How To Create An Effective Influencer Marketing Strategy

An effective influencer marketing strategy helps you increase brand awareness, establish brand authority, and extend your brand reach. 

It introduces your products and services to new audiences and increases organic traffic to your site or social media accounts. 

If your brand requires a boost in awareness, traffic, or revenue, engaging an influencer can help you achieve your targets. 

On the other hand, choosing the wrong influencer or not doing influencer marketing properly might end up wasting your budget, or worse, alienating your brand from its core audience.

This guide will discuss the benefits of influencer marketing and walk you through the process of developing an influencer marketing strategy. 

By the end of this article, you should have a good idea of what you need to do as your brand gets into influencer marketing and what you should watch out for as you engage with influencers. 

What are the benefits of influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing has changed the way brands promote their products and services. 

Here are some numbers that tell us how influencers have changed the landscape of marketing:

  • Just 1% of millennials believe in ads. However, 33% of them use influencer reviews while making purchase decisions. 
  • Around 40% of people buy a product online based on influencer reviews on YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter. 
  • According to 71% of influencers, their audiences look for genuine and sincere reviews, keeping them engaged with the influencer. 
  • Influencer marketing generates a $6.50 return on investment for every dollar invested, according to a report by Tomoson.

You might be wondering why influencers are so effective as a marketing medium. 

Here are three reasons you should be looking to add influencers to your marketing strategy:

1 – Brand Awareness 

Improved brand recognition is one of the immediate benefits of using influencer marketing. 

Influencers have a large fan base across all social media platforms. 

By targeting one influencer, you’re reaching thousands of leads and potential customers. 

Your association with an influencer enables your brand to connect with a larger audience across different market segments. 

For instance, millennials and Generation Z customers are highly profitable demographics who can quickly boost sales and revenues.

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2 – Trust And Authority

Social media influencers have strong bonds with their followers and have earned their loyalty and confidence over time. Hence, the followers value the influencer’s opinions as that of a trusted friend. 

When an influencer or celebrity endorses a product or service, the brand they’re endorsing gains immediate recognition. 

It removes purchase barriers like trust, thereby boosting the conversion and sales of your brand. 

In addition, influencers are often granted early access to new products before their commercial release. 

This exclusivity is an excellent opportunity to create a buzz for the brand and allow the brand to set trends before the competition catches up. 

3 – Generate Leads

By leveraging the influencers and their followers, you extend your brand’s reach to thousands of new leads and potential customers. 

A positive review and feedback from the influencer are sufficient to break down purchase barriers and trigger a trial purchase with the followers. 

The influencer will also be able to give you valuable feedback on the response of their followers to your brand and provide inputs that will help you sharpen your brand messaging. 

Benefits Of Influencer Marketing

Source: DMC

Influencers can help in navigating their audience toward a product or service with their content. 

In addition, customers turn to influencers for advice because they regard them as reliable. 

According to the Digital Marketing Institute, 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations while making purchase decisions. 

Partnering with an influencer is the start of a long-term partnership with the influencer and their thousands of followers. 

The influencer will enable you to extend your brand’s reach and provide short-term and long-term benefits to your brand. 

Creating fresh, relevant, and engaging content is an ongoing process. Influencer marketing will help you plan your content strategy in a more focused manner. 

Involving the influencer in the creative process will also bring fresh insight into your audience’s needs and preferences.

How can you develop an influencer marketing strategy?

So far, we have seen how influencer marketing is an effective way to build your brand using social media while generating new leads for your products. 

Influencers are trendsetters with broad audiences of enthusiastic and committed fans. 

First, however, you need to develop a marketing strategy that lets you identify the ideal influencers for your brand and to get them to collaborate with you.

1 – Identify your goals 

Creating an influencer marketing campaign starts by setting what we call “SMART” goals

Your marketing goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound.

For instance, a SMART influencer marketing goal would be to add 1,000 subscribers to your newsletter in one month. You may also aim to achieve an ROI of $7 per marketing dollar in two months. 

Defining your goals early in the planning process will help you develop a cohesive approach for the campaign’s duration and give you an idea of the benchmarks you can track and analyse while assessing the success of your strategy. 

Influencer marketing is most often used to raise brand recognition and revenue, and if your goals involve either of the two, engaging with an influencer will help.

Your goals should align with your brand needs. For example, perhaps you’d like to expand your client base to include a younger age group. Alternatively, you might want to introduce a new product to a new market segment. 

Once you have identified these needs, craft your Smart goals that will help in meeting these needs.

Use your influencer to promote your brand’s core values. Listed below are some key objectives to keep in mind while creating your influencer marketing strategy:

  • Brand Awareness: Increasing the number of people aware of and recognising your brand and its products and services.
  • Building Brand Identity: Getting customers to recognise the values and goals of your company. 
  • Audience Building: Growing the number of people who follow and subscribe to your social platforms.
  • Engagement: Increasing the number of people who post, share, and like your content.
  • Lead Generation: Increasing the number of users who sign up for your lead magnets and exclusive deals.
  • Sales: Growing the number of customers who buy your goods or services.
  • Customer Loyalty: Keeping people involved in the brand and loyal to it.
  • Link Building: Increasing the number of links pointing back to your website.

Once you know your goals, you can build a marketing strategy that will help you get to where you want to be.

2 – Understand your target audience

To run a successful influencer campaign, you must first figure out whom you’re trying to target and where you can reach them. 

It’ll be easier to identify relevant influencers if you can narrow down your target audience.

Building customer personas based on demographic and psychographic details is a good way of fleshing out your target customers’ identity and identifying their needs and wants. 

For example, if your business sells grills to home chefs, you can build customer personas based on the markets you want to attract and tailor your content campaigns around those personas. 

Best Examples Of Influencer Marketing Strategies

The screenshot on the right comes from a vegan brand, Beyond Meat, which seeks to bring plant-based cuisine to a larger audience. The second screenshot comes from food blogger Dennis Prescott. 

Beyond Meat wants to convince people that vegan cuisine can be just as good, if not better than, meat-based diets. 

On the other hand, Dennis Prescott celebrates the joys of cooking on a Traeger grill.

If you are Traeger and you want to target the vegan market in your content, you need to collaborate with influencers who are also vegans. Unfortunately, trying to target everybody with a single influencer campaign is a recipe for disaster.

3 – Keep a budget in mind

Influencers with a large following are entitled to be compensated for their efforts. 

While micro-influencers don’t mind getting free products in exchange for promoting your brand, an influencer campaign that involves thousands or millions of followers will need a well-defined and healthy budget. 

Like all negotiations, this will take flexibility and give-and-take on both sides. 

It’s best to address this at the start of negotiations. For example, you can offer an affiliate or commission scheme instead of a flat rate.

However, the payment terms for micro and nano-influencers would be more flexible. For example, you may want to work with one prominent influencer to address a broad market and then couple with 3-4 micro and nano-influencers to address specific market niches. 

This would allow you to develop a comprehensive influencer marketing strategy.

Influencer marketing gives you the broad reach of paid marketing ad campaigns but with higher conversion and ROI. 

In addition, it promotes product feedback comparable to trial promotions and drives online traffic similar to pay-per-click ads. 

Finding this overlap in your company’s marketing mix could help you save money on one or more of your current marketing efforts.

How Much Does Influencer Marketing Cost

Source: Medium

The findings of Influence. co’s analysis into Instagram influencer payment was revealed in 2017. 

They discovered the following as they looked at the average cost of an Instagram post:

  • Each Instagram post cost an average of $271.
  • For micro-influencers with less than 1,000 subscribers, the average price per post was $83 on average.
  • For influencers with over 100,000 subscribers, the total cost per Instagram post was $763.

So what is the most straightforward method of budgeting? Spend 15-20% of the campaign budget on the cost of influencer partnerships.

4 – Identify and shortlist candidates

The simplest way to locate influencers is by using social media. To find out who is taking action, you need to do searches according to trending topics and regularly engage in industry-related discussions.

To see who’s sharing your content and how popular they are, you can use free online resources like BuzzSumo and Topsy.

Buzzsumo lets you find influential people and the topics they’re posting about. 

Most influencers identify their niches in their bios, and Buzzsumo helps you find influencers who use their bios to indicate their interests. You may also use the same to search for influencers through the content they post:

Find Social Media Influencers Buzzsumo

Source: BuzzSumo

You can filter the results based on different variables like page and domain authority, subscriber count, retweet percentage, and average retweets. 

Influencers who appear in the search results across different industries are likely to have much influence. 

In your line of work, whose names do you hear repeatedly? What are the posts where they are often mentioned? 

A cursory search would quickly produce a list of influencers to follow and collaborate with in the future.

Aside from searching for influencers who are open to working with your brand, you can also do competitor analysis to discover whom your competitors are collaborating with. 

While you obviously cannot do influencer campaigns with people already working with your competition, you can still use that data to find other influencers who could work with you.

5 – Create the outreach program

Once you’ve identified and shortlisted influencers you’d like to work with, it’s time to initiate communications with them. 

Most influencers post links to their websites or list their email addresses in their bios, but some only accept inquiries through their agents or management. 

Others are only reachable through their company’s public relations department. Using an email finder like Voila Norbert will help you send your inquiries to the correct email address. 

Next, you need to create an email template that is neither too demanding nor too shy:

Email Outreach Social Media Influencers

Source: Respona

The template above has three main elements:

  • An introduction to your company: Unless you’re a well-known business, an introduction is needed so that your potential collaboration partner can look you up and get a good idea of what you do.
  • Why you’d like to engage with the influencer: You can tell the influencer about a specific post of theirs that caught your fancy. You can also give a reason you think they are a good fit for your brand.
  • The outreach itself: Here is where you make your pitch. This isn’t the time to discuss figures or project specifics; instead, it’s an excellent opportunity to gauge their interest in working with you. 

After making your pitch, you may invite the influencer to a call or meeting where you can discuss your needs and their requirements in greater detail.

6 – Evaluate your results

Like other online marketing tactics, you need to measure and evaluate your results during and after running an influencer campaign. 

After launching the initiative, keep track of tweets, social media messages, and references to evaluate what succeeded and what didn’t. 

  1. Which of the posts reached the most followers or generated the most conversions? 
  2. Which platform has the most active users? 
  3. Which social media influencers seemed to have the most impact?

Collect and review all of this data after the campaign. Then, compare this to the outcome you would have gotten if you had invested that money on Google or social media sites paid advertisement solutions. 

Compare the results against your targets and goals.

This is how you’ll know if the influencer marketing strategy was a success in the end.

Bottomline

Your brand can use social media to extend its scope and accomplish its marketing goals. 

One of the most effective methods of social media marketing is to collaborate with influencers. 

To develop an influencer marketing plan, you must first determine your objectives, after which you must choose the best influencers for your campaign.

You can also determine your KPIs so that you can monitor the success of your campaigns later on. 

Then, attempt to cultivate a relationship with your influencers by giving them artistic input over the content they produce for your campaign. 

Finally, keep track of everything so you can improve your campaign’s results.

Author Bio: David Pagotto is the Founder and Managing Director of SIXGUN, a digital marketing agency based in Melbourne. He has been involved in digital marketing for over ten years, helping organisations get more customers, more reach, and more impact.

Last update on 2021-10-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Influencer Marketing Strategy 2021 2022
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