How to Build an Effective Influencer Marketing Strategy

Social media influencers are taking the world by storm. With 1.074 billion active monthly users on Instagram alone, influencers provide entertainment, education, and suggestions to users worldwide. 

Obtaining celebrity endorsements has always been difficult for small businesses. However, the popularity of influencers means that even the smallest businesses can partner with them. These partnerships allow businesses to market their brand in exciting, new ways.

What is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing might sound new and jazzy, but it’s essentially the same as other forms of social proof. This marketing creates a recommendation from a real person customers can relate to. Influencers are treated with the same trust as customers would give recommendations from a friend. The only difference is that influencers reach anywhere from 1,000 to upwards of 1 million followers at once.

Getting an influencer on board as part of your marketing strategy gives your business a massive boost in awareness in the influencer’s various circles of followers. In the same vein when you find affiliate marketers, influencers direct circles of their followers who are interested in your products and services to you and your accounts. 

Building the Strategy

There’s a lot to consider with influencer marketing—a brilliant strategy doesn’t appear overnight.

Therefore, it takes time and effort. Decent preparation may also improve your chances of finding the appropriate influencer and creating a great campaign together. Follow these tips to help your business find the right influencer and develop an influencer marketing partnership.

Decide on the Purpose

Why does your business need an influencer marketing strategy? There are plenty of reasons to invest in one. However, each reason requires a different approach. Promoting your product looks a bit different from growing your business by attracting social media engagement.

Consider what you hope to achieve from this partnership. Ask and answer these questions.

  • What would a successful influencer marketing campaign look like for your business?
  • What type of content would your ideal influencer create?
  • Do you know which topics and products they regularly engage with?

As you start to determine the partnership’s purpose, you gain a clearer idea of who your business is looking to work alongside. 

Look at Your Budget

Unsurprisingly, not everyone can afford social media superstar Kylie Jenner to promote their products and services. Having a budget may narrow down which influencers you’re looking for and the content you want to create with them.

Quickly define how much budget you will dedicate to your influencer marketing strategy. Smaller budgets equate to influencers with smaller followings. But that doesn’t mean that the campaign won’t be successful. If their following is genuinely interested in your campaign, it can still create new leads and improve the digital customer experience

Select a Platform

Different influencers appear across different platforms — as do your target consumers. There’s no point launching a massive TikTok campaign if you’re aiming to reach middle-aged men working in business. Generally speaking, they won’t see it. You need to promote where your people already are.

First, create a customer persona. This allows you to find the demographics of your target audience and discover where they spend their time online. Look for influencers already on those platforms whose followings represent the people you are targeting. Your platform may also affect the content you create and the kind of interaction you, and your influencer, may have with followers.

Pick Your Influencers

Now you’ve built up a couple of criteria for the influencer you want to work with, start looking for someone who you would like to work with. Having this criteria in mind gives you a great way of explaining why you’re spending time on one influencer over another. 

Do a recce of influencers in the same spaces as your potential customers that may grow your business with social media. Look through their existing content to get a feel for the content they share, as well as their messages. Influencers may hold different values than your company. It’s important to know about this before you start drafting contracts to work together.

Write Powerful Proposals

You’ve decided who to approach. Now, create a great proposal to reel them in and get them excited to work with you.

Influencers are constantly approached by brands. Many are used to filtering out the ones that don’t match their lifestyle. Therefore, it’s important to do your research first. You know who you want to work with and why

Draft a proposal with the help of existing online proposal templates. Be clear about what you want the influencer to do and why you think they are the person to do it. Make sure to go over a partner relationship management definition and share the way your company works. This helps the influencer make an informed decision about whether to move ahead with a partnership opportunity.

Measure Your KPIs 

You’re not going to notice the effect of influencer marketing if you don’t watch your KPIs. Key performance indicators show the impact of partnering with an influencer. They also give you insight into how to market to your target audience in the future. Having quantifiable data may justify larger future budgets for more influencer marketing campaigns.

Get your digital acceleration team to start tracking specific KPIs that indicate a successful marketing strategy. This might include website traffic, use of promotional codes, or mentions raising brand awareness.

Keep track of your average in these areas before partnering with an influencer, as well as throughout the campaign. Use these KPIs to create a campaign that works for your customers.

Maintain Relationships

Once the campaign is over and the influencer contract is fulfilled, you don’t have to entirely cut ties. If the campaign went well, maintain communication about future projects and opportunities. This allows you to engage with communities of followers recently reached, keeping brand awareness up in those circles. 

It also means after you automate testing on a new product, you don’t have to go through the whole process of finding an influencer again for your next campaign. Are you working with the same influencer again? You built up trust. You know what you will get in return. Likewise, if they can recommend another influencer in the same sphere, you know they come with that influencer’s stamp of approval.

Integrating Influencers into marketing

Finding an influencer is only half the challenge. You must work together in a way that benefits your business and fits in with the company’s brand image.

Stuck for ideas? Here are five suggestions for promoting your business using influencers.

1. Takeovers

Let your influencer take over your social media accounts for the day.

Whether they post how they use your products throughout their day, answer questions from followers on your Stories, or participate with events you’re hosting, this is a great way to let customers in behind the scenes. It also forces the influencer’s followers to discover your accounts whilst engaging with their favorite content.

2. Brand Ambassador Schemes

Sourcing influencers is a great solution to the issue of how to get brand ambassadors.

Determine what an ambassadorship for your business would look like and what the influencers get out of it. Building a long-term relationship will require a commitment to your influencers. However, it does hold equally long-term benefits. 

3. Giveaways

Everyone loves something free. If you’re looking to get attention quickly, a giveaway or contest can engage the influencer’s followers.

A giveaway encourages their followers to take specific actions. Some of these may include liking posts, following your accounts, and tagging other friends in your content. This is a great way of boosting your reach before an announcement, launch, or event.

4. Promotions

Offering a discount to followers of your influencer gives potential customers the feeling of being in on a secret.

Being slightly exclusive draws people in and makes them more likely to make use of the promotion, as it’s just for them. This also has very visible benefits for the influencer, giving their followers access to your products at a cheaper price.

5. Sponsored Content

Sponsored reviews, how-to videos, or advertising posts — all high paying affiliate programs invest in some form of sponsored content.

The brief can be as specific or open as you want. However, ensure your influencers label these posts according to the relevant legislation for your company and state. Otherwise, the content could be removed from its social platform.

Start Influencing Today!

Marketing is always full of changing trends, but it looks like influencers are here to stay. It’s worth investigating what difference an influencer or two could make to the reach of your marketing. It might surprise you how easily they can slot into your existing marketing strategies whilst giving your business the boost it needs.

Sam O’Brien is the Chief Marketing Officer for Affise—a Global SaaS Partner Marketing Solution and industry leader for AI affiliate marketing. He is a growth marketing expert with a product management and design background. Sam has a passion for innovation, growth, and marketing technology. Here is his LinkedIn.