Tracking marketing return on investment (ROI) can tell you whether or not it’s worth it to invest in your marketing budget. While traditional marketing will probably always have a place in the budget, influencer marketing is becoming more and more popular.
This phenomenon is due to the ROI of an influencer marketing strategy, which can be 11 times the ROI of traditional marketing. However, no marketing effort is successful just by launching it. If you’re curious about influencer marketing, you’ve come to the right place.
Our guide will introduce you to this powerful marketing strategy through an in-depth discussion of tips and best practices. But first, we’ll take a look at what influencer marketing is.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know to get your own influencer marketing campaign started.
Influencer Marketing: What Is It?
Influencers are people who have audiences on social media in the millions range. Instagram and YouTube are the two most popular social networks where you might find influencers, but they’re also on other networks. They help brands build awareness and sell products and services. Influencers do this by engaging their audience with a brand. They can become a powerful force for conversions and sales. Brands find influencers and sponsor them to share posts promoting their brand.
A new group of influencers began emerging in 2018. Micro-influencers have audiences in the 1,000 to 30,000 range, and can also be an important part of an influencer marketing campaign.
Not only do micro-influencers cost less to partner with than influencers, but they can also drive a higher engagement percentage, depending on their audience. This is because many people want to interact with average individuals and not celebrities.
Influencer marketing trends, like micro-influencers, can be a great way for smaller brands with smaller budgets to break into influencer marketing.
Develop Your Influencer Marketing Strategy
Now that you know what an influencer is and how they can help brands, let’s get to the meat of our guide–building your strategy. Follow these steps to get started and plant the seeds for success with your influencer campaigns.
Set A Budget
As more brands realize the value of influencer programs, more brands include this effective marketing strategy in their budgets. In fact, 39% of marketers are adding influencer marketing to their budgets in 2018. Your budget can start small, especially if you’re planning to work first with micro-influencers.
But without a budget, you won’t be able to determine what your future steps should be. Setting up a budget also communicates to all stakeholders the importance of the campaign.
Use The Right Tools
There are two ways to implement your influencer marketing program. One is without tools, and the other is with them. We’ll discuss both, even though we think you should use tools, just so you understand the process–like when you had to learn how to multiply with mental math before your teacher would let you whip out a calculator.
The traditional method for working with influencers is:
- Search Instagram and YouTube to find people who might be good influencers for your brand
- Send them a direct message (DM), or if you can find their email address, drop them an email
- Write back and forth for some indeterminate amount of time, negotiating partnership terms
- After you finally reach an agreement, send payment and wait for them to post about your brand
- Try to piece together some way to track your partnership with said influencer
You could do all of that manually, or you can work smarter, not harder. Tools, like Tapinfluence or Upfluence, can help by creating an automated workflow. Not only can you save time, but you can easily measure campaign performance.
Follow The Rules
The Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, has set forth rules for how influencers need to identify sponsored posts. The reason is: It’s considered unfair to consumers not to know when a post is sponsored by a brand. Your partnership with influencers must be transparent if you want to avoid a legal mess.
The good news for you and your influencers is it’s not at all difficult to comply with the FTC guidelines. Influencers can use a hashtag like #sponsored to indicate to consumers that they’ve been paid to promote your brand.
After an influencer posts, make sure they’ve indicated the post is sponsored somehow–this is especially important with a series of posts.
Understand Influencer Pricing
Before you contract with someone to post influencer content, you should know why their posts cost what they do. Typically, influencer pricing is based on:
- The influencer’s engagement rates
- The influencer’s audience size
- Demand for the influencer
Let’s look at two influencer examples. Steve is on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Dana, on the other hand, is only on Instagram.
Steve has 5,000 followers on Twitter, two million on Instagram, and twelve million on YouTube. Dana has 15 million followers on Instagram. Let’s pretend both have roughly equal engagement rates on Instagram.
Which influencer is the better deal?
If you partner with Steve for him to post about your brand on Twitter, you might save money and enjoy a higher ROI. This is because there is less demand for Steve on Twitter than for Steve or Dana on Instagram. Also, his audience size is smaller on Twitter.
Brands that are just starting out with influencer marketing may want to look at influencers on several social media networks to try to find a partnership that best suits their budget.
Bonus Best Practices
There are some tactics and practices you should include in your strategy that are pretty self-explanatory. However, we don’t want to neglect them. Those practices are:
- Measure your campaign ROI
- Treat your influencers as partners, not a means to an end
- Encourage influencers to create content consumers will find useful instead of ads
- Always use a formal agreement so both parties are clear of their expectations
Final Thoughts About Influencers
One of the greatest things about influencer marketing is its ability to create brand ambassadors. If a user trusts Steve from our earlier example, she might retweet his post about your brand. She might become a customer and then promote your brand, product, or service without even being asked to.
If you still have questions about creating an influencer marketing strategy, contact us.