Your Essential Guide to Influencer Marketing

guide-to-influencer-marketing
My friend has a great sense of fashion and likes to flaunt the latest accessories.
But recently, she had a difficult time choosing from the designer sling bags on display at a retail store for the weekend party. While checking her Facebook, she saw a recommendation for a particular fashion brand from one of the top fashion icons whom she idolizes.
Without a second thought, she made up her mind and bought a stylish beige sling bag recommended by her influencer.
This is a classic case of influencer marketing and shows how powerful it can be.
Rather than marketing directly to the potential customers, you basically let influencers do the work for you who have an advantage of a great fan-following.
Over the recent years, influencer marketing has come to occupy a very important place in the overall marketing strategy of brands. A study revealed that a whopping 94% of the marketers found influencer marketing to be effective in 2016 and as a result, the budgets have been increased for 2017.
Marketers also found Facebook and Instagram twice as more effective mediums for influencer marketing campaigns.
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The campaigns are built to tap an already engaged following of an influencer who has established a two-way communication with his followers.
So exactly how does influencer marketing help brands?

There are many advantages of an effective campaign with an influencer:

  • Influencers’ word-of-mouth is trusted and leads to action
  • Brands can gain mindshare or follower engagement
  • Customers look for reviews from the common man and an influencer who has used the product and is recommending the brand has more value.
  • The engagement level is more as customers are able to relate to the influencer.
Each campaign or influencer marketing effort has a call-to-action like buying a product, driving traffic to the brand’s website, generating leads or creating brand awareness.
 

“Nearly 40% of Twitter users say they’ve made a purchase as a direct result of a Tweet from an influencer.”

Why your brand needs it? 

Brands and companies need influencer marketing now than ever before because the business environment is becoming increasingly competitive and many businesses use the most common marketing channels.
In this scenario, if your brand uses influencer marketing effectively, then it can become a driving factor in its success. The good part is that both B2B and B2C businesses can use it for their marketing.

Step-by-step process to build an effective influencer marketing strategy

1. Set realistic goals

The first and foremost goal is to identify your target customers. Who are you trying to reach?
Decide on the budget for the campaign. What are the key performance indicators (KPI) for the success of your marketing campaigns?
These can be:
  • audience reach
  • result
  • views
  • engagement
  • click-throughs
  • an increase in followers
  • sales

2. Select the right social media channels

You have to select the social media channels for the influencer campaigns wisely. Basically, what you have to assess is where your target customers can be found and the sort of engagement you want to have with them.
Each channel has its own set of characteristics and what works on one may not work on the other.
For example, if photos of your brands are what you want to promote, then Instagram works well. If it is short videos, then  Facebook can be the preferred platform.

3. Selection of the influencer.

This part is the most time consuming and also very important.
Based on your target customers, the budget and the social media channel, you have to find the most suitable influencer who is the right fit to fulfill your KPIs and brand objectives.
 
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Do an objective assessment of the influencer you wish to finalize. The points that you should consider are:
  • Check his social media profiles for any bad reputation
  • Is he already telling about the content that aligns with your brand?
  • Assess if he can convey the right message about your brand
  • Check if his pay fits in the budget that you have allocated
Once this is done, negotiate the payout you are going to give him and the duration for which he will work for you.

4. Align your marketing schedule with the Influencer Marketing Campaign

All the marketing efforts like publishing blog, press releases, events, social media efforts and other marketing endeavors should be in line with your campaign as that will help to build a robust sales funnel.

5. Check the content for any inconsistencies

Maintaining consistent messaging across all platforms that aligns with your brand objectives is very important.
An influencer should be given control over the content of the brand and how he wants to get the messaging across to his followers. But you should keep a check on the content, images, and videos he produces.
This is just to check if it aligns with your brand and if it is consistent with the other marketing efforts that you are undertaking.

6. Measure results of the campaign

It is very important to test the campaign for results. According to Adweek, 78% marketers said that determining the ROI of an influencer marketing is not easy.
Although it is a difficult task to measure how effective the campaign has been, yet to some extent this is possible.
The KPIs you had defined while setting goals will be helpful here. Define the measures or parameters of success before the start of the campaign and make sure that the influencer also agrees with them.
This way, ambiguity can be avoided at the last moment.

Key Takeaways of Influencer Marketing Campaigns

In a recent survey, 84% of the marketing respondents said they plan to take up at least one influencer marketing campaign in another 12 months. This shows the popularity that it is gaining from all quarters.
A word of advice: Do not go in for big celebrity endorsements unless you are willing to have a long-term association with them.
Firstly, they will be way too costly and secondly, getting access to them will be difficult as they have an army of agents and managers.
Ideally, you should target mid-tail to long-tail influencers (also called micro-influencers) because they are easier to work with.
Customers have seen enough of ads and may skip or ignore them. So, brands should adopt strategies and the type of content that’s being consumed.
Influencer marketing does complete justice to that by bringing the brand messaging in line with what’s being consumed organically.