There are eight key questions to get any business on the road to influencer marketing. Let’s start with the first two, since you probably know the answers already…
1. What is you want to achieve?
Recognition and brand awareness
Understanding your brand identity
A following, so building an audience
Engagement with your marketing content
Sign-ups to your newsletter or other outreach marketing, producing you leads
SEO and link building (getting your content on other websites)
2. How will you do it? HIRE, or INSPIRE…
There is an argument that by offering money, free goods or other incentives such as reciprocal marketing that it may look like you have inspired someone to share your content, but in actual fact you have hired them to say anything at all, in the hope they will be nice things, BUT I draw the line where the influencer takes the creative lead. I think you can call this inspired, HOWEVER, all influencers must now state when their posts have been paid for.
EXAMPLES OF HIRE:
Sponsored content – buy space on an influencer’s website or social channel
Guest blog/posting – buy space for your writing on an influencer’s blog or social media
Influencer take-over – literally passing control of your social media
Affiliates/Discount codes – affiliate codes give the influencer a share of sales
EXAMPLES OF INSPIRE:
Brand Ambassadors – loyal followers or buyers, with a very large audience
Contests and giveaways – you provide the prize, they provide the audience
Gifting – here’s a shampoo, if you like it let your audience know
Co-creation of content – straight forward collaborative content creation and sharing
Social media mentions
It is much harder to achieve INSPIRE will be harder but it will be more effective due to its honesty – the influencer's voice and style, with your support to get them what they need.
It is essentially PR for the 21st century.
NB: Influencers like the freedom to be creative, even with your content! It might be scary, but it’s worth it.
Questions three to eight may be trickier…
3. Who do you want to influence?
This is not, who do you want as an influencer, but who in the world do you want influenced to buy from you? It’s a buyer persona we’re after. This may not sound too hard, but how well do you know your best customers?
What is their name, age, gender, income, home situation, educational background, work status?
What are their goals, values, social interests and challenges in their lives?
How do they consume information? Magazines, mobile phone, blogs, websites, TV, books, newspapers…
What is their ‘buying behaviour’? How do they respond to emails, social media, direct marketing, shop fronts and are they risk takers, or risk averse?
It may help you to think about your best client or clients and build a persona around them. What would your business look like if you could multiply them?!
Tip: You will most likely have more than one buyer persona – give them real names and produce a bio sheet for them. You can refer to this when you create campaigns, naming the strategies after the personas.
4. How big does your influencer need to be?
Just quickly… Do you have too many buyer personas now? Prioritise them before you move on to selecting the right influencer.
Everyone has heard of the Kardashians, super-influencers who will make or break a brand with a single tweet! But we’re not talking Kardashian, we might be talking non-celebrity, smallish and local, but still influential in your market.
Then there’s micro-influencers. Less followers but who get huge engagement from loyal followers. These could be local clubs or niche interests.
For example; in Witney we have Fat Lil’s: A café/restaurant with a live music venue attached – 1,872 followers, then there's Oxford University Students’ group: 4,439 followers.
5. Who are your influencers?
Forget about trying to find them for a moment, concentrate on who they are, maybe create an influencer persona, like with your buyers… They could be;
Bloggers / vloggers
Social media starts
Customers or staff
6. Can you qualify your choices?
Reality check! Are you going to influence the right audience and get the reach and numbers you’re looking for? Do you know what their content and messaging style will be, and does it align with your values and brand?
7. Almost there… How will you inspire your influencer to help?
What’s missing from their offering, on social media or website? Get your persuasive writing skills together and show them how you can fill the gaps with your product or service. Produce some content of your own in advance and use the facts and figures of your own success as evidence. They need to want your ideas.
8. Track and Analyse
As with any type of campaign, you need a system in place to track and analyse the data as it comes in, at strategic points in the campaign and once your campaign is closed. You’ll know what to track and when to close it thanks to your answers to question one.
Recognition or Brand Awareness: website traffic, page views, new users
Understanding and Brand Identity: mentions and PR coverage
A following or Audience building: social media follows and contact opt-ins
Engagement: Likes, shares, comments
Loyalty: customer retention rates and up-sales
SEO: Link building – your links appearing elsewhere on the web.
At the end of the day, influencers may be dealing with hundreds of requests for support from businesses exactly like yours. If it doesn’t work the first time, you cannot count it as a fail and chalk it up to experience. Look at your campaign and find areas that can be tweaked.
Good luck with your influencer campaign, let us know if you’ve had success and how!