When most people think of influencer marketing, paid Instagram posts from the Kardashians with strategically placed products come to mind. While celebrity endorsements are definitely one aspect of influencer marketing, they’re definitely not the entire scope of it.
Influencer marketing has become quite the hot topic in the marketing world these days. If your brand is interested in working with influencers, let’s take a look at where to start.
- What Is Influencer Marketing?
TapInfluence defines influencer marketing as “a type of marketing that focuses on using key leaders to drive your brand’s message to the larger market. Rather than marketing directly to a large group of consumers, you instead inspire/hire/pay influencers to get out the word for you.”
- Why Work With Influencers?
The short answer is because your audiences care. Consumers will listen to a trusted source that they already follow. If you find the right influencers, they should have the ability to sway your audience in the right direction.
Influencer marketing also allows brands to extend their reach beyond their audience to an influencer’s audience.
- How To Find Influencers
Start by defining your audience. Who is your ideal customer? What’s the demographic? Once your desired audience is defined, use an influencer database such as TapInfluence or Traackr. Most sites will allow users to search via specific keywords or topics to really drill down on the right targets. You may also want to search for influencers who are already talking about your brand. These people tend to be natural advocates and make great spokespeople.
From there, this database list is just a starting point. Finding the right influencer takes some work. You’ll need to dig in and vet the data. This initial research can be a large contributing factor to the success of the campaign. Look for someone who not only posts on social media regularly, but also has a good amount of engagement on their online content. This person will represent your brand and needs to align with your organization’s goals, ethics and image.
- Size Doesn’t Always Matter
Remember, it’s okay to start small. Sometimes it’s more important to find someone who has a small following but fits your niche market perfectly than for them to have thousands of social media followers that don’t relate to your company. Just because influencers have large followings doesn’t mean that they’re automatically the best fit for your brand.
You also don’t have to kick off your influencer marketing program with your chosen influencer on a grand scale. In fact, most experts recommend that you start small. Give the influencer a small project and see how it goes. If things are moving in the right direction, expand the program to ongoing campaigns and additional influencers.
- Pay To Play?
A common question that many companies ask is do we really need to pay to work with an influencer? Similar to paying for increased reach via social media advertising, brands should view influencer marketing as another tool that requires payment to accomplish the same goal.
Depending on your brand, you may be able to work out a product giveaway in exchange for a post, but, in most cases, influencers expect compensation for their posts. In fact, last year, companies spent $570 million on Instagram influencer marketing according to eMarketer. And according to influencer tech firm Hypr, the price range per post for influencers with 500,000 to 1 million followers across social platforms is $5,000 – $10,000.
- How To Measure Results
To gain buy-in from top-level leadership, you’ll need to show value and results. From the start, a campaign should have measurable objectives. Are you looking for increased traffic to your website, products purchased or awareness? Evaluate how influencer marketing affects all levels of your company’s marketing funnel.
Most influencer databases will provide analytics. You can also ask bloggers to provide analytics for their posts. Measure your website or blog traffic via Google Analytics.
- Leave Room For Creativity
Once you start working with influencers, remember to allow room for creativity. An added benefit is that influencers will tell a brand’s story in their own unique way. Brands should prepare key messages for a campaign, but let those be a starting point for an influencer. The best results usually occur when brands give influencers the freedom to create authentic content.
Don’t forget to treat your influencers with the same respect you would give the media. If all goes well, your relationship will turn into a long-lasting, mutually beneficial one.
If you’re interested in beginning an influencer marketing program or have questions about where to get started, let’s talk: http://mccom.com/contact/!