Power of Influencer Marketing: A Comprehensive Guide to Starting a Influencer Marketing Program
Influencer marketing has become an essential aspect of inbound marketing, revolutionizing how businesses approach social media marketing. The concept is simple: partner with influencers in your industry to reach their followers and increase brand awareness. Influencer marketing can be a powerful tool to help you gain credibility, generate leads, and increase revenue when deployed correctly.
In this blog post, we will explore influencer marketing in-depth, including what it is, how to find and review potential influencers, and how to structure the engagement contract with influencers for product and cost per post, and how to measure and track the results.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is a form of marketing that focuses on using the influence of people with a significant following on social media to promote products and services. Influencer marketing is often used to target specific audiences who are interested in a particular product/service or have affinities in specific content themes. Influencer marketing is more effective than traditional advertising because it uses the power of social proof to persuade potential customers to try a product or service.
One of the key advantages of influencer marketing is that it is less intrusive than traditional advertising. Instead of pushing ads in front of people, influencer marketing aims to attract consumers to the product or service by endorsing a trusted source. Authenticity and brand relevancy are key to its success. Aligning with the right influencers for your brand is essential for any successful influencer campaign.
Influencer marketing involves using influential individuals or personalities on social media or through their private channel outputs to promote a product or service. While it has gained popularity in recent years, it does have both pros and cons that need to be considered.
Pros of Influencer Marketing:
Increases Brand Awareness: Influencer marketing is a great way to increase brand awareness, allowing businesses to reach a wider audience. Influencers typically have a significant following on social media, so promoting a product or service through them can help businesses get noticed by potential customers. Using influencers to create user-generated content helps increase not only reach but total brand messages in market.
Enhances Credibility: Influencers are seen as credible sources of information by their followers. When an influencer endorses a product or service, it can enhance the business's credibility in the eyes of the target audience. The brand-to-influencer partnership must make sense, or it will not be considered authentic, which can hurt the brand.
Cost-effective: Influencer marketing can be relatively cost-effective compared to other forms of marketing. It is often less expensive than traditional forms of advertising and can yield significant results for the investment. Deploying proper tracking is key to measuring your ROI. More on that later.
Increased Engagement: Influencers often have a highly engaged following on social media. By partnering with an influencer, businesses can tap into this engagement and use it to their advantage.
Cons of Influencer Marketing:
Lack of Control: When businesses partner with influencers, they essentially relinquish control of the content being created. This can be a problem if the influencer promotes a message that is not aligned with the brand's values. Deep Quiver always recommends detail-specific brand and content guidelines within any influencer contracts and provide influencers with content calendars with brand messaging to help increase control.
Difficulty Measuring Results: Measuring the ROI of influencer marketing can be difficult as it can be challenging to determine the direct impact of an influencer's endorsement on sales. Tracking is key to overcoming this pitfall.
Risk of Inauthenticity: Some influencers may promote a product or service solely for the sake of financial gain, which can be perceived as inauthentic by their followers. Complete proper vetting of influencers to make sure they align with your brand and its values.
Risk of Oversaturation: The popularity of influencer marketing has led to an oversaturation of sponsored posts on social media. This can make it difficult for businesses to stand out and for audiences to differentiate between genuine recommendations and paid endorsements.
Influencer marketing can be an effective marketing strategy for businesses, but it has pros and cons. Before embarking on an influencer marketing campaign, businesses should carefully consider these factors to determine if it is the right approach for them. If you feel your product or service would benefit from influencer marketing, here are details to get you started.
Finding Potential Influencers
The first step in starting an influencer marketing campaign is to find potential influencers in your industry. Here are some ways to identify potential influencers:
Conduct a Google search for keywords related to your industry, such as "best beauty influencers" or "top fitness influencers." This search will generate a list of influencers who have been mentioned on other websites.
Look for influencers on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube (LinkedIn if you are a B2B brand). Search for hashtags related to your industry and follow the top influencers in those categories.
Once you have identified potential influencers, you should review their profiles to determine whether they fit your brand well. Here are some factors to consider when reviewing potential influencers:
Relevance: Is the influencer's content relevant to your industry?
Engagement: Do the influencer's posts receive a high level of engagement?
Recency: How often do they post each week?
Reach: How many followers does the influencer have, and are they in your target demographic?
Authenticity: Does the influencer's content feel authentic, or does it seem like they are promoting products just to make money?
Reputation: Does the influencer have a good reputation, and have they worked with other reputable brands in the past?
Influencer Outreach & Recruiting
When it comes to influencer marketing, finding the right influencers to partner with is essential for the success of your campaign. Once you have determined which influencers you would like to work with, are steps you should take onboard them to your influencer roster.
Personalize your outreach: When reaching out to an influencer, it's important to personalize your message and demonstrate that you've done your research. Mention specific content or campaigns they've worked on that you admire and explain why you think they would be a good fit for your brand.
Offer value: When reaching out to influencers, clarify what you're offering and what's in it for them. This could include compensation, exposure to a new audience, or exclusive access to products or services.
Be clear about expectations: When working with influencers, it's important to be transparent about your expectations for the campaign, including content requirements, posting schedule, and compensation.
Follow-up: If you don't receive a response from the influencer, don't be afraid to follow up. However, be respectful and give the influencer enough time to respond before sending a follow-up message.
Build relationships: Influencer partnerships can be ongoing, so building relationships with influencers that align with your brand values is important. This could include sharing their content, engaging with their posts, and offering feedback on their content.
Structuring the Engagement Contract
Once you have identified potential influencers and they have agreed to work with your brand, you must structure the engagement contract. The contract should outline the expectations of both parties, including the products or services to be promoted, the duration of the campaign, and the compensation. Be clear about your expectations for the influencers regarding the number of posts, content types, messaging they need to include, and how to represent your brand.
One common way to compensate influencers is through product-based compensation. In this scenario, you would provide the influencer with free products or services in exchange for them promoting your brand on their social media channels. This compensation model is often used for smaller influencer campaigns, as it does not involve any cash payments.
Cost Per Post
If you are working with a larger influencer or planning a more extensive campaign, you may want to consider a cost-per-post compensation model. In this scenario, you would pay the influencer a set amount of money for each post they make promoting your brand. The cost per post will vary depending on the influencer's reach, engagement rate, and reputation.
Set Fee in Contractual Agreement
If the influencer has a large enough following, they could have an influencer media kit you can request to gauge the cost of working with on an annual basis. If they do not, most influencers will work with you to determine a set price for a number of monthly posts to satisfy their contract for payment.
Tracking and ROI Analysis of Influencer Marketing
Prior to launching your campaigns, make sure you have your tracking and monitoring in place. Tracking the performance and ROI of influencer marketing programs is crucial to understanding the campaign's effectiveness and optimizing future efforts. Here are some steps you can take to track the performance and ROI of your influencer marketing programs:
Set clear goals: Before launching your influencer marketing campaign, it's important to establish clear goals and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). This will help you track the success of the campaign and determine ROI. Standard KPIs used are brand impressions, traffic from influencer posts, brand sentiment scores, and leads/sales from influencers.
Use tracking links or UTMs: Tracking links or unique URLs can help you track the traffic and conversions generated by an influencer's post or campaign. These links can be generated using tools such as Google Analytics or Bitly. Alternatively, you can create unique UTM codes for influencers to add to their social posts to help you track clicks from their post and leads/sales from those clicks.
Monitor engagement: Engagement metrics such as likes, comments, shares, and impressions can provide valuable insights into the campaign's performance. These will be your campaign success indicators that lead to your core KPIs. Tools such as Hootsuite or Sprout Social can help you track and analyze these metrics. You can also add performance reporting requirements in your contracts or us an influencer management platform like Keyhole or MAVRCK.
Measure brand sentiment: Tracking brand sentiment can help you determine if the influencer's endorsement positively or negatively impacts your brand. This can be done by monitoring social media mentions and sentiment analysis tools such as Brandwatch or Mention.
Track sales and revenue: If the goal of your influencer marketing campaign is to drive sales, it's important to track the revenue generated by the campaign. This can be done by using unique discount codes, UTM codes, or tracking the sales generated from the influencer's post or campaign.
Calculate ROI: To calculate the ROI of your influencer marketing campaign, you need to subtract the cost of the campaign from the revenue generated and divide it by the cost of the campaign. This will give you a percentage that represents the return on investment. Over time, you will see which influencers drive the best ROI and which ones are not well aligned with your brand.
Tracking influencer marketing programs' performance and ROI requires a combination of tools and metrics. By using the steps outlined above, you can gain valuable insights into the effectiveness of your influencer marketing campaigns and optimize future efforts to achieve better results.
Influencer marketing can be a powerful tool to help you gain credibility, generate leads, and increase revenue. However, finding the right influencers who align with your brand values and target audience is essential. You can ensure that your influencer marketing campaign succeeds by conducting thorough research and reviewing potential influencers' profiles.
When it comes to structuring the engagement contract, you have several options. Product-based compensation can be an excellent option for smaller campaigns or for brands on a tight budget. On the other hand, cost-per-post compensation can be a better option for larger campaigns or when working with influencers with a significant following.
Ultimately, the success of your influencer marketing campaign will depend on how well you can collaborate with influencers and how effectively you can communicate your brand message. With careful planning and execution, influencer marketing can be valuable to your inbound marketing strategy.