I am trying to be very short and crisp in this post. Instead of writing a full-length post of 2000 words I will only include major headlines and bullet points. At any step or with any point if you have a query or a contradiction, you are more than welcome to comment and share that, I will get back to you 100%.
If you are new to the term what is Influencer marketing, there are 100s of articles available on the internet, I will try to be as short as possible with my explanation.
Influencer marketing is nothing but word of mouth coming online with the help of people who are active on social media channels. Gone are the days when you would have only celebrities as your influencers. Now essentially we have moved towards a world where everybody is an Influencer.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”In simple words, a Social Media Influencer is someone who has built her/his authority on a certain subject by creating content around it! People follow and love her/him for that 🙂 @faizanization” quote=”In simple words, a Social Media Influencer is someone who has built her/his authority on a certain subject by creating content around it! People follow and love her/him for that :)” theme=”style4″]
So essentially, practically: Influencer = Content Creator!
Now, as I mentioned everybody is an Influencer, we can categorize these influencers in different categories based on the number of followers. Although the number of followers is not the ultimate benchmark for hiring an Influencer, there are several more factors to it. But to categorize we can use that:
- Advocates – 0 to 5000 followers.
- Micro-Influencers – 5000 to 25k followers.
- Small Influencers – 25k to 100k followers.
- Medium Influencers – 100k to 250k followers
- Large Influencers – 250k to 500k followers
- Mega Influencers – 500k to 1M followers
- Celebrity Influencers – 1M + followers
After the brief introduction to Influencer marketing, let’s tackle the redundant question of:
Why Influencer Marketing?
- Influencer marketing simply brings word of mouth online.
- It is better because people trust people than brands.
- Influencers are always connected with the latest trends of content creation they bring in a lot of value for content creation.
- They also get the first-hand experience of the platform changes, which again gives you the advantage to be the first mover for the use of new features.
- They have a loyal set of audience that trusts them, they trust you too if you connect with their audience meaningfully. So essentially their audience becomes your audience.
For this why thing, I had recorded a video sometime back, which still stands relevant. You can watch it for your reference 🙂
I am assuming you are very much convinced that Influencer marketing is the way forward. To ascertain that assumption I will give you one more argument. As you know the advertising options are becoming costlier every day and the other challenge is what if they come up with premium models like YouTube Red. No ads, no ways to connect with your audience. You will either have to become a content hub or use already existing content creators or simply called Influencers.
Now, let’s move to another important part of this post:
How to do Influencer Marketing the right way?
This part, I am putting in the form of steps that anybody can follow to run a great Influencer marketing campaign.
Step 1. Have your basics clear
Here are some important questions that you need to have answers for before going for any Influencer campaign.
- What are the KPIs of the campaign? What exactly you want to achieve?
- Who is the target audience?
- What is the product you are trying to promote?
- What is the campaign? (Is it an offer/discount vouchers/giveaways/event activation/influencer take over etc)
Step 2. What to look in an Influencer?
Based on your answers in the previous step, you need to set your benchmark for hiring a social media Influencer. The following could be the general criteria to look for in an Influencer:
- Number of followers
- Rate of engagement
- Demography of the followers (It does not make any sense to hire influencers who do not have followers in your target market)
- Category or type of the posts/content he or she creates
Step 3. Finding an Influencer
Finding the right influencer based on your set criteria could be a little difficult. However, there are three ways to go for that.
- Searching manually through relevant hashtags and local content
- Using platforms like influence.co or other Influencer aggregators.
- Using analytics or keyword search tool and find out Influencers creating content around your subject
If the time frame is tight, manual searching may not be possible. It is better to go with already existing Influencer aggregators or search platforms.
E.g. we can use Influence.co to track down Influencers with x number of followings in XYZ countries. However, we can initiate the communication directly through emails so as to speed up the process.
While using BuzzSumo we can use specific keywords to see the top content in XYZ country for XYZ category or topic and reach out to the top influencers who are creating content around the same topic.
Step 4. Offer Influencers in goods or cash or anything valuable
Once you have identified the influencer and started the initial communication process, you need to provide them value to be interested in your project or campaign. Influencers are essentially content creators, if you can come up with great ideas and provide them with some experiential opportunities to be communicated with their audience, they might not ask for monetary compensations. Try to be as creative as possible with the idea of social media marketing.
[click_to_tweet tweet=” Never ever, ask influencers to just post what was prepared for a billboard or a flyer, that is the most stupid thing a marketer can ever do! @faizanization” quote=” Never ever, ask influencers to just post what was prepared for a billboard or a flyer, that is the most stupid thing a marketer can ever do!” theme=”style4″]
Step 5. Do a legal agreement about your engagement with the Influencers
It is always better to do a contract for the good of brand as well as the influencers. It will not only help you to preserve your rights but also help influencers to get paid on time as per the contract.
Step 6. Integrate Influencer Outreach with Traditional Communications And/ Or Marketing Campaigns
Always try to integrate Influencer marketing whenever you have an offline event any other BTL or ATL activities planned. Influencers would always give an extra punch and increase the chances of virality of the campaign.
Step 7. Ensure authenticity and transparency while going for Influencer marketing
Influencer marketing can be a disaster if not done well. There are chances that the campaign may backfire on the brand or business. You need to be super careful and understand the sincerity of the work. Always be authentic in the communication and keep a transparency with the Influencer so that there is nothing false or wrong information being circulated about your business or brand.
Step 8. Measure the Results and Optimize for the next time
There are several tools to measure your results from social media channels. Whenever you are doing a big campaign through Influencers try and include their profiles as well in your reporting tools. It might cost you extra, but will be able to give you a complete analysis of what happened to your campaigns.
While trying to measure you should consider the following:
- Impressions or Reach of the Content they shared
- Number of People Engaged (Like, Share, Comment)
- Story insights from Snapchat & Instagram. Number of People who did Swipe Ups (This needs to come from the Influencers with the screenshots if the tools do not provide these insights.
- Try and monitor the hashtag and how many UGC (user-generated content) is coming with the campaign.
VV Important: Always use custom landing pages based on the type of the campaign. Track visits through UTM URLs shortened with Bitly to check how many people are coming from the Influencer activation. Please write to me in comments or if you want me to do a detailed blog post on technicalities involved in an Influencer marketing activation.
I hope this post was useful and would add some value to your knowledge. Feel free to give your feedback for any disagreements or suggestions. Please show some love by sharing this post with your fellow marketers & business owners 🙂