Brands are already dropping millions of dollars on influencer marketing, and that number is skyrocketing. Over the past year alone, spending has grown 83% in the United States and Canada.
Clearly, brands have taken note of the power that influencer marketing can have. If you haven’t already started creating your own influencer strategy, now is the time. Done the right way, your return on investment could be mindblowing.
So how do you start growing your business by partnering with different influencers? Read on for the strategy tips you need.
What Is Influencer Marketing?
Before we begin, let’s tackle what influencer marketing is.
It’s easy to get influencer partnerships confused with brand ambassadors. They’re very similar, but two completely different things.
A brand ambassador is someone like LeBron James for Nike. It’s a long-term partnership with a contract. He appears in their commercials, he has his own Nike shoe line, things like that.
Influencer marketing is usually short-term deals with an influencer who is in your niche. They have a decent-sized audience who is engaged with their content and trusts what they have to say.
Trust is a key part of this — one of the perks of influencer marketing is that you tap into an audience who really listens to what the influencer has to say. It’s like getting a recommendation from a friend…except the friend is recommending the same product to thousands of people.
Types of Influencers
Not all influencer strategies are created equally — there are different types of influencers that you can work with, depending on the customers you want to attract. Here are some of the main types to be on the lookout for:
Social Media Personalities
Instagram is almost synonymous with influencer at this point, let’s be real.
When you think of an online influencer, chances are you’re thinking of social media personalities. These can be famous YouTubers, people with popular Instagram accounts, or someone who runs a Facebook page with a large following.
Blogging may have had its heyday in the early 2000s, but it’s still going strong towards the end of the 2010s. Whatever your niche is, there’s a blog for that — food blogs, fitness blogs, cooking blogs, travel blogs…
Bloggers are going to attract different audiences than social media personalities and also have a different reach. You can also engage with them in more creative ways.
Of course, celebrities can be influencers, too. How could we forget the Kim Kardashians and former Bachelorette contestants of the world?
Odds are, working with a celebrity is going to cost you more money than working with a blogger or social media star. However, depending on the number of followers and engagement rate, one post from them could send your sales through the roof.
After you know what type of influencer you want to work with, it’s time to sit down and think about your strategy.
Know Your Goals
The first step of creating your strategy has to be to know your goals. You can’t move forward until you have those set!
What do you want to get out of this influencer partnership? Do you want to improve your brand awareness? Sell a specific product? Drive more traffic to your website?
You should also think about what type of audience you want to reach and how many people, ideally, should engage with this ad.
Do Your Research
Next, research the influencers in your niche. If you’re selling protein supplements, for example, you’ve got an endless list of fitness influencers to choose from — but not all of them will be right for your brand.
Take a look at their content. Does their personality match your brand image? Would a post promoting your products feel like it matches the rest of their posts, or would it feel awkward and out of place?
You also need to run the numbers. Follower counts are important — after all, you don’t want to go to all this effort to work with someone who will only send ten people to your website. However, engagement rates are even more important.
This tells you how often people engage with what the influencer is posting. It can also help you filter out the people who have purchased followers. They tend to have high follower counts, but very few people actually liking or engaging with their posts in any way.
Understand Your Budget
You should always set your budget before you send a single message to an influencer. There are no set pay rates for influencers, and unless they have their rates publicly posted, you won’t know what they charge until you ask. Have a number in mind of what you’re willing to spend.
A good rule of thumb is that people with larger followings are of course going to charge you more money. Don’t be shocked by the quote when you get it — people with bigger follower counts can charge thousands of dollars for partnerships.
Depending on how much you have to spend, it might be a good idea to work with a micro-influencer. These people usually have fewer than ten thousand followers, which also means they’ll charge you less for a post.
Choose Your Campaign
Finally, once you know what you want to achieve (and with who) it’s time to choose your type of campaign.
Influencer marketing, after all, can take a lot of different forms. If you’re partnering with a blogger, maybe they’ll let you write a guest post on their blog. If you’re working with a social media influencer, you can give them a personalized discount code for a specific product you’re trying to push.
Choose the type of campaign that’s right for your goals and you’ll see success.
Create a Winning Influencer Strategy
Once you’ve decided on your goals, creating an influencer strategy is pretty simple. You’ll be thanking yourself for putting in the time and effort later once your website traffic spikes and the revenue starts coming in.
There’s always more to learn about the world of online marketing — check out these eleven social media trends to discover how you can incorporate them into your next campaign.