Are you ready to add influencer marketing to your outreach plans? Thirty-five percent of respondents say influencer posts are the No. 1 way to get them to try new products. Why influencers? Beyond being more authentic than social ads or traditional branded content, social media influencers tend to have loyal followers with strong engagement. Factor in that video content garners 16 times more engagement than static posts, and it’s easy to understand how influencer marketing on platforms like TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram can provide a clear path to business growth. Not sure how to use influencer marketing to grow your business? We’ve assembled some steps to help you implement an influencer marketing strategy that can take your business to the next level. With a solid plan, the right influencer, and effective influencer marketing tools, you will likely see a strong return on investment.
Determine what success will look like
Because each campaign will be different, you’ll need to start by deciding what you want to accomplish with your first influencer long before you reach out to them. These results often align with the benefits of influencer marketing. Potential goals might include increasing:
- Brand visibility
- Followers on your business’s or brand’s social media accounts
- Website or e-commerce store visits
- App downloads
- Email registrations
- Free trials
When venturing into influencer marketing for startups, it’s important to remember that immediate sales aren’t always the end goal. After all, not everyone needs a new dishwasher or business consultant right now. Sometimes a campaign is just about building brand awareness so that when the need does arise, consumers will know who to call.
Flesh out your target audience
Any marketers worth their salary know who their target market is, but do you know where they spend time online?
Understanding your target persona—including their age, gender, interests, preferred social media platforms, and when they’re most likely online—will help you not only craft and time your message but also pick your influencers.
Start with niche or lesser-known influencers
When it comes to follower counts, bigger isn’t always better. While celebrity influencers may reach the masses with tens of millions of fans, they likely won’t do your campaigns any service.
Instead, opt for influencers with a smaller, targeted audience who have some connection to your brand’s niche.
Look for nano-influencers (fewer than 10,000 followers) or micro-influencers (10,000 to 50,000 followers). Consider investing in an influencer marketing platform, such as IZEA Flex. With next-generation services that include searchable creator profiles and customizable and exportable campaign metrics, you’ll have access to the KPIs you’ll need to measure your results.
Protect both parties with a contract
With so many types of influencer marketing, you’ll need to create a contract that spells out the basic expectations for content creation, campaign management, timelines for posting, and payment.
You can Google “influencer marketing templates” to get a rough idea of the things you’ll need to include, but be sure to have your legal advisor review it before sending it to the influencer.
Perhaps most importantly, include something about legal disclosures for paid or sponsored influencer marketing campaigns to ensure you’re protecting both the brand and the influencer. You can learn more about the Federal Trade Commission’s guide here.
Stay sideline-ready during the campaign
Check in with your influencer to ensure they’re on track to release the campaign once you’ve agreed on content, but give them some wiggle room for creativity.
While your job as the brand’s marketing rep isn’t to micro-manage content, you must keep an eye on the campaign to ensure smooth sailing. This includes checking for glitches in links, making sure your website or e-commerce store is functioning properly, and responding to questions about the brand.
Laser in on your KPIs
To know if your campaign succeeded, you’ll turn to key performance indicators. These will tell you about the specifics of your results, such as conversions, audience growth, engagement, referral traffic, and reach and awareness.
Most influencer relationships become long-term collaborations. If that’s something you’re interested in, ask the influencer to join you for a post-campaign debrief. Review the metrics, talk about the pros and cons of the campaign, and discuss what could be done better next time.
Follow these basic steps to get started on your next influencer marketing campaign. Take your time finding a content creator whose audience matches your brand’s target market, craft a solid contract, and invest in the right tools to measure your results.