Influencer marketing, also known as IM, can be a significant business driver for ecommerce companies.
But succeeding with influencer marketing is still an elusive idea for many brands. Without the proper research and strategy, it’s easy to throw dollars at influencer marketing without seeing any return on investment.
Stellar influencer marketing campaigns can amplify your existing marketing efforts and drive substantial traffic to your business. So what’s the secret to successfully incorporating influencers into your digital marketing strategy?
What Is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is when a brand collaborates with a social media personality or influential individual to promote a product or service.
Influencers come in all shapes and sizes. From models or TV celebrities to college athletes and makeup artists, an influencer is technically anyone who can affect the behaviors of those who follow or look up to them.
Typically, a brand pays the influencer to create content, such as videos, social media posts or stories that highlight their products.
How effective is influencer marketing? If you invest time, money and effort into your campaigns and relationships, the output can be advantageous. On average, businesses generate $6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing. Influencers are capable of driving high-quality traffic and loyal customers to your brand.
Furthermore, 80% of marketers consider influencer marketing to be effective. 89% of marketers also say that the ROI of IM is comparable to or better than other marketing channels.
To set you on the right path with influencer marketing, we’ve compiled learnings from successful campaigns to maximize your efforts.
What are the Different Types of Influencers?
Influencers can fall into one of three categories: top, micro or local influencers.
- Top Influencer: Celebrities, athletes and entertainers are top influencers. Top influencers may have millions of followers, but their audience is not necessarily tight-knit. They are harder to reach out to, and engagements can be expensive. These influencers often hold multiple sponsorships and brand engagements, which can hurt their audience’s trust levels.
- Micro-Influencer: These influencers have a tight-knit following, usually around 50,000 or fewer followers. Micro-influencers have a dedicated audience who views them as trustworthy.
- Local Influencer: Local influencers can drive traffic to a brick-and-mortar store or an event. If you are looking to get highly qualified leads and customers in a geo-targeted location, using local influencers might be your best bet.
6 Ways To Maximize Influencer Marketing
Celebrities are often the first to come to mind when one thinks of influencer marketing. And while celebrities can be influencers, they aren't the only worthwhile targets. Many individuals even find micro-influencers more relatable and likable, especially those who they perceive to be similar to them.
Influencer marketing is now moving away from status and fame, and more towards relatability and likeability.
On average, about 70% of teenage YouTube subscribers trust influencer opinions over traditional celebrities. Plus, 4 in 10 millennial subscribers say their favorite influencer understands them better than their friends.
Take a look at these six IM tips to help you create an influencer marketing campaign that produces real results.
1. Find the Perfect Influencer
Many brands often make the mistake of not choosing the right influencers.
To maximize your influencer marketing investment, you should first evaluate your brand and the audience you wish to reach. The more specific your goals are, the easier it will be to find an influencer that aligns with your goals.
Then, assess past campaigns an influencer has done with other brands, which will reveal if they are a good fit for your brand.
The influencers you work with leave an everlasting mark on your brand, so be sure to choose wisely.
2. Foster a Relationship
It’s important to be personable and get to know the influencer before you start working with them. An amicable relationship allows for open communication and can make an influencer’s endorsement more genuine.
Send PR packages, samples, gifts and other items that can strengthen their relationship with you and your brand. Treat influencers the same way you treat your clients or customers.
3. Long-Term Contracts
Long-term contracts are a great way to maximize your engagement, but they’re frequently overlooked or not considered. Establishing a long-term relationship demonstrates your commitment to the influencer. They know you’re willing to invest in them for the long haul, which also puts them at ease financially.
Keep in mind other brands are likely talking to your influencers, too. So, secure your campaign and establish trust with a long-term contract.
The longer you work with an influencer, the better you get to know them and can work with them to maximize your investment.
4. Network With Influencer Agencies
Networking with agencies is a great way to find new influencers and get in contact with them. Attend as many agency events as you can, and make sure to ask for updated client lists to stay up to date with the influencer industry.
5. Choose the Right Channels and Create Beneficial Content
This one may seem like a social media marketing no-brainer, but many brands fail to focus on their efforts on the proper channels.
By understanding which channels work best for your brand, you can select an influencer who’s more willing to engage with you or actively use your products or services. Alternatively, if there is a new social channel you want to try, influencers are a great way to break through and gain visibility quick.
Sponsored content should not only benefit you and your brand, but also the influencer. Look for influencers who would use your products or services regularly and can be honest in discussing its benefits.
6. Set a Budget and Track
To maximize your future campaigns, you need to track your past ones. Measuring ROI is the best way to determine the success of your influencer marketing efforts.
It’s also essential to set a budget so you can stay within your means while leveraging other paid marketing efforts.
5 Examples of Influencer Marketing Campaigns
Now that we’ve covered influencer marketing best practices, it’s time to decide what kind of campaign to run. Learn more about the most common influencer marketing campaign types so you can choose the best fit for your brand.
1. Sponsored Content
Sponsored content is the most popular form of influencer marketing. Brands reach out to an influencer and ask them to promote their product or service through a social media post or video.
It's critical to provide influencers with a set of guidelines so they know what to expect. Once you agree on the content and relevant channels, the influencer launches their content to their social media followers.
Instagram: @aprilmaeparker and @jaspersmarket
Brands can offer a product or service discounted or free of charge to an influencer and in return, ask the influencer to review it publicly. Reviews are a great way to capture genuine responses that promote your brand. You’ll want to work with an influencer that provides honest and sincere feedback.
Youtube Review: Jacques Slade and Air Jordan
3. Competition and Giveaways
A fun way to get involved with influencers and their fans is to host a competition or giveaway. Brands provide giveaway items, and influencers spread the word and host the giveaway on their social media accounts.
Competitions and giveaways are incredibly popular and are relatively easy to conduct. There is guaranteed value for everyone involved, and these campaigns often generate high engagement for both the brand and the influencer.
Instagram: @iambrianandai and Credo beauty
4. Product and Content Collaborations
Some brands work so well with their influencers that they collaborate and create new products with them. These collaborations are especially popular across the fashion and beauty industry.
While this is a high-level form of influencer marketing, it is often successful and beneficial. However, product and content collaborations are seen as high-risk campaigns, since the brand's name is permanently attached to the influencer (and vice versa).
Reese Witherspoon and Crate & Barrel
5. 'Takeovers' on Your Social Media Accounts
During a social media takeover, the brand gives their influencer access to its social media channels for a certain amount of time. Takeovers are typically done to build hype around events or showcase behind-the-scenes footage.
Takeovers can be risky, as you have to grant the influencer access to your social media credentials, information or data.
Instagram: @bytheway x @jdshadel
How Do I Find and Work With Influencers?
There are a plethora of platforms and tools to help you find the right influencers. Here are our favorite methods:
- Buzzsumo: Buzzsumo offers a search option that allows you to compare influencers and manage your campaigns. You have access to contact and follow your chosen influencer.
- Peg: Peg is a tool for power influencer marketing. With their advanced filtering tool, you can easily find the perfect influencer for your brand. Peg also shows deep insights into the performance of your campaigns.
- Reachbird: Similar to Peg, Reachbird offers influencer search, content planning and a powerful keyword-based search engine. Its AI-based software helps you make data-driven decisions from an agency standpoint.
- Talent Agencies and Agents: While it might seem old-fashioned, in-person or over-the-phone networking still works wonders. Get in touch with agencies to see if they have any influencers that might mesh well with your brand. Agents can also help you build trust with influencers.
- Networking Events: Attend a networking event to meet agents, influencers or talent agencies. Even if you don't meet any prospective influencers for an upcoming campaign, you’ll have contacts on hand for future campaigns.
- Social Media: Last but not least, don’t forget to conduct organic outreach. Take to Instagram or your ideal social platform and connect with influencers by messaging them or commenting on their posts.
The Challenges of Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing can still be challenging, even if you have all the right pieces. Here are four problems you may encounter while executing your campaigns and how to address them:
It’s no surprise that influencer marketing is on the incline, with brands allocating more money each year to influencer marketing efforts. 65% of influencer marketing budgets will increase in 2019.
But don’t make the mistake of overspending or misusing your budget. Influencer marketing campaigns can be pricey and have the power to hurt your brand financially or tarnish your image indefinitely.
From start to finish, influencer marketing campaigns can take weeks or months to execute. You’ll need to consider the many moving parts from the brand perspective.
To begin with, finding the right influencer can take time. Then, you need to build landing pages, coupon codes, campaign tracking components, talking points and an overall strategy to ensure success.
Pro-tip: Carefully thought-out campaigns tend to see higher ROIs, so don’t rush it.
The IM industry is still new and unregulated, so deciding and settling on compensation usually takes research and negotiation. Unless you have a pricing model in place, talk to the influencer's talent agent to agree on a price.
To help you come up with a pricing strategy, analyze metrics such as referral traffic, cost per impression, cost per engagement or media value per post. You can use this data to justify your payment.
4. No Response
Getting ahold of influencers is a task in itself. If you contact them directly, they may not respond.
Additionally, prominent influencers can be highly selective about the brands they work with, so don't be discouraged if you don't hear back. Instead, start with micro-influencers or local influencers, then work your way up. (You might also find more benefit in working with micro-influencers, who are likely to be more responsive and engaged, and turn into a true evangelist for your brand).
Maximize Your Influencer Marketing Efforts Today
With the right tools, mindset and careful consideration, influencer marketing can fuel your brand and help you grow to new levels.
At Human Marketing, we work with companies to produce the highest quality content marketing we can provide.
Ready to leverage influencer marketing and elevate your business? Contact us for a free marketing consultation today.