Influencer marketing is a powerful way of increasing brand awareness and reaching new audiences. When done correctly, working with an influencer drives new business and grows your reach.
In one study, researchers found online influencers may have just as much impact as a recommendation from someone the consumer knows. About 40 percent of participants said they’d bought an item after seeing an influencer mention it on Twitter, Instagram, Vine or YouTube.
Most marketers understand the importance of incorporating influencers into their promotional efforts, but figuring out the best ways to use this type of marketing isn’t as easy. Fortunately, there are some tried-and-true methods for getting the most out of influencer marketing.
1. Seek the Right Influencer
Your first step is finding an influencer who reaches the target audience you want to reach. Even more important than how many followers the influencer has is loyalty. Are people commenting on and interacting with their posts? Activity is a sign of real users, as opposed to fake followers and bots.
2. Interact With Influencers
Although there are opportunities to pay influencers as ambassadors, some people will mention your product for free. Engage with the people who give you free promotion. Comment on a post thanking them for their loyalty. People who love your product and share it online equals free marketing and only costs you a little time.
Netflix does an exemplary job of interacting with their customers on Twitter. They often comment and retweet posts talking about different series on their platform. In the screenshot above, they retweeted a post by someone who commented on how good a documentary was.
3. Study Posts
Spend time analyzing other posts and campaigns the influencer already created. Look for patterns when their users engage more. If the influencer’s followers respond best to video posts, your campaign with the influencer should include videos.
Each audience on social media is unique. You must get a feel for the audience for that particular person and how they respond to different types of posts. Once you have a handle on the audience, it’s easier to figure out what marketing approach makes the most impact.
4. Choose Someone Recognizable
Although lesser-known influencers have an impact and help you gain traction as a brand, a recognizable name and face lend a bit of credibility. When choosing a lineup of online influencers with whom to work, try to include at least one famous name. Working with a larger influencer may also convince smaller influencers to take a chance on you.
50 Floor uses Richard Karn, who played Al on Home Improvement, as an influencer on the homepage of their website. His face is immediately recognizable and tied to making your home more beautiful because of the role he played on the TV sitcom. The website design superimposes Karn’s image over a rotating background that shows a variety of new flooring options for the home. Next, the site invites users to schedule an in-home consultation as Karn gives his thumbs-up approval.
5. Find Influencers
You may feel unsure about where to find an influencer for your brand. There are several places to find influencers, but the best place to start is in online communities that cover topics in your industry. Let’s say you sell cookware. You might decide to go on Facebook and join several popular groups for people who love to cook.
Within those groups, people share links and ideas and mention names. Pay attention to the links they share and the names they suggest, because these are typically influencers in the industry. If a name pops up multiple times, that person is worth a second look.
6. Go Beyond Sponsored Posts
Many brands pay for sponsored posts, and users see them over and over again. In a world where the typical consumer sees hundreds of ads a day, anything that makes you stand out is positive. One idea is to go beyond sponsored posts and pay influencers to become brand ambassadors. That idea is for the influencer to post an image of them using your product on their social media platforms. They would, of course, tag your brand.
Jack Wills does an excellent job of bringing on influencers in fashion and beauty. The influencers show themselves in different settings wearing Jack Wills clothing. In the screenshot above, influencer Emily Champion shows how comfy Jack Wills clothes are and posts an image of her relaxing at home in their clothes.
7. Loosen the Reins
Your influencer has likely created campaigns with several different brands already. Instead of dictating everything about the campaign, give your influencer some creative license to come up with an idea for you. After all, the person knows their audience much better than you do. They know what the audience responds to, what work they’ve done with other brands and how to highlight the strengths of your product.
8. Track and Repeat
Track how successful a campaign is through unique landing pages and estimating how much interaction posts about your brand received. When you see a post was particularly successful, reach out to the influencer and discuss repeating that tactic. If the influencer recorded a video of a new recipe while using your cookware and it went viral, create a series of videos together.
Fitness expert Tammy Hembrow has more than 9 million followers on Instagram. One of the brands she has a long-term relationship with is Women’s Best, which sells sports nutrition and sportswear.
9. Nurture Relationships
Although you won’t continue to work with every person you collaborate with, some partnerships are worth keeping around long-term. Nurture the influencers who go above and beyond for you. Send them a gift of some extra free products over what they expected. Let them know how much you appreciate their hard work for you. Throw additional campaigns their way by recommending them to your colleagues and contacts.
Find Success With Influencer Marketing
Figuring out mutually beneficial ways of working with influencers is the primary hurdle for brands. Once you’ve developed a few relationships, continue to grow together and work to reach more and more people through social media. Influencer marketing isn’t a fast return on investment, but one that builds over time and expands your customer base. Even though the payoff isn’t immediate, working with influencers is worth the effort for long-term results.