Written by Shane Barker
Influencer marketing continues to be on the rise.
A recent survey by DemandGen showed that 95% of people prefer to consume content from industry influencers. What this means is that people see influencers as credible sources of information.
Not only that, according to Tomoson, influencer marketing is now regarded as the fastest-growing channel for customer acquisition. This shows that more businesses and brands turn to influencers whenever they want to acquire new customers.
In fact, the Tomoson report above also indicated that the return on investment (ROI) from influencer marketing is strong. Businesses report at least $6.50 in return for every dollar spent on influencer marketing.
From the above, you can see that influencer marketing works. So it’s no surprise that it’s becoming more competitive. Before you get started with influencer marketing, you need to create an effective influencer marketing strategy.
When you do that, you can get more results from this strategy. Not only that, you’ll be able to build a lasting relationship for your brand in the long run.
In this post, you’ll learn seven effective ways to create an influencer marketing strategy that works.
Let’s get started.
Start with a Goal in Mind
When creating an influencer marketing strategy, you need to start with a goal in mind map. The reason is simple. A goal helps you to visualize what you want to achieve at the end of the influencer campaign.
The truth is, if you don’t have specific goals, you may find it difficult to succeed with this strategy. When you set goals for your influencer marketing campaign, you’ll find it easier to determine exactly which type of influencers you should work with
Some examples of the top goals you might consider for your influencer campaign include:
- Create awareness about your brand
- Reach a new audience
- Establish trust and relationships with your customers
- Increase your social media followers
- Generate more sales for your business
- Get more people to sign up for your product’s free trial
- Boost your website traffic
When creating these goals, make sure that they align with your business objectives. For instance, if your goal for your influencer campaign is to increase your social media followers, then asking influencers to promote a contest would help greatly with this.
On the other hand, if you want to generate more sales for your business. What you need to do is create exclusive offers that the influencers can promote.
After setting the goals for your influencer campaign, then you need to search for the right influencers.
Search for the Right Influencers
The next thing you need to do to create an effective influencer marketing strategy is to find influencers who are a good fit for your campaign. This step is the most critical. If you can’t find the right influencers, your strategy won’t work.
When searching for influencers, you must look for people who have the same vision and values that your brand has. Also, you need to find someone who operates in the same niche as you do.
Take, for instance, if your brand is in the sports niche, an influencer in the fashion/beauty niche likely won’t be a good fit for you. Another thing you need to consider is the number of people the influencer can influence.
Say, your goal is to have about 50,000 more Instagram followers in the next six months. If you work with an influencer with just 10,000 Instagram followers, you most likely won’t be able to achieve this goal.
To get the right influencers for your influencer campaigns, there are a lot of strategies you can explore.
You can start with Google Alerts. This is a free tool by Google that lets you create an alert for specific topics or people you want to follow. So whenever anyone mentions these topics or people, you’ll be notified.
With this tool, you can set alerts for various keywords in your niche. This could be brand names or names of people who actively create relevant content in your niche. Through this strategy, you could come across influencers leading conversations in your niche.
Another tool you can use to find the right influencers is BuzzSumo. With this tool, you can find influencers in different niches across social media platforms.
You can also leverage communities such as influence.co to find influencers to work with. With this community, you’ll know exactly which niches the influencer is a fit for and their follower count as well as several other parameters. This will give you an idea if you should proceed with them or not.
Start Building Relationships
After deciding on the influencers you want to work with, you need to start building relationships with them. This is very important. To build strong relationships with influencers, you should highlight what’s in it for them.
To do this effectively, your focus should be on providing real value to them too. Also, you should assist them without expecting anything in return.
Some of the specific things you should do for a start is to follow them on social media. Aside from that, you should engage with them and share their posts too. You can also mention them in your posts, provide backlinks to their pages, and so on. When you do this on a consistent basis, you’ll become known to them.
One mistake most people make with influencer engagement is to ask influencers to promote their brand as soon as they get in touch with them. Doing this will most likely lead to failure.The truth is, the essence of an influencer marketing strategy is to build lasting relationships. When you focus on this, influencers will appreciate it and will be glad to collaborate with your brand or business.
Follow the Latest Technology Trends
To be successful with influencer marketing, it’s also important that you stay updated about the latest technology trends. To do this, you should ask your marketing department to keep an eye out for the latest policy or algorithm changes by various social media platforms.
That way, you won’t be caught unawares. Also, you won’t be one of those brands who get penalized for flouting any policy changes.
For example, most brands witnessed a decline in engagement on Instagram recently. This is because they changed their algorithm so that most profile feeds are now based on interest, relationship with the person posting, and how timely it is.
What this means is that people will see posts from people they follow more than those they don’t. When you collaborate with influencers on Instagram, you’re more likely to reach more people on the platform.
Knowing the latest technology trends and policies will help you get the best out of this strategy.
Create and Distribute Quality Content
Content matters. The more unique and targeted your content is, the better for your influencer marketing strategy. After creating quality content, you also need to spend time distributing it.
What you need to do in this case is to share your content with your target audience, so that they can relate with it. Also, since you’ll be working with influencers, you must ensure that the content they create for your campaign is something that resonates with their followers.
For example, if the influencer you’re working with has more millennial followers, then the content they create should be relevant to them.
Another thing you must keep in mind is to ensure that your content is authentic. So, discuss it with the influencer you’re working with to make sure that their posts appear original. This is because if their followers perceive it as scripted, there are chances that your influencer marketing strategy won’t succeed.
According to the 2019 Consumer Content Report by Satkla, authenticity is important for almost 90% of consumers when deciding on which brands to support.
Communicate Well with Influencers
After pitching your ideas to the influencers you want to work with, you must stay in touch with them. When communicating with influencers, you must be straightforward about your goals and objectives.
Also, you need to come up with a compensation plan that both parties agree to. These agreements should typically entail what the influencers are expected to do, how they will be compensated, who owns the content rights, and so on.
You should also agree on a schedule for publishing posts. Figure out exactly what days and hours are best to get engagement on their posts.
Discussing all this before you begin your influencer marketing campaign will make it successful.
Even after the campaign is over, you need to continue communicating with influencers. This will help you build more robust relationships with influencers.
Track and Measure Your Progress
For every influencer marketing campaign you run, it’s important to track and measure your progress. This helps you to know exactly if the time and resources spent on the strategy are worth it.
One mistake many people make here is to leave everything to guesswork. Doing this hurts your conversions and ROI in the long run. Rather, you should have systems in place to accurately track the progress of your campaign at each point.
That way, you can see if everything is going as planned. If it isn’t, you can notify the influencer and tweak the strategy as needed. After the campaign is over, evaluate your progress and see if you need to do any damage control.
The more you track and measure the progress of your influencer marketing strategy, the more effective it is.
Creating an effective influencer marketing strategy seems like an uphill task for many businesses and brands. This is because finding the right influencers to work with and getting them on board isn’t always easy.
In this post, you’ve learned seven ways you can use to create an influencer marketing strategy that works. The first step is to have a goal in mind and look for influencers who can help you achieve that.
Also, you need to build solid relationships with influencers to convince them to work with you. You should also create and distribute quality content and ensure that you understand the latest algorithm changes and policies.
Finally, you must stay in touch with the influencers you partner with. Not only that, you should come up with systems that make it easy for you to track and measure the progress of your influencer marketing strategy.
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in influencer marketing, content marketing, and SEO. He is also the co-founder and CEO of Content Solutions, a digital marketing agency. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.