Consumers are wary of paid ads, and either ignore them or don’t trust them. But they do pay attention to recommendations from friends, family, and influencers. Enter the Influencer Marketing Campaign.

The influence of the influencer is increasing. A study conducted by Twitter and Annalect, an analytics firm, found that nearly half of the people surveyed depend on recommendations from influencers before they make a purchase.

Meanwhile, a study from Neilsen found that recommendations from friends, family, and connections on Social Media are what consumers trust the most when it comes to advertising. The Halverson group, a strategic research agency, found consumer views of the effectiveness of an Influencer Marketing campaign ranks highest among Social Media users 18-70, beating experiential marketing, celebrity endorsement and TV ads. The study also found 53 percent of marketers used Sponsored Social Media marketing in 2014.

So, if your company isn’t pursuing an influencer marketing campaign yet, now’s the time to start. Here’s how:

Know Your Goals

Before you connect with an influencer marketing agency and start looking for influencers to partner with, you need to know why you’re launching a new campaign. What do you hope to get from the partnership with an influencer? Your company’s goals can range from increasing the size of your email list to bringing in new customers.

Find Your Influencers

Beyond knowing the goals for the campaign, the most important part of an influencer marketing campaign is finding the right influencers to work with. You don’t have to reach out directly to influencers on Instagram or other social media platforms. You can often find them in an influencer marketing software platform or from a PR or management firm that represents influencers.

It’s tempting to look at the reach of an influencer first, such as how many followers he or she has and how engaged those followers are. But what’s more important is to look at how relevant the influencer is for your brand or product. If you’re marketing a fitness product, find fitness-related influencers. If you’re a clothing company, find fashion influencers.

You want to find a few influencers to work with, not only for the best results but also in case one or more turns out not to be a great fit with your brand.

Lord & Taylor Instagram Influencer

Don’t worry about having too many influencers promoting your product. More sometimes really is more, as department store Lord & Taylor learned in 2015. The brand had 50 Instagrammers all wear the same dress, and that dress then sold out pretty much right away. The more influencers you have working with you, the broader your reach will be.

However, unlike Lord & Taylor, be sure to stay compliant with Federal Trade Commission regulations on Influencer Marketing so don’t learn the hard way and have your brand fined for false advertising.

Also, remember to offer your influencers something in return, whether it be free samples or monetary compensation. Some will work for complimentary products, but others expect some sort of financial return on their services.

Put It Together

Once you’ve found the right influencers to work with, start crafting a campaign around them. It can be as simple as a product-driven campaign featuring influencers posting pictures wearing or holding your product and commenting on how he or she uses it or likes it.

Another option is to have your influencer create a review of the product, either written or in video form, and share it with his or her followers.

When working with your influencers, put together a clear timeline and schedule so your marketing and your influencers are on the same page about when posts will be published, what they will feature, what will be in the captions and which hashtags to use.

Be sure to leave some creative license to your influencers as they’re more in-tune with how to position products for maximum engagement. The more authentic an influencer’s sponsored post seems, the more engagement it will receive.

Measure Your Influencer Marketing Campaign Results

You need to be able to measure how influential an influencer actually was at getting people to take action. Want people sign up for your email list? Give the influencer a special sign-up link to share with his or her followers. That way, you can track how many people responded to the influencer’s post.

Want to boost sales and have people purchase from your company? Give your influencers a unique discount code to share. That way, you can see how many people made a purchase based on the number of codes redeemed.

Need help measuring the ROI of your influencer marketing campaign and how strategy impacts the bottom-line? Download the ebook “How Influencer Marketing Boosts ROI.”

Make Adjustments as Needed

Your company’s influencer marketing campaign might not be perfect right out of the gate. You might need to make changes to it. These can include ending relationships with influencers who aren’t good fits for your brand.

Another option is to find new influencers to work with.

A successful influencer campaign can involve some trial and error. If you knock it out of the park the first time, great. But if not, remember that you can always start over with a new crop of influencers and a new campaign.

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