As the world becomes more tech savvy and connected using social media, users are relying more on the word of mouth referrals for deciding on purchasing decisions. Those who do this are called social influencers or pocket celebrities. They are not big names we have heard of but those who have managed to build an influential social circle on social media platform. If they opined about something, they have the capability of influencing a brand decision.
So if a brand wants to take advantage of these influencers and the people that they have an influence on, they have to interact with them in order to reach the right audience and market their products or services. Every single person that works in digital marketing understands the importance of influencer driven campaigns and the results it yields. A recent research has proved that the power of influencer marketing is set to escalate over the coming years. This is simply because today, influencers have subscriber numbers and engagement level with people that literally, the networks and cable channels can only dream of.
Ready to roll? Here is a step by step guide to influencer marketing to help you make the most of this upcoming and trendy idea using social media.
Step 1 – Strategy
Anything in the marketing domain requires a strategy. The development of a plan is a must as it includes the following sub-points:
- Budget – The first step to any venture requires one to estimate the investment that one is making towards the business. This includes amount needed to sponsor content, the amount to be paid to influencers for the time and energy they will spend towards your marketing plan. It is also necessary to figure out if your budget covers the amount that is required for the product that the influencer will use for the promotion as he will need it in order to create proper content for your business.
- Timespan – It is important to allot a timeframe in which you are working. Each unit of the activity requires some time for completion along with a short grace time, allot it with dates. It is done to ensure the smooth progress of your marketing campaign in a timely fashion.
- Platform – Depending upon the kind of product, you have to decide where your users can be, and based on this decision, you can choose your platform where your influencer will carry out your campaign. Every social media platform is specific to a particular king of audience. Choosing the platform based on the target audience is crucial. Popular platforms are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.
- Promotion – It depends on you whether you want to promote a product in particular or business as a whole. Having a clear idea about this is important as the influencer needs to know what they should be presenting to their audience.
- Activity – you can always host a competition, affiliate arrangement, social media shout out, ambassador partnerships, sponsor blog post, etc. There are endless possibilities and since there is no wrong or right thing when it comes to an activity, it is always encouraged in influential marketing.
- Metrics – Only action without the knowledge of where it is leading to is effort in the wrong direction. Keeping an eye on the metrics of what your efforts are producing, whether it is profitable or not, needs to be monitored. It helps you to plan accordingly for taking your business ahead.
Step 2 – Discovery
The moment you have strategized your business and your end goals are taken care of, it’s time for you to start the phase of discovery. You might be wondering, discovery of what? Discovery of the influencer who is going to promote your brand. Be aware that searching for an influencer can be time consuming and hectic at the same time. You can simply browse through social networks that you would be targeting. For an influencer search, you need to choose the appropriate influencer according to the product that needs to be promoted. If the product is visual, you might want to employ popular YouTube stars that have massive followership. If you are looking for a young influencer, social media like Snapchat should be on your radar. So do your discovery to find out who’s best for your target audience.
Where to look:
A – Use Google to find relevant sites. Use the advance search operator to narrow your search to the need specific to you.
B – Qualify sites. You need to decide if an influencer is worth your campaign, you need to compelling evidence and qualifying criteria. You need to look for
- Domain authority – how well does the influencer’s site rank on search engines?
- Social reach – How large is the following on social platforms?
- Sharing habits – What is the frequency of sharing that the influencer does?
C – Authentic contact details. This is important and to check this, try reaching out to your network to see if you have any mutual connections or if you can turn up a direct email address.
Below mentioned are a list of tools that you can take help in searching your influencer –
Step 3 – Outreach
After you have decided on who you are choosing to be your influencer, you need to reach them out and talk business. After introducing yourself, interact with them and let them know your expectations and that you’d love them to be a part of your business and how their partnership is mutually beneficial to both. It is absolutely necessary to ask them about their media kit and rate card as you will get an idea about the size of audience they can help your product and brand awareness reach. Be professional, act wise and talk smart. And then you are good to go! If you are convinced, you can discuss compensation at the end.
The ideal outreach: Email. While performing this step, take special care of the following.
- Make an honest and enticing headline to make influencer relationship more successful.
- Keep it brief as no one care about long and boring things from a stranger.
- It should be personalized. You need to be upfront and direct about why you think they should care about this.
- It should explain them what you want them to do.
Step 4 – Collaboration
Cheers! You are done with the hectic task of finding an influencer. This step, marks the ticking of your influencer marketing agenda. Now it’s time you start collaborating with those influencers who showed interest and partnered with your business. Now is the time to talk about how things will be carried out and what to expect from the campaign. Words, no matter how sweet cannot be trusted. Put it all down into an agreement. Its business and you should not forget this as this will be a good source of referring something when something needs to be referred from the conversation in the past. While all of this is going smooth, there a couple of things that you should avoid at all costs with regards to the influencer:
- Never be too pushy about anything.
- Never assume it to be just another hobby for them so you can treat them the way you want. Their primary income source is not you, so remind yourself of this.
- Don’t provide a one sided benefit as it needs to be mutually beneficial.
- They are not those whom you can send generic emails or spam.
- Most important of all, never try to control their creativity. This is when you will become an option for them without a second thought.
Collaborate with peace and in a pleasing manner to bring out the best in them and in turn the best for your business. Meet them in person as and when needed. This builds confidence and trust, the very basis on which great teams perform beyond their potential.
Use tools to streamline the process. Many marketers choose third party technologies
Step 5 – Campaign Support
After having collaborated with the pocket celebrity for your influential marketing campaign, you need to provide support to help them create exclusive content about your brand. The real reason behind his is, social media users will focus only on content that is appealing and good to them and reject anything otherwise. Help you influencers by gifting them product to shoot with, provide if possible, a press release for them in case they need information for a content buildup or if they require in any other way. Make yourself available for any interviews, if necessary. Suggest content ideas and let them blend it with their creativity for the campaign. If you carefully observe, this step is all about being supportive and letting them do all the stuff from their end. To help them additionally, you can go ahead and share their content on social media form your account and help spread the word and also help increase their reach.
Step 6 – Optimization
When an influencer marketing campaign goes live, you need to monitor it closely and with accuracy in order to track progress and engagement on the post. If all goes well, you can help by sponsoring the content on a paid campaign. We all know that a paid campaign is way better when it comes to digital marketing and audience reach. This is the step where the ball is in your court. So think of ways you can help increase the engagement and audience reach of the content. You can adopt several methods to do this, some of which are:
- Provide incentive for new visitors
- Affiliate marketing
- Being an Influencer
- Analysis, Pivoting and Optimization.
- Content Boosting
- SEO optimized content.
These can help you optimize the content and do what is remaining from the part of the influencer. This will help you and your website convert more users into customers using influencer marketing.
Step 7 – Reporting and ROI Analysis
The influencer marketing process is almost done up till this step. Here, you need to be involved with data analysis and take care of what the metrics has to say about the progress since the beginning of the campaign. Manual report generation can be tough, but there are some analysis areas you need to include to measure results. They are:
- Website traffic – If the influencer campaign is moving in the right direction and the exposure and engagement met its expectations, the number of visitors should increase.
- Sales figure – If you have Google Analytics eCommerce enabled, the analysis of your activity that generated sales immediately or over a period of time will be easy for you. This also lets you know of the sales figure is up or down in comparison to the one that was before the influencer marketing campaign.
- Social Media Growth – Positive campaign should lead to a growth in social media users. This also should lead the users to the top of the sales funnel and eventually into customers. Discounting growth in social media users is a bad idea as it is an important aspect in the community development and growth.
- Users – a successful influencer marketing should result in the number of new users due to brand awareness. An increase in number of users is a direct hint that people are returning to the website for purchase of what you have to offer.
Here is an example of what exactly need to be tracked and their sub categories.
This website helps you monitor your business in more ways than one.
Influencer marketing is not rocket science. The key is to find the appropriate influences and providing them with epic content to pass on to their followers for raising awareness about your brand. Influencer marketing is here to stay and it will play a strategic role in the process to win people in favor of your brand. So the right planning, effective tools and proper approach mixed with a blend of creativity is all you need to rock the marketing world.