Influencer Marketing as a Marketing Strategy #BaselineMarketing

Influencer marketing seems to be all the buzz recently. Leveraging your audience is the best way to get the word out about your brand! Let’s talk about a few key points to help you win at your next influencer marketing campaign.

WHAT IS INFLUENCER MARKETING?

Influencer marketing is defined as marketing that concentrates on specific individuals (key leaders) instead of the masses to drive your brand’s message or content. You concentrate your efforts on getting the attention of one person or specific key players to help you build buzz and awareness about your brand, product or service. Influencers have reach and resonance; people see what they’re talking about and purchase or interact.

BENEFITS OF INFLUENCER MARKETING:

  • It’s like native advertising and won’t interrupt the consumer’s browsing experience.
  • Helps build SEO: Not only will you have people talking about your brand – they will probably use links to your website or landing page, and remember – social media posts now rank in search.
  • Can be cost effective/Higher ROI.  Depending on the influencer, their network and how much others have paid compensation may vary. A study by McKinsey found that “marketing-induced consumer-to-consumer word of mouth generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising.” This is the digital form of controlled word of mouth marketing and in the end could be more cost effective way to acquire leads and sales.
  • Builds brand awareness: Influencers bring themselves, and their network – exposing your brand to new sets of (the right) eyes.

 

CHOOSING INFLUENCERS

This may get tricky, or just require a lot of thought and planning. Of course you want someone with a large following – but beware – large numbers don’t always equal large conversions or engagement rates. So what should you look for when sourcing influencers?

  • An active user: You want someone that is active on their social media networks, email or blog.
  • A user who knows what they’re doing: Pay attention to what is being posted. Are they getting all the action on cute cat pictures but none on other messages? If so, pass. Also pay attention to if the person or brand is using the correct format for the network (tagging handles correctly etc.)
  • An engaged following: There is no point to an influencer if their posts don’t generate actions. You wouldn’t pay for an ad in a magazine no one reads right?
  • A following that aligns with your target consumer: Influencer marketing won’t work unless your influencer’s audience is a match to your target consumer. Have a clear buyer persona in mind when looking at the influencer’s followers.
  • Content that aligns with your brand’s image/message/aesthetic: Many times, individuals with smaller, more targeted followings see much higher engagement and conversion rates on their posts. Some influencers may not have the largest social media following, but drive a lot of blog traffic. Like everything else in social media marketing – it all depends on the brand, the campaign, and the state of your audience. Remember that influencers are an extension of your brand and will be representing you! – be diligent about your research and who you choose. Now that you have an idea of what to look for – where do you find these people?! …

FINDING YOUR INFLUENCERS

You can find your influencers by conducting searches or by using tools.

  • Look for people who may already be posting about your product.
  • Hashtag research may allow you to find people already having conversations and sharing content related to your brand, a hashtag or keyword.
  • Social media search: Use network specific search tools to find potential influencers on specific social media networks.
  • Social Mention: Use social mention to set up alerts when people mention your brand on different social media networks.
  • Blogger outreach: Scour the blogs to find creators
  • Work backwards: Maybe you saw a piece of content that not only relates to your brand or campaign but is highly shareable and gaining traffic. Why not research and contact the creator?
  • Search engine: Run a search on your keyword or industry and see what pops up. You may be able to find influential blogs, publications or people.
  • Work with an agency or website dedicated to content creators: Yes, influencer agencies exist. This option is usually left for larger budgets – but letting an agency dig through their talent and set up the exchange is easier than doing everything alone.
Once you find your influencers, reaching out shouldn’t be too complicated. Find their email, contact page on their website or use the social media network itself to establish a connection. Inform them about your project, why you think they’re a great fit, and ask if it’s something they are interested in participating in.

COMPENSATION

There are many ways to compensate influencers. You can give away product or service, exchange features on your social media channels or blog, work out a commission or fee. Some influencers will already have fees worked out – but for the most part this is something you can negotiate.

INFLUENCER CAMPAIGN IDEAS:

There are many ways to run influencer marketing campaigns. Here are a few super simple ideas:

  • Create content that you’d like influencers to post for the campaign. Simply shoot it over and they can copy and paste messaging and links. This not only makes it easier on the poster, but leaves you with a little control.
  • Create an influencer centered content piece: The best way to explain this is by example: Think of a panel of experts – highlight them in a content piece, let them know they are featured along with any other materials and watch them share. People love to toot their own horns – so let them! This can be turned into so many pieces of content  (visuals, ebooks, etc.)
  • Create an experience specifically for influencers. Take a page out of the experiential marketing book and invite your chosen influencers to an event they simply cannot resist posting about.
  • Give influencers special packages or perks – again put together something that will make your influencers feel special or “in the know”.
  • Give influencers content creating guidelines, but let them run with the creative. Content creators like having freedom to cater to their audience – trust that they will create content that will resonate with their audience.
  • Give influencers samples of your product or service and ask them to review it.

When putting together an influencer marketing campaign, be as detail oriented as possible. Make sure everyone is on the same page about campaign messaging, hashtags, your brand’s look and feel etc. Double check influencer posts to ensure everything is tagged and linked correctly to maximize impact. You may also want to create a small follow up “thank you” campaign

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