There’s a huge potential to spend big on influencer marketing. Expenses include content planning and scheduling, searching for influencers, influencer payments, management and data analysis. Regardless of your own budget, the main aim is to make that money stretch as far as possible. Here are five of the best ways to spend your influencer marketing budget.

1. Finding the Right Influencers

You want to work with the best influencers your money can buy, and your first thought may be to reach out to influencers with huge audiences. After all, a large following means a lot of people are going to see your sponsored posts. However, bigger isn’t always better. In many cases, working with influencers who have just a few thousand followers can be just as effective, or even more effective. Micro-influencers achieve an average of seven times more engagement than the bigger influencers, according to Social Media Today.

Micro-influencers are likely to have competitive rates, so it makes sense to consider them as an option for stretching your budget. Additionally, influencers you want to work with should:

  • Specialize in creating content related to your field of business
  • Have an audience that fits your market demographic
  • Have a voice that’s in-keeping with your brand message
  • Works on the right social media platforms

Most importantly, when you work with an influencer, your partnership should feel organic and authentic. It helps if work is grounded in mutual respect. Don’t simply approach an influencer with a job offer; take the time to know them. Follow them on social media and comment regularly. Let them know what content you enjoyed, so you’re on their radar before you make any business proposition.

Forming a bond with influencers may cost some time and money, but it’s worth the investment. When an influencer feels appreciated and respected, it reflects positively in the content. By building a rapport, you significantly increase the chances of forming a partnership.

2. Having the Right Payment Structure

There are several ways to pay influencers for their service. Some offer the potential to make your budget go further.

  • Upfront payment: Upfront payment in full is a common payment option. You agree a fixed rate for the content with the influencer and pay on delivery. This is the best option if you expect content to do very well and you’re able to agree a competitive price.
  • Results-focused payment: Some influencers like to be paid based on performance. Methods for measuring performance include the number of likes and shares or the number of sales generated. This method is beneficial if you’ve misread a market and the campaign under-performs, as you don’t have to pay for the failure. However, if the campaign takes off you may find a huge amount of your budget gets siphoned away.
  • Payment in goods: Some influencers, especially micro-influencers, may be happy to take on a project to receive early review products or access to free services. They use the sponsorship to get products they want and to build their own audience. Of course, as competition for the best influencers becomes fiercer, you may find it increasingly difficult to strike such a deal.

3. Making Cost-Effective Content

When it comes to influencer marketing campaigns, one of the biggest costs is often content creation and paying for influencer services. However, there are ways to get more value our of your content, or even to create content at significantly lower costs.

Reused content:

You’ve paid an influencer to create a post. The influencer has done exactly what you asked and shared the content with his or her followers. What now? If you leave it at that, you really aren’t getting the most out of the money you’ve spent.

Reusing content has the potential to improve its reach and generate a better return on investment. Make sure you share videos and photographs on your own social media pages, and recycle content and quotes for your newsletter. It may even be possible to translate some information for use in more traditional advertising, such as a website banner advert.

User-generated content:

Any loyal fan has the potential to be a brand influencer. Encouraging customers to share their own content means you get genuine, authentic endorsements from the people who matter most. For example:

  • GoPro: GoPro is famous for mountable cameras, suitable for extreme sports such as skating and skydiving. The company encourages customers to share their videos and photographs. The adrenaline-fueled action is exciting to watch and a fantastic advertisement for its products.
  • Games Workshop: The popular war game company encourages customers to share their painted miniatures on Instagram with the hashtag #paintingwarhammer. Selected posts appear on the company’s web store to encourage sales from browsers while also building a sense of community.
  • Starbucks: In 2014, Starbucks ran a competition for customers to draw designs on white cups and share them on Instagram. The success of the campaign led to similar gimmicks in subsequent years. Competitions encourage people to share and repost your brand, improving reach and engagement at the same time.

Recommendations:

Influencers produce fresh content every day, as it’s essential to stay relevant and drive engagement with fans. Not every post they make is sponsored. Some products they use or recommend may simply be products they like, or which they think their audience would like to know about. For example, beauty influencers are always sharing fresh makeup looks, using a range of products they might not necessarily be sponsored to recommend.

An influencer using your product is a free endorsement for you to mention and link to in your own content. Use social media listening tools to identify when your brand gets mentioned, and make the most of every instance.

4. Analyzing Data

For an influencer marketing campaign to be successful in the long-term, it must be data-driven, so invest in good analytics. At the start of the campaign you need to determine your metrics for success and find a way to quantify them. For example, your metric may be engagement, with success measured by the number of likes, comments and shares your sponsored post receives.

As the data starts coming in from your campaign, analyze it carefully. Identify what’s working and what isn’t and adapt accordingly. Emerging trends and patterns make it easier to invest your budget wisely as your campaign progresses.

5. Influencer Marketing Platforms

The best way to use your influencer marketing budget is to maximize the return on every penny you spend. With the right influencers, payment plans, content, platform and analytics it’s possible to see amazing returns.

The trick is to make all those right choices; and that’s so much easier when you subscribe to the services of an influencer marketing platform. These platforms are software solutions that bring marketers and influencers together. Most provide the tools for communicating and negotiating contracts, running your campaigns and even monitoring results. With all these resources at your fingertips, success is within reach.

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