As you scroll through your feeds on social media, you have probably noticed users with large followings promoting products, services or brands. These users may be celebrities, or simply be everyday people who have managed to amass a large follower base of a few thousand or more.
According to Influencer Marketing Hub, these users are ultimately able to use their authority, position and/or expertise in a particular industry or niche in an authentic and engaging way that affects how their audience purchases items. Most of the time, an influencer will work within a certain niche such as healthy food, beauty, exercise or fashion.
For businesses, influencer marketing is often an effective yet low-cost method of getting a brand in front of new eyes. Once an influencer has a product and is able to post about it, brands often enjoy more likes and followers on social media, plus increased traffic to their website. We’ve taken a look at the basics of introducing influencer marketing to your business’ marketing strategy.
#1. Understand Your Business Needs:
Before you think about how your business could benefit from a partnership with an influencer, it’s important to understand exactly what your company needs. Are your goals to increase profits? Do you want to build brand awareness? Or is your goal right now to increase your social media following?
If you are trying to get your brand out there in front of new customers and improve your sales numbers, influencer marketing could be an ideal direction for your brand to take. Similarly, if your business needs to improve the development of brand awareness on social media, influencer marketing can be an ideal strategy to get the results that you need. In addition to directly promoting your product or service, the influencer will also share your social media accounts with their followers, which in turn can encourage a larger number of followers from their engaged audience.
#2. Conduct Research:
If you’re considering partnering with an influencer, the experts strongly suggest taking the time to conduct some thorough research first. Before you start, it’s important that you know exactly what you would like the influencers you work with to be able to achieve for you and be able to be completely upfront with them about it.
You will also need to conduct research into which influencers will be the best for your brand. Do this by looking at various influencers in your niche and determining which of them has an engaged audience that is the closest fit to your target market. And, it’s a wise idea to conduct some background research on their followings; this will ensure that you are working with an influencer who has an organic following, rather than false engagement data. Don’t be afraid to get in touch and ask influencers about their demographics and insights on their blog, YouTube channel or Instagram profile, as this will provide you with further information for making the best choice.
#3. Invite Influencers to Collaborate:
The best way to get started when it comes to working with influencers is to invite them to collaborate. Many brand-influencer partnerships will work in a collaborative way, with something in it for both parties. For example, you may agree to promote an influencer’s brand on your own blog or social media, in return for them promoting a product of yours.
Since the influencer will be promoting your product on their own platform, they are likely to want a say in how it is presented and framed to their audience. It’s important that you understand the need for influencers to remain in control over the content that they produce to their audience, and this also provides you with a great opportunity to get their input and opinion. Bear in mind that when working with influencers, it’s always better to allow them to present your product or service in their content in a way that they know will engage their audience authentically rather than screaming ‘advertisement’.
#4. Be Proactive About Reaching Out:
Don’t expect influencers to come flocking to work with you – you need to be proactive about reaching out and propose a partnership that has benefits for both parties. Some influencers will be happy with the option to keep and use your product or service for free in return for promoting it on their blog, channel or profile whilst others tend to request larger amounts of compensation. Generally, the bigger the influencer’s following the more you can expect to pay them for including your brand in their content.
When it comes to finding influencers, one of the biggest and best places to find them is on social media itself. Instagram is by far the most popular platform for influencers, and as the app offers business accounts, it is often easy to connect directly with suitable influencers by direct message or email. You can also use specially designed apps to find influencers, such as Influenster, Upfluence, NeoReach, and Revfluence.
#5. Maintain Relationships:
Finally, once you are successfully partnered and working with an influencer, it’s important to continue working on building, strengthening, and maintaining your relationship with them in order to get the best results. Bear in mind that an influencer who can become a passionate and dedicated user of your brand themselves is always going to achieve better engagement with their audience in regard to your product or service.
The best way to do this is to treat your influencer as your most valued customer. Go beyond the limits of the campaign and reach out to them with products and services that they may be interested in, even if you’re not planning a big campaign around them. And, treat your influencers as humans – pay attention to what is happening in their lives and reach out to them every once in a while. Read their blogs, follow them on social media, and pay attention to them as a person. Engaging with them beyond the campaign is key to developing that deeper relationship with them – and improving collaboration.