Linqia, a leading influencer marketing platform conducted a survey and discovered that 94% of marketers found influencer marketing to be highly effective. As a result, Linqia predicts that influencer marketing budgets are likely to double by the end of 2017.
If you already haven’t jumped on the influencer marketing bandwagon, well it’s high time you should. The ROI with influencer marketing is much higher than with traditional advertising and even better—you don’t necessarily have to pay large sums of money to influencers with huge followings in order to lead a successful marketing campaign. If you need advice on how you to lead an influencer marketing strategy on any budget, here are just 8 ways you can do just that.
1. Find Your Ideal Influencer
Finding the right fit for your influencer marketing strategy is the first and most important step in your influencer marketing campaign. The goal with influencer marketing is to share content in a relevant and authentic way. You can only do so if an influencer matches your brand image and message and if you as a company are relevant to said influencer’s niche.
Other than being a suitable fit in terms of compatibility, you need to make sure that your influencer is reliable and trustworthy. Ideally, your partnership should be for the long run so you’ll want to make sure that the influencer you partner with is as serious about their business as you are.
2. Let Your Influencers Be Creative
Influencers know their own audience best. They have worked hard on building an online reputation as well as creating a certain image. Taking too much control over how they speak about your brand/product/service will make influencers come off as fake, and this won’t resonate well with their audience. Mats Stigzelius, co-founder of Takumi International Ltd. explains that business owners should not fear giving too much creative freedom to their influencers because influencer marketing is not about being perfect but about being authentic, personal, and organic.
3. Choose Micro-Influencers
Brands with huge budgets don’t think twice about turning to big celebrity influencers with millions of followers. But this is definitely not an option for smaller companies that rely on micro-influencers to create sponsored blog posts and the like. But things may be changing. Big companies are also turning to micro-influencers now since the strategy has proven to be just as effective but at a lower cost. Markerly just recently released a report showing that as the number of followers rises, the rate of engagement with the audience declines. When taking all their collected data into account, Markerly concluded that the best influencers for greater ROI were those with a following between 10,000 and 100,000.
4. Don’t Put All Your Eggs In One Basket
Spending a great deal of your budget on one influencer—with the end results being a far cry from what you hoped for—is not going to help your business. The safest way to ensure you get greater ROI through influencer marketing is collaborating with several influencers at once. However, doing this on your own will prove to be a huge drain on your resources. Instead, take advantage of highly helpful marketing platforms that specialize in connecting brands with social media influencers. This will save you time and money when you collaborate with multiple influencers at once.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Negotiate
Many influencers will offer to work with you at the highest price they think they can get from you. But that doesn’t mean you cannot negotiate with them. Tell them your budget, your offers, and what they get other than money by partnering with you. Options include bartering, pay-per-sale/lead, pay-per-engagement, and so on. You can even offer intangible compensations such as improved reputation for the influencer and increased follower count as a result of your collaboration. Anything goes in the world of influencer marketing, so make sure that you weigh your options carefully.
6. Don’t Forget the Metrics
Metrics are an important tool in measuring your success and they can help you decide if you want to continue working with an influencer or not. Just as with social media marketing, there are many tools that can help you determine if your campaign is working. But to determine actual ROI through calls-to-action from your influencer(s), use Google Analytics to confirm the source of your referral traffic. You should also keep an eye on changes in your own social media profiles. Of course, increased sales is the best indicator that your campaign is working.
7. Be Patient
With traditional marketing, things move pretty fast. Campaigns typically last for only a short time and the results show up almost instantly. But with influencer marketing, patience is a virtue.
First, you need to establish a relationship with an influencer before venturing into a business arrangement. Your influencer will carefully plan out the content they plan to create for you and their audience may also take some time to react. Ideally, you should also collaborate with your influencers for the long run. Influencer marketing works best as a partnership with the relationship slowly building and growing over an extended period of time.
8. Don’t Rely on Influencer Marketing Alone
Since influencer marketing increases brand awareness, it is important that you keep your website and social media presence up to date. Chances are, customers will check these sites much more once an influencer starts promoting your brand. Make sure that what they find on your web pages looks appealing. While influencer marketing can be a game changer for your business, it is not the sole marketing strategy you should rely on.