Influencer marketing is an excellent alternative to traditional advertising as it builds on the connections that have already been established between two people to promote content.
If you have been considering using influencers to support your organic content marketing efforts, then you may be wondering what exactly you need to do to set up a campaign.
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing leverages the expertise, knowledge or social influence of a person or organisation to amplify product placements or endorsements. These influencers use their authority or position to affect the purchasing decisions of consumers. They usually do this in a particular niche or market.
The term influencer has evolved during the last few years. Once, it was shorthand for a celebrity or someone who was immediately recognisable or very popular. Now, there are scores of ‘micro’ influencers with small but engaged social media followers who can have just as big an impact on campaigns as ‘macro’ influencers with millions of followers.
Why does influencer marketing work?
Influencer marketing is very effective as it builds on the relationships and trust that influencers have nurtured with followers and audiences across various social media accounts. Consumers are more likely to engage with content if it is promoted by someone who they know and trust.
It is also big business. Research by Adweek found that the industry will be worth $10bn by the end of the year. Marketers are also well aware of the benefits of influencer marketing, according to a survey by Mediakix. Nine in 10 respondents said that the channel is comparable in terms of return on investment (ROI) as other networks and two-thirds are planning to spend more on influencers.
What do I have to do?
If you are just getting started with influencers, then it may be best to launch a micro-influencer campaign to begin with and build from there. First and foremost, your campaign needs to have clear goals linked to KPIs and metrics that enable you to determine its success. Merely opting for an influencer-based strategy because it is a hot new trend can lead to wasted time and money.
Every campaign is different, but influencer marketing is closely aligned to a few common goals. These include increasing brand awareness and engagement, generating leads, driving sales, and strengthening customer relationships and retention.
Do I need to set up a management strategy?
Just like other forms of marketing, influencers need to be budgeted and managed accordingly to work effectively. Before starting, you should factor in how much time it will take to plan and execute this particular campaign. Unlike publishing blogs, for example, influencer marketing is not a one-and-done strategy. It will need to be monitored, reviewed and analysed over time.
How do I find the right influencers?
More than a third of marketers say that finding the right influencers is the biggest challenge they face when trying to manage campaigns, putting it ahead of managing contracts and deadlines (24%) and bandwidth/time restraints (15%). There will be a large pool of micro-influencers to select from depending on the network you choose, so you will need to come up with a shortlist.
Using the ‘four Rs’ of micro-influencers – reach, resonance, relevance and ROI – is a good place to start. Obviously, you need the influencer to be relevant to your particular niche, which extends to the audience they typically engage with. Engagement levels and authenticity are also important.
For your first campaign, it is best to limit yourself to a single network. The network or platform you choose will again depend on your brand. If your brand is visually oriented, then Instagram or YouTube will be snug fits for a fresh campaign. Have a look at the types of influencers on each of these platforms.
How much do influencers cost?
The costs for influencers vary significantly depending on the scale of their following. A study back in 2017 found that micro-influencers, typically with a base of followers that numbers 1,000 or less, cost $83 per post on average. In contrast, larger influencers with 100,000 or more followers averaged $763 per post. The overall average is $271.
Deciding how much to spend on influencers can be difficult, so it is preferable to tie it into your wider marketing efforts. Will this particular campaign deliver a healthy ROI compared to more organic methods? How will you gauge its impact overall? The goals and KPIs mentioned earlier are a good way to root influencer campaigns in tangible results and returns.
How do I contact influencers?
Now that you have some sort of budget in place, you can move on to contacting the right influencers. This is a tricky process, as noted in the study earlier, so you will need to take the time to research the potential options. There are analytics tools for Twitter and other platforms that will pinpoint potential influencers that would dovetail with your brand and campaign objectives.
The best way to get them on board is simply by contacting them via private message. Micro-influencers are more likely to be managing their own accounts, which makes communications easier. More established influencers may have managers or agencies, so you may need to make an enquiry. This information can usually be found in the bio section of social profiles.
Do I have to create the content?
Influencer campaigns are more effective when you work closely with the influencer to craft content. You can take their advice and opinions on board and then outsource the actual creation of a video or other format to an agency or give them the freedom to create something themselves.
Whichever path you choose, there needs to be regular dialogue between the two parties and a review process that enables you to see what has been created and to request changes. Having a final approval process in place will also ensure that everything has met the required standards before publication.
What do I do now?
It is now time to track and analyse your influencer campaigns based on the KPIs you set out with the view to making amendments and changes for future campaigns. To conclude, influencers of all sizes can drive greater levels of reach and engagement for your brand. With careful planning and management, you can leverage the power of influencers to achieve success.