8 Tips for Running Your First Influencer Marketing Campaign

This post originally appeared on Social Media Week.

Did you know that most ads have an average click-through rate of only 0.06 percent? I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t seem like a good conversion rate for your hard-spent money.

An area where we’re not seeing these kinds of rates of decline is influencer marketing. Just check out the stats: 74 percent of people use social media to decide whether they want to buy something. Influencer marketing has a 37 percent better retention rate than business that doesn’t come through word of mouth.

The question then becomes, how do you use these folks to push your product? That’s what we’re going to look at today.

1. Start with the ‘who’

First off, make sure that your market is actually going to be influenced by the influencers you want to target. This seems like a straightforward step, but people often skip it. They just expect a famous person to endorse their product.

That mentality might get you a lot of views, but if you partner with people who aren’t actually interested in your product, then your business won’t benefit. So, instead, find out who your audience listens to.

One of the best ways to do this is to survey your audience and find out what websites they regularly visit, who they follow on Twitter, and so on. From there, you’ll have a much better idea of how to proceed.

Also, look at BuzzSumo and Followerwonk, made by Moz. They can give you some valuable insights into which influencers affect different audiences. When you pinpoint some influencers who could fit your brand, spend some time simply listening to them so you know who they are and what they have to say.

2. Find out what kind of influencers you want

Once you narrow down your targets, you’ll have to decide how much you want to spend. Most people trying to run an influencer campaign will start by going after the biggest influencer in their field. But there are several problems with this strategy:

  • These influencers tend to be very expensive.
  • Their audiences are often less engaged than those of smaller influencers.

So if you’re just starting out, consider targeting smaller influencers, or, as they’re known in the industry, micro-influencers. These people are cheaper, easier to sway, and capable of providing a bigger per-person impact.

3. Don’t ignore influencers already on your side

Do you already have some influencers speaking positively about your product (something you can find out by checking backlinks)? Then make sure you talk to them as well. Chances are you’ll build up their loyalty to your brand simply by giving them some kind words and sharing the content they create. (Don’t just share the content about your brand; they’ll see right through that.) Since these influencers already know what you offer, their enthusiasm will come across as more organic and convincing.

4. Make inroads

If you don’t want to pay influencers an arm and a leg, build a rapport with them first. Once you’ve got a relationship going, they might start endorsing your product all on their own.

Compliment them, get involved in the conversation, and share their content across your network. Partnerships can be about more than money, and reciprocity can go a long way.

5. Create engaging content

Many influencers may have a great voice or connection with their followers, but they can still struggle to produce interesting content. In fact, they might struggle more than others, because they’re expected to do so continuously. For that reason, you may want to help them create content.

You can brainstorm blog posts or social copy for them to share, offer useful statistics, or relay insights about how your industry works. If you have counter-intuitive information that hasn’t been covered yet, that could work particularly well.

6. Realign your onsite marketing

Just launching an influencer marketing campaign is not enough. You also have to ensure that your site is geared toward influencer marketing. When people start pushing your product, your website has to be a natural continuation of that push.

The idea is that you aren’t just a company, but that you’ve got a personality. Your website has to be likable and interesting. This can be achieved through good content marketing or just by making sure the language and visuals mesh well and create a good user experience. If you have that consistency from your marketing campaigns to your website, your audience will be more inclined to trust what you have to say.

7. Don’t neglect your influencers

Your relationship with influencers doesn’t stop as soon as you reach an agreement. Remember that you actually have to keep your influencers happy and communicate with them so your referrals don’t dry up.

Take some time to reward them. This can obviously come in the form of financial compensation. But paying influencers has led to problems in the past for some companies due to increasingly stricter advertising regulations. In addition to sharing their content and giving some exposure, you could also give influencers an advanced trial period with new products (as long as you make certain that they don’t have to review it positively). They could give you feedback, which, in turn, would only benefit your company.

8. Go back to step one

You can’t sit on your laurels in the influencer game. Competitors may try to take your influencers from you. Maybe someone loses his or her influence as new voices emerge over time. For that reason, you’ve always got to be on the lookout for new partnerships.

Also, consider moving upstream. If you already have devoted micro-influencers, maybe it’s time to invest in a few of the bigger fish. In other words, you’ll be using your influencer marketing strategy to influence the influencers. Before you know it, it’ll be time to go back to the top of the list and start again.

Image by Sculpies / Shutterstock

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