If I tell you I have the secret formula for any entrepreneur to succeed, you may not believe me.
You probably have never even heard of me, my company, or have yet to follow me on social media.
But if Neil Patel, New York Times best selling author and a person The Wall Street Journal calls ‘the web’s top influencer’ tells you, “My secret formula is the greatest”, you will probably believe him.
In a nutshell, that is influencer marketing. It takes the “I” out of the equation, letting others tell the story about your products and services. Haven’t you seen George Clooney’s Nespresso commercials?
Now getting Neil Patel or George Clooney to be your influencers is where the challenge lies. Sending either one of them an email may prove difficult, but fortunately there are many social channels and creative ways of identifying and targeting key influencers.
The return on influencer marketing may be worth the trouble too. Trusted influencers can boost your brand awareness and market your products and services in unprecedented ways traditional marketing can’t compete with.
Why you should absolutely use influencer marketing
Why influencer marketing? Well, the answer is quite simple. Influencer marketing can provide you with instant visibility, hordes of potential customers, and a high return on your digital strategy.
A relevant influencer to your industry exposes your brand to the right consumers. These targeted consumers are already interested in your niche, and they will be paying attention with a strong likelihood to purchase.
According to an influencer marketing study by Tomoson, “51% of marketers believe they acquire better customers through influencer marketing.”
This may be why 84 percent of marketers are planning at least one influencer marketing campaign in 2017, according to a survey by Schlesinger Associates.
And it is all about established trust. An influencer’s followers are loyal with rapport built over several years. In fact, 92 percent of people trust recommendations from people over brands, according to research by Nielsen.
Another great reason to add influencer marketing to your digital strategy is that you will get instant results. You can be sure your influencer’s sizable loyal audience will stick around and give your brand instant attention. No need to wait for organic SEO results to kick in after months and months of work.
Find influencers relevant to your brand and industry
The first thing about influencer marketing you want to keep in mind is relevancy. You want to not only look at a potential influencer’s audience numbers, but also how they fit with your brand.
“The best influencers work to integrate their branded campaigns into their unique stories without skipping a beat,” says AJ Agrawal of Forbes. “They know their audiences are fickle and can quickly leave, so they treat each and every post with care.”
Three things absolutely essential to consider when qualifying potential influencers are Context, Reach, and Actionability.
Asking a foodie to promote your new marathon training app will not work. Sure, there is a connection between these niches, but they have completely different Context and audiences.
Reach is a simple one to qualify. You want your influencer to have a healthy sized audience. But qualify this audience since anyone can buy social media followers these days.
And Reach is only as good as the influencer’s Actionability. They have one million followers? Fantastic! However, if that audience isn’t engaged, your influencer marketing efforts are wasted.
You can get very granular when it comes to creating metrics to qualifying your influencers. We look at demographics such as age and gender and calculate a number for potential relevant audience when reviewing what influencers to work with. This, and other metrics can be used to determine an estimated CPM which can help you compare the power and value of your influencers when it comes to potential reach vs ROI.
Influencers are social media moguls and popular bloggers
To get your influencer marketing campaign off to a great start, target social media influencers. Those with the biggest following are certainly on all social media channels.
To begin your research, determine what social media network will maximize results. If your brand is in the fashion realm, Instagram and Pinterest influencers are best.
If you want to raise brand awareness via video engagement, then YouTube influencers may be a better fit. However, don’t rule out the other social media channels, like Facebook, Twitter, and SnapChat. Facebook live has created interesting possibilities for influencer marketing.
The power of hashtags will also assist in your influencer research. If your brand is all about fitness, begin searching hashtags related to fitness.
Your influencer marketing campaign should target bloggers too
Interestingly, 86 percent of influencers have a blog. And 88 percent of those say they actually blog themselves. Excellent blogger outreach sources are Inkybee, BlogDash, and GroupHigh.
Get those bloggers to share their Google Analytics traffic. This lets you research blog metrics and get an understanding of an influencer’s true SEO value.
Key influencer metrics to check are . . .
- Domain Authority
- SEMrush Organic Keywords
- SEMrush Organic Traffic
- Unique Visitors
- Engagement Per Post
- Audience Demographics (Age, Location, Gender)
How do you entice influencers?
There are no free lunches, and your influencers will certainly want compensation for access to their loyal audience. How much, or how little is simply a matter of negotiation.
Cold hard cash is one of the most common ways to entice an influencer. But sometimes you can find an influencer or two that truly believes in your brand, and those are simply the best.
These influencers may accept small monetary compensation. Or they may be interested in free products, social media mentions, and cross-promotional content.
Whatever the deal, if you did your research, the return on your investment could be well worth it.
Ready to get your influencer marketing campaign moving?
The following will give you the nuts and bolts of a powerful influencer marketing campaign…
- Identify and Qualify Relevant Influencers: This means investigating each potential influencer. Study their profiles and read their blogs to ensure they are relevant to your brand.
- Build Your Influencer Marketing Strategy: This includes defining a budget, identifying possible incentives, creating your campaign’s KPIs, and writing up a campaign brief.
- Pitch Your List of Influencers: Connect with a pitch letter that is unique, compelling, and concise. You should track pitch dates, replies, and followups to stay organized.
- Track Campaign Results: Speaking of staying organized, track your influencer marketing campaign results. This includes metrics like impressions, clicks, transactions, emails, and audience growth.
Develop an influencer marketing campaign that maximizes your efforts, builds meaningful relationships, and gets the end result you envisioned. The results just may change the dynamic of your brand forever.