Development and expansion of content in online marketing and its usage in many aspects of online promotion have slowly led to the appearance of another form of marketing that can be seen as a part of content marketing. It is influencer marketing and the main reason why it is connected with content marketing is the fact that involves advertising through influencer’s content.
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing, also called influence marketing, is a type of online marketing focused on working with individuals who have a certain influence in a particular sector. The influence means they have the power to influence and persuade their followers. This way, an influencer is able to sway the audience and affect their buying habits.
The influence is built slowly over a course of time and it represents a cumulative effort of an individual to establish a name and an authority for themselves in a particular sector. Even though it is a long-term effort, creating influence opens up so many opportunities to influencers, especially in terms of business opportunities and chances to work with renowned brands from the industry they work in.
The characteristics of the influencers include:
- Being an expert in the industry
- Knowing the market and current trends
- Having the group of followers and supporters
- Earning their trust
- Knowing the group well and being able to address them directly
How to start with influencer marketing?
As seen, influencer marketing provides a lot of benefits, which is why you should explore ways you can promote your business through this kind of online marketing strategy. Since this is a planned campaign, there is a set of steps you should follow to help you when starting out with influencer marketing.
Identify the influencers
You will first need to identify the influencers you want to work with. To make sure you pick only those worthy of working with, and to make sure your campaign really is effective, choose the influencers whose target group matches yours. Since your business will be promoted to this audience, you need to focus on the specific target group who could actually become interested in your business. For example, if you provide email marketing software, you will need to find an influencer who is followed by those who could be interested in such software.
Another aspect you should have in mind when choosing the influencers, you want to work with, is whether your business is global or local. Considering this aspect will also help narrow down the list of potential influencers because this also has a direct influence on the campaign performance.
The best way to start looking for the influencers is to use the search engines. You can type the keywords you are interested in and check the search engine results to see which ones match your query. Sometimes adding a word “influencers” into the search term can help you find ready-made lists of influencers in that particular industry. Social media is another great place for searching influencers because every influencer uses at least one social media platform to interact regularly with his or her target group. Besides this manual searching method, there are tools that help you identify and rank influencers based on different criteria, such as the number of followers, blog authority, etc.
Rank the influencers
The reason why you should rank the influencers is the fact that you will probably identify a couple of influencers in the sector of your interest. Sometimes you might want to work with one or several influencers at the same time. However, all the influencers you identify might not make the cut, and you will actually end up working with selected few or even one. To make sure you select the right influencers, the best idea is to rank them.
There are two ways to do this process. If you are using a tool to find influencers, sometimes you will have an option to sort and compare influencers. This will basically give you a list of already ranked influencers. The other way to select those you want to work with is to create your own custom ranking system. Start by creating a table and then fill in the names of the influencers you have identified. Then try to fill in some of the following data about each influencer:
- Number of social followers (separately for each network)
- Number of subscribers
- Average monthly blog visits
- Have they worked with your competitors?
- Reach of similar collaborations organized in the past (social media shares, comments, blog visits, etc.)
Of course, it is not always possible to get all the data from this list, but it is recommended that you find out as much as possible about the influencer you are interested in working with, as well as about the previous campaigns the influencer has participated in. This all helps you evaluate:
- The influence that particular influencer has
- The planned outcome you could expect from such campaign
- How likely this collaboration is to happen
Determine the goal of the campaign
Once you know who you are working with, it is time to think about the campaign and how you are going to organize everything. For starters, take the time to think about the goals. The campaign goals help you evaluate the success of the campaign, which is why they are valuable metric to have in any strategy. Goals also help you shape the path and the approach you are going to take with the campaign, allowing you to choose actions and tactics that will help with achieving these goals.
Alternatively, you can think about the goals before even choosing the influencers if you believe that goals could actually help you with choosing the perfect influencer to work with.
Think about content
This is the point where you focus on the content you want to create in collaboration with an influencer. Firstly, there is a possibility to have your own content where you will use influencer marketing campaign to promote it. In this case, the influencer is not involved in content creation, but instead, it is simply the one who recommends it. On the other hand, you can have the influencer working alone on the content that is going to be designed in a way that it promotes your business, along with the products or services you offer. Some influencers find this approach more appealing because they have the creative freedom to design the content in a way that matches their style. In the end, the content creation can be a true collaboration, where you as a business will participate in content creation alongside with the influencer.
The type of content you are going to choose is determined by:
- Your business goals
- The influencer’s idea
- The target group expectations
Get in touch with the influencer
Up until this point, it has all been about preparation and your plans how you want this collaboration to be conducted. Obviously, a great part will depend on the person you are working with, which you will learn once you get in touch with the influencer. The process is quite simple. You prepare the offer and you get in touch in order to pitch that offer. The best way to do is through an email which ideally should:
This approach is proven to be the most effective with email campaigns so there is no reason to avoid it when contacting the influencers. To get the recipient interested in the matter, use a custom and engaging subject line. Also, make sure you address the influencer by his or her name. The personalized approach shows that you have done the research and that you are familiar with the person you are going to potentially work with.
Explain the offer
The second part of the email includes the offer for collaboration. This is where you explain all the details about your plans and ideas. Make sure your offer is interesting and properly explained so that you get the influencer interested. Have in mind that yours is not the only offer the influencer will have, so your offer needs to stand out.
Highlight the benefits
To go a step further, highlight the reason why the influencer should work with you. Focusing on benefits of such collaboration will encourage the influencer to consider your offer.
Provide contact details
Finally, you want to get a response from the influencer, as well as feedback about the offer you proposed. This means you should provide a method for an influencer to contact you, and preferably, you should provide a couple of methods, such as a phone number, an email address, social media profiles, etc.
Major benefits of influencer marketing
This strategy has been popularized greatly in the recent years, and it is a trend you will need to look out for, but to understand how your business can actually benefit from working with influencers, here are some of the main benefits of influencer marketing.
When you decide to work with influencers, the most obvious benefit is the possibility to reach their audience. This kind of campaign is oriented at the audience that does not necessarily have connections or know about your business at all. In this case, you have the opportunity to expand your reach, which usually results in expanding the number of leads, customers, website visitors, etc.
Choosing to work with an influencer is a process that involves going through several criteria, but one of the most important ones is choosing the influencers based on their target group. When you choose an influencer whose target group could really be interested in your business, you get to organize a highly-targeted campaign, and such campaign is most likely to get good results.
Since influencers have the ability to affect their audience and their buying habit, it is only natural to expect to boost sales through such actions. To make sure you are able to track these sales and actually account them to influencer marketing, make sure you use trackable links for the products mentioned by the influencer.
Increasing the influence
Unlike sales, which are usually easier to track, gaining influence is a benefit you will find more difficult to measure. However, this benefit is obviously a result of such campaign, because a recommendation from an influencer will have a positive effect on your business and on the reputation you have among the online users. In this sense, working with influencers actually, helps you build your own influence and authority online through this recommendation.
Influencer marketing is not an absolutely necessary part of online marketing, but a strategy that could be quite effective for some type of businesses. It is important to recognize the opportunities it can provide for your company and whether it is something you should focus on.
Rather than being an ongoing strategy, influencer marketing is actually a strategy you should use occasionally when you notice a possibility to promote your business through such form of online marketing. In the end, all that matters is your business, and if you believe that working with influencers could help you take your business to the next level, this is a strategy you want to further explore and determine how to organize it to get the most out of it.