Posted on June 15, 2020 at 3:01 PM
When you’re looking to grow your brand’s audience, it can be helpful to piggyback on brands with established audiences. Plus, as consumers increasingly want to engage with authentic brands, they appreciate feeling connected to a broader community. That’s why influencer marketing works so well. Here’s how you can put it into action for your business.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Marketers often partner with influencers — who are themselves marketers — who maintain a strong following on social media and are able to persuade others to take action. The influencer has a particular niche in which they recommend or endorse certain products. As with celebrity endorsements, brands who work with influencers enjoy increased exposure of their products.
However, influencer marketing is a bit different from typical endorsement arrangements. While famous actors or athletes might “endorse” certain products, those products often have little to do with their line of work. Influencers typically focus on products that connect to their niche. For example, a makeup influencer uses their influence to promote a certain makeup brand.
Why Use Influencer Marketing? (Or Why Not?)
You should never approach influencer marketing as a get-rich-quick scheme, just as real influencers don’t approach companies just to get free stuff. True influencers have worked hard to build their communities, and they won’t bring in a partner without careful consideration. That means that if you want to just pay someone to promote your products, you’re better off getting a celebrity endorsement.
That’s not to say that you don’t compensate influencers. You do, but you have to build a partnership with someone whose niche reflects your own. Influencer marketing means that you benefit from the trust of an influencer’s community. This, in turn, boosts trust of your brand.
It’s worth noting that the ROI of influencer marketing varies widely. According to Influence.co, most marketers pay about $271 per influencer post. Is that cost worth what you’ll earn from the post? Weigh the numbers carefully.
How to Use Influencer Marketing
The first thing to realize about influencer marketing is that you’ll reach a highly targeted audience. That means that you should have a specific goal in mind. General promotions and vague goals won’t go over well with an audience who’s accustomed to specific, high-quality content. Think about what you’d like to achieve in your partnership with the influencer: Do you want to expand your market? Promote a particular product or service? Demonstrate your thought leadership?
Next, research potential influencers. Don’t just list the people with the most followers; plenty of “influencers” have purchased followers and don’t have a highly engaged following. Look for people who post regularly in your niche and demonstrate professionalism and trustworthiness. It’s also worth noting that mid-level influencers (10,000-50,000 followers) might give you a better ROI than influencers with more than 50,000 followers.
Then, start engaging with the influencer’s community. You want to be known among them before you enter into any sort of partnership. Take time to leave thoughtful comments on the influencer’s posts, as well as replies to other followers’ comments.
Once you’ve established a connection, you can pitch a partnership to the influencer. Emphasize how your product or service would be of interest to the influencer’s audience. If you’ve successfully established a presence in that audience, the influencer is more likely to take note.
Finally, develop a long-term strategy that incorporates your chosen influencer. Set goals for what you’d like to achieve in the partnership. Your influencer will have goals as well that need to be incorporated. Plan to release posts on a set schedule that supports your sales funnel and aligns with the influencer’s content schedule. With careful planning and strong strategy, both you and the influencer will benefit from the post.
Influencer marketing isn’t just “pay to play.” It requires a dedicated engagement strategy and a careful partnership in order to work. Ill-fitted influencer campaigns can easily backfire, so choose your influencer carefully. Any influencer worth their salt is doing the same. Once done well, though, influencer marketing is an excellent way to tap into a highly qualified, engaged audience for your brand.