Even though you’ve heard of influencer marketing, you may not be entirely sure what makes it different from other types of advertising. You may also wonder if investing in an influencer strategy is a good business decision for your company. After all, what’s the point of spending money on a strategy that doesn’t bring results?

Partnering with influencers who share your brand’s values and messaging can be a powerful way to reach out to a new audience. The influencers put your content or products in front of an established audience that already trusts them. Before you try it, you have to spend some time preparing for the campaign and determining how to track influencer sales impact.

Benefits of Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing offers several benefits over more traditional forms of promotion. Influencers can mention your brand or share your content in a way that seems more authentic and less spammy. They also can help you build more backlinks to boost your SEO and generate more leads without much effort.

The greatest advantage of influencer marketing is the way it lets you connect with the influencer’s followers. You get to leverage an already loyal audience and gain their trust. That audience also benefits through this relationship as they learn more about your brand to make informed decisions.

What Goes Into Launching an Influencer Marketing Campaign?

Launching an influencer marketing campaign has several steps. You have to set expectations and develop a plan to monitor the campaign’s effectiveness. The following steps show you how to do this.

Identify and Define the Audience You Want to Target.

Knowing who you want to connect with is important in any marketing campaign, and this is especially true with influencer marketing. It’s not enough to understand the demographics. You have to know how they spend their time online, which platforms they’re most active on and the types of content they prefer.

Find the Right Influencers for Your Brand.

Many people think influencers are social media stars who post photos and videos of themselves promoting brands. The reality is that influencers have many different roles online. Yes, some are social media stars and celebrities, but bloggers, industry experts, thought leaders and even customers can be influencers. All they need is a solid group of followers.

It’s the followers — not the influencer — that ultimately matter. Look for people who share your target audience. They don’t necessarily need a large group of followers. In fact, someone with a smaller audience who regularly engages with them likely has greater influence than someone who cannot interact with their followers. At the same time, they do need a wide enough reach that you can meet your goals.

Create Appealing Content.

If you expect influencers to share your content, you have to give them something they find worthy of sharing. Their primary goal is to keep their followers happy, so they want to give them information they want and need. It also has to align with their own brand (which should also align with your brand and message).

To make this a beneficial relationship for both sides, consider creating content that helps them drive more traffic to their sites. You can produce content that relates to specific keywords and hashtags that can boost their rankings in searches. All of the content you create for them should be high quality and free of errors.

Monitor the Results of Your Campaign.

The only way to truly know whether your campaign is worth the investment is to monitor and analyze the results. Start by setting a goal for the campaign. You may want to generate more leads, increase engagement on your sites, boost sales or build more links.

This goal helps you identify which metrics you want to track. If you’re trying to generate more leads, look at the number of people who start following you or provide their contact information. If you’re more interested in boosting sales, assign specific links to each influencer so you can see how many of their followers lead to a sale.

Analyzing Results: What You Need to Know

The best way to know whether an influencer marketing strategy is a good business decision is to analyze the results. You have to do this through the entire campaign and not just at the end. Information moves quickly on the internet. If you’re not paying attention to how the audience responds to the influencer, you may miss important details that can help you make future decisions.

Influencers can produce large amounts of data, especially if they work on multiple platforms. This presents a challenge because you have to stay focused on data relevant to your content. With a combination of computer technology and human intelligence, you can filter out the irrelevant data that doesn’t actually relate to your brand and campaign.