5 Steps To Get Started With Influencer Marketing
At its simplest, influencer marketing is a partnership between influential people and brands. Brands seek access to highly engaged, niche audiences and gain a human touch for delivering their message. Influencers seek a value exchange that provides income and exposure while building their personal brand.
⚡ Why Should I Try Influencer Marketing?
Looking at the fastest growing e-commerce companies of the last 10 years (Gymshark, Daniel Wellington, Swiish), influencer marketing has been a key component in their marketing mix. Influencer marketing has become such a vital channel today. It allows brands to effectively reach current and potential customers in their natural habitat – social media channels. The trend towards authentic, unfiltered, and native content calls for a need for brands to partner with relatable influencers.
Word-of-mouth is the most powerful advertising tool. When brands leverage influencer marketing, they are leveraging the influencers’ credibility as ambassadors to promote their brand, as well as the personal connection they have with their audience. ❤️ This allows brands to take advantage of word-of-mouth marketing in a whole different way to promote their brand. As a result, we see more brands and influencers collaborating to drive more relatable content to consumers. The benefits go far beyond reach and content. Most importantly, influencers add value to brands and products because their support gives credibility. Particularly in the fashion niche where products are not a necessity but an accessory, people only buy products if they think these products are cool. This social proof builds that cool factor and creates demand for your products. And this affects the performance of all your marketing channels.
Case Study: Daniel Wellington As A Pioneer of Influencer Marketing ⌚
Daniel Wellington is a watch brand which scaled from a $30K startup to a $228 million company as of 2015. A year after Instagram started in 2010, DW in 2011 pioneered influencer marketing by sharing their watches with people on Instagram who had a significant amount of influence. In exchange, these people posted on their Instagram pictures of themselves wearing the watches as a part of their lifestyle. It was accompanied by a discount code for their followers who aspired to be like them.
DW allowed influencers to showcase their own authentic creative freedom. They ensured a good landing page to support their influencer campaign. The collaboration enabled DW to quickly gain brand awareness and drove significant conversions. As influencer marketing evolved over the years, DW has also updated its strategies. It continued leveraging on such collaborations while still reaping the benefits of their earned media from 10 years ago.
Today, it is incredibly important for brands to leverage this kind of relationship with relatable influencers. They let influencer marketing work for them!
How To Work With Influencers in 5 Steps
1) Know Your Campaigns Goals and Objectives
As with every campaign, it is important for brands to be clear on detailed goals, objectives, and tactics. To get started, brands should put together a campaign brief to clarify the campaign marketing objectives, measurement metrics, and success criteria. The brief is primarily meant for internal use to determine the best setup for an influencer campaign or any other marketing efforts. But, the content can also be used to populate a separate brief or slide deck when reaching out to potential influencers.
Brands collaborate with influencers for a wide variety of reasons. The most common goal for small to medium businesses is driving conversions, increasing brand/ product awareness, or generating content. Understanding the specific idea of what a campaign aims to accomplish is particularly important, as a campaign is prone to failing if an influencer is unclear of the brand’s goal and mistakenly defines their own direction, opposite from what a brand has intended.
You can use this sample Influencer Campaign Brief to help you get started, and populate and refresh it as necessary as you go through this blog guide.
2) Identify & Evaluate Influencers
Influencers have evolved beyond the typical celebrity, to bloggers, key opinion leaders, and micro-influencers who are highly influential in their specific niche. Today, a common way of classifying influencers is by follower count:
|Type||Follower count||Average payment||Description|
|Nano influencers||1K-10K||$10-$100 per post||Typically has a very close relationship with their followers|
|Micro influencers||10K-100K||$100-$500 per post||Tend to specialize in a specific niche|
|Macro influencers||100K-1M||$500-$5,000 per post||Tend towards a broader appeal and lower engagement than micro-influencers due to larger follower count|
|Mega/ Celebrity influencers||1M+||$10,000+ per post||Typically are celebrities and tend to attract broader audiences|
How do I find influencers?
You should identify, shortlist, and evaluate influencers accordingly to your campaign goals, objectives, and budget. There are many ways a brand can identify influencers.
Firstly, begin with open research. Brands can identify potential influencers on various social media platforms (most commonly Instagram to begin with) via hashtags related to your brand, industry, or niche. Additionally, you can also conduct social listening to discover influencers who are already talking about your brands, or are already fans of your products and services.
Influencer Marketing Platforms
Secondly, if your campaign budget allows, you can leverage some freemium Influencer Marketing Platforms like HypeAuditor, Heepsy, Klear or Upfluence. You can search for appropriate influencers with filters on industry, social platform, follower count, etc.
Facebook Brands Collaboration Manager
Lastly, you can also explore Facebook’s Brands Collabs Manager, a tool meant to help brands and creators find, learn more about, and connect with each other. Brands can work through filters to discover influencers, set up a collaboration, and even make posts on behalf of creators. However, it is important to note that as of early 2021, there has not been mass adoption of this tool amongst most nano, micro, and macro influencers.
In general, as you discover influencers at this point, you should already begin to consider if they resonate with your brand and fit your campaign budget at a top level.
How do I shortlist influencers?
Once you have put together a group of influencers matching your brand interests, you should narrow the pool by assessing the true influence of each influencer. Then, consider how they can help you achieve your campaign goals and objectives vis-a-vis the budget you have allocated for.
Brands have moved beyond looking only at the follower count of an influencer to gauge their credibility. They now look at their engagement rate to understand their authenticity and true influence. This quantitative metric should tell you how much attention and action an influencer’s followers are taking on their content.
The Influencer Marketing Platforms listed above can help you calculate this automatically (as part of their free features).
Engagement rate = Total engagement across all posts (e.g. Likes, comments, shares) divided by the total number of followers (%)
The average influencer has an engagement rate of 2-3%. An engagement rate of 4-6% is considered excellent, while an engagement rate of >10% is considered viral.
You should also assess an influencer qualitatively by understanding how relevant their content is (e.g., their tone, niche, interests, skills, hobbies), and the potential relationship they can have with your brand (e.g., credibility, authenticity, if they have worked with competitors).
Based on these quantitative and qualitative metrics, you should end up with 4x influencers that you wish to eventually work with to accommodate for a safety buffer.
How much do I pay influencers?
There is no magic formula to the question of how much to pay an influencer. However, the factors that determine the price range of an influencer are similar to the factors brands use to shortlist them. Things like their follower count, engagement rate, and social platform, as well as campaign requirements, like effort required by influencers, and quantity of posts.
Once you derive an estimated influencer cost, you can benchmark it with your average advertising cost to get a rough idea of how this cost fits in your campaign budget at a high level, and adjust it accordingly.
Bob the Influencer has 100k followers and an engagement rate of 6%.
HypeAuditor suggests – $270 per post for Bob
Inzpire suggests – $220 per post for Bob
If we assume 45% of his followers (average) will see the content and multiply by $5 (average CPM on Instagram), the budget per post should be about $231.
Considering all data points, you may end up proposing reaching out to Bob with a payment structure of $240.
At this point, you should now end up with 2x influencers that you wish to eventually work with to accommodate for a safety buffer when reaching out to them.
3) Set Up An Influencer Agreement
Nice! 💯 You are now almost ready to reach out to them. This process begins with connecting with influencers with an Influencer Proposal, which subsequently turns into an Influencer Agreement when both parties agree to work together.
Brands can leverage their Influencer Campaign Brief for content while putting together the proposal. The content in an Influencer Proposal may differ according to your campaign needs. But as a rule of thumb, you should focus on the following in a proposal:
- Spark interest straight away (e.g., highlight free products, compensation, travel)
- Introduce your brand (e.g., what sets you apart from competitors, social cause)
- Highlight the value exchange (i.e., how does your brand and the influencers objectives match?)
- Share what is needed from them and general requirements (e.g., Number of posts required, brand guidelines)
- Provide them creative freedom instead of micro-managing their creatives (i.e., issuing creative challenges rather than creative commands generally results in higher engagement and allows brands to talk to audiences that they might not have been able to otherwise)
Besides these areas of focus, it is important for brands to reflect on these following high-level questions. This is because they form the foundation of the brand-influencer relationship and the content direction:
- What is the best way we can let our influencers experience products/ services?
- How do we let our influencers create as freely as possible while still being aligned to our brand? Can we as a brand co-create with our influencers?
- Why should their audience care, participate, and share?
4) Amplify Influencer Content
Once you have secured the handful of influencers whom you will work with, you should now focus on getting the best setup for the collaboration.
Creating the post
Firstly, make sure you have a Business Profile on Instagram and Branded Content Tool Access for your Facebook page set up. Secondly, on your Instagram app, approve all influencers as partners by searching for their usernames. Lastly, instruct all influencers to use the Branded Content Tool to tag your Business Page on Facebook and Instagram. Also ensure they check the ‘allow business partner to promote’ checkbox so you can later amplify the influencer content.
Once you have approved their posts and it has gone live (depends on what your approval process is), you should ensure compliance by making sure their posts are tagged with ‘Paid partnership with [brand name]’ to abide by Instagram’s advertising guidelines.
At this point, you can also now look at the statistics of the influencers’ branded content on your Facebook Business Manager.
Amplifying the content
To optimise for the success of the collaboration, brands often amplify the influencers’ posts to maximise reach and engagement. To amplify posts, you can run ads in Facebook Ads Manager by creating a Campaign, Ad Set, and Ads with Existing Post (selecting the specific Branded Content from influencers).
It is important to note that you should not simply ‘boost’ the influencer’s post as any promotion done that way causes brands to miss out on several targeting metrics as compared to when done on Ads Manager.
5) Measure Success
As with any marketing campaign, it is important for brands to measure the success of their advertising efforts. The success metrics for every campaign differs according to the way the campaign’s goals and objectives are set up. However, there are several common quantitative and qualitative metrics that you can leverage:
|Reach metrics||On Instagram: Reach, Impression, Video Views, Story Views,|
|Engagement metrics||On Instagram: Likes, Reacts, Shares, Comments, Clicks, Perception (e.g., positive vs negative sentiment), Intent (e.g., % intent to use your products)|
|On Website: Unique Traffic|
|Conversion metrics||On Instagram: Instagram and Facebook Shopping metrics (if you have them set up)|
|On Website: Content View, Add to Carts, Conversions, Conversions Value, Promo Codes, ROAS|
* Note: An influencer’s engagement rates and other metrics may differ from an unpaid post vs a paid post whenever a brand is mentioned in a message.
You can also set goals for these metrics at the beginning of the campaign, and come back to these goals post-campaign to assess how the performance has matched up to your campaign expectations.
Brands should already begin tracking these metrics as the campaigns are ongoing, to ensure they can calculate their ROI with ease, identify necessary tweaks mid-campaign, and determine next steps.
Depending on the success of your Influencer Marketing campaign, you should then be able to determine if you should continue with the collaboration to form a long-term partnership, and let that work for your brand!
- Identify campaign goals and objectives
- Research influencers
- Shortlist and evaluate influencers
- Reach out to influencers via our template
If you want more support beyond this free resource in influencer marketing, just book a call with us at rocket-conversions.com. 🚀