If you are hearing the term ‘influencer marketing’ a number of times these days, there is a reason behind it. It is one of the most popular strategies for companies across the world, according to few surveys conducted. The process of aligning with those who can influence your target audience is what is called influencer marketing. By aligning with people who can initiate action among your target audience, you will stand to gain more prospects, leads and finally customers. However, there is a method to influencer marketing. In this article, let us take a look at 8 useful tips that will help you to kick-start your influencer marketing campaign.
Before you begin to choose your influencers, start with your own intended audience. Most companies choose to ignore the specificities of their target audience. Use advanced metrics and Big Data to analyze what your audience likes, who might influence them, what their sub-cultures are, which psychographics they belong to, etc. Use this data to create a map which helps you better understand the kind of influencers that will initiate action. After all, the most important goal of influencer marketing is to get those influencers to initiate action in your favor. And for this, you need to start with analyzing your own audience.
Choosing influencers needs to be done very carefully. Begin to identify the kind of content that your influencer publishes on social media and elsewhere. Identify the media through which they communicate and confirm if this aligns with your own audience. Ensure that their location is relevant to your audience. Finally, do not forget to check the quality of their content. Content needs to be professional. If they are tweeting in poor English language, then they are probably not the right influencer for you. Also, ensure that their opinions align with your business strategy.
Influencer content could be in the form of text, images or videos. Depending on which media they choose to communicate, one of the other forms of content will be more popular. If your prospective influencer is a blogger, then ensure that they consistently blog about industries, products or topics that align with your products or services. It also helps if your influencer is a thought leader in the area of your expertise. Let us say you sell clothes on a small ecommerce website. An example of your perfect influencer would be someone who shops online, and shares selfies on Instagram or Twitter about their recent purchases. If they are blogging about fashion tips, they could be an even better choice.
Once you analyze influencer content, ensure that they have enough audience of their own. This way, you will not only gain access to their content but also to their audience, who will most likely be your intended target audience. Look at variables such as gender, the home situation of the audience (do they have children, are they married, etc), geographical data, etc. There are dozens of variables such as these which will help you to identify audience attributes. If your influencer has a very diverse set of audience, it may actually work against you. Your message may spread itself too thin.
Once you identify your influencers, begin to build a relationship with them. Start being responsive to their posts and communicate your expectations with them. If they agree, ensure that you compensate them for their efforts adequately. A disgruntled influencer will cause you more harm than the benefits a happy one might provide. Encourage your influencers to tell authentic stories, guide them with your strategy and help them understand the kind of content you expect from them in return for compensation. Ensure that your influencers’ activity is monitored and tracked, not in a creepy way, but to ensure that their stories align with your marketing strategy.
Now that you have influencers and have identified their audience, it is time to start managing the content they produce for you or the way they distribute the content you create. Learn to repurpose the content that your influencers create. If they write a blog that is helpful to sell your product or service, a part of that blog could be published on your website as a testimonial. Of course, you will need to seek your influencers’ permission to repurpose content if they have created it. It is also important that you manage content distribution properly.
While all this sounds good on paper, when you begin to engage in influencer marketing, things can go quite awry. This is mostly because companies often do not communicate in a transparent manner with their influencers. When this happens, the content strategy may go haywire, the trust may be lost, influencers may feel disgruntled, or worse, influencers may alienate their audience. For this reason alone, you need to be as clear and transparent as possible. Ensure that you do not mislead anyone, neither your audience nor your influencer’s audience. Most importantly, do not mislead your influencers.
The most important part of influencer marketing is measurement. You need to quantify the results and check if you are getting what you are investing for. Start tracking posts, shares, tweets and the comments that your influencers elicit. Measure the impressions and engagements and make sure that you continuously evolve your strategy. While you are at it, try to also monitor the emotions and sentiments that these posts generate among the audience. Measuring the performance of influencer content will help you to calculate Total Media Value. Even more important, you will be able to track your ROI.
As you can see, influencer marketing is a complex and continuous activity that requires your sustained efforts. Without a proper plan, influencer marketing may not work to your advantage. However, when it is done properly, it will help you achieve your business targets quite easily.