If you’re not investing in influencers, you may be losing valuable customers. Influencers have already changed the world of marketing as we once knew it, and their popularity is only increasing as businesses start realizing their power to promote to the consumer.
Influencer marketing is the advertisement of products or services through endorsements by personalities with dedicated followings. It uses the relationship these people have built with their audience (on social media or otherwise) to encourage them to purchase advertised products.
And it works. Audiences typically invest in influencers’ promotions to replicate their behavior, which exists as a form of social proof. Social proof is a psychological phenomenon which describes the effect that the actions of people around us can have on our own actions.
For example, if a beauty blogger posts an image of themselves endorsing a new branded sunscreen on a sunlit holiday and says that it is perfect for hot weather, the audience may choose to imitate their actions by purchasing the same sunscreen for their own sunny days. It is the loyalty generated by audiences and this replication of behavior that makes influencer marketing work so well.
But this success doesn’t come without research, planning and optimization. You need to have a plan if you want to get the ROI your business deserves. Let’s take a look at how you can create a helpful strategy to achieve your influencer marketing needs.
Our comprehensive guide to creating an influencer marketing strategy
Define your goals and create a plan
Like all valuable marketing strategies, you’ll need to have a good understanding of the goals of your brand and what you want to do to produce results.
Mapping out your goals can help you track your progress, make changes, recognize strengths and weaknesses, and create consistency within your team. This is crucial to the overall success of your campaign.
Start by defining your overall goals. Ask yourself - what do I want to achieve from this campaign? Consider some of the following goals to start your planning.
- Awareness: reaching out to encourage more people to recognize and like your brand
- Sales: getting more people to buy your products or services
- Audience: getting more likes, followers and engagements with your brand
- Loyalty: getting people to identify with, recommend and stay interested
Once you’ve decided what you want to achieve, create a plan for your campaign. Without a plan, you may miss out on key deadlines, chances for optimization and opportunities for growth. But importantly, you will be wasting time and money, and might fall behind your competitors.
Start by looking at your overall goal and breaking it down into smaller achievements. This will help you set deadlines and track your progress, and is essential to the success of your campaign. Your goal needs to be measurable, and your plan should detail exactly how you intend to quantify it. In other words, what are your KPIs? What will show you that you are on track to meet your end goal?
Knowing this will help you better structure your influencer marketing strategy and achieve a positive ROI.
Identify your audience
You can then start fleshing out your plan. Before you can choose someone to work with your brand, you need to have a clear understanding of the people that make up your target audience.
Spend time mapping out the kinds of people you want to connect with during your campaign. You’ll want to create buyer personas that represent the people most likely to interact with your brand and convert. This may even serve as a foundation for future marketing projects.
Ask yourself a few questions to start narrowing down your target audience. Here are a few examples that you can start with:
- What do my current customers look like?
- Who is most likely to benefit from using my product?
- What benefit will it give to them?
- What do my competitors’ audiences look like?
- Are my competitors’ audiences similar to mine?
- Where will my marketing reach them most effectively?
After you’ve compiled this information - which will make up your target audience - separate it further to start creating buyer personas. Identify people with similar characteristics to start making personas that detail the demographics and behaviors of someone likely to be a member of your target audience.
Once you’ve got this information, you’ll find it easier to identify where you can reach your audience and the types of content they respond best to.
Find the right influencers
Defining your target audience and buyer personas is the first step in finding the right influencer for your needs. You need someone who has a similar audience that is loyal to them, will reflect positively on your brand image, and will help you reach your goals.
There are many different personalities you can connect with. Don’t limit yourself to social media (though, they are some of the most popular platforms for influencers), and consider bloggers, industry experts, celebrities and more. What matters is that your message reaches the right people in a way that is effective in terms of both cost and conversions.
You’ll first want to find influencers that share the same audience as you do. The closer your audience is to theirs, the more likely it will be that you’ll get the results you desire.
But don’t be fooled! A bigger audience doesn’t mean that you’ll get better results. Micro-influencers tend to have an engagement rate of around 6.7% - a lot higher than the average of 1 to 3%. It’s better to work with someone that has a small audience that best matches your target audience than someone who has a large audience that won’t be interested by your products or services.
No matter the audience size you choose, you will want to examine how engaged their audience is with their content. Do they post regularly but don’t get many likes or comments? Try working with influencers who have an engaged audience that interact with their posts.
You also don’t want to connect with someone that doesn’t uphold the standards of your brand. No matter the goal of your campaign, you need to uphold your brand image. If an influencer isn’t relevant to your industry, produces content that you don’t want to be associated with or behaves in a way that doesn’t reflect your brand’s ideals, then your partnership won’t be effective.
For more detail, visit our blog post about how you can find the best-fit influencer for your brand: How to Choose the Best Influencer for Your Business.
Reach out to influencers and create a campaign type
Once you’ve found the people that you want to represent your brand, you’ll need to reach out to them to see if they are interested in collaborating with you. There are several ways you can do this, including email, directing messaging, commenting on their posts and more. Try establishing a friendly tone and style to set yourself up for success.
But once you’ve got in contact with them, how do you build a campaign that will produce results? You’ll need to circle back to your goal and ask yourself what you want to see at the end of your campaign.
Here are a few options you can consider:
- Guest posting: ask to create and post content on an influencer’s platform.
- Contests: ask personalities in your industry to host or share a giveaway event.
- Affiliates: give out codes which when used by their audience will provide your influencer with a share of the profits.
- Brand ambassadors: connect with an influencer to promote your brand and your products/services in exchange for free items, features, offers and a working relationship that will help them and you grow.
- Sponsored posts: pay to be featured on someone’s platform.
You can also use these examples as a guideline and create your own campaign. You can choose if your influencer will be the creator of the content and posting schedule, determine language/image use, decide on payment systems and more. The influencers you work with may be familiar with similar campaigns, and may have ideas you haven’t considered. Work with them to create something that will work for them as well as it does for you. You might even end up creating a long partnership that benefits you for years!
Analyze and optimize your results
Once your campaign is gaining traction, you’ve still got some control over the way it goes. You’ll need to watch what’s working and optimize what isn’t to get the results you desire.
Consider the following for areas to watch when your influencer begins posting:
- Mistakes: incorrect information or grammatical errors will likely make your brand look less than professional.
- Response rate: check to see if your collaborator is responding to their audience in a timely manner.
- Results: keep an eye on your posts to see which ones are performing better, and boost them to get an even higher ROI.
- CTAs: change your calls-to-action if they aren’t engaging your audience.
- Time: ask your influencer to try posting at different times if you’re not seeing the expected results.
There are various metrics you can use to track these results, but what matters to you will depend on your initial objective. Look into platform metrics like Instagram Insights, use third party analytics or hire someone to help you.
Your entire strategy depends on what matters to your business. Use what you know and where you project your brand in the future to get the results that you want.
But we know that it’s hard enough to pick an influencer let alone plan, design, execute and optimize an influencer marketing campaign. You need to ensure you input a considerable amount of time into your influencer marketing strategy before you’re even nearly ready to start collaborating with someone.
As industry experts, we at Game Marketing Genie understand that it can be scary to get started in influencer marketing. That’s why we’ve got a professional team crafted from the industry’s best creatives, strategists and analysts who are passionate about all things influencing. Take the weight off your shoulders and let the experts do what they do best while you focus on managing your business and selling your services.
Want to know more? Let us help you with all of your influencer marketing needs.