that you can’t say yourself without coming across as tacky.
I’ve been in the influencer marketing industry for 11 years. In this post, I’m going to “download” my experience so that your brand can either get started with influencer marketing or if you’re already implementing it, this post will help you refine your approach.
Why Should I Utilize Influencer Marketing?
Consumers want third-party recommendations and influencers are a perfect avenue to earn such recommendations.
Authenticity is another thing your consumers are looking for and when an influencer shares a genuine experience with your brand, consumers take action.
Of course, influencer marketing is great for sales. But it also is a humanized way to connect with consumers, influencer-generated content is perfect for paid ads. It builds brand awareness, increases social media engagement, and lends valuable business insights. When done correctly, that is. So, let’s explore how to implement influencer marketing correctly so that you can achieve big things for your brand.
The Data Behind the Approach
As marketers and/or business owners, we are used to our strategies being a blend of data and creativity. So while I can TELL you that influencer marketing is crucial until I’m blue in the face, I will also SHOW you why this strategy is so powerful with industry data.
- 71% of consumers trust a brand recommendation from an influencer (source)
- 60% of marketers say influencer marketing has a higher ROI than traditional advertising (source)
- 72% of marketers plan to increase their influencer marketing budget within the next year (source)
- After seeing an influencer’s brand recommendation on Instagram, 87% of consumers have taken action (source)
- 93% of marketers have at least experimented with influencer marketing (source)
- The average ROI for influencer marketing is $5.20 for every $1 spent (source)
- 51% of marketers say that influencer marketing helps them acquire better customers (source)
Building Influencer Personas
Influencer personas are key because they help you determine which influencers are going to resonate with your target audience. To craft these personas, here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- Which verticals of influencers is your target audience interested in?
- What social media channel(s) does your target audience spend time on?
- What pain points does your product or service solve?
- How does your target audience like to consume information?
- Do you have a large budget to work with high-profile influencers or are mid-level influencers a better fit for your budget?
Sourcing the Right Influencers
Once you have a pulse on your influencer marketing goals, it’s time to locate your ideal influencers.
There are many ways to go about this. You can use an influencer identification tool–there are a plethora of them out there and most of them offer free trials so you can test them out and find the perfect fit. You also have the option of working with an agency that specializes in influencer marketing. Or if you’re really scrappy, you can use Google to search for lists of influencers. You can also search for influencers directly on social media platforms via keywords in bios and hashtags.
No matter how you go about it, the sourcing process should have a strong foundation when it comes to your outreach emails or DMs. Keep your message short and sweet but explain what your goals are and what you can offer them.
When you’re ready to activate the influencers that you’ve identified, you need to seed them with the right assets and information so that they portray your brand in the light that you want.
I will offer that seeding influencers is a delicate balance. You want to equip them with information about your brand, designated hashtags, how to link to your brand, talking points, and a timeline. However, you don’t want to infringe on an influencer’s creative freedom. They know their audience better than you do so give them leeway and trust to create content that they know will resonate with their audience.
Influencer Marketing Best Practices
Over the years I’ve developed some influencer marketing best practices from trial and error that I think your brand could benefit from.
- Stay on top of your influencer communication because this strategy involves a lot of relationship building
- Experiment with verticals, campaign themes, and platforms to keep refining your approach
- Develop a strategy that works with influencers more than once, consumers like it when an influencer mentions a brand more than once
- Give your influencers unique discount codes that they give their audience to use when they purchase online so that you can attribute sales to each influencer
- A good amount of influencers per campaign is 20 so that you can create buzz but still keep a pulse on the relationships
- Share influencer-generated content on your brand’s social channels
- Vet an influencer’s content for authenticity–if their posts sound salesy they probably won’t move the needle for your brand
- Make sure your influencers have at least a 2% engagement rate to ensure that they’re actually resonating with their followers
Final Thoughts: How to Evolve Your Influencer Marketing Strategy
As you know by now, influencer marketing requires a good amount of time and dedication. But don’t let that stop you from implementing this strategy. If time is an issue for you, you can hire a consultant (ahem, like me) to run your influencer marketing.
If you do have the time to run influencer marketing in-house, invest in a tool and stay up to date with influencer marketing trends through Google Alerts.
There you have it, a crash course in influencer marketing and I have complete confidence that you will rock this strategy for your brand!
About the author
Kristen Matthews is a thought leader in the influencer marketing industry. As an early adopter, she’s consulted with hundreds of brands on their influencer marketing strategies and runs campaigns for brands large and small as a contractor. She’s very friendly and loves talking about influencer marketing so if you want to work with her or simply ask her a question, you can reach her at Kristen@TheCampfireCircle.com and/or connect with her on LinkedIn.