Photo by Ivan Samkov
Influencer marketing involves collaborating with individuals in your market with a significant and engaged following on social media platforms or other online channels to promote a brand’s products or services. Influencers can sway their followers’ opinions and purchase decisions because of their expertise, authenticity, or relatability in a particular niche or industry.
But how do you know if they’re right for your social strategy? And if you decide they are a fit, what can you do to maximize your investment in your relationship with them?
Deciding What You Need–and What You Have to Offer
Influencer marketing isn’t a fit for every campaign. It may not be the right time, you may not have the budget, or your market may not respond to influencers. But they are effective enough that every organization should consider the option–and maybe reconsider it regularly if the timing isn’t right at the start.
Here are a few considerations to help you decide whether to add influencer marketing to your current social media strategy.
- Do influencers align with your market? Assess whether your target audience is active on social media and influenced by the individuals or content creators you have in mind as potential influencers. If your audience doesn’t engage with influencers or your product/service isn’t relevant to their interests, influencer marketing may not be the best fit.
- What are your goals? Influencer marketing can be effective for objectives like brand awareness, product promotion, driving website traffic, or increasing sales. Ensure that your goals align with what influencer marketing can realistically achieve.
- What’s your budget? You’ll need to set aside a budget for influencer compensation, content creation, and tracking the campaign results.
Marketers can learn much from competitors– what to do and what not to do–or organizations who share your audience (i.e., a running shoe store and a gym). If you’re unsure how your audience responds to influencers, you can see enough looking at public pages to get a general idea of engagement.
Additionally, you can review case studies of similar or related industries. Recently, TopRank Marketing released a report that included a summary of how Smartsheet leveraged influencers to increase awareness in their consumer base of the many benefits the tool offers. They launched a campaign with a group of highly visible experts with the goal of building awareness, cultivating community, and boosting organic social reach. At the end of their 4-month campaign, they were able to report the following numbers:
- 10,259 pageviews of campaign content,
- 3.1% average brand engagement on LinkedIn, and
- 2.6% average brand engagement on Twitter. (2022 B2B Influencer Marketing Research Report)
Smartsheet was pleased with the results, but even that is subjective! The industry, market size, and value of individual engagements are all factored into the ROI of every campaign. Would these numbers persuade you to keep working with influencers in your organization?
Making a Strategy with Influencers Work
If you decide to integrate influencer marketing into your strategy, these are the following big tasks you have to complete.
- Clarify the content strategy for the new campaign. Develop a clear content strategy that outlines what you want influencers to create and how it ties into your campaign’s narrative. The content should seamlessly integrate your product or service without appearing forced.
- Confirm your objectives. Set specific goals for your influencer marketing campaign. Are you looking to increase brand awareness, drive sales, generate leads, or promote a new product/service? Defining your objectives will help shape your influencer strategy.
- Consider the ethical and legal considerations associated with your market. Be aware of legal regulations and ethical guidelines related to influencer marketing in your region. Ensure that influencers disclose partnerships transparently to maintain trust with their audience.
- Identify the influencers in your targeted community. Research and select influencers who resonate with your brand’s values, messaging, and target audience. Ensure that their content style aligns with your campaign’s goals and image. Authenticity is crucial in influencer marketing.
A final consideration for working with influencers is what you, in your industry and with your resources, can do to develop a genuine relationship with them. The stronger your connection, the better the experience and results of the collaboration will be. Authenticity shines through influencer endorsements, so finding someone aligned with your brand is recommended, but you also have the opportunity to learn about an influencer and teach them about your brand values to deepen your relationship and boost your campaign effectiveness.
About the Author
Dr. Amy Jauman is an author, ghostwriter, international speaker, podcast researcher, and university professor. She is a certified social media strategist and certified digital marketing professional with a master’s degree in experiential education and a doctorate in organization development. Amy also holds a graduate certificate in crime analysis from Boston University and is an active member of the International Association of Crime Analysts. In addition to her ghostwriting projects, Amy has authored three textbooks, five ebooks, and multiple articles and blog posts.