4 Steps To Start Influencer Marketing
In a nutshell, influencer marketing is a step-by-step process where a business identifies and utilizes a high-profile individual who has an established and sizeable social media relationship and following with a core audience. This core audience are the same people who need and are known to purchase the goods and services that the business sells.
Influencer marketing builds and expands upon the idea of the old celebrity endorsement, with emphasis centered around a content-driven marketing campaign.
However, like any marketing tactic, when you start influencer marketing, it takes deliberate targeting and planning.
4 Steps To Start Influencer Marketing
From a practical standpoint, when you start an influencer campaign it’s the same as most marketing campaigns. Do your research, set a budget, determine your goals and find your influencers and evaluate them.
Just like any strategy, research is the first step.
Choose the network you want to focus on first. You can always expand to other networks later but if you’re just starting out, stick with one. Ideally, your brand should already have a presence on this network or be looking to expand into it. Demographics vary on each network.
The industry you’re in also matters. Influencer marketing channels vary from industry to industry. Beauty and fashion brands shine on Instagram and YouTube. The video game industry dominates on Twitter.
During your research phase, look into the type of influencers you’re interested in. Are you going for celebrities with massive followings? Or micro-influencers with less than 2000 followers? Perhaps something in between, in the 5–10K follower range, is more your preference.
Whatever you decide to focus on will determine your budget. Compensation varies wildly, too, so be sure to look at common rates for those influencer types. Micro-influencers tend to be focused on a few topics and accept products, while others work independently or may be represented by influencer marketing companies or networks.
FREE Checklist: 5 Step Content Strategy
2. Set a Budget and Determine Compensation
Now that you have some idea of what to pay, if you’re paying, you need to create your budget.
Be sure to also factor in time for planning, executing and reviewing your strategy. Running a successful influencer marketing campaign is not a set-it-and-go type of strategy. It will involve careful monitoring and follow up.
Unlike a more automated ad strategy, influencers are human and frequently balance multiple partnerships, so some may fall behind in their commitments to post on time or make errors in your requested tags or calls to action. You will need to have the time to be more hands-on with these relationships in order to cultivate them, and refine your approach through trial and error about what works and what doesn’t in your niche.
3. Decide on Goals and Message
However, instead of setting these broad targets as your two goals, it will be more effective to kick off on your strategy by honing in on what your brand’s needs are. For instance, do you want to increase your customer base in a younger demographic, or are you aiming to expand into a new user group with a new product?
Your message in your content is just as important as your goal. While you don’t want to stifle an influencer’s creativity and uniqueness, you also don’t want them to post about something unrelated to your campaign.
Determine how you want to structure this campaign and message so you can stick to it later on.
4. Find Your Influencers and Contact Them
With a plan set around your network, goals, as well as what types of influencers you want to target, now it’s time to go back to researching and actually finding the right influencers to work with.
During this research, use the following questions as guidelines:
- Does your (targeted) influencer already post about similar things that relate to your product or service? For example, if you’re a restaurant and you want to promote a new menu, you should be looking for influencers who regularly post about dining out and the food they eat.
- Are they legit? This means scrolling through their feed and clicking through on posts. A poor engagement ratio to follower count and spam-like comments are signs of a fraudulent account.
- Have they worked with similar brands like yours before? Depending on what type of influencer you’re looking for, a seasoned one will be able to show you a press kit that contains a portfolio of their work. The more you invest in an influencer, the more you’ll want to evaluate them.
Next, determine how you will reach out to them. For micro-influencers, you could reach out directly in a private message on the same platform. For more established ones, click around their profile and they may list contact information for business inquiries in their bio. They may also link a website that denotes brand partnerships.
Free Checklist: 5 Step Content Strategy
Regardless of the influencer, content is still the king of the modern marketing mix. You’ll need an influencer content strategy in place to ensure what kind of content will be truly compelling to your customers. Not just for the influencers to execute, but also for the audience to care about.
To help you start influencer marketing with the right content, download my free checklist, The 5 Step Content Strategy to discover the best practices used by the most successful bloggers and online entrepreneurs.