How to Start Influencer Marketing?
We have compiled this article on influencer marketing. Take a look to see how influencers can positively impact your marketing!
What is influencer marketing?
At a fundamental level, influencer marketing is a type of social media marketing that uses endorsements, and product mentions from influencers–individuals with a dedicated social following and are viewed as experts within their niche. Influencer marketing works because of the high trust that social influencers have built up with their following. Therefore, recommendations from them serve as a form of social proof to your brand’s potential customers.
How often have you bought something after seeing an influencer share it on social media or checked out a brand you saw celebrity wear? That’s the power of influencers.
Influencers, sometimes called ‘key opinion leaders, have made a career out of building an audience and creating content that excites them. For eCommerce brands, influencer marketing campaigns can be a powerful tool to drive awareness and conversion.
A Mediakix survey found that 90% of marketers rated influencer marketing delivered ROI equal to or better than other marketing channels.
This article will look at the four key steps to run an effective influencer marketing campaign.
A guide for an influencer marketing campaign
Influencer marketing campaigns can take various content forms and appear across multiple social platforms, so planning is essential.
You can break down most influencer marketing campaigns into four simple steps:
- Define your goals
- Identify your influencers
We’ve also loaded up our guide with plenty of tools and examples. So let’s get to it.
Setting campaign goals is the most critical step; it affects the type of influencers you recruit, how you measure success, and what kind of content you’ll co-create.
Influencer marketing campaigns can be categorized into several broad goals:
- Build brand awareness
- Increase audience engagement and build community
- Drive sales or run a marketing promotion
- Launch a new product or service
The more precisely you can define your goals, the easier the remaining campaign will be. Some questions you can ask to clarify your goals are::
- Are you looking for awareness across all territories, or just within a region (for example, the United States, or even just in Milwaukee)?
- Are you looking for broad audience engagement, or just from a specific demographic (say, women between 30 and 55)?
- Are you looking to broadcast your message across all channels or just one specific platform (for example, Instagram)?
Let’s look at two campaigns with different goals: HelloFresh making a bid for maximum brand awareness across all platforms, and Alo Yoga focusing exclusively on Instagram for the #AloChallenge.
HelloFresh is a meal-kit subscription service that’s grown from strength to strength since the pandemic.
HelloFresh is partnering with all kinds of influencers, from mommy bloggers to young college students and even fitness gurus.
In contrast, the #AloChallenge is tightly focused on the Instagram platform. For example, famous athleisure brand Alo Yoga runs a weekly themed #AloChallenge, led by five yoga pros, to engage its community on Instagram.
There are no prizes to be won; it’s just a personal challenge you participate in and maybe tag your friends. For Alo Yoga, it’s a great way to engage the community and keep the brand active on Instagram, one of its most important marketing channels.
Defining your campaign goals will make it easy to identify the types of influencers to recruit for your campaign – and allocate the appropriate budget.
- Define your campaign goals: awareness, engagement, promotion, or launch
- Identify the nuances of your dreams: which platforms, territories, demographics to focus on
Each influencer has cultivated a following of a specific size, demographic, and interest. The perfect influencer has an audience that fits directly into your target market – which is why you want to choose influencers carefully.
For example, if you’re running a campaign for a flashy supercar, you probably want to target luxury lifestyle bloggers instead of budget travellers and mommy bloggers.
One of your first considerations should be the type of influencers you’re reaching out to, how big their followers are, and how much they will cost. These are the terms that describe influencer tiers:
- Nano-influencers (Up to 10k followers)
- Micro-influencers (Up to 100K followers)
- Mid-tier influencers ( 500K to 1M followers)
- Mega influencers (More than 1M followers)
- Celebrity influencers (10M or more)
Note that these are rough estimations since the industry is still growing and definitions shift.
Outline the Goals of Your Influencer Marketing Campaign
You’re leveraging someone else’s platform for your gain.
However, before you create the content, before you find an influencer, and before you do anything else, you need to outline the goals of your influencer campaign.
It’s simple: Every decision you make is informed by your goal.
The platform you choose, the influencer you partner with, the type of content they create; all these factors come into play.
Let’s work from an example to make this easier to illustrate.
Say you’re working with a client (let’s call them Client A) in the gaming industry — specifically in the smartphone app gaming industry.
Mobile gaming is a pretty competitive industry. iTunes offers 18 categories of games and hundreds of popular puzzle games.
Company A has been in business for five years and has a solid portfolio of games of medium success, including one trendy game downloaded 25 million times.
They have a new puzzle game coming out, and they want to leverage influencer marketing to get tons of downloads and create buzz around the new launch. Ideally, this buzz would extend to their brand and give their entire game portfolio a good boost.
First, let’s outline the goal.
The goal should have three parts:
- find out the influencer’s demographic data
- determine what the influencer will help you do
- plan how the influencer will help you do it
Ten steps to your startup’s first influencer marketing campaign
To help you get started with your first influencer marketing campaign, we’ve put together some practical steps to get you on track.
- Define your audience: As with all marketing campaigns, the first step is defining who you want to target and ‘influence.’ This could be the same profile for your routine marketing campaigns or a new sub-set. For example, suppose you’re a B2B startup in the automotive sector, maybe instead of your typical corporate client, with this campaign. In that case, you could look to target the professionals working at said corporates only on LinkedIn.
- Set goals: What do you want to achieve with an influencer marketing campaign? Set out your objectives, for example, increasing your brand awareness with more social media followers or directly converting already warmed-up leads into paid customers. Be aware that you may need repeated campaigns to achieve high impact, just like any other marketing activity, so keep your KPI numbers realistic.
- Define your budget/offering: What will you offer influencers in exchange for their services? Define a budget suitable for their ‘level’ of influencer (as mentioned above: mega, macro, micro or nano), as well as whether you intend to gift your product/service to test or any discounts for their followers. Weigh this up with your KPIs and what you plan to gain from the campaign so that you don’t end up with a loss.
- Profile your dream influencer: Hopefully, by now, you have primarily defined your dream influencer profile (e.g. micro-influencer, AI expert, on LinkedIn). Keep in mind that a macro influencer is likely to reach more people, but a micro or nano influencer will be more authentic.
- Make a shortlist: Draw up a list of 30 – 50 potential individuals to work with. Next, keep an eye out for fake accounts by checking whether comments on their posts are accurate, the status of their engagement rate and whether they received a sudden spike in followers. The latter could suggest purchasing fake or ‘bot’ followers and checking out on websites like Influencer Marketing Hub’s checker. It’s also worth checking the ‘sentiment’ of comments and reactions with their posts: are they primarily positive, neutral or negative?
- Create your campaign: Forget the perfect commercial photographs and videos that you’re used to. Influencer marketing is about showing the real human story and personal experience behind using a product or service. Most influencer marketing content involves positively reviewing your product or service, so think about how you want to present that for your audience (blog post, social media post, live story, a discount code, etc.), and how much control you want over the content/language they use.
- Pitch and negotiate: Make first contact with your influencer shortlist, laying out very clearly the terms of your proposal: who you are, what you’re offering, timeline, type and number of posts, hashtags to use, tags, who owns the final content, and compensation. The influencer will likely try to negotiate a little, but make sure you clarify what is not compromisable. Finally, don’t forget to draw up a short contract to sign.
- Check pre-campaign metrics: Before you start a campaign, record all your current metrics (number of followers, website visitors, number of weekly sales etc.), so you know where you started. Similarly, set up tracking links (if you’ve never done this before, Google has some resources) or unique discount codes for each influencer so you know which influencers brought you the most traffic.
- Re-share, re-share, re-share: When your campaigns are running, make sure to give them more visibility by re-sharing on your online channels. This will, if done right, allow your current community to see you are being recommended, overall increasing levels of trust and brand loyalty.
- Wrap it up: After your campaign is over, thank your collaborators and ask for metrics on their side. Be aware that some may overestimate, so keep a keen eye on your data to compare. Hopefully, you will have gathered some potential long-term collaborations and increased awareness of your brand sentiment.
Influencer marketing can be powerful, however, do not rely on it to be the magic bullet in your marketing plan.
Article compiled by hughesagency.ca
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