Influencer marketing is a medium built on trust and authenticity. The deeper an influencers relationship with their audience, the more weight their voice carries. Like all mediums consumers have already started to become inert to paid advertising delivered through influencers. So how do you get your message out with influencers?
These 7 steps provide practical advice for selecting influencers, as well as creating and maintaining win-win relationships that drives measurable (yes, measurable) results.
- Shortlisting your influencers
Selecting the right influencers to work with is critical to successful influencer marketing, it’s worth putting the extra time and effort at the tart to make sure you’ve found the right person. These four elements will help you make the right choice:
- The right audience
You know your customers, and your customers are already busy listening to, and interacting with influencers. Start by choosing influencers that have the same audience that you’re interested in. That ensures that any message they communicate has the maximum possible impact.
- Size of audience
Whilst it’s important that you get the largest reach possible, working with influencers that have millions of followers is considerably more difficult than working with those that have several hundred thousand. Don’t get too small though, the smallest of magazines will have a readership of 10,000 which is probably the smallest audience size you’ll want to accept. Any smaller and the effort likely won’t justify the returns. Conversely it’s been shown that influencers that have considerably more than 100,000 followers have much lower engagement rates – and therefore lower impact.
- Engaged & conversational
Engagement isn’t just about their posts attracting likes and shares. For an influencer to be effective they need to be constantly interacting with their audience. Check to ensure that they’re not just broadcasting, and they’re having actual conversations. You may also want to check how quickly they respond to messages (if at all), as speed of response can have a considerable impact on the value of a message.
Influencers that are already engaged with your brand are the most likely to become brand evangelists – with careful nurturing. These should be at the top of your priority list, and should be treated with special care. They’re already talking about your brand, and you need to deepen that relationship. Without at least an occasional pat-on-the-back, you risk your organic (the best type) influencers getting disillusioned or moving on to a competitive brand.
- Solicitation, Payment & Rewards
Not all your influencers will appear organically, nor will they all approach you, you’ll need to go out and find some on your own steam. Where ever they come from, it’s important to set some ground rules for your engagement with influencers. Will you pay them for their efforts? Will you provide product samples? How many will you fund/sponsor? How will you differentiate? There’s no hard and fast rule about how much to pay influencers, when I asked Christopher Dugal, Head of Social for Zalora, he recommends avoiding paying influencers and sticking to product sponsorship.
Like all good marketing campaigns, your influencer campaign can be measured. To quote Jay Baer “True influence drives action, not just awareness”, so instead of tracking the classic measurements such as volume of tweets, posts, sentiment and likes, try tracking referral links tracking mechanisms. By providing each influencer with an individual referral tracking URL, you can quantify how much traffic and how many conversions each of your influencers are generating. Even if they’re not commissioned or paid, there are lots of incentives you can provide them for using the links – from additional kudos & recognition in your formal campaigns, through to early access to your new products.
Run through these steps when you’re building you influencer campaign. It’s a good idea to go through them every couple of months just to make sure you’re still on track – and sticking to the principles you originally laid out.