Influencer marketing has been a hot topic of discussion amongst marketers in recent years, and has had a surge of interests for many business owners. But what is it exactly? In case you haven’t heard, influencer marketing is a type of marketing strategy that largely focuses on using key individuals, or “influencers”, to drive a brand's message to that particular influencer's already massive audience. These influencers usually have a significant follower base on social media platforms such as Instagram, YouTube, or TikTok, and their endorsement can help a brand reach the influencer's more engaged audience.
The idea behind influencer marketing is that people are more likely to trust recommendations from individuals they follow and admire, rather than from the brands themselves. By partnering with an influencer, a brand can leverage the influencer's credibility and reach to promote their products or services to a targeted audience.
Influencer marketing can take many forms, including sponsored posts, product reviews, branded content, or social media takeovers. The key is to find an influencer who aligns with the brand's values and target audience, and who can effectively communicate your brand's message to their followers. When implemented correctly influencer marketing can be a highly effective marketing strategy that can help brands reach new customers, build brand awareness, and increase engagement and potentially sales as well! Let’s take a look at exactly how to find that perfect influencer for your business and how to reach out to them.
Finding the perfect influencer
Finding the perfect influencer for your brand is crucial for the success of your influencer marketing campaign. An influencer who aligns with your brand values and target audience can help to ensure that the partnership resonates with not only your followers but theirs as well. The credibility of the influencer is also important, as it increases the chances of your brand being seen as trustworthy and reliable.
As a brand or business owner or marketer, you have a few options to find that influencer that is perfect for your campaign. There are many services out there that can help you do just that, such as Upfluence and also Grin. Both platforms can not only help you find influencers, but also help manage those campaigns and build relationships with brand ambassadors. On the other hand, you can also reach out to influencers via their social media channels if you already have someone in your network that you know will be a perfect fit.
In any case you’ll want to compile a list of influencers who you think will be a good fit for your campaign and do your research on each one before making contact. You should:
- Analyze the influencer's audience: Look at the demographics, interests, and values of the influencer's followers to ensure they align with your target audience. You can use tools such as social media analytics to gather this information.
- Assess the influencer's content: Review the influencer's past content and see if it aligns with your brand values and message. Look for consistency in their content and make sure it matches your brand's tone and style.
- Evaluate their engagement: Check the engagement levels of the influencer's posts, including likes, comments, and shares. High engagement levels indicate that their followers are actively engaged with their content and that the influencer has a strong and loyal following.
- Consider their past brand partnerships: Look at the brands the influencer has worked with in the past and see if they align with your brand values. You can also review the type of content they have created for other brands to get an idea of their style and approach to influencer marketing.
- Review their social media presence: Check the influencer's overall social media presence and make sure it aligns with your brand's image and tone. Look at the type of content they post, their frequency, and their overall style.
By reviewing the above, you can ensure that the social media influencer you choose is a good fit for your brand and that your influencer marketing campaign is starting off on the right foot.
Keep in mind, it’s not always imperative to choose someone just for the amount of followers they have! In recent years, the rise of “micro-influencers” (accounts with anywhere from 10,000 - 50,000 followers) has become more prominent, as they can have very dedicated niche audiences. Remember, finding the right fit is crucial for the success of your campaign and for building a long-lasting relationship with the influencer.
“Sometimes seeing someone else wearing or embracing your product is all a customer needs to take the leap and make their first purchase.” AJ, Email Marketing Manager @ Shoelace
Contacting the right influencers
Making contact is the next step. Which can be made a whole lot easier if you went through one of the platforms we previously mentioned. In that case, your chosen platform can directly connect you to the influencer of your choosing.
If you’ve decided to reach out without using an influencer marketing platform, your best bet is to check your desired influencers’ social media accounts for contact information. Typically they will list either an email or direct you to their website where you can reach out to them. You’ll want to personalize the outreach message, introduce yourself and your brand, and dictate why they would be a good fit for your brand.
When reaching out to the influencer, your message should provide clear guidelines and expectations, such as campaign details, goals, brand guidelines, how many posts you expect or what you're looking for them to provide, etc. You may also want to consider providing them with the opportunity to choose their own products they’d like to receive from your catalog. This way they can get a more authentic review of your products or services if it’s something they needed or wanted and can more easily identify with. Also, they know their audience the best. If they have a full range of choice from your products, they can identify what will be promoted best within their community.
Remember to be professional, respectful, and to offer value in order to establish a strong and lasting relationship with the influencer, because this doesn’t have to be a one-off campaign. If successful, you may want to consider a long lasting partnership or even making the influencer a brand ambassador for your company.
The best ways to maintain this new relationship is to:
Communicate: Open clear lines of communication with your influencer, and make sure to respond to their messages in a timely manner.
Respect their work: Recognize and respect the hard work that the influencer puts into their content creation, and be mindful of their time and resources.
Be transparent: Be transparent with the influencer about your expectations, goals, and budget for the campaign. This will help to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that the partnership runs smoothly.
Provide feedback: Offer feedback on the influencer's content and provide constructive criticism in a positive and supportive manner. This will help the influencer to understand your needs and expectations, and to improve their content.
Show appreciation: Show appreciation for the influencer's work and efforts by acknowledging their contributions and offering incentives, such as bonuses or perks.
Measuring the Performance of your Influencer Marketing Campaign
Measuring the performance of your influencer campaigns is crucial in order to determine their effectiveness and to make data-driven decisions for future campaigns. It may be tempting to track some of the easier viewed metrics such as likes, comments and engagement, but depending on the size of the audience of the influencer, those numbers may be inflated.
The 2 best ways to measure your influencer campaign performance is using UTM parameters or a coupon code.
UTM parameters (or Urchin Tracking Module parameters) allow you to use short text codes to track certain performance metrics. They are often seen on URLs when you click on any ad and can look like this:
This may look and sound complicated, but there are many tools out there that can help you set up these tracking codes. Google Analytics for example, has a dedicated URL builder for just this purpose and then you can easily see from your Google Analytics dashboard all the data your newly created URL has gathered. Some social planning platforms, like Hootsuite and Sprout Social, also offer options for UTM tracking from their paid memberships.
The other option is to use a specific code that their audience can enter in at checkout on your website to get a discount or any other offer you’ve established in the campaign. The code could have the influencer's name or social handle and should be distinct to the current campaign you are running.
If you are running the campaign on Facebook & Instagram, you also have access to their branded content tools, where you can see insights via Meta Business Manager.
By using these tracking methods, you can get a clear understanding of the performance of your influencer campaigns and make informed decisions for future campaigns. It's also important to set clear goals and KPIs with your influencer for your campaign before you begin, in order to have a benchmark for evaluating the results.
“Create authentic relationships with your influencers with genuine communication (avoid scripted templates and draft up genuine emails) give them white glove treatment when it comes to selecting, choosing and receiving products, so they can have the creative freedom to showcase products they truly believe in.” AJ, Email Marketing Manager @ Shoelace
Our final thoughts on Influencer Marketing
Finding the perfect influencer for your brand can be a challenging, but rewarding process. By doing your research, evaluating the right fit, making a connection, maintaining a strong relationship, and evaluating performance, you can ensure the success of your influencer marketing campaigns.
Remember that influencer marketing is about building relationships and creating authentic and valuable content for your audience. By working closely with the right influencer, you can tap into their audience and leverage their credibility to promote your brand in a compelling and impactful way.
With the right strategy, influencer marketing can be a powerful part of your overall marketing strategy for growing your business and building a loyal following. So, take the time to plan your approach and make the most of your influencer marketing campaigns.
If you are still weary about using influencer marketing in your current strategy or maybe you need someone to help with the campaign, Shoelace is here! Our knowledgeable Growth Partners are happy to answer any questions! Connect with us here to learn more about how we can help today.