In this post you’ll learn how build long-term relationships with social media influencers and leverage their followers, so you can run creative influencer marketing campaigns promoting your brand’s products or services.
In 2019, There’s No Ignoring Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is currently classed as a ‘breakout’ phrase by Google Trends, which means web searches for the term have grown by over five thousand percent since Google Trends records began in 2004.
It’s a hot topic. Just think of influencers collaborations as a bit like celebrity endorsements. But rather than working a celebrity with no affiliation for your brand, you’re partnered with an expert within a particular niche, with a follower base that matches your target market.
A brand-influencer partnership should be creative, seamless and unobtrusive, whether your chosen influencer is a talented YouTuber, or an Instagram and Snapchat star. But as explained below, finding the right influencer is about much more than the number of followers or subscribers they have.
Our Influencer Marketing Checklist
To begin, it’s worth pointing out that the soaring popularity of influencer marketing has caused some media controversy. The Fyre Festival debacle springs to mind. However, conducted ethically, influencer marketing could — and should — be a key component in your digital marketing strategy.
This checklist is for marketing teams to follow when starting out with influencer marketing as a means to increase brand exposure, drive website traffic and ultimately, increase sales.
☐ Have You Chosen The Right Influencer?
Some things to consider when searching the influencer community for potential influencers:
Use Online Tools To Choose The Best Influencers
Take a multi-faceted approach, combining manual social media searches with searches using tailor-made digital tools (we have listed a few below) to find influencers in your niche that you want to contact and establish relationships with.
Exploring social media sites to see who is interacting with your brand will provide an overview of the type of accounts to look for. Look at mentions and comments, or search through relevant hashtags. See who’s posting, do they fit your customer personas? Be thorough. Create a database of potential influencers so that your team has an accessible record throughout your influencer marketing campaign.
In addition to searching manually, tools like BuzzSumo have powerful influencer search functions, where you can filter by authority, reach, engagement and influence. Stay away from the Twitter advanced search function. There are better tools out there, such as FollowerWonk, which ideal for sifting through profiles in different niches. Refine your search how you like, before exporting your list to Excel or Google Sheets for campaign tracking.
Other tools to consider include:
Never forget your existing customers. They might love and want to be involved with your brand, and you may find a gem of an influencer right under your nose!
Start by looking through your emailing mailing list and manually noting down potential influencers with a strong following and high engagement levels. Do the same with your social media accounts, again thinking about your customer personas, and only choosing accounts that tick all the right boxes.
When you’ve got a list of potential influencers, it’s time to get in contact with them. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone. If they’re from your mailing list, they’ll be happy to speak to you, as opposed to an influencer who isn’t, who might be harder to convince at first.
Is The Influencer The Right SIze?
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking influencers with the largest followings receive the highest levels of engagement. Think small. Consider working with a number of micro influencers, rather than one big influencer. Not only can this seem more authentic — with larger influencers perhaps involved with other brands, even competitors — you’ll be able to reach a more varied and highly-targeted audience, who are genuinely interested in your brand or products.
The micro influencers will likely be more approachable and flexible, while it’s almost certain that they will be genuinely interested in working with you. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, so mix your tactics, using influencers with varying levels of following, until you achieve your desired results.
Is The Influencer’s Following The Right Demographic For Your Customers?
To achieve a tangible return on your influencer marketing investment, you need your products or services placed in front of the right people at the right time, and on the correct social media platform.
Don’t waste your budget. Only approach influencers with the right audience demographic across suitable social networks. Use influencer audience data analysis, with tools such as Socialbakers, Klear and Traackr tailor-made for identifying buyer personas and the type of content they’ll love.
Does The Influencer Match Your Brand’s Core Values?
Don’t just rely on follower data, there’s also a human aspect to consider. Use common sense to analyse an influencer’s core values, and only work with them if you believe they’re compatible with your brands.
Authenticity is key here. Consumers will easily spot a mismatched endorsement, which may detract them from building a relationship with your brand. Browsing their social pages and the conversations they have with their followers will uncover whether they’re worth pursuing.
Is The Influencer Creative Enough To Execute Your Ideas?
Only choose an influencer if they are able to execute your ideas in a way that will impress their followers. Are they proficient at creating high-quality, stylish videos? Are they a solid writer who can match your brand’s tone of voice? Are their photography skills strong enough to capture the essence of your brand? And so on.
Aim for a relationship where collaboration is central to the content creation process. If possible, work closely with your influencer, perhaps inviting them to work with your creative team. In most cases, a two-way creative process will yield the best results.
How To (And Not To) Contact Influencers
If you choose to contact potential influencers via email you need to approach with care. This means not overloading recipients with information, keeping emails succinct, and ensuring messages are personalised so they don’t assume your email is another spam message they’ll just delete.
Be considered, addressing potential influencers by name and telling them who you are and why you’ve emailed. Quickly outline the goals of your brand’s influencer campaign, perhaps listing other influencers involved to try and impress them.
Like any area of business, time is of the essence, so provide examples of what you’re looking for. This will help them easily understand if they’re well-suited to working with you right from the start.
If you want examples of their creative social media work to assess whether they’re the right fit for your creative ambitions, provide a form or Google Doc where they can drop in relevant information.
It’s always difficult talking about money but don’t wait too long. Once you’ve introduced yourself and they show interest, ask for their rates and compare them against your budget.
There’s no point wasting time on an influencer you can’t afford, so be quick to let them know they’re too expensive. This might trigger a negotiation which could work in your favour.
Remember, Influencer Marketing Is All About Relationships
Once you find the right influencer, it’ll be worth your while to nurture that relationship over the long-term. Never think of influencer marketing as just a one-off, work with your influencers over a longer period of time to develop creative campaigns your customer base will love.
Spotting Fake Social Media Influencers
Influencers with fake followers are a real thing, so conduct a follower check to see if somebody has purchased followers to improve their social following and gain an unfair advantage.
Try to understand which type of influencers buy followers, so you can exclude them from your search. Aim not to waste time or money, because you can’t sell products to Twitter or Instagram bots, can you?
☐ Have You Briefed The Influencer Properly?
The importance of the briefing process cannot be stated enough. Be meticulous and leave no stone unturned — whether you outline key visual aspects or suitable hashtags. You might provide them with a script for a video, keywords for content, or anything else you want to confirm before the creative process gets underway.
If you fail to outline your expectations to an influencer, you’re leaving yourself open to risk. In almost all cases, one-to-one briefing works more effectively than briefing over email.
☐ Have You Created A Strong Contract?
A simple influencer agreement lets both parties know where they stand, protecting you if an influencer fails to meet their obligations. Your contract or agreement should contain the following:
Standard agreement terms
Deliverables (plus penalties for not delivering)
Confidentiality and exclusivity
Failure to set out your arrangement in the form of a brief and terms and conditions within a contract leaves your company open unwanted problems. Never delve into the world of influencer marketing without a standard influencer contract, and seek legal advice to completely cover yourself.
☐ Paying Influencers On Time
Working effectively with influencers means holding up your end of the bargain and paying them on time. Many contractors have late payment terms. Don’t fall foul of this, and risk straining what could be a potentially great relationship by not paying invoices in full and on time.
☐ Influencer Campaign Management
Influencer marketing is online word of mouth. Think of it like this: you see somebody you admire wearing a cool pair of trainers. You want those trainers and buy them. You have been influenced. They are an influencer.
Online influencers monetise this behaviour. Whether they’re promoting products or brands through a sponsored Instagram post, a memorable Snapchat story, or a YouTube video that goes viral and breaks the internet, their goal is to share the best products with their audiences.
You need to manage your campaigns across these platforms. It’s a varied job, from brainstorming influencer marketing ideas and managing influencer contracts, to monitoring campaign results to safeguard your return on investment.
Common methods for measuring influencer campaigns include monitoring the reach and engagement of social media posts, yet the metrics you choose will depend on your campaign goals.
We have our favourites at theEword, but you’ll find your favourite through trial and error. Your choice will also come down to cost and the personal preference of your team.
Sprout Social, for instance, is ideal for measuring across a range of social media platforms. Iconosquare is an Instagram analytics tool with a robust story analysis feature, while Tailwind, a third-party Pinterest analytics tool, is ideal for tracking trends and activity.
Use Google Analytics if your goal is to drive traffic to your website, while if you want to run competitions (they’re another great way of finding suitable influencers) ShortStack is provides performance analytics and helps you create the content types that best suit your audience.
Are you promoting a product? Sponsored posts can be promoted with unique influencer discount codes with purchases monitored the point of purchase, which will reveal who is interacting with your social media posts.
Influencer campaigns are a quickly evolving area of digital marketing, so you could hire a marketing manager our an influencer agency. They’ll understand the influencer marketing space and help it make the biggest impact.
Your Marketing Agency
theEword deliver intelligent, entertaining and human digital communications for places and brands who want to be loved online just like they are in real life. Contact our influencer marketing experts if you need a helping hand finding effective influencers or managing your influencer campaigns, or to chat about our social media, digital and content marketing services.