Have you ever thought why brands and companies are ready to spend billions of dollars on influencer marketing? Probably, the main thing that encourages them to do that is huge profits and benefits received thanks to every effective influencer marketing strategy they create. Businesses get $5.20 ROI for every dollar they spend on this type of marketing. Moreover, 91% of millennials trust influencers as much as their family and friends. Therefore, this marketing trend is getting pace and every brand should know how to develop an influencer marketing strategy that will bring about desirable results.
What is Influencer Marketing
Influencers are people who have collected a number of followers and built a strong reputation on social media platforms thanks to the content they publish. Companies and brands turn to such people with the request to leverage their reach for the company benefit. Usually, the main goals of such cooperation are to increase brand awareness and to boost sales.
Influencer marketing appeared several years ago and has grown significantly for the last 5 years. Experts predict that companies will spend over $10 billion in 2020 on this type of social media marketing because more people tend to trust influencers than the advertisement. 40% of people surveyed admitted to purchasing a product recommended by an influencer because he or she has deserved their trust by being honest with the audience.
Some people do not believe in the efficiency of powerful influencer marketing strategies, but would companies waste so much money if that was so? In fact, according to the study conducted by Tomoson, companies earn 6.5 times more than they spend on this type of marketing, so this is clear evidence of their unsurpassed success. That is why more and more companies invest money in the influencer marketing strategy process and create powerful campaigns on different social media platforms.
Types of Influencer Marketing Campaigns
Influencers agree to advertise certain products or brands being rewarded for that. However, it is not enough to mention a company in your post or add a photo or video of its product or service. Usually, such campaigns are built on several types of interaction with followers:
- Discount codes. Many influencers team up with companies to increase sales of their products and do that in the following way. They add posts mentioning the company or/and product sold by it. Usually, this post features the benefits of this product or personal influencer experience of using it. The text of this post also includes a call to action to buy a product with the discount using a unique code provided by an influencer. A company gets new clients and the code provided by them makes it clear where they have learned about the product. An influencer usually gets a certain percentage from every sale made using a discount code.
- Affiliate marketing. One more way to attract followers during the campaign is to add affiliate links to the company or goods offered for sale. Influencers are paid on a cost-per-click or revenue share basis in this way and brands get leads who have expressed interest in their products following the link.
- Competitions and giveaways. It is not a secret that most of the competitions run by influencers are pre-ordered. Companies provide influencers with their products and offer them to run a contest and give these products as prizes instead. Most often, these competitions require followers to sign up for other accounts and make certain actions regarding them, so it is a great way to increase brand awareness and generate leads too.
Now when it is clear what types of influencer marketing campaigns there are and it is time to understand how to develop a high-quality strategy with or without professional help.
How to develop your influencer marketing strategy
The development of influencer marketing strategy (IMS) is a time-consuming process that requires thorough planning. You may wonder: is there any sense in developing a strategy? You can send free items to people you might be acquainted with and ask them to give them as a gift. But how would you check if your advertising campaign is effective? Who do you plan to send these items to?
Even if you have found a suitable account, are you sure that its followers are not paid ones? Consequently, to answer all these and many other questions and achieve results, you should have a detailed and scheduled plan with goals to be completed during every stage of your campaign. That is why it is important to map out key stages of an effective IMS and complete them one by one.
Define Your Audience
It goes without saying that your IMS should have a certain amount of impact but who you plan to influence? If you want to achieve success, you should clearly define the target audience you want to reach. It is not enough to determine the age and location of these people – you need to find a relevant audience. For this purpose, you should make up a list of requirements for your target audience. Being aware of people who usually buy company products, it is important to make up an image of a perfect lead and try to attract these people, first of all. You can consider the following characteristics:
- Interests and tastes;
- Marital status;
- Life stage;
- Customary behavior.
There is no sense to try to reach everybody. It would be strange to offer a revitalizing mask to a person interested in hunting and fishing, so you should clearly understand how your target audience should look and behave. Moreover, many advertisers have changed their viewpoint that influencers with a bigger number of followers are the best choice. Since their engagement rates are lower, their impact on people who are interested in them is less significant too. Consequently, now the tendency has been moved towards minor influencers whose follower count is between 1,000 and 5,000, or even lower. They know their followers much better and have more influence on them. A smaller audience makes it also important that it is possible to reduce the number of people who will ignore the strategy and target leads more accurately.
Know Your Goals and KPI
It is natural that every step you make should have an objective. Consequently, you should start developing your IMS by setting realistic goals, first of all. What results would you like to get at the final stage of your advertising campaign? Most of the companies include the following points:
- Generate leads of a certain type;
- Increase sales;
- Gain more visits to the website;
- Sign up more people for newsletters;
- Increase brand awareness;
- Promote new product;
- Learn the client’s vision of your brand etc.
The main features of all the goals set must be their clarity and narrow character. If you set broad targets, it will be impossible to understand how effective your campaign was as a result. Therefore, experts advise adding numbers to each of the goal points and determining proper metrics that are to be tracked during the whole campaign.
Generally, marketers use 2 key performance indicator (KPI) types:
1. Brand awareness.
Companies that want to popularize their brand through influencer marketing as well as increase interest in the product or service provided consider the changes in the following data:
- Website traffic;
- Search queries;
- Social engagement, reach, impressions (likes, comments, shares, saves, hashtags, brand mentions, etc.);
- Media mentions.
This data is measured at the beginning and at the end of the advertising campaign as well as several intermediate checks are possible too.
2. Key response.
This KPI includes direct immediate responses of people and aims at growing conversion rates, first of all. Marketers analyze changes in the numbers of the following statistical data:
- Registered users and accounts;
- Email signups;
- Application downloads;
- Purchases and clicks;
It is better to develop a special IMS for every KPI to set more clear goals and achieve visible results. Your call-to-action button should encourage users to undertake only one action. Don’t let people make any choice since they may do nothing instead.
Set Budgets for Your Campaigns
Every company has a certain amount of money it can spend on marketing and influencer marketing is only part of the whole campaign. Consequently, this budget can be very limited and being aware of the sum it is possible to suppose what type of influencers a brand can reach.
It is not a secret that macro-influencers who have over 500,000 followers ask more for using their accounts, so sometimes it is better to define several micro- or even nano-influencers who meet your requirements to the target audience.
If a total budget is only one-two thousand dollars, it would be more effective to pay to several micro-influencers than give the whole sum to a macro-influencer per one post only. Moreover, you should understand how you are going to pay to the influencers involved: it can be a one-time reward, ongoing monthly payments, commissions for items sold or a cost-per-click basis.
One more way to attract nano-influencers is an ambassador program: some of them will launch an advertising campaign in exchange for a product of the company or a possibility to give it away.
It is clear that there are different compensations to influencers depending on the platform where they work. If an influencer can earn 10$ per every 1,000 followers on Instagram, the same number of subscribers on YouTube can bring about $20. However, if a video has generated over 1,000 views, influencer income can grow up to $50 – $100. When it comes to an average income of IG influencers, accounts with 1k followers earn about $83 per post and accounts with over 100k followers get $763 per post on average.
Find the Right Influencer
One of the most responsible tasks for a successful ISM is getting the right influencers. However, it is important to understand what platform is the best one for the direction a company works in and only then think of suitable personalities. 48% of marketers agreed that it was not an easy task to find necessary influencers, but the use of certain tools has helped them in this task.
Nowadays, such tools as Buzzsumo, for example, allows searching influencers by topic, the number of followers and their engagement rate. Consequently, it is possible to find both macro and nano influencers working in one sphere without much effort.
Another tool known as Voila Norbert lets users upload influencer lists with contacts and utilize this information as they need.
Don’t forget to check the blogger’s statistics using trendHERO! Find out an engagement rate, audience quality, number of likes, comments and views per post and more than 90 metrics that help you to choose your influencer.
However, marketers differentiate three methods of influencer search:
- Online manual search
Every person can use the Google search engine to find out the top influencers of the platform. It is enough to enter a necessary query and you will be surprised how many names and accounts you will get thanks to that. At the same time, it is also possible to use ranking tools or find influencers directly on the social media platform providing the right hashtags, checking categories and keywords.
- Using data of platforms and databases
There are hubs created especially for companies that look for influencers. They collect and analyze information making the search of influencers easy and fast as well as provide reports on campaigns conducted. Usually, these lists include from nano to mid-size influencers, because macro ones usually have managers.
- Using services of Influencer marketing agencies
It is not a secret that there are companies that select and contact influencers working in a variety of spheres to connect them with brands and get a commission for that. The main benefits of working with such agencies are finding the right influencers and assisting in campaign management.
When a selection of candidates has been made, it is time to look through the content and engagement on them. It would be great to attract influencers that reflect your brand values and image as well as add positive content. One more point to pay attention to is the organization of other sponsored campaigns on the channel and their engagement rates. This data will help you to understand if cooperation with this influencer gives desirable results.
The next step is to contact influencers whose accounts seem the most suitable ones. The easiest way to do that is to send a direct message or email. It is a widely known fact that macro-influencers get many offers from brands when it comes to influencer marketing, so it is important to attract their attention with your message first of all. Moreover, many popular influencers do not communicate with marketers directly and provide contacts of their managers and agents only, so you should sound convincing enough to be approved.
Some brands use such services as Mailshake, for example, that send multiple messages to influencers automatically, but it is not the best option. However, if you do want to reach an influencer and attract attention, it is better to use the following strategy:
- Show your engagement with his or her content. You should express your interest in the content posted by leaving likes and comments.
- Contact an influencer. Send a message or call an influencer or a representative with accurate and brief information about your possible collaboration and benefits he or she will get out of it.
- Start building relationships. A good rapport is a key to successful communication with an influencer and his desire to meet your expectations. Communicate with the influencer and discuss the future IMS regularly to find common points on this topic.
Develop Your Way of Communication
It is very important to keep a constant connection with an influencer thinking of how to build an influencer marketing strategy efficiently. It means that you should exchange contact information and determine the time of communication that is comfortable for both parties. It is very important to discuss with an influencer the following points:
- Goals and expectations set for the campaign. This brief information should mention what account must be used for posting in the campaign, what product or service it will promote and what you expect to receive thanks to it.
- Creative ideas of an influencer. Since every influencer has his own style of communication with the audience, it is very important to collaborate on the strategy and find one common solution.
- The details of cooperation. When a company orders influencer services, it usually signs an agreement that mentions the ownership details, timeframes, and deadlines, delivery, ban to work with some competitors for a period of time, exact disclosure guidelines if there are any, etc.
Create a Content Plan
The second most significant stage in building a successful IMS is to make up a detailed plan of the content used. It is not the best idea to use any template since followers will immediately spot a desire to promote something, so it should be a result of cooperation between experienced marketers, company, and an influencer. The last one will adapt this content to his or her unique style of communication for it not to look outstanding among other posts.
It is better to develop a coordinated series of content and set up your personal content calendar to post it at the best time of the day. This content must be unique and cover the topics needed by the company. It is also important to understand it should be a creative post that does not look like a direct advertisement. Moreover, experts advise checking competitors’ posts too, but try not to copy it but take only the best features.
Don’t Forget About Analytics
It is very important to control the conversion rate not only during the whole campaign but also during a period of time prior to it. Moreover, you should clearly determine what KPI you are going to use to measure changes. Marketers offer to track analytics using the following popular methods:
- Google analytics. It allows determining the source of traffic and custom UTM codes.
- Discount and redemption promo codes. It is possible to create unique promo codes and track conversion with their help.
- Dedicated landing pages. It is possible to build a landing page per every influencer and track traffic to it.
- Links. You can count the number of times a link was followed.
- Hashtags. It is important to create a unique hashtag for the whole campaign and measure impact on this basis.
As you can see, it is possible to develop a successful IMS following several simple stages. Of course, each of them plays a significant role in achieving the final goals but the choice of influencer and development of content can be called key stages to your success. If you plan to use influencer services for growing brand awareness and increasing sales, work actively on your content and selection of social media assistants.