The influencer marketing industry is growing impressively fast. According to some recent analytics, it will surpass $10 bn by 2020. And, the reasons for that are multiple.
For starters, this is one of the most powerful ways to increase your brand familiarity and boost conversions. Stats say that the majority of customers form their buying decisions based on influencers’ insights.
Moreover, influencer marketing generates a high ROI. The Tomoson Influencer Marketing Study highlights that, for each $1 spent on influencer marketing, you get $6.50.
However, just because you’ve connected with the most popular influencer in your niche doesn’t mean your campaign will become an enormous success. To increase brand reach, boost trust with audiences, and grow your sales, you first need to have a solid strategy to back you up.
Here are a few key steps to take.
Get to Know your Target Customers
Successful brands don’t focus on selling products to wider audiences. Instead, they research their market and precisely target their buyer groups. This is an immensely important part of influencer marketing. Getting to know your customers, will understand their needs and expectations and connect with an influencer that can address them properly.
- Monitor your customers’ conversations online.
This is an amazing opportunity to see what topics your audiences discuss and what problems they face. You will also be able to see what brands they mention in their posts and what influencers they follow and interact with. Most importantly, by tracking their discussions on social networks, Q&A sites, or forums, you will understand the communication style they use (and that resonates with them).
You can start with social mention monitoring, as social networks are a treasure trove of customer feedback and reviews. Social listening tools let you set the keywords you want to track and notify you whenever they’re mentioned on your preferred platforms. To monitor your brand reputation and customer sentiment across the web, you can use Google Alerts.
- Learn what content and topics audiences are interested in.
This is where tools like BuzzSumo can be helpful, as they help you find trending topics around your target keywords. This is a significant part of your research process, as sometimes, two influencers in the same niche may have completely different approaches to creating content. By knowing what kind of content your customers read, you will choose the right influencer easier.
Don’t Focus on the Number of Followers
The social influencer ecosystem is constantly expanding. Logically, your influencer prospecting efforts depend on a wide range of factor, including your industry, target customers, channels you use, and business goals.
Now, there are numerous ways to find your perfect influencer. Some of them are social networks, where you can use social listening and hashtag tracking to identify relevant and trending posts. You can also use Buzzsumo to identify trending industry content and see who’s creating and sharing it. Finally, there are many influencer networks and marketplaces where you can register and do your research.
However, finding an influencer is just half the job done. Namely, many inexperienced business owners observe an influencer’s number of followers when making decisions. Unfortunately, millions of followers are not always an indicator that an influencer is the best fit for your brand. Instead, you need to look at the following factors:
- Engagement over followers
The number of one’s followers is important when making your choices, as it lets you estimate your campaign’s potential reach.
However, it’s far from being the only factor to consider. For example, what if an influencer has 2 million followers, but their engagement rates are low? Don’t even bother connecting with them. You want to team with an influencer that is able to engage their audiences, intrigue them, gains their trust, educate them, and convince them to convert.
Over the past few years, partnering with micro-influencers has become a powerful digital marketing tactic. The reason for that is simple – these are ordinary people that share your followers’ values and problems and, as such, can make your brand more relatable and memorable.
- Relevance to your brand.
Once you make a list of potential influencers, you need to analyze each of them carefully. Visit their websites and social media profiles. Look at the types of content they publish and learn what values and missions drive them. Do they align with your brand’s goals and values? What kind of audiences are they targeting?
Observe the type and quality of the content they publish. Is it user-friendly, inspirational, and engaging? Can users easily follow and interact with it? Most importantly, does the content an influencer creates reflect your brand missions and values effectively?
Give an Influencer Creative Freedom
Influencers are popular for a simple reason – they understand their audiences better than anyone. Based on their followers’ needs and expectations, they build an authentic online personality and a recognizable tone of voice. They’re building an authoritative personal brand around their name and injecting it into every aspect of their online presence, from conversations on social networks to content creation.
Influencers want their audiences to recognize their content and messages immediately. That’s how they stand out.
Precisely because of that, one of the worst mistakes brands can make is dictating what an influencer will say about them, how they will say it, and what kind of content they will use in their campaigns. By listening to your tips, an influencer may lose their authenticity and their messages will sound impersonal and irrelevant. Their followers will notice that right away and probably decide to ignore your brand.
Instead of changing the influencer’s voice, collaborate with them. Tell them what your specific goals are, what needs to be included, what message you want to send. If you have a brand style guide, why not send it to them? Then, let the influencer adapt their message based on the insights you provide and create something that will effectively communicate with their audience.
Track the Performance of your Campaigns
Similar to any other aspect of digital marketing, the success of your influencer marketing campaign lies in tracking your performance continuously and making data-driven decisions.
For starters, you will need to set clear goals for your campaigns and align the right KPIs with them. Some of the most significant KPIs to track are campaign reach, target audience growth, audience engagement, social leads, etc. You could also use UTM parameters and promo codes to track your website traffic.
Still, keep in mind that there is no uniform approach to tracking your campaigns you could use. You will need to see what metrics work for you and focus on them when assessing the performance of your campaigns. This is the only way to focus on the tactics that work for you, build more effective influencer collaborations, and establish stronger relationships with your customers.
Jacob Wilson is a business consultant, and an organizational psychologist, based in Brisbane. Passionate about marketing, social networks, and business in general. In his spare time, he writes a lot about new business strategies and digital marketing for Bizzmark blog.