Santa is one of the most popular influencers in the western world. Kids and parents talk about him. Every child wants to see Santa.
Coca-Cola has been using Santa to market its brand since the 1920s. And you know what? He always boosts their sales.
Various brands have been using influencer marketing for a very long time. And it still works today. Although it has changed a lot, it’s still pretty much the same thing. When a well-known or liked figure recommends a brand, people who know that influencer would want to buy from the brand.
Influencer marketing has gone digital. There’re influencers on every platform online. There’re influencers on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
While there’re lots of influencers online, it doesn’t mean that they’re created equal. Some influencers have more star power to drive sales to your business than others.
So, don’t go out there and hire any influencer.
An influencer doesn’t have to be a celebrity to make lots of sales. He or she only needs to have a decent number of followers and receive regular engagements from them.
Don’t consider big names with millions of fans or hundreds of thousands of followers. An influencer who has 50,000 fans can send more buyers to you.
A study found that the “sweet spot” is 100,000 followers when looking for an influencer who would be effective for your brand.
There are diminishing performance returns for influencers that exceed that “sweet spot” of 100,000 followers.
Influencers who have 100,000 followers or less are your best bet if you’re operating on a low budget.
This is the influencer marketing guide you need to learn everything you need to know to plan and execute a successful influencer marketing campaign.
What is Influencer Marketing?
To create an effective influencer marketing campaign, you need to know what it means.
I like this definition from Sujan Patel on BigCommerce:
Influencer marketing is leveraging the reach of an existing influencer who has built a large following and strong brand reputation in a particular niche to support your brand, endorse your product, or co-create content, with the intent to increase brand awareness and drive sales.
The perfect influencer should like your product or service before promoting it to their followers. When an influencer shares a product or service with their fans, what they are doing is vouching for it.
If followers become disappointed, the influencer’s reputation will take a hit. The fans may not trust that influencer again.
So, a great influencer ensures that the product or service they recommend is excellent and high-quality. They’re confident that it’ll help their followers before sharing it with them.
Influencer marketing is very different from traditional marketing. In traditional marketing, you target the market directly. You could target them with content or ads.
In influencer marketing, what you’re doing is building relationships with influencers. You entice them to try your product or service for free. If they believe that it’ll deliver immense value to their followers, they recommend it.
Why Try Influencer Marketing?
With influencer marketing, you can build a well-known brand within a short time.
You’re aren’t building an audience from scratch to sell your product or service. You’re leveraging the relationship influencers have with their followers.
When you leverage that relationship the right way, you can build a profitable, successful company within a year.
Below are some reasons you should try influencer marketing over the traditional marketing approach.
People Trust People
People don’t trust companies. They trust people. That’s why Circle Surrogacy uses stories of surrogates and intended parents on their blog.
That’s why you see brands like Nike and Coca-Cola use influencers to promote their products. They know that if people trust those influencers, they’ll buy their products.
That’s why you’re more likely to read product reviews before buying a product. Amazon knows this quite well. That’s why they encourage buyers to leave reviews on Amazon.
Consumers want to read authentic reviews like the one in the below screenshot on Amazon.
I’ve bought products on Amazon many times, and there isn’t a time I didn’t read reviews before buying.
Social media is another place people go for recommendations before buying a product or service. Social media users want to know what their friends and family are saying about a particular product or service before they purchase it.
Influencers are people too. The difference between them and ordinary social media users is that they had put in the time to build an audience. Their followers trust and respect them.
Some influencers have spent 2 – 5 years building relationships with their followers. So, their followers have known them for some time.
They wouldn’t want to recommend a fake, low-quality product or service to their followers. They value the relationships they’ve spent months or years building.
And their followers know this, which is why they’re would be willing to buy any product or service these influencers recommend.
Influencers Know What Their Followers Want
If an influencer doesn’t like your product or service because of a reason, it certainly means that their followers won’t like it for that reason too.
Influencers know what their followers want. They know their followers’ needs. They know the content they engage with.
So, developing a relationship with an influencer is a quick way to know if the consumers would accept your product or service.
By communicating with influencers, you’ll get a ton of insights about your target market. You can use an influencer platform to learn, observe, measure, and analyze prospects’ behaviors.
So, the quickest way to learn about your ideal customers is through influencers. They have some information that will tell you some things you need to know about the market.
You’ll Gain More Leads
Influencer marketing is a form of word-of-mouth marketing.
There are billions of social media users in the world. The people who may be interested in your product follow some influencers.
So, when an influencer shares your product or service with their audience, people who haven’t seen your company before would become aware of it.
They may check it out by visiting your website. And when a prospect visits your site and gives you their email address, they become a lead.
The more visitors you have on your site, the more leads you’ll gain. A single Tweet about your brand on Twitter could send tens of thousands of visitors to your website, helping you gain more leads.
For example, let’s assume that you have a startup that sells to SEO practitioners. If an SEO influencer like Rand Fishkin Tweet about your startup, that could send thousands of visitors to your website.
What Influencers Do
What you want an influencer to do depends on you. But note that whatever you ask an influencer to do should feel natural. Maybe, something they could’ve done themselves.
Here’re some things influencers can do to grow your business:
1. Link to your website
You may ask an influencer to link to your website in a piece that promotes your product or service. Sponsored content is an example of this.
Depending on the agreement, you or the influencer may create the content. The content could be a blog post that educates and entertains the influencer’s audience.
Somewhere in the post, a link can point to your site along with a call-to-action.
For example, SEMrush, a company that sells digital marketing solutions, published a sponsored post on the Search Engine Journal. The post strategically promotes solutions from SEMrush.
You can do something similar to this on your influencer’s website.
2. An influencer can write about you
In this scenario, you ask an influencer to review your product or service.
The influencer could also compare your product or service with your competitors. If your product or service is better than them, the influencer should write how and why. Prospects would like to know.
Matthew Woodward, an SEO consultant, and influencer wrote a review of Ahrefs.
Getting reviews like this from influencers will increase your sales.
3. Ask an influencer to publish on your site, social media, or speak at your event
Some influencers are willing to guest post on your website. When they do that, they’ll share it with their followers on social media.
Their followers would have to visit your blog to read what they wrote. This works great if the influencer writes a lot on their blog, and they have huge readership and followers on social media platforms.
If the influencer is active on social media, you may ask them to do a social media takeover. The influencer takes over your account and shares things with your followers. They announce this in advance to their followers.
When they do, their followers will come over to your social media account to see what the influencer is sharing on it.
You can also invite an influencer to speak at your event. This works great for businesses that host events for their customers regularly.
The influencer will tell their followers about the event. Some of them may attend it to see the influencer speak.
4. Promote your company at an event
Some influencers get invitations to speak at events regularly. When they talk at these events, they sometimes mention companies, products, and services they use.
They may mention you at one of these events if it isn’t disallowed or unacceptable. That’ll help increase awareness of your product and services.
5. Share posts or updates about your company on social media
Most influencers talk about various companies, products, or services their followers may be interested in. You can reach out to an influencer to share your company too. Of course, you may have to pay a fee for that.
The post could be a text, video, image, or infographic.
Note that there are some guidelines influencers must follow when sharing branded content on social media platforms. Each platform has its posting guidelines. You may want to read it before paying an influencer.
The Step-by-Step Guide to Building Rock Solid Relationships with Influencers
Now that you fully understand what influencer marketing means, it’s time to start building relationships with the right influencers to promote your brand.
So, what’s the first step?
Step 1: Know your goals for doing influencer marketing
This step is critical to the success of your influencer marketing campaign. Before you contact any influencer, you should know what you want to achieve with influencer marketing.
Below are some goals:
- Reach an audience that needs your product or service
- Drive targeted traffic to your website
- Build your email list with qualified leads
- Create interesting branded content people read
- Drive engagement around your brand or product
- Generate authentic product reviews
- Drive more sales
Your goal may be different from the above. And you may have one or more goals.
Once you’ve chosen your goal for doing influencer marketing, it’s time to move to the next step.
Step 2: Describe your ideal influencer
Have a clear description of the kind of influencer you want to promote your product or service. Every influencer that’s out there isn’t for your brand.
Ensure that your prospects follow and trust this influencer before contacting them.
Each influencer you contact must:
- Share high-quality content with their followers regularly
- Engage with their followers
- Has a large and an engaged following with lots of likes and comments on every content they post
- Be truthful in their speech and behavior
- Shares content related to your brand
Keep in mind that the number of followers an influencer has doesn’t matter as long as it’s above 10,000. I recommend the influencer has a following between 10,000 – 100,000.
Pay attention to the number of engagements their posts receive. If their posts don’t get any likes or shares and comments, then you shouldn’t contact them.
For example, Sophie may have about 12,000 followers on Instagram, she receives a good number of engagements from them.
Step 3: Get an influencer that fits your brand
There are lots of influencers out there. But few of them fit your brand.
Find the right influencer your prospects follow.
The influencer can be an animal. For example, the Thoughts of Dog has about 2.9 million followers on Twitter.
People follow influencers for the tips, reviews, and trends they share. So, it’s common for an influencer to stick to certain topics like health, fitness, entertainment, technology, etc.
And keep in mind that some influencers may spend more time on a particular social media platform than others.
For example, an Instagram influencer may not have much following on Twitter or Facebook. So, you should only collaborate with such influencers on Instagram.
An influencer may also spend far more time blogging than doing social media.
For example, an influencer may receive 100,000 visits on their blog and have 2,000 followers on Instagram. For this influencer, you may want to create a sponsored post on their blog instead of asking them to share your content on Instagram.
Ensure that the influencer’s followers are your prospects. For example, if the followers are dads, and your customers are teenagers, then you shouldn’t work with that influencer.
Finding the right influencer is the hardest part. You may have to use different keywords on Google and various social media platforms your prospects use. This part will take some time, but it’s the most rewarding part.
I do manual research a lot because I get to see how social media users engage with influencers.
Kate McCulley is a travel blogger. By visiting her Instagram profile, I was able to see how her followers respond to her posts.
Fortunately, there’re some tools you can use to find influencers quickly.
BuzzStream is my favorite tool for finding influencers. It’s so easy to use. The tool has a browser extension that lets you research websites you find on the web.
For example, when you land on a blog in your niche, you can add it to a list to see more information about that blog and person behind it.
You can also use keywords to find influencers that are related to your niche.
NinjaOutreach is another influencer research tool I like a lot. The tool has over 25 million websites in its database. You can use it to research influencers on Twitter and Instagram.
And like BuzzStream, NinjaOutreach also has a browser extension.
PeerReach is another excellent alternative to the above two. The tool easily lets you see the people that matter in a niche.
It connects you with the right influencers who can help you promote your brand.
Step 4: Contact and offer fair compensation
After you’ve found some influencers that fit your brand using one of the above tools and some manual research on Google and others, it’s time to start reaching out.
Don’t be afraid to contact an influencer. These influencers probably receive 10 – 100 pitches per day. The problem is that most of these pitches are from people who didn’t do their research.
Since you’ve taken your time to learn about the influencer and know what their followers like to read and share, they’ll be more receptive to your offer.
Ensure that you offer fair compensation. Don’t price the influencer too low. It might appear as a disrespect.
Some influencers would want more, of course. Be willing to negotiate.
Step 5: Track and analyze your KPIs
Key performance indicators (KPIs) are the metrics you’ll be tracking to see how well your campaign is doing.
For example, if your goal is engagement, then you want to ensure that you’re hitting the number of likes and comments you set for the campaign.
And if your goal is to make more sales, you also want to ensure that the influencer will help you gain a great number of customers.
Always track and analyze your KPIs. It’s how you know if influencer marketing is working for your business, or not.
And that’s it! You can use influencer marketing to increase awareness of your brand and boost sales. This article is the complete influencer marketing guide you need to succeed.
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