In 2017, brands spent over $1 billion dollars on influencer marketing on Instagram alone –that number will continue to soar in 2018.
Why should businesses care? It’s no longer just another social media marketing fad. In fact, it’s currently considered the best-for-ROI and fastest-growing online acquisition channel. According to Forbes, influencer marketing has proven to be the “most effective form of advertising.”
So what is influencer marketing then? In a nutshell, it involves getting real people to talk about you in their community or circle of influence. It is a more genuine, but smaller scale version of using a brand Ambassador.
So how does one go about getting these influencers, and what does one do with them? Here are a few tips to get your influencer program started:
1) Align your brand, consumer interests and influencer profiles
This is the most important and obvious first step. Remember your consumers have a wide variety of interests and your brand probably occupies a tiny space in the consumers mind map. So the first step is to identify the topics that your brand can talk about and see the overlap of these topics with your consumer’s interests. For example, you are brand that sells dog treats. So, what are the topics that would interest your consumers? Pet health of course but what else. Apart from pet food users may be interested in pet grooming so it would be a great idea to look for influencers who are great pet groomers. Also pet owners like recreational activities which involve their pets so going on hikes is a preferred activity. Hence a blogger who does a lot of hike trails is a good fit.
2) Identifying the right profiles
So now that we know where to look. We tackle the next task – who to look for. Don’t get swayed by an influencers following. There may be more to consider before you choose which influencer to approach. The key is you want a mix of reach and interaction. So while following is important, so is number of shares comments and likes. Also important to note is how often the influencer interacts with their audience. The more they do, the better influence they have over their audience. Finally, budget needs to be assessed. You need to have influencers whom you can afford, which brings us to next topic on how to use influencers. Sometimes it is beneficial to have a number of influencers with a smaller following, but higher engagement instead of a single influencer with a large following.
3) Build a continuous relationship
If influencer marketing has to be a strategic pillar for your brand, then your relationship with the influencer has to be longer than one post. So the right profile is extremely important. Engage with influencers who can regularly send traffic to your site, and invest with them month over month. This will help build a traffic source for your brand. You will also discover that over a period of time consumers visiting the influencer’s site or profile also check out your site.
4) Content to create
Now what type of content should one create with influencers? Well, while starting off you can have just your products pushed out, but if you really feel that a bunch of influencers are working for your brand, then give them an experience that no brand is giving them. Better if this aligns with your brand and their passion. So a healthy diet influencer would be delighted to be part of a brainstorming session for what types of healthy snacks a company should come up with. Or a fashion influencer would be delighted at an opportunity to be part of a LAFW after party.This will help them create content for you which is genuine and therefore will be shared and talked of more than pure branded content.
5) Monitor and Analytics
Finally, keep a close eye on what your site metrics look like. Are you getting more views for your products? Are the influencers able to send consumers to your site? Is there a conversation building where your brand is being mentioned? Are referrals from influencers shopping on your site? And finally are those consumers themselves turning into brand advocates? Monitor closely which influencers give you which type of benefit.
Well that, in a nutshell, is Influencer Marketing 101 from LTM-Digital