If you’re in business, it’s hard to ignore the power of social media. Most businesses today can no longer grow a business without using some form of social media. Choosing between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube is a personal choice, depending on where your prospects are hanging out.
But if you visit any of those sites, you’re sure to find an influencer there who commands attention on the specific platform. The influencer marketing industry is now a $5 to $10 billion market, and it isn’t slowing down.
Just imagine what could happen to your business if someone with a million followers talked about your products or services, and posted a photo or video showcasing it.
What is influencer marketing?
Before we dive into creating an influencer marketing strategy, it’s important to understand what influencer marketing is.
A social media influencer is someone who has built up a loyal following on a social media platform. Currently, the top honor goes to Cristiano Ronaldo with over 517 million followers between two platforms, Facebook and Instagram.
Influencer marketing is when businesses partner with these influencers in order to raise awareness of their brand and increase conversions from their target audience. Where many companies go wrong is by focusing on the influencer rather than creating an influencer marketing strategy from the beginning. If you don’t thoughtfully plan and execute a campaign, you may very well be selling to the wrong audience. You can:
- Select influencers who aren’t aligned with your brand and message
- Create a campaign that doesn’t reach your ideal target audience
- Fail to set clear guidelines and timelines for the campaign
- Miss opportunities by not tracking data appropriately
When you create the right campaign and push it to the ideal audience, it can work like a charm. That’s where developing the proper strategy comes into play.
How to create an influencer marketing strategy
Like any other marketing program you create, if you want to use influencers to bring people in, you have to plan, target, and execute accordingly. Throwing a little money at it, or sending out a few emails or DMs to people you see or follow on your favorite social media site won’t get the job done.
Find the right influencers
The first step in any marketing strategy is finding the right target market. Instead of choosing multiple platforms, start with the one you’re well versed in. If you use Instagram, you’re more likely to understand its potential. Start there, and grow as you get results.
If you’re unsure of where your prospects are, we can help. You can also do a little research online, finding people on various platforms that are talking about your industry regularly.
You don’t need huge influencers with millions of followers to impact your bottom line. Microinfluencers have less than 10,000 followers, but if they speak directly to your target audience, wouldn’t an additional 10,000 prospects be valuable to your business?
Create a budget
As with any marketing campaign, you’ll have to budget how much you wish to spend using influencer marketing. Unlike an ad strategy such as a PPC campaign, influencer marketing uses a personal touch. You can have problems with post timing, or have errors in the way a post is displayed. You’ll need time to cultivate relationships and refine them, so the process works.
Should you rely on one influencer? Or should you develop partnerships with several? It depends on the right strategy to suit your needs. If you have the time and money, you may even wish to develop an ambassador program to use the same influencer multiple times.
Create your goals and message
Businesses most often use influencer marketing for two reasons: build brand awareness and increase sales. The two can be distinctly different in approach, so it’s important to define your goals before crafting your message. What action do you wish viewers to take?
Your message is equally important. This isn’t up to you to craft the content. If you stifle the influencer too much, it won’t sound like it’s coming from them. Their audience will be able to tell. Yet you should still have creative structure to influence the way your content is presented. It’s a delicate balance that sometimes takes time to understand.
Where are your perfect influencers?
We can’t say it enough; research will be the biggest obstacle, but once you find the right influencers, it can be your biggest success.
Finding a good fit starts by looking for people with an audience already talking to people who want what you offer. The influencer should:
- Already post content directly related to your products or services. For example, if you sell a vegan product, do they talk about a plant-based lifestyle? Is it a part of their core posting structure?
- Be a legitimate account. Yes, we have to say it – not all social media sites are set up with the best intentions. But if you scroll through a feed, you can quickly build an opinion of the influence this account has. Look for engagement rates as well; you want an audience that pays attention to what this influencer says.
- Have an understanding of working with similar brands. A seasoned pro will have a media kit that can give you the details of what it means to work with them.
There are also a variety of analytics tools and statistics programs that can help you define just how successful an account really is.
Track your own influencer marketing campaigns
No matter how much success an influencer appears to have on their feed, or how many statistics they tout in their media kit, nothing takes the place of tracking data for yourself.
Be sure you set up every campaign you run with the appropriate landing pages and analytics measures to determine just how successful you are. This can help you make decisions about future campaigns, as well as tweak existing ones to help them perform better.
Influencers are here to stay. If this is something that could benefit your company, maybe it’s time to talk. Develop an influencer marketing strategy that can help your business grow well into the future.