There are many ways to grow a business online, and one of the most effective methods is influencer marketing.
As of 2018, 39% of marketers say that they plan to increase their budget for working with influencers.
In a nutshell, influencer marketing is when you reach out to another business in your niche with the aim of engaging their audience. This can help increase your exposure, while boosting brand awareness and sales.
Imagine how fast your products or services could be in front of a huge targeted group.
Having influencer marketing in your overall business plan is important for a number of reasons.
Firstly, customers trust recommendations made to them by experts that they follow, and because a large core of your audience is already on social media, leveraging these big players will help you to reach more of the right people.
Let’s take a look at the top 7 things you need to know about finding influencers and running a good campaign.
#1 – Influencer Marketing Is All About Relationships
At the heart of a good influencer marketing campaign is the relationship you build with the influencer.
Indeed, you could just as easily call this strategy relationship building.
Isn’t that the core of any effective business tactic, after all?
Take the above stats from Shane Barker’s site as an example. Influencers have an emotional impact on their audience and those they work with.
Keep this in mind when working with other brands and focus on creating a real friendship.
A partner isn’t going to give you the time of the day if it’s clear that all you want from them is their audience. If your line is basically “share my stuff,” you won’t get what you want.
Instead, you need to show them that you’re ready to actually make an investment in them, their brand and their audience.
An influencer needs to be wined and dined before you even get to the main course. In other words, before you reach out to them with what you really want, spend some time engaging with them.
Actively court them and make them feel special, and take the time to prepare an opening message that’s compelling, and which grabs their attention. This is something we learned at Nightwatch, and it helped us to increase their engagement on Twitter.
The better your relationship is with an influencer, the easier it’s going to be for them to say “yes” to you.
It also opens the door for future opportunities, like meeting more successful people in your niche.
#2 – The Right Influencer Matters
Is there such a thing as a right and a wrong influencer for your brand? Heck yes!
According to Influencer Marketing Hub, the average ROI of a campaign can be as much as $6.50 for every dollar spent.
That’s a 650% increase!
But, that’s only going to happen if you work with the right people.
While you shouldn’t discriminate between a macro and a micro influencer (both are worthy), the type of influencer you choose comes down to a few things.
For one thing, the social media channel. Some are more effective on Twitter, while others are Instagram superstars.
When looking for an ideal candidate, take a look at the content they’re putting out. Is it similar to yours? Moreover, any influencer you choose must share your brand’s values.
While a tool like BuzzSumo can help you choose a solid influencer on each channel, you also need to look closely at the numbers.
For example, a brand that has 50,000 followers but only 1% engagement isn’t probably going to be that useful.
On the other hand, if they have high engagement, this means that they have active people following them and most importantly, they are willing to take action.
#3 – Collaboration with the Influencer on a Campaign Is Key
The influencer knows their audience better than you do.
As such, it’s highly unlikely that they are willing to give you free reign and creative control over content that will be shared with their audience.
So, be prepared to collaborate.
They’ll probably want to work alongside you when you’re prepping your campaign, and they will want to offer input.
Moreover, they’ll be able to draw on past campaigns and will have an idea of what content works best. It would be silly to ignore their advice.
It’s up to you to come up with a brief and determine goals, but you always want to take their experience and advice into consideration.
#4 – This Is Not Advertising
This form of marketing is not advertising, and it’s important that you understand this distinction.
For example, while millennials don’t want to be sold to, they’re happy to be immersed in a marketing campaign.
The difference is that you can’t use your influencer marketing to blindly promote your product at the expense of building relationships. Instead, you need to focus on providing value to the community and building trust.
It should seamlessly integrate with their account and the promoted piece of content. Look at how AirBnB collaborated with Mariah Carey do just this.
She simply tagged them in both the photo and caption while at an AirBnB in Miami.
The company went on to work with 37 different influencers, resulting in 18 million likes, and over 510,000 comments. Talk about engagement!
When you’re running your campaign, just remember these two things — add value and make it appear natural.
#5 – Both Parties Need to Benefit
Okay, here’s the deal – you want something from the influencer, but they’re going to want something from you in return, too.
An influencer will need to be compensated in some way, and it’s up to the two of you to work out how this is going to benefit you both.
A good idea is to launch an affiliate program at the same time.
Not only will the influencer be rewarded financially on a cost-per-conversion basis, but you can also track the clicks and conversions to understand how successful the influencer marketing campaign really is.
It’s a win/win situation.
If you happen to use WordPress, check out one of the many affiliate marketing plugins that allow you to quickly create your own program like AffilaiteWP.
That said, an affiliate program might not be enough. It might also be a good idea to offer an initial payment to the influencer so that they’re properly compensated from the start.
#6 – What Does the Data Say?
It’s possible that, like with all marketing campaigns, you won’t hit a home run straight off the bat.
So what do you do?
Well, you can begin by measuring your campaigns and it’s effectiveness through tools like Google Analytics.
If you navigate to the “Acquisition” tab, then “Social” and “Overview”, you can view how much traffic certain channels are driving.
Is a specific influencer or network producing the most results?
Let’s say that you’re working with two influencers. One is promoting your products through Twitter, and the other is doing it through Instagram.
You see in your Google Analytics that the Instagram users coming to your website view more pages, spend more time on the site, and convert better.
It would be wise to work more with the second influencer and possibly Instagram brands in general.
#7 – Put in the Sweat Equity
Lastly, let no one tell you that this is going to be an easy ride.
An influencer might be able to put your content and brand in front of a lot more people, but this isn’t a shortcut to success.
Influencers got to where they are now because they worked hard at building a community – and you need to be ready to do the same. Build relationships, build communities, build trust and your hard work will pay off.
Remember, tools can’t substitute this kind of thing.
These are 7 things you need to know about running a successful influencer marketing campaign. Find the right influencers, court them, build relationships and communities and provide lots of value.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments!