Leverage Influencer Marketing As Part of Your Digital Marketing Strategy
by on Thursday Aug 02
INFLUENCER MARKETING IN 2023
90% of consumers prefer peer recommendations to other forms of advertising. Over 70% of brands currently work with influencers and use influencer marketing as a part of their digital marketing strategy to create buzz around their products and increase sales.
An influencer can be someone with a large following on their blog or social media channels or someone with a smaller following of people who regularly engage with their content.
The latter is often called ‘micro influencers’, but don’t let the terminology put you off! Millennials and Generation Z-ers see social media influencers as trustworthy and authentic — no matter how niche.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer Marketing is a digital marketing strategy businesses use to attract and convert customers by leveraging the promotional power of social media influencers.
The brands collaborate with the influencers to showcase their products and advertise through influencers. Influencers try to create a brand bias among their audience and help the brands scale.
This article will help you select and work with influencers on a successful digital marketing campaign as part of your overall social strategy.
Selecting Influencers for Your Brand in 2023
Finding influencers is easy enough; they’re all over social media, and plenty of third parties hold lists of the top influencers in a given niche. But how do you pick who you want to work with?
Start with how many people read or follow their blogs on social media. These figures should be readily available; smaller influencers will likely have a media kit to send out upon request. Larger influencers often work through an agent with access to these.
If a post is seen by a million people but only receives a small number of click-throughs or comments, then that’s not money well spent.
Conversely, a micro-influencer may have a smaller following, but you’d be unwise to discount them on this basis; a survey by Tapinfluence showed that engagement rates actually fell for those with over 25,000 followers.
A successful campaign needs to be relevant. When using influencer marketing, you must ensure that you work with influencers whose values and interests align with your brand. Check out their previous content to see what issues and causes they care about.
Do your research. Follow them on social media. Look at the content they produce: is it sponsored post after post? A good influencer will have a good ratio of their own posts and will be able to weave in sponsored content, producing paid content in the same unique tone as unpaid.
Sadly, as PR companies often go straight to the influencers with higher followers, it’s not unknown for unscrupulous “influencers” to fraudulently buy followers or likes. This practice is particularly widespread on Instagram. However, just ten minutes spent looking at the comments that content receives can help convince you of genuine engagement. Several platforms, such as Followerwonk for Twitter, will give you insights into social followers.
You’ve selected influencers to work with. What next?
Contact details should be available on their website or bio section of social media. If not, a DM should be fine.
But what should you keep in mind when writing that first contact?
Do your homework
Read their ‘about me’ section and take a look at their posts. Personalize the email, but never pretend you’ve read something or are a big fan if you haven’t got the goods to back it up!
If you’re a pet food brand, find out their dog’s name. If you are trying to appeal to parents, look up the names and ages of their children so you can communicate to them exactly how your brand is relevant. You can also mention a recent campaign you admired, and it will show them that you’re serious about working together.
Know what you want
Are you after reviews? Product placement? Blog posts? Images? Social shares? Affiliate sales? Be clear about what you are looking for before the initial approach.
Don’t be coy about figures.
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to compensation. Although smaller influencers may accept products or affiliate income only in exchange for reviews or social media coverage, you should be clear about your offer from the first email.
Many influencers, particularly those with a large following, will expect to be paid and rightly so; this is a business transaction, and there needs to be value in it for both parties, so have a budget in mind.
Outlining a campaign with the number and types of posts required and asking for a cost will start you off on the right foot.
Know the rules
Disclosure is a legal requirement, and bloggers and influencers should know the guidance regarding disclosing sponsored and affiliate content.
Ensure you also know the rules and aren’t expecting influencers to break them.
The content is live… what now?
This content has been produced for you… so share it on your own channels to amplify it! You may find that your own brand engagement increases through the association. Note that “share” doesn’t mean using images without credit — unless this has been cleared with the influencer first.
Measuring ROI is notoriously challenging when it comes to influencer marketing.
Measuring reach, impressions/views, engagement (likes/comments/shares), increase in your own following, tracked clicks and affiliate sales are all good places to start. If you are looking for direct sales, make sure you configure your online store dashboard correctly so that you can track influencer-specific sales through a tracking code.
However, it’s not all about the quick wins; don’t forget that the content will be online, accessible and linked with your brand indefinitely. If people search your brand name and see good quality endorsements from people they trust, it could have an effect years from now.
This is something that can’t be said of many marketing campaigns and is a huge tick in the ‘pro’ column for influencer marketing.
Transparency and clarity
Three rules to help you with your next influencer marketing campaign:
- Be clear about the brief; ensure they know what you expect and when.
- Bear in mind that the more creative control you hand over to the influencer, the easier it will be for them to produce content in their own style and the more authentic it will be. Guidelines are good; dictating the ins and outs is not.
- If you work with an influencer because of their content, let them work their magic to create something their audience will love. Don’t try to micromanage the whole campaign.
Influencer marketing is an easy way to increase sales and improve your brand image online. Don’t forget to always be open and transparent about your intentions so you don’t get caught out.
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