Influencer marketing has quickly become a powerful tool in any small business owner’s toolbox.
The benefits of social media influencer marketing are both well proven and numerous, ranging from enjoying a solid return on investment, to gaining access to the hard-to-reach younger market, to getting greater authenticity through your advertising.
The question is, how do you create a viable influencer marketing strategy, especially as a small business who may not be able to afford paying leading influencers to promote your products?
Take a look at this simple guide for planning and executing your own influencer strategy.
Decide what you want your influencer marketing to achieve.
You can’t walk into any marketing strategy blind, and influencer marketing is no different.
Set out a list of goals you hope to achieve with your strategy. This could include:
- X% increase newsletter sign ups
- X number of products sold
- X quotes given or trials taken
- X increase in social media followers
Your goals can be as big or small as you like. Whatever they are, they can help to guide you when it comes to asking for a particular call to action or suggestion from your influencers.
Outline your audience.
Each social influencer has a particular audience. While many influencers cross over, it’s important to know what audience you’re targeting.
Knowing who you’re looking to connect with in terms of your audience will help you narrow down who you want to connect with in terms of influencers.
Possible demographics to target can include:
- Specific age ranges
- Geographic regions
- Families or singles
- Those interested in fashion
- Animal lovers or animal owners
Research potential influencers.
Finding the right influencers for your products and services is key, which is why this step will take as long as it needs to take.
Spend time getting to know the key social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter. Use hashtags and look through ‘trending’ videos and posts to find influencers that fit the bill.
Here’s what you’ll need to look for:
- A reasonably large number of followers (although you can probably rule out influencers with millions of followers unless you have a large budget for this project)
- Influencers whose audiences match your target audience.
- Influencers who only promote products and services that they genuinely stand by
- Influencers who do more than just share paid products (their audiences are likely less engaged)
Start reaching out.
Reaching out to your influencers is an important step, and you’ll need to be careful about how you do it. Remember, these influencers are likely hearing from a brand or two every day (if not more!), so you’ll need to stand out from the crowd.
Try this general process:
- Follow them across their channels
- Begin liking and commenting on their posts
- Give it time to build up authenticity – this should take more than just a day
- Send them a private message
- Make it personal – mention what it is you like about them, talk about a favourite post etc
- Ask if they would be open to working together – be direct but friendly
- They may already have a promotion plan in place, or you can make an offer (such as a free product in return for a review, or a certain fee for a promoted post)
- Be careful not to call them an influencer (try ‘creator’ etc instead)
- If they decline, take the time to reply and thank them anyway
- If they go ahead with a partnership, never stop interacting with their posts – you may wish to work together again and it’s best to maintain that relationship
Pro tip: Only reach out to a couple at a time. You can learn what works and what doesn’t and use what you learn to reach out to the next set.
Let them work their magic.
Now it’s over to your influencers to do what they do best.
Each one is different, and will have different expectations from their partnerships. If you’re ever in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask them kindly and with respect about how they see it working with you. Authenticity will go a long way, and they will likely appreciate dealing with someone who is open to learning and working together rather than someone who sees them as a simple money-making tool.
Use their content for your own content.
Once they have created posts and content about you, don’t let it go to waste! Try:
- Resharing it on your own social media channels
- Using snippets to make easily digestible social media content of your own (such as quotes)
- Writing a blog about them, why you like them, and what they said
- Including it in your newsletter
Measure your influencing marketing strategy results.
Go back to step one and look at the goals you set for your influencer campaign.
How did it stack up? Did you gain the new followers you’d hoped for or increase your sales?
If you met your goals – congratulations! If not, don’t forget that marketing can be a tough business, and even the best laid plans don’t always work as you’d hoped. Go over each step and see if you can find the weak points. Perhaps your influencer wasn’t quite the right fit for your audience, or perhaps they didn’t point their followers to the right landing page on your website?
Whatever the case, you can use it as a learning experience should you wish to try again.
Get help when you need it.
If you need help with your social media, our Social Ads service could be the right fit. We can help you target new customers across Facebook and Instagram, and ensure you’re being seen by those who matter the most.
Take a look and contact us today to get started.
For a simple guide to creating an influencer marketing strategy, download our FREE infographic checklist below.