Influencer marketing is here to stay. While the concept has been around for eons, it only started gaining popularity in the last decade.
Why tell a few hundred people how good your brand is when someone else can do it for you and reach out to millions. Today, brands are using blogger outreach services to individuals on social media who have made a name in a given niche to spread the news on their behalf.
Influencer marketing is driven by the realization that most individuals trust recommendations from peers more than from ads. With this in mind, a brand only needs to pick a recognized individual and let them market their products.
How is Influencer Marketing Different?
Influencer marketing takes after celebrity marketing. However, instead of a movie or basketball star pushing random products to their fans, influencer marketing looks at individuals already established in a given niche.
This makes the marketing more specific. In short, it is like marketing to a group of like-minded people.
An influencer understands their audience. In most cases, an influencer only markets-related products and brands. So, unlike banner ads that are never clicked, an influencer ensures they only bring relevant brands and products for their followers’ consumption.
How Do You Quantify Quality Followers?
Your success in influencer marketing is dependent on the quality of the content you create and the quality of the influencer’s followers. Choosing the right influencer is the first step towards a successful marketing.
The difference between you and the influencer is that they have a large following and they are known. However, with so many people taking to influencer marketing, fake followers are common. With that said, you need to assess the quality of followers from influencers.
While there is software that shows social media content reach and engagement, you need to learn the different behaviors of good and bad followers.
- Are active and will be online at least once a day
- Are always commenting, liking and sharing content
- Do not follow an exaggerated number of accounts; this lets them see your account.
- Do not log in for long periods
- Interact with others less
- Follow thousands of accounts
By looking at the interations between followers and prospective influencers, you can tell whether the followers are real or just bots.
The number of followers an influencer has means the difference between top influencers and micro-influencers. Your choice should be dictated by the levels of interaction between the influencer and their followers.
How To Maintain Quality
- Set Realistic Goals
Influencers are a great source of brand promotion. Like any other form of online marketing, you need a plan even before you choose a brand influencer.
- What are you hoping to achieve with this form of marketing?
- Who do you want to reach with your marketing?
- What is your budget?
- What kind of content will sit well with the target audience?
By answering the above questions, you are able to leverage every opportunity that comes with influencer marketing. Influencers are highly compensated for their efforts; it is therefore up to you to ensure that you get the best results from them.
Start by setting your budget and selecting which indexes to measure including views, engagement, content reach and the growth of follower numbers.
- Evaluate the Influencer’s Content
Instagram and Snapchat top the list of influencer platforms. You might have already earmarked some of the influencers in your collection of brand followers. The influencer you choose must not only match the values and style of your brand but also be able to create engaging content.
The best influencers should come from your existing loyal fans. By choosing such an influencer, you are assured that they know the intricate details of your brand or products and they are willing to promote it for you.
If you run a small business, micro-influencers will give you a better deal. These are people who have a sizeable following but they may not be as popular as celebrities.
Micro-influencers have a smaller fan base allowing them to engage them more effectively. Vet a number of influencers before working with them.
- The quality of their content,
- The number of active followers,
- The level of follower engagement and,
- How well they fit in your brand
With a good influencer, you do not have to worry about content quality. Check for warning signs to avoid influencers who might stall your marketing campaigns.
- Quality Content Needs Time
You need to have a working publishing schedule. After creating original, credible and engaging content, you need to leverage the power of the influencer’s network by re-using that content across a number of platforms.
You need to determine the best time to post content by looking at different indexes such as engagement and reach and trends. If you are working with different influencers, ensure that they post regularly at different intervals.
Avoid bombarding your consumers with so much information and instead take time, research and create quality content. As you do so, integrate your influencer marketing with other marketing strategies.
- Let Influencers Exercise their Creativity
Great ideas are not easy to come by. Influencers rise to the top of the list and garner thousands or even millions of followers by using their creativity. The working relationship you have with an influencer should be mutually beneficial.
Therefore, when choosing an influencer, pick one whose content reflects the values of your brand and their creativity is top-notch.
The authenticity and creativity of influencers should be felt in the content they create. After the partnership, allow the influencer to maintain their style of creating content.
- Curate Influencers Content
While an influencer should retain their authenticity in creating content, you need to ensure that they produce top quality content and stay on track. The posted content needs to align with the values and the goals of your business.
Influencers might produce high-quality content but the content might not be optimized for your target audience. The content might need a few tweaks or additions. In doing this, you need to combine forces with your influencer to ensure the content is just right.
- Avoid Overly Branded Content
A consumer will always know when you are hard selling to them. This is why most consumers are resulting to ad blockers. Just like any other form of marketing, influencer marketing needs to have credible, original and informative content.
Instead of an influencer pushing a product to their followers, they need to incorporate it into their daily social media activities and posts.
The success of an influencer lies in their ability to create original content. By including so much branding information, an influencer might lose touch with the followers. Granted, your campaigns need to rely on organic content.
- Use Analytics
Since you started by setting goals, it is imperative that you evaluate the performance of the influencer’s strategy. Besides ensuring that your strategies meet all your set goals, you should be able to know which posts got the highest number of views and engagement and which ones stalled. This will help you remedy mistakes in the creation of content and understand your audience better.
While evaluating the performance of different posts, ensure that you involve the influencer; they will help you understand the followers better. By so doing, you will target your audience better and increase conversions.
Avoid These Mistakes in Your Influencer Campaigns
- One of the biggest mistakes online businesses make is choosing the wrong influencers. An influencer who does not appeal to your target audience will not help promote your brand. Paying an influencer who influences the wrong crowd is equivalent to wasting your money.
An influencer who already has an affinity for your brand will be able to reach out to people the right way. The followers of the influencer should be potential buyers of your product.
- You should not take too much control over the content that an influencer posts. While you can review and optimize content, note that the influencer is central in the relationship and people trust them, not you. Even in instances where you create content, the influencer needs to customize it for their readers. Otherwise, it will sound like outright advertising.
If you feel worried the influencer will soil your business’ reputation, you need to rethink you influencer choice.
How to Help Influencers Promote Quality Content
Creating quality content is one thing, promoting the content and making conversions is a different story. There are different ways you can help an influencer market your brand without hard selling.
How can you do that?
- Offer Freebies
One of the best ways to promote your brand is to offer your influencer a free sample. They will know the best way to pass the information to their followers without hard selling.
Alternatively, you can give the influencer a few samples to give to a number of their followers. If an influencer genuinely likes your product, their positive reviews will go a long way in promoting your brand.
For this to work, you have to keenly target your influencers. Instead of just sending a gift to your influencer, talk to them first to ensure you do not lose your products.
- Look for Influencers Who Review Products
When you are dealing with a top influencer with millions of followers, you might not get the review you need even after sending a gift product. The only sure way to get a review is to look for influencers interested in your product and who are willing to do a positive review.
To do this, talk to different influencers and propose a product review. Check whether the influencer has written other reviews and how the followers reacted. Does the influencer give positive reviews or will they leave a hurting review if they do not like your product?
- Sponsor Some Influencer’s Posts
If you are working with an influencer whose audience is perfect for your business, paying for some of their posts, especially those that mention your brand, is a better way to market yourself.
The influencer will create the content with their voice and style and you will only need to pay for sponsorship. Instagram, Facebook, and other platforms allow you to sponsor a post with ease.
- Place Yourself In Front Of the Audience
You can write a guest post for an influencer in a bid to build your following. You only need to write a top quality guest post and pitch it to your influencer of choice. This places you in front of the influencers’ audience and lets you grow your numbers online.
Most starters use guest blogs to fish the first subscribers from influencers. At the end of the guest post, you will have a byline to backlink back to your site. If you get this opportunity, create an appealing landing page that captivates visitors.
A landing page works better than your homepage; you can customize a landing page to a given audience.
- Manage Influencers the Right Way
Where do you get influencers? Some people try wooing influencers for a long time hoping for a mutually beneficial relationship. Others pay influencers a sum of money for them to market their brand.
The latter is better in that you come in with expectations and you have a written contract. For the former, you should not have much expectation.
Whichever way you get your influencer, ensure they have a solid relationship with their followers. You can have a paid influencer and a symbiotic one to leverage the power of both worlds.
Even with the best influencer, you need to keep track of your campaign. An influencer might not be punchy enough to drive sales. The last thing you want is an influencer who has lost touch with their audience or one full of controversies and scandals.
For your campaign to work, you need to trust your influencer. Nevertheless, you still need to ensure that quality is maintained at all times. Your campaign success is anchored in your influencer selection; the wrong influencer will pass for a failed campaign. The right influencer will boost your business and promote your brand to another level.
While content quality is important, taking time to vet an influencer will pay you back with interest. While at it, look for emerging tools in influencer marketing.