With the increased popularity of ad blockers, one thing became clear: people are getting tired of online advertising. 27% of U.S. Internet users used ad blockers in 2017. That percentage is only going to get higher. People don’t want to see ads when they visit websites. They don’t want an ad in the middle of a YouTube video. They don’t want them in their social media feeds. They want to be in control of what they see.
What does this mean for marketers and business owners? They need to find subtler ways to promote their brands. Influencer marketing is one of those ways. In The State of Influencer Marketing 2018 report by Linqia, 86% of marketers said they relied on this strategy in 2017, and 92% of them found it to be very effective.
What’s Influencer Marketing?
In essence, influencer marketing means teaming up with brand advocates who will get the message across social media in the most organic way possible.
If, for example, you’re trying to promote a local organic food store, you’ll team up with local influencers who promote healthy life online. They already have a large base of followers, which encompasses your target audience. So you get these brand advocates to promote your products, and people see them. They see your brand’s message and become aware of it.
This promotion doesn’t seem like in-your-face advertising. People perceive it as genuinely shared experience and recommendations. And that’s exactly why influencer marketing works.
But how do you make it happen?
Seven Important Tips for Effective Influencer Marketing
Always Deal with Relevant Influencers
If you’re selling beauty products that are being tested on animals and you get a vegan influencer to promote them, both the brand and the person promoting it will be trashed on social media. If you’re selling yoga pants and you get a popular chef to promote them, you won’t get the response you expect.
When you reach out to influencers, you have to make sure their target audience is the same as yours.
Define Clear Goals
Influencer marketing is all about creating brand awareness. If, for example, a new assignment help service gets on the market, it will face fierce competition. Services like Write-My-Essay-For-Me.com and CollegEssayWriter.com are already well-established in the niche. Students know them and directly go to them when they need to order papers online. They are completely unaware of this new brand.
So what does the owner of this new business do? They team up with influencers in the niche. These can be bloggers who teach students how to write or those who talk about student life in general. They will mention this new service in their posts on social media, as well as on their website. This business owner will achieve the goal of creating brand awareness through a well-planned influencer marketing campaign.
So what’s your precise goal?
- Generating leads
- Converting more leads
- Increasing the base of followers on social media
It’s okay; you can have few goals. But it’s important to identify precise steps that will help you reach them. Without properly defined goals, you won’t be able to measure the results of this campaign. And when you don’t measure results, you can’t know how effective your efforts are.
Set a Budget and Observe the ROI
The budget is part of your goals. Better said, the return of investment is. When you negotiate the terms with the influencer, you’ll get a deal on how much they will get paid for each post. You may need to pay a different price for different types of posts. A YouTube video will clearly cost more than an Instagram story. An Instagram photo, which requires staging and editing, will cost more than a story, and so on.
As for the ROI, you can track the traffic you’re getting from this influencer and see how many of those people convert. You can also monitor the growth of your social media followership and see how it affects sales.
Make it Very Natural
Remember: people are tired of ads. If they see the influencer heavily promoting your brand, they won’t like it. They will see it just as another ad on their feed.
The influencer should try your products or services and genuinely share their opinion. They will film stories about the way they use these products. They will answer people’s questions about them. That’s the only way for influencer marketing to work.
Let’s take a look at the Instagram profile of Chiara Ferragni. This is an Italian businesswoman from the world of fashion, with over 16 million followers on the platform. You’d love to get your new brand featured on that profile, wouldn’t you?
But that’s an incredibly hard goal to achieve.
Do you know why? – Because she promotes brands like Viktor and Rolf, Lancome, BMW and luxurious hotels. Big influencers team up with big brands.
If you don’t want to spend a ton of money on reaching out to huge names in social media and closing contracts with them, you should focus on the so-called micro-influencers. These are people who have up to 500K followers to their profiles. They are easier to work with, and they will be more willing to promote your brand. Plus, they seem way more authentic when compared to the big names.
Turn the Collaboration into a Partnership
The contract with an influencer is not a pure business transaction. If you take a look at popular brands who collaborate with influencers, you’ll notice that they help each other. The influencers promote the brand across social media, and the brand offers different opportunities for them.
Take the Alo Yoga family as an example. You’ll see there’s a true partnership between the brand and its advocates, but between those advocates as well. The company provides photo shoots, retreats, and all kinds of cool stuff for them.
This is a partnership, which leads to effective relationship marketing. When you team up with micro-influencers, in particular, you will grow together. Give these people a shout-out on your page, send them extra product packages and all kinds of presents. When they like you more as a business partner, they will promote you in a better way. So don’t treat them as employees, who are only expected to meet their part of the deal.
Do you know what will get people really interested in your brand? Free products!
Get an influencer to organize a giveaway, and you’ll provide the prizes. The rules of participation should be clear: the participants should follow both the influencer and your brand. Make the prizes really cool, so more people will be triggered to enter. Then, fairly pick a winner.
This strategy will boost the followership on your business social media pages. It works for the influencer, too! They get to engage their followers without investing in the prizes.
The best thing about influencer marketing is that it’s easy when you truly get into it. The first steps are challenging. But, challenges are a good thing in the world of business, right?