With the rise of social media bloggers, independent content creators, and celebrity engagement, influencer marketing has gained extreme popularity. Working with influencers allows businesses to expand their reach on social media, increase engagement, and build a solid brand.
In fact, more brands plan to run an in-house influencer campaign in 2022 due to the constantly increasing status of this marketing strategy. However, instead of treating it as a customer acquisition source, think of an influencer as someone offering your tools and services to thousands, if not millions of people. Pretty simple, right?
So how do you create a successful influencer marketing strategy for your business? What plan to follow and what metrics to use for tracking success?
In this complete guide, we will cover the basics of influencer marketing and go into more detail about the whole process.
What is Influencer Marketing and How Does it Work?
Starting with the fundamentals, let’s clearly define the idea of influencer marketing. Some say it’s all about celebrity endorsement, others believe it can be successfully done with the help of not-so-famous bloggers as well.
While these statements are true, here’s a more clear definition.
Influencer marketing is a strategy that brands use for promotional purposes by partnering up with popular social media bloggers and, sometimes, celebrities.
You see influencers on almost all social media platforms – Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, etc., and you can see them in different spheres of marketing, in social media marketing, SMS marketing, branding marketing, and others. These people have built their audiences, share engaging and relevant content, and can simply influence their followers’ buying decisions. As users, it works on all of us. When you see your favorite food blogger use cooking tools from a certain brand, you might think “Well, these must be great to have.”
But what exactly can influencer marketing add to your overall strategy?
The Benefits of Influencer Marketing for Your Business
Influencers can come from different countries, offer various types of content, and suggest growth metrics for businesses. While it highly depends on who you’re working with, here are some fundamental benefits of influencer marketing for your brand.
Improved Brand Awareness and Audience Reach
Most of the time, influencers have a huge base of followers which helps their business partners reach out to more people. While you can promote your brand products and services on your own, it’s a bit of an old strategy. A more popular approach is to collaborate with influencers who will share your brand and its values with their audience.
The main reason for this is that influencers have a genuine connection with their followers, they are trusted by these people, so this is an excellent opportunity for you to build credibility for your brand. When an influencer recommends, reviews, or promotes certain products, their followers are more likely to, at least, come check it out. This will now only increase your reach, but also affect brand awareness in your market.
On the other hand, you should make sure your content is engaging, so, that when some new traffic arrives on your social media or website, they will be interested to stay with your brand.
Increase in Sales
With the influence they have on their audience, content creators can easily affect their purchase decisions as well. People trust and respect the influencers they follow online which opens new doors to boost your brand sales. This is another way to leverage your influencer marketing strategy.
How does this work though?
When seeing their favorite influencer use your brand products, people will have a more positive reception of it. This will lead them to check out what you have to offer and make purchases. Again, this highly depends on the social media platform you’ve chosen, how smooth your collaboration is, and many other factors. This part is even more essential to consider for businesses that have practiced selling online, as the main part of their income is highly dependent on increased sales and sales processes.
Flexible for any Business
Most influencers are experts and thought-leaders in their industry, be it health, food, fashion, technology, or anything else. Nowadays, it’s almost impossible to not find bloggers and visual content creators who speak about the topics you’re interested in. The same goes for businesses: brands from all industries can find suitable influencers to partner with.
Regardless of the size, market, or budget of your brand, all companies have access to collaborate with influencers. Even blockchain projects; cryptocurrencies, exchanges and NFTs, being a very complex topic, can benefit from collaborating with influencers, and getting more customers for their projects. Also, with the rise of crypto and digital coins, there are a lot of industry influencers you can work with. They will help share the news about decentralized finance, coin and project overviews and trading suggestions. The most important part is to choose an influencer who won’t damage your brand’s reputation. . The flexibility of this industry offers multiple solutions for different brands. So, yours is no exception.
For example, if you’re a small business and are just getting started, you can work with micro-influencers. Over time, as your brand grows, you may be able to allocate a bigger budget to influencer marketing campaigns. In the future, you can even collaborate with celebrities.
Especially for brands that haven’t yet established a solid presence in their industry, influencer marketing is a great solution in terms of time. As you collaborate with people who are already popular in your industry, you can increase brand awareness and gain fans faster.
To plan online ad campaigns, use email marketing, or social media for promotion, you need time and resources. However, if you choose to go with an influencer marketing campaign, you will have the chance to outsource everything and save a lot of time for other business growth methods.
As you can see, with the fast development of word-of-mouth marketing, influencer marketing has become one of the top-preferred options for promotion. Influencers can give you the perfect chance to meet new prospects and reach out to them. Moreover, they will represent your brand in a more credible way, so that you won’t have to spend extra time, money, or effort to build trust towards your products or services.
Now you may ask does the same goes for all social media platforms? Can I simply collaborate with influences on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube, and expect huge gains? The answer is no. You need to research and pay separate attention to the chosen social media platforms. Make sure to continue reading to find out how.
How to Choose the Right Social Media Platforms?
With so many social media channels available, it seems like a maze to pick the right communication platform for your brand. Especially if you’ll be working with an individual, you might want to do some deep research before getting into the process. Maybe they would prefer getting contacted via phone in which case you will need to use call services. Or, if it needs to be an email, you might as well get email marketing services.
Do I have to be on every platform? Which social platform will be the most beneficial for my brand? Should I use multichannel marketing? If these and similar questions are popping into your head, let’s discover the most popular social media platforms for influencer marketing separately, so that you can see their advantages, compare, and choose the right one for you.
If your brand is just getting started with influencer marketing, Instagram is the perfect spot to begin. First of all, the platform offers a variety of content, from fashion and lifestyle to teaching professional skills and showing their art. Secondly, it’s pretty cost-effective, especially if you dig in deep and find the most popular micro-influencers in your industry. Lastly, according to research, the number of Instagram users keeps increasing, so your brand needs to be where most people are.
Some points to consider when considering Instagram:
- Millennials and GenZ make up the majority of Instagram users, so don’t miss the chance of reaching out to them.
- Instagram keeps adding new features and content opportunities, so it’s a pretty flexible platform for businesses.
When it comes to video content, YouTube is the go-to. If you’ve done audience research and have found out that they prefer consuming video content more, it’s time to look for influencers from this platform.
With the wide range of users in terms of demography, YouTube can be used to appear in front of various age groups, whether they are 18 or 55 years old.
In recent years, YouTube has become popular in launching podcasts as well, as due to podcast tools, they are considered to be an effective form of engaging with audiences, so consider working with YouTube influencers, who also create engaging podcasts. This will increase the opportunity to communicate with the target audience and make your content more attractive.
For example, if your business runs in the gaming industry, you can reach out to PewDiePie, a channel that does game reviews. This way, you could make more people in your new game releases.
This social media platform has seen unexpected growth in the last few years. Most businesses have realized the importance of TikTok and the magic it can do in terms of engagement and better brand awareness. Depending on the age of your target audience, you can use the large creative pool of influencers that create and share videos around different topics.
The main focus of TikTok is to keep up with constantly changing trends of various domains. If your brand aims to bring something fresh and unique to its audience, then you should definitely go for TikTok influencer marketing campaigns. Even though it might be hard to bring your audience from TikTok to your website, for example, a high engagement and better brand awareness are guaranteed.
Compared to Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok, Facebook is the social platform to reach out to an older audience most of the time. While the first three work best for sharing visual stories and building your brand through images and/or videos, Facebook is more prone to longer types of posts. These posts can help explain complex things, share company news about a product/service, and convert your audience. Moreover, you can also use Facebook ads to attract and engage a bigger number of people with your brand.
According to research from Statista, only 3.8% of Facebook users are aged 13-17, which leaves you with the answer of whether or not you should be using Facebook. Moreover, this social media platform also offers groups and communities which can be helpful for influencer marketing as well.
Starting from the right social media channel is the most important step in influencer marketing as it will determine whether you’ll reach out to the right audience. So, make sure to do your homework and then choose the proper one for your brand.
Now that we’ve discussed the fundamentals of influencer marketing, let’s get into more details about how you can craft a winning strategy in 2022.
Guide to Building a Successful Influencer Marketing Strategy in 2022
As a brand, it’s important to use programmatic advertising, SEO, social media, and other digital marketing techniques one by one. However, people are seeing thousands of ads every day and only something very appealing and creative will get the audience’s attention faster. A creative approach to this is influencer marketing which will help tell your brand’s story with the help of popular content creators. By the way, if you have a business in such a specific field as SaaS, it would be better to seek help from a SaaS content marketing agency to make sure your content is created as relevant as possible to your niche.
But how do you get into this process? What’s the first step, and what should you focus on while working with an influencer?
In this mini-guide, we w
1. Review and Set Your Goals
The very first thing step is to understand why you need influencer marketing and what your expectations are from the campaign. While this type of promotion can bring better brand awareness, trust in your business, and more conversions, you need to figure out what part of influencer marketing aligns with your business goals.
You can leverage influencer collaborations for various purposes: when launching a new product, trying to bring more website traffic, organizing employee training for social media managers by integrating new approaches in the social media strategy, engaging audiences, and for other reasons. The goals you set will determine how you plan your strategy, the metrics you will choose, and the expectations you will have.
The process of goal-setting includes determining the KPIs you want to achieve through your campaign. This helps understand and review results in a more professional way. So, here are the most essential KPIs you need to focus on to track progress:
- Conversions. In almost all types of marketing campaigns, getting potential prospects to convert is the number one goal, and influencer marketing is no exception. A simple way of tracking this metric is keeping up with how the sales rates have changed before, during, and after the campaign. Additionally, you can set up UTM parameters, use promo codes, and link tracking techniques.
- Traffic. Apart from conversions, it’s also important to track the number of visitors your campaign has brought to your website. Make sure you have the fastest WordPress hosting, to keep the visitors on your website and don’t lose them because of the site speed. This is because most of the time conversions don’t tell the whole story as this metric can also improve due to user-optimized landing pages, engaging social content, and other factors. On the other hand, monitoring traffic results will show not only the engagement rate but also campaign reach.
- Reach. Speaking of reaching out to new audiences, a partnership with influencers will help get in touch with popular content creators in your industry. These people have already built a solid group of followers so it’s a good chance to spread the word about your brand among them. But how can you measure this metric more precisely? While you can get into the maze of hundreds of metrics, the most important one is the impression rate in this case. This data is available on your brand’s as well as your influencer’s social media analytics. If you need to, you can also use additional tools such as Google Analytics.
- Audience. The above-discussed metrics are all connected to growing your audience, but this doesn’t mean that they certainly will. You still need to track how much your brand audience has grown separately. This is because you not only want to reach out to new prospects but also need to convert them into loyal customers and increase customers to call your campaign successful. Again, social media analytics comes to the rescue by helping you track and compare results.
There are a lot of ways to track and measure the success of your influencer marketing campaign. However, to find out existing gaps and be able to make the right changes, you will need to focus on proper metrics and KPIs.
2. Find the Right Influencers for Your Business
The success of your influencer marketing campaign highly depends on the people you’re working with. While you may have a big budget or clear KPIs defined, collaborating with the wrong influencer will give you results on a scale of zero to nothing. Additionally, consider using various collaboration tools and task management platforms to make the collaboration more productive.
Before getting into the process, make sure to know what you’re looking for. As independent content creators, influencers have their own style, approach, and way of doing things. What are your business goals? What values do you want to share with your audience? Set a larger view of possible brand partnerships and get into the details separately. You can use email marketing to send chosen influencers a partnership offers, to look more professional, and to keep it on the working level. Make sure to focus on email security to avoid cyber attackers and protect your private information.
Additionally, creating a persona will also help see everything from your prospect’s point of view and will help put yourself in their shoes. Does everything look catchy? Will they be interested enough to convert? While you can’t control everything, this will still help set clear expectations.
So, now that you have set your campaign goals and know exactly what metrics to track, let’s try to find the perfect influencer.
- Research their content. Check out the different social media pages they have and see what they share regularly. This will help understand their views on different topics, reactions to various events, and how appealing their content is in general. Would you like your audience to resonate with your brand from the content of this influencer? How inspiring and engaging is their content? Are they active enough on a daily basis?
- Understand their authority in the industry. Even if your budget might not be enough to collaborate with a very famous influencer, you still need someone with a certain level of trust in their audience. By scrolling down on their pages or checking the comments section you will get an idea of how respected they are. Do they share enough expertise? Do followers trust their word and engage with it? Working with a thought leader will help build credibility for your brand as well.
- Check out the communities they’ve built. As the last step, you should take a look at different influencers’ follower bases. They might have a huge number of followers showing on Instagram which was built based on fake accounts. So, besides followers, don’t forget to check for the number of likes on an average post, the hashtags they use, comments, etc. The quality of your influencer’s followers will determine who your brand will be talking to.
As you can see, the trick here is to get a big list and narrow it down by filtering out all unnecessary data. In the end, this will leave you with the right ambassador for your brand.
3. Discuss Content Ideas
As soon as you find the ideal ambassadors for your brand, it’s time to brainstorm some campaign ideas. Since influencer marketing is growing its popularity, there are lots of companies already using this tactic. So, all you need for success is to stand out with appealing content.
Here are some content ideas you can start with to attract and retain new prospects through influencer marketing:
- Sponsored social media posts. These have been popular since the beginning of social media marketing, so they are inevitable. Even if sponsored posts may sound promotional, the audience will view them as advice from the influencer.
- DIY tips with your products. A smart way to include and promote certain products is by showing how to use them in daily simple tasks. If you are providing the services of an online logo maker, then shooting a short DIY video about how to make a logo in a few steps will be very useful and effective. Moreover, doing this with the help of an influencer can really help your brand get in front of a wider audience.
- Reviews. While the digital era has seen big growth, people still prefer the old tactics such as word-of-mouth. Most of the time, brands send their products to influencers as a gift. Later, they record an unboxing video and give positive reviews. After listening to the influencer’s opinion, people can decide whether to buy the product or not.
- Special offers and giveaways. As a user, you may have encountered contests and sweet deals from people on the Internet. Due to the mutually beneficial fact, giveaways are a popular practice in influencer marketing. Brands make partnerships with influencers and provide them with their products which they can use in the form of special offers for their audience. Because of more shares, reviews, and likes, this strategy can bring more engagement, improved sales leads, and more sales in the long term.
- Individual interviews. Fans and followers are always excited to hear from their favorite influencers. Moreover, they are even more interested to find out the brands and individuals these influencers admire. If your brand is big, this can be a great chance for your fans to reach out to you and ask questions. On the other hand, if it’s small, an interview with industry influencers will help spread the word about your brand and get acquainted with new groups of people.
You may have already established the type of content you will share with the help of influencers. But if you run out of ideas or are just getting started with an influencer campaign, these ideas can be very helpful. Additionally, you can also brainstorm with your influencers, discover what content helps engage their audience better, and create more successful pieces.
4. Keep Up With Your Influencer Marketing ROI
Finding the right influencers and sharing great content is not enough. To track results and understand whether your strategy is right, you will need to check the changes it brings to your marketing ROI.
You will need to begin by clearly defining your goals and KPIs for your influencer marketing campaign. Next, you should choose the most effective platform and the perfect influencers for your brand.
But we’ve already completed all of these steps. So, what’s next?
Since calculating your ROI is mostly based on the metrics you’ll choose, let’s define some of the basic ones. This list includes:
- Landing page visits on your website
- Social media followers gains
- Number of new customers
- Engagement rates
- Overall scale marketing and grown revenue
With this task completed, it’s time to get to your campaign costs.
- Using products for giveaways and special offers. If you’ve chosen to go with this type of content, don’t forget to add this point to your expense list.
- Influencer fees. As an obvious step, this cost will depend on many factors, such as their popularity, audience, etc. But you still need to clearly discuss and write down this number.
- Time. Most importantly, you’ll be spending some time on your influencer marketing campaign which is also a type of cost from the business growth perspective. So, make sure to define the campaign timeframes precisely.
To keep up with your ROI, you will need to track these costs during the campaign so that you can calculate its results more simply.
In the next phase, we get to the fun part of the process-returns! Depending on a lot of factors, such as your goals and expenses, the type of gains you get will change. But here’s what you can consider:
- Engagement ROI in terms of comments, followers, likes, video views, etc.
- Brand awareness ROI that comes as the number of shares and impressions.
- Sales ROI where you should be looking at metrics such as cost per acquisition, revenue, etc.
Once you understand the balance between your costs and returns, you can calculate your ROI. Here’s the simple formula you will use:
(Return / Cost) X 100 = ROI
While it won’t give you an exact number of your gains from the campaign, you can still get some idea of what to expect. Therefore, you will be able to plan your budget better, which is the topic of our next point.
5. Plan and Set Your Budget
The influencer marketing industry is booming, and you shouldn’t stay behind. Moreover, according to statistics, marketers will increase their influencer budget up to $4.6 billion in the US alone.
So, there’s no denying that you should include it in your marketing strategy. But what if you still don’t consider it a good idea to invest in this type of strategy? This is why you need to do proper budget planning and see whether you can allocate a certain amount of financial resources to an influencer marketing campaign. In the meantime, you can use billing management software to make the business transactions more smooth and more professional.
The budget you define will highly depend on the goals, metrics, and calculations you’ve completed in previous steps. So, for now, we will discuss how you can plan your budget smartly.
But, before we get to that, let’s understand the common influencer pricing numbers:
- Nano influencers with less than 10,000 followers charge around $100/post.
- Mirco influencers who have up to 100,000 followers charge around $100 – $1,000/post.
- Macro influencers with around 1,000,000 followers charge almost 1,000 – $10,000/post.
- Celebrities charge around $10K+/post.
Now that we have this, you need to use two important metrics in your calculations: LTV (Customer Lifetime Value) and CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost.) You might be familiar with these from planning your general marketing campaign, so don’t forget to put an extra focus this time as well. When it comes to influencer marketing, the first metric is the amount of money you allocated to the average customer throughout their lifespan. The second one is the amount of money you’ve spent to acquire that customer. Ideally, you should come to the following equation:
This means that if you spend $1 on acquiring a customer, for example, you should make $3 at the end of the campaign.
But what does this have to do with your budget? In the next step, we’ll be calculating an approximate budget. If you have estimated the expected number of conversions, you will simply need to multiply CAC by that number. Then, subtract the CAC for those estimated conversions from the LTV. And there you have it!
Keep in mind that you can always start with a small budget and grow eventually as you see results. Again, you can’t predict exact numbers for anything, but you can always keep track of how these numbers are changing and whether they provide the results you expect. By the way, you can save your budget in the form of cryptocurrencies and always keep track in Crypto Heatmap where you can determine where liquidity is in the market and don’t worry about safety. Later, as you have some financial data gathered, it will be easier to plan the next influencer marketing campaign. And maybe this time you will go bigger.
6. Track Campaign Results
So far, we’ve done huge work on determining the necessary KPIs, estimating costs, and even calculating the allocated budget. Now the time has come to track, by doing social media management, and enjoy your influencer marketing campaign results.
To make the process more simple, here are some tips to help you get started:
- Analyze traffic from your influencer marketing campaign. Even though more traffic may not always mean more sales or conversions, it can still give you a brief view of whether the campaign is attractive and engaging enough. To be more exact, you can track two metrics: Page visitors and the number of signups. This way, you can get an understanding of how many people visited your website and how many of them converted.
- Consider using coupon codes. Simple as it sounds, this is a great way to actually track the real ROI of your influencer marketing campaign. How does it work? You can simply compare the expenses you made to work with the influencer and the sales they could generate from your provided coupon code. In the end, you’ll see how many purchases were made and whether the partnership is worth continuing.
- Use affiliate links. These trackable links are another simple option to get a clear performance of your influencer marketing campaign. In this case, you will need to use an analytics tool to determine specific numbers needed.
- Don’t forget UTM parameters. Another great way of real-time tracking, this makes your influencers work with a unique link. In short, you create and assign a certain URL to your influencer, then use the UTM code via email, social, or other means so that you can track how successful the campaign was. Again, you will need an analytics tool such as Google Analytics to get clear insights.
Additionally, here are some tools you should consider to track and measure your influencer marketing success:
- Grin if you’re in the B2B eCommerce business industry
- CreatorIQ which provides additional metrics
- NeoReach which specializes in using the social web for data
- AspireIQ which takes you through the whole influencer marketing process
You can use one or a combination of these tools to track campaign results and see whether all the time, effort, and money you spent was worth it. Moreover, you can always use other tools if you have anything in mind.
With the growth of digital marketing and branding, it’s getting more and more complex for businesses to expose their values and have more gains. Due to this fact, influencer marketing has gained a lot of popularity recently as the new form of word-of-mouth. People have always trusted the opinion of other people, in this case, their favorite influencers, so this shouldn’t be surprising.
However, there’s still a lot of work to do in the background: identifying your business goals, setting your KPIs, choosing the right influencers to collaborate with, etc. But now it shouldn’t seem complex, because we’ve discussed all the important aspects you need to craft a successful influencer marketing strategy. If you properly implement all the steps and tips mentioned above, you can easily leverage your influencer campaigns, grow your audience, and increase business performance results.
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