49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations when choosing brands and products online, and that’s not surprising.
Today, online shoppers are more sophisticated than ever before, and they perform thorough research before making decisions, which is why gaining an endorsement from someone that they follow and trust can be a game-changer for your business.
Many companies have taken off in an instant thanks to well-crafted influencer marketing campaigns, so no matter how big or small your company is, there’s always an approach that could work in your situation.
If you want to stay ahead of the competition, you must start looking for ways to implement influencer marketing into your efforts as well.
But what is an influencer marketing, anyway? And how can you get started with using it to grow your business?
Let’s answer all of the important questions below.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Before we can get into the specific strategies of influencer marketing, we need to understand what it is and how it works in today’s online marketing landscape.
As the name implies, influencer marketing revolves around influencing groups of people that follow prominent social media figures, exposing them to targeted products and brands that they are likely to be interested in.
Basically, it’s a partnership between a business and a public figure to create a promotional campaign for a product or company, which leverages the authority, reach, and position of the influencer to generate a desire for the product within their following.
Influencer marketing first originated from celebrities that started partnering up with businesses to run promotions on their social media channels.
However, since then, it has evolved to become prominent in most industries today, and influencers no longer need to be celebrities in the broader sense, as they could be someone who has a very narrow but focused following in a specific niche.
How to Run Effective Influencer Marketing Campaigns
Now that we’ve established what influencer marketing is, we must go through the most important steps of making the strategy work for your business.
Even though the process does require preparation and effort, the good news is that influencer marketing can be effective even if you’re running a one-person business and are just starting out.
What’s more, if executed correctly, influencer marketing can offer some of the best returns on your investment compared to other online paid marketing strategies.
With that in mind, let’s go through each step involved in running influencer marketing campaigns below.
Establish Your Goals
Before you can begin planning your influencer marketing campaign, you need to establish your goals. A well-designed business plan can help achieve your success.
Anyone can buy a domain name and set up a website, but developing a comprehensive strategy for attracting visitors and making sales requires deliberate planning, which starts with identifying how you’ll measure success in your campaign.
And while the ultimate goal is always growing your business, you will have to be more specific than that if you want to achieve good results.
But what types of goals could you target?
Well, if you’re just starting out and are launching a website, a good goal could be driving traffic to your website and increasing the number of website visitors. You could also track opt-ins or subscriptions, which would allow you to nurture and sell to these leads in the future.
Since influencer marketing involves social media platforms, you could also use that to your advantage by developing a campaign that helps you gain subscribers on social media, increasing your presence on those platforms and making it easier to get your messages seen.
Another popular goal is branding – getting your target audience familiar with your brand is essential if you want to stand out in today’s online marketplaces, so if you can increase social engagement or mentions, that can go a long way in helping grow your company.
Finally, the ultimate goal of any campaign is to drive sales, so you should measure the number of sales to see if there was a tangible increase that could be associated with the influencer’s efforts.
Define Your Audience
Once you know what types of goals you’re aiming for, you’ll need to come up with a clear and specific definition of the group of people that you want to reach.
Influencer marketing starts with knowing your audience because otherwise, it won’t matter how compelling your message is, as the people that you’ll reach simply won’t be interested.
A good starting point when developing your target customer is looking at your other marketing data – if you have run paid campaigns on social media, you might have demographics and interest data that could help you identify who you’re trying to reach.
You can also use a survey template to ask your current customers questions and figure out who they are, what their interests are, and what they are most likely to respond to best.
Start Looking for Influencers
Although having clear goals and knowing who to target are integral parts of the equation, you still need to find the right influencers who have a following of people that are a good fit with what you have to offer.
Luckily, there are many ways how you can do that.
You can use tools and platforms that are specially designed to connect influencers and businesses, or even hire an influencer agency to find the right candidates based on your requirements.
However, you can also do it the old fashioned way, which is by reaching out to influencers directly. This method may seem harder, but it can actually help you find the most suitable candidates and get better rates for your campaign.
One of the best places to start your search is on LinkedIn – prominent influencers usually have a profile there, and you can easily sort by niche, narrowing down the results and providing you plenty of options that you can consider.
You can also simply go to the social media platforms that you want to market on, such as Twitter or Instagram, and look for the right candidates there through the available search function.
Reach Out to the Influencers
Once you have a list of the best potential candidates, it is time to contact them and make an offer to run a campaign.
If you find an influencer through LinkedIn, you can use a LinkedIn bulk messaging solution to add contacts, send messages, and streamline the initial contact process.
When reaching out, you can also use proposal software to make your offer more appealing and showcase your vision and the terms.
Bigger and more experienced influencers will usually have their own process and fee structure for campaigns, but if you’re reaching out to smaller micro-influencers, you may have to convince them of the benefits and make an offer that they will accept.
Develop the Campaign
Once you reach an agreement, you will need to develop a plan for the actual social media post.
One option that’s quite popular is to provide the influencer with samples of your product and allow them to review it, take a picture using it, or endorse it to their followers.
You can also organize a giveaway or contest where the followers can win your product, generating interest and engagement for your brand.
Finally, if the influencer has a blog or a YouTube channel, you could ask them to do a thorough review that would provide more information about your product, its benefits, and the ideal situations for using it.