Influencer marketing is a powerful strategy that allows you to expand your online reach, increase brand awareness, and build a strong reputation for your company by allowing outside sources to advocate for your brand. Recent studies have found that influencer marketing has been a successful strategy for a surprising 94% of marketers from various industries surveyed.
With so much success, everyone should be jumping on the influencer bandwagon, right? Not so fast. Although influencer marketing is an effective campaign strategy for many, the challenge lies in determining the best way to approach and work with influencers. 2017 is expected to be the year in which the true success of influencer marketing will be determined.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Simply put, Influencer Marketing is a marketing tactic that uses existing communities of engaged followers as a targeted market for a product or service. Influencer marketing got its start by using celebrity endorsements, but today’s influencers are largely comprised of bloggers, YouTube artists, and social media personalities.
You’ve probably come across influencer marketing before. Maybe your favorite YouTube channel posts a sponsored video in which they talk about a great new app, or that lifestyle blogger you follow shared a post containing a pic of their daily must-haves, including a carefully placed bottle of organic juice.
In an Influencer Marketing Campaign, influencers work together with marketers to develop a campaign designed to appeal to the influencer’s followers. These influencers are used because they are often specialists in a particular niche—beauty bloggers and fitness gurus, for example, might be contacted by companies that sell skincare products or protein powders, respectively.
Is Influencer Marketing Effective?
Influencer marketing works because their followers are 1) engaged, and 2) have a level of trust for the influencer they are following. In a digital world that has become wary of the fact that we are constantly being sold something, most people are more willing to purchase something from a source they feel they can trust and create a connection with. Who are you most likely to trust: your friend recommending a new food they love, or a TV commercial telling you where to buy your clothes?
The Do’s and Don’ts of Influencer Marketing
Many companies are utilizing Influencer Marketing as part of their monthly marketing campaigns. Here are some Dos and Donts of Influencer Marketing.
- Do choose your influencers wisely.
There are several factors to take into consideration when searching for an influencer. In addition to having the ability to effectively market your brand, you want to be sure that the influencer you choose has the right personality and the right audience in order for your campaigns to be successful. If your influencer’s audience isn’t interested in your brand, then what’s the point? Focusing on finding an industry-specific influencer is a great place to start.
- Don’t pick an influencer based on their number of followers.
Many social media accounts and blogs have a very high number of followers, but those numbers could be padded by spam accounts and automated bots that make an account appear to have more followers than it actually does. Look for influencers who have an engaged audience and who have experienced gradual growth rather than sudden spikes of followers.
- Do include an incentives plan for your influencers.
If you’re asking your influencers to review and promote a product for you, a free sample for them to try is usually expected, as well as additional payment. Keep in mind this influencer is essentially part of your marketing team, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they expect to be paid for their work. Other incentives might include offers that mutually benefit you and the influencer, such as offering an exclusive discount code they can offer their followers or making a donation in their name. Remember to focus on their niche and their audience, and build a working relationship with the influencer.
- Don’t be pushy.
As with any business relationship, it’s important to follow up and keep in touch with your influencers, but avoid spamming their inboxes. Most influencers are busy people who have much more on their plate than thinking about how to help your brand. Allow 1-2 days between follow-up emails, and learn when to walk away if they aren’t being responsive.
- Do give your influencer a set of goals for your marketing campaign.
Your influencers will work better when they have specific goals in mind for your brand. When you are working with an influencer to build a campaign, it’s also important to set guidelines for them to use. For instance, is there a certain hashtag your brand uses to identify on Instagram? Does your product have specific words used to promote it? Make it easy for your influencer to see and measure his or her goals and guidelines so there are no mistakes.
- Don’t overcrowd them.
While guidelines are an important part of your influencer marketing campaign, at the end of the day it’s your influencer’s relationship with their followers that you need. They know their audience best, so allow them the freedom to promote your brand in the way they think is best in order to get results and meet the goals you have set together.
Influencer Marketing Resources
This online platform provides influencer dashboards that help you find and connect with influencers and experts in your industry. Each influencer in your dashboard will have a relevancy score that lets you target only those who will work best for your brand.
This marketing CRM offers a search tool for influencer prospecting to help you find the right influencers for your brand. The tool also helps you manage conversations with influencers and create templates for easy outreach. This is a great tool for larger companies.
This all-in-one influencer marketing tool includes a database of more than 15 million blogs, allowing you to locate influencers based on a specific niche or topic.
Influencer Marketing is making huge strides in 2017. This powerful marketing strategy is a must-have for any brand. With the right tools and careful curation and relationship building with relevant influencers, your brand will thrive.