Influencer marketing is a hot topic in the digital marketing space, and it’s only going to get bigger and better as new platforms launch and content creators continue to produce epic content in collaboration with businesses large and small.
Whether you are just starting out with influencer marketing or are knee-deep in the field but could use a helping hand, here is a step-by-step guide to kick-starting influencer marketing for your business.
Before you get started, have a read of these other posts from around the blog as background knowledge to help you understand what influencer marketing is and why it is so important.
- What Is Influencer Marketing
- 24 Reasons Why Brands Should Work With Influencers
- What You Need To Know About Working With Influencers
Okay, now you are ready to roll! Here is our step-by-step guide to influencer marketing, from strategy and influencer research to campaign optimisation and reporting. We’ve got everything you need to know from end-to-end so you can start planning how you are going to execute your influencer marketing strategy.
Step 1 - Strategy
The first step to an influencer marketing campaign is strategy development - you can't just "wing it" and hope for the best. Develop a plan of attack and be sure to consider the following points carefully:
- Budget - How much money are you willing to invest in your influencer marketing campaign? Do you have a budget to sponsor content, pay influencers for their time and effort or commit to a paid content distribution model? If so, how much? It's also important to think about how many contra products/services you can allocate to your influencer marketing, as each influencer will have to receive at least one complimentary product or service in order to adequately create content about your business.
- Timeframe - What is the timeframe you are working with, and does content need to be published by a deadline? When thinking about a timeframe in your strategy, it can be a good idea to build a timeline of the steps you need to take from end to end with due dates for each step to ensure you can keep the ball rolling and launch the influencer marketing campaign on time. This is especially important if your influencer marketing is to promote a seasonal collection (e.g. winter coats, summer holiday activities) or is to align with a new product launch.
- Platform - You have to choose the right platform for you and your industry to target in an influencer marketing campaign to ensure your campaign is successful. Each social media platform is fantastic for a specific industry and audience demographic, so make sure you are focusing on engaging influencers who are popular on your most engaged platform.
- Demographic - Who do you want to target? This is the most important part of the strategy because, without an understanding of your target market, you cannot create a campaign tailored to them.
- Promotion - Do you want to promote a particular product or service, or the business as a whole? Your strategy should revolve around your key product or service offering, or the brand as a whole if you are just entering the market. If you don't have a plan on what you are actually going to promote, you can't communicate that to the influencers you are working with, and they, therefore, cannot share the message with their audience.
- Activity - What will their content look like? Read 13 Types of Influencer Marketing Campaigns To Complement Your Digital Marketing Strategy to inspire some ideas on how you are going to work with influencers and what content they will produce. There are so many ways businesses can work with influencers, so think outside the box and develop an influencer activity that is mutually beneficial and hits your KPIs. It could be a hosted competition, affiliate arrangement, ambassador partnership, sponsored blog post, social media shout out... the possibilities really are endless and there is no right or wrong activity when it comes to influencer marketing.
- KPI’s and measuring success - What are your goals and what results do you want the influencer marketing campaign to drive? Whether it is exposure and awareness, increased sales or social media growth, think about your KPIs and how you will measure success, and don't forget to set some goals (it could be $10,000 in sales or 100 new email sign-ups) to strive towards and help focus your efforts.
Step 2 - Discovery
Once you have your strategy in place and understand your goals and targets, it’s time to start the discovery phase and find the influencers that are the right fit for your brand. Influencer research can be time-consuming and tedious, but it doesn’t have to be!
The Scrunch platform makes influencer discovery easy, and displays all of the metrics you need throughout the discovery phase in one simple platform - check out the gif below! However, we know you're not all using Scrunch (although you should be) so you'll have to search for and discover influencers manually. There are a number of ways to get started and build your list - search popular hashtags, research your competitors and other brands in your industry and use your search engines. If you're still struggling to find influencers in your niche, check out our top tips for discovering influencer manually here. You might also find our guide to spotting a digital influencer in 60 seconds helpful too so you know exactly what to look for when you land on a potential influencer's page and consider whether they will be a good fit.
Step 3 - Outreach
When you have finalised a list of target influencers that you would love to collaborate with, it’s time to reach out and start the conversation. Introduce yourself, talk about your business and explain how you’d love them to be involved. Give them some ideas on how the partnership might work, provide any information that is required and gauge their interest in collaborating, but don’t overwhelm. It’s also important to ask influencers for their media kit and rate card at this stage of the process, so you can get an idea of their audience and important metrics, such as audience demographics, website traffic and social media reach. A media kit will also give you an idea of how you can work together and what is involved, especially in terms of payment and compensation.
Be polite, informative and conversational (without being informal) in your outreach emails, and steer clear of coming across as demanding or overwhelming - there is nothing that is more off-putting to an influencer. If this is the first time you are reaching out to influencers, don’t panic. We put our top tips together in this blog post to help you nail your influencer outreach emails and get a response!
When you search the directory in Scrunch you can see the influencer's contact details and get in touch directly from the platform.
Step 4 - Collaboration
Hooray - you have found and contacted a number of influencers and they’re starting to get back to you expressing their interest in the collaborative opportunity. You’re now on your way to kicking off your influencer marketing campaign!
Step four of the influencer marketing process is to start collaborating with your chosen influencers. This is where you talk about how you are going to work together and what is expected from both parties. There is often a lot of back and forth in this step, as you are both understanding the best way to work together that will be mutually beneficial. If you're in the same city, it is a great idea to meet with the influencer to get to know each other, form a personal working relationship and start brainstorming some ideas on how you can collaborate. If you're unable to meet in person, conversing on the phone or by email is totally fine, as long as you are informative and clear.
As you confirm the collaboration and how you are going to work together, it is a good idea to put the agreement in writing so both you and the influencer understand the expectations, timeline, and KPIs. It doesn't have to be a formal contract, but it is good to have in writing to refer back to throughout the process or if any problems come up.
When organizing influencer collaborations the possibilities are endless, but just be sure you don’t do one of these things when working with influencers!
Step 5 - Campaign Support
After you have organised the engagement and influencer requirements, you will move into a supportive role to help the influencers create epic content about your brand. After all, social media users and consumers only engage with good content, so your influencer content needs to be brilliant. Gift or loan them product to shoot with, provide a press release with information about the brand so they don’t have to research, be available for an interview, suggest content ideas and aesthetic, give them all of your contact details and links to include, supply tracking links (if applicable), be responsive on email, create a unique discount code for their followers… do everything you can on your end to help make their content better.
This step is all about being supportive both behind-the-scenes and publicly, so make sure you share their content across your platforms by retweeting, repinning, regramming and sharing on Facebook. This will increase the reach of their content and will also reinforce your message with your established community. It's great to share influencer content on your platforms (read our guide to regram etiquette here) but refrain from publishing their content on your blog, in your newsletter and in catalogues or on other marketing materials unless you have permission and a joint copyright agreement.
Step 6 - Optimization
When an influencer campaign goes live, monitor it closely so you can immediately start to track how it is going and directly interact with the engagement on the post. If something is working well, help increase the reach of an influencer post by offering to sponsor their content on a paid campaign (this works really well for Facebook or Outbrain). If you haven’t boosted a Facebook post before, read our step-by-step guide here.
When it comes to optimization, think of ways you can make the influencer engagement bigger and better, and get the most out of the opportunity. You could adapt the call-to-action, create more content with a different product/service or talk about publishing the campaign across multiple platforms. You might also be able to use one of these tips to help optimize the campaign, drive more traffic to your website and convert users into customers from influencer marketing.
Step 7 - Reporting and ROI Analysis
You’re almost there! Now that your influencer marketing campaign has been published and you have some data to analyze, it’s time to start reporting on the collaboration and measuring the ROI. If you’re using scrunch, this can be quick and easy as all of the metrics you need (from you and the influencer) are right in front of you - engagement, reach, Google Analytics data… the lot.
If you’re generating your report manually, start with your web analytics and/or eCommerce data platform. Some important metrics to consider in your reporting and ROI analysis include:
- Website Traffic - Was there an increase in traffic and new users to your website immediately after the influencer campaign? If so, this suggests the campaign was successful in increasing exposure and awareness to potential new customers.
- Sales Data - Can you attribute sales to the influencer campaign? If you have Google Analytics eCommerce tracking enabled, you can analyze whether the activity generated direct sales immediately, or over a period of time. It is also important to understand whether sales increased in general after the campaign and whether they can be attributed to an increase in brand awareness and exposure.
- Social Media Growth - Did you see a growth in your social media platforms after the influencer campaign? While this may not equate to sales in the short-term, new social media followers enter the top of the sales funnel and will eventually (whether it is in days, weeks or years) become a paying customer and loyal member of your tribe. Don't discount a growth in social media followers, as it is still an important aspect in community development and growth. It's also a sign that people love what you are doing and intrigued to see what you do next, which is the ultimate form of flattery.
- Referral Sources - Where are your referrals coming from and has there been a change since the influencer campaign? Analyze where your referrals are coming from and if they have changed since the influencer marketing campaign. Understanding your referral sources will give you a good idea of what is working and what is not, so you can replicate or pivot next time.
- Users - Finally, an increase in unique users landing on your website is a good indication that the influencer campaign was successful in raising brand awareness and exposure among consumers who are interested in your product/service offering. When you start to see a growth in returning visitors, this suggests consumers are consistently returning to your website in preparation to ake a purchase.
- Influencer Insights - If you want to include data and metrics from the influencer, you can do this from your scrunch account, or alternatively you can contact the influencer post campaign and ask for a snapshot of their data, such as the pageviews and impressions of a particular post.
So there you have it, the ultimate step-by-step guide to influencer marketing! If this has been helpful, I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below! Likewise, if you have any questions about managing an influencer marketing campaign from end-to-end.
If you’re short on time and resources but want to incorporate influencer marketing into your digital strategy, don’t forget we can do it all for you! We have a team ready and waiting to plan and implement your next influencer marketing campaign, so don’t hesitate to get in touch and we can help you through this process or manage it completely on your behalf. Email me anytime to learn more about how we can help: firstname.lastname@example.org.