6 Tips to Help Boost Your Influencer Marketing Campaigns
Influencers are already well-respected individuals in their communities, people who've often spent years building trusted relationships and establishing their presence. They know what they're doing, and how to connect with their audiences.
With that in mind, they are a great opportunity for you to get your business in front of the correct demographic. Here are six “people first” strategies that will help you get the most out of your influencer marketing efforts.
1. Build a Solid Foundation
Focus first on your target audience - figure out what motivates them to make a purchase decision, whom they engage most when making those decisions, and where they do so. These are the key starting points for an effective campaign.
2. Choose the Influencer that Best Fits Your Brand
The social influencer landscape is highly fragmented, and the searchability of influencer data varies greatly depending on the channel, industry, and their business acumen. Tools like BuzzSumo, Upfluence, Group High, LittleBird and HARO are favorites among influencer marketing experts - but regardless of which tools you use to identify candidates, bear in mind that there’s no short-cutting the identification and qualification process.
When vetting influencers, MM+CC CEO Marcy Massura chooses engagement over perceived online popularity.
“Don’t bother with the ‘million followers’ influencer if only 1% of their followers actually engage with the content. Find the influencer with 10,000 followers who has 10% engagement and build your bond with them. They are more obtainable, and their audience will be more open to consuming content about your brand.”
When evaluating candidates, it's crucial that you audit both the influencer’s content and the subsequent conversations sparked by it. You don’t want to look for million follower influencers, look for smaller follower bases with higher rates of engagement.
Dan Scalco, founder of Digitalux, notes specifically that working with micro-influencers can have a range of benefits:
”Higher cohesion between brand and influencer (along with strong follower engagement) leads to much better brand recall, ad recall, and (most importantly) conversions”
3. Build Authentic Relationships
Once you find the right influencers, you then begin the important task of building relationships with them.
As Bryan Kramer (CEO of PureMatter) explains:
“Before you even ask an influencer to go out and promote your brand, you need to be willing to invest in them. You can offer your newly selected influencers anything from time and attention, to more tangible things such as samples or invitations to exclusive events. The idea is to increase your brand recognition while making all of them (no matter if they are an established celebrity or an up-and-comer) feel special.”
4. Negotiate a Mutually Beneficial Deal
According to Geno Prussakov, Affiliate Marketing Consultant at AM Navigator LLC:
“One of the best ways to compensate influencers is to establish an affiliate program, which encourages them to use affiliate links when referring traffic to the brand. This will enable you to track clicks, and even impressions if a graphic pixel is involved - and most importantly, the conversions that these clicks generate. For the conversions, consider paying your influencers on a CPA (cost-per-action) basis. That way, every new conversion/sale will serve as an encouragement for them to invest more time and effort into promoting you further.”
In my experience, combining affiliate fees with an initial payment tends to work well to start. This arrangement ensures the influencer is compensated for their work while both parties take the time to assess how the influencer’s community responds to the brand and its offer.
But regardless of which terms you agree to, always ensure that everything is documented - from the start of the contract until the end of the campaign.
5. Pay Respect Where It’s Due
As noted, influencers know their audience and potential results better than anyone. And you should treat them accordingly.
As explained byJeff Bullas, CEO of JeffBullas.com:
“Ask and listen to the influencer’s input about what type of marketing strategies have worked before with other clients. They'll have some great insights on what works and what may not perform well.”
When it comes to managing influencers, Rebekah Radice, Founder of Rebekah Radice Media, advises clients to:
“Enforce the brand and disclosure rules, but don’t hang on so tight that the influencer has no creative freedom.”
Instead, you should take steps to make the relationship feel natural and fun, as opposed to forced and static, advises Bryan Kramer.
“This is important, not only to the influencer, but also to their audiences. You want your customers to see these influencers as trusted friends who are speaking positively about their experiences because they want to - not because they have a corporate obligation to do so. If that does happen, you lose the word-of-mouth power of the option.”
6. Amplify What’s Working
Constantly measure your influencer marketing campaigns, and amplify the content that’s performing well organically.
You should implement a social media and content marketing plan which repurposes and boosts influencer content in order to keep your campaigns fresh, and consistently in-front of a whole new audience.
Another option on this front is tagging - as Rachel Miller, Senior Social Strategist at Thulium, explains:
“Tagging or mentioning individuals who are likely to find your content valuable, and thereby sharing your content with their audiences, is a great way to increase awareness of your influencer marketing efforts, and to add value to the greater community”
Brian Carter, CEO of The Brian Carter Group, relies on paid ads to increase his campaign reach, hone in on the right audiences and improve tracking.
“With complicated lead gen and eCommerce advertising campaigns, there's a ton of data analysis, and many factors to look at. You definitely want to know your number one KPI, but you also need multiple mid-funnel metrics to act as indicators of what's going to happen further down the sales cycle.”
While there's no one-size-fits-all approach to influencer marketing, these six tips will enable you to build more successful collaborations, build more solid foundations, and establish authentic relationships with the people you want to work with.