Love it or hate it, the use of influencers in social media marketing is here to stay. Spam or “fake” influencers aside, this method of marketing can be extremely valuable for brands, helping to extend their reach, build rapport with new audiences, and ultimately increase sales and revenue. As the marketing industry has evolved, influencer marketing has changed, providing a range of tools to help brands identify and vet influencers, as well as track the success of ongoing campaigns.
If you’re going to utilize influencer marketing, it needs to be skillfully planned on a solid foundation. Before executing any influencer marketing program, marketers need to ensure that they have the following three key factors in place:
You’re probably familiar with the process of creating buyer personas to best reach your target audience. Using a similar method, creating influencer personas will allow you to choose the individuals who will be the best received by your audience on social media.
Discovering the types of topics your customers seek and the pain points an influencer could solve for them is a great place to start. The more detail that you are able to collect, the more likely your efforts are to pay off.
Pick Your Platforms
Which social channels is an influencer strongest on? Does this align with the social channels your brand performs the best on? How active are their followers? Does the influencer’s audience seem to be growing, maintaining, or even decreasing? Assessing all of these factors and data points is critical to the success of an influencer marketing campaign.
Having knowledge of the channels your influencers are the strongest will help determine how you will work with them and the types of content assets you will provide.
To reach potential consumers, it’s crucial that you work with influencers who have a relevant audience for your brand. If available, you can use audience demographic features, available on influencer marketing platforms, to identify influencers who have an audience in your target location, age, or gender. If not available, you’ll need to confirm their audience is correct – the good ole fashion way. A scan of their followers will give you a good idea if they are reaching members of your target.
This step is crucial in getting your brand messages in front of the people who matter most.
Deep Dive Into Engagement
Engagement rates let you know how well an audience resonates with and responds to the influencers’ content. Good engagement shows that the audience actually cares about what the influencers publish.
To work out the engagement rate of a post, add the total number of likes and comments the influencers get on a post. You should divide the total with the influencers’ number of followers, then multiply the result by 100. Get the engagement rate for at least 10 posts to determine a general average.
Pro tip: Check whether the influencers are taking the time to respond to their followers. Influencers who react quickly to comments develop great relationships with their followers. In turn, their followers are likely more invested in the content that’s shared with them.
Pinpoint a Theme
Always choose a campaign theme when working with an influencer. Why? Themes offer organizational structure and help to provide creative direction. The key is to ensure that your theme isn’t too intrusive. Find a good balance between providing brand assets for the influencer and allowing them to be creative. The influencers know their audience better than you do, so you will want to give them plenty of freedom to appeal to their audience (AKA your potential customers.)