How Should You Invest in Influencer Marketing?
We initially addressed the topic of influencer marketing in the previous post, Why You Should Invest in Influencer Marketing. We shared information and insights regarding why this tactic has become increasingly popular among brands to reach new audiences and existing fans. Today, I want to share some tips about how you should start your influencer marketing strategy.
A report by eMarketer stated that “nearly three-quarters of marketers said ongoing ambassadorships was one of the most effective uses of influencers, ahead of product reviews and brand mentions.” In my own experience, I’ve seen that working with trusted influencers has become an invaluable marketing strategy.
Not only is it beneficial to partner with influencers for a campaign, but the true value can be seen when you continue to collaborate with them over an extended period of time. An ongoing partnership will provide more value and engagement because influencers—like friends in our personal lives—are more likely to do favors for and demonstrate loyalty to brands with whom they have strong relationships.
But—before you even think about hiring influencers, let’s start with the basics of how you should invest in your influencer marketing strategy.
Conduct Thorough Research on Influencers of Interest
When I previously worked in the craft industry, I managed an influencer marketing program for a well-recognized brand. The brand I represented wanted to reach a different demographic of crafters than their core market, and they believed that creating a dedicated program for influencer marketing would help them achieve this goal. With the right research, connections, campaigns, and cross-promotion—I ran a successful influencer marketing program that increased brand awareness and product sales.
Upon starting the outreach process, I conducted extensive research. It was important that I found influencers, who would be brand appropriate and have the targeted audience we wanted to reach with good social media engagement. I suggest creating an internal set of guidelines and criteria for qualifying influencers to help guide you during your research phase (look for: social media engagement, audience demo, content style, etc.).
To effectively find the right influencers for the brand, I became familiar with their content, interests, cadence, and style. These steps are critical, as you will need to make informed decisions about what content will work best for both your brand and the influencer. Most importantly, you will need to ensure that the influencer’s style is a good fit for your brand. If an influencer has a lot of followers and engagement but may be a little on the risqué side regarding their language and content, don’t risk making an inappropriate decision just because you think you’ll get exposure to their audience. Always remember to stay true to your brand when sourcing partnerships.
Determine Your Content Strategy
Prior to onboarding an influencer to a campaign, I had discussions with them about what content they were interested in creating, when the content would be most relevant to post, and where it would be posted. It’s always mutually beneficial to collaborate and discuss content plans with the influencer you’ve partnered with to ensure both parties will be happy with the end result; this is the first step towards developing a valuable relationship with the influencer. I never wanted to feel like I was dictating work to them. The reason we were working together was because I valued their work and had trust in their content creating abilities.
There are a myriad of content strategies to think through when determining the best way to promote your product or service with an influencer. Think about the type of content you want to create, the results you’re seeking, and how you plan to host and distribute it. Will you partner with an influencer for a giveaway? How-to tutorial? Product review?
Set Specific Goals to Measure
Finally: what are you seeking as a result? Are you looking for social media engagement? An increase in sales or inquiries? Brand awareness? Think about how you plan to measure your results when determining your content strategy. Ultimately through this partnership, you should be able to engage with the influencer and provide valuable content to their audience (and yours as you cross promote), and of course, understand how you’ll both measure success.
Influencer marketing is a strategy that can have both immediate and long-term results for your brand, and as you continue to engage in this tactic, you’ll meet more influencers and your net will get wider. At some point, influencers may start reaching out to you first!