Influencer marketing isn’t going anywhere—despite the current global conditions, businesses can still find value in partnering with online creators.
For businesses that are now considering entering the influencer marketing arena, there are some important rules to remember.
We explain how companies can work with influencers to improve their reach and their revenue in 2020.
Look for Influencers in Your Niche
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The online world is now flooded with influencers—and while many of them can reach millions of people, are those the consumers your business wants to reach?
Choosing the right influencer for your campaign can be difficult and while most marketers aim to partner with the biggest names, they still need to be a good fit to work.
A mega-influencer from the wrong niche won’t bring the traffic or revenue that companies hope for—in fact, it could lead to a failed campaign.
There have already been instances of businesses sending expensive products for influencers to share on their platforms, only to see limited returns.
The follower numbers mean little in such cases—what businesses should look for are qualified influencers who will get the brand attention from the right areas of the online world.
For beauty brands, it is best to reach out to beauty influencers—while fashion influencers could bring in some leads in this area, the products’ appeal won’t be a good match for their followers.
Additionally, the goal of the campaign also needs to be factored into when searching for content creators.
Certain influencers are better at increasing brand awareness, while others offer great conversion rates.
Influencers need to be chosen accordingly—while conversions are always great, if the campaign is aimed at increasing reach, the results will not be positive.
Prioritize Micro and Nano-Influencers
Content promotion methods have always relied on a ‘go big or go home’ model—the bigger the influencer, the more coveted they are.
But as marketers have begun to learn over the past years, bigger isn’t always better—which is why micro and nano influencers are seeing an increase in popularity now.
A major reason for businesses to step away from mega influencers with millions of followers is that they are far more expensive than smaller personalities.
An influencer deal could cost tens of thousands, and even millions of dollars—not exactly feasible for small businesses.
While SMBs can find value in using a large portion of their marketing budget to partner with one mega-influencer, this is a high-risk tactic that could lead to disaster.
Instead, small businesses—and even large corporations—can look to influencers whose followers number in the thousands, not the millions, for a collaboration.
These online celebrities may not get businesses huge views, but they open up the possibility to partner with several smaller influencers, instead of just one.
By collaborating with multiple influencers, businesses could see their reach equal to that of an online influencer with a larger follower base.
Micro and nano influencers also have high engagement rates—because of their smaller followings, they regularly reply to comments.
By building small communities, any brand these creators endorse gets a good deal of attention online.
With the world having shut down, brands can look at reaching out to local influencers, who may not be well-known online but the people who know them believe in their message.
By partnering with these personalities, brands can increase their local appeal and generate business among groups that they hadn’t been able to reach before.
Influencer Marketing Metrics
Before implementing a campaign, marketers need to determine which key performance metrics they want to achieve. Outlining goals makes it easier to find the right influencers for the job.
For instance, some influencers are better at reach—others improve engagement, and yet others increase conversions.
Depending on these goals, brands can break down tangible metrics. It is best to aim for measurable values—10% increase in daily sales or subscriptions, or 30% more followers.
Marketers also need to be reasonable in their goal-setting—a single campaign may not be able to bring in a million dollars in revenue.
If you aim for that goal and don’t achieve the target, the campaign will be deemed a failure even though it was never set up for success.
How to Initiate Collaborations
Once marketers have found influencers within their niche and who have a decent following, the process of contacting them begins.
It is best to make a list of 10-15 content creators that the brand can work with—all the people you contact may not be able or willing to partner with you so you need contingencies.
Influencers may have websites where they list out their contact information—use email marketing tools to bulk send a collaboration request instead of doing it manually.
Some creatives may only be contactable via their social media channels—when direct messaging, it is imperative that marketers be respectful and clear in their messaging.
Brands should remember that influencers are contacted regularly for collaborations—rejection rates are high so prepare to move on but keep communication open for future partnerships.
If an influencer needs more information about the brand or the campaign, create a pitch deck that outlines what the collaboration will entail and what the goals are.
The more transparent you can be in the initial communications, the smoother the collaboration will be.
When brands have received positive responses from the influencers they connected, they need to start setting out the terms for the partnership.
Businesses should understand that being an influencer is a job—and the work needs to be compensated accordingly because it is their livelihood.
Content creators are going to be putting in time and money to produce materials specifically targeted at building awareness for your brand—one shouldn’t expect them to do it for free.
Initial discussions should include modes and amounts of compensation—some creatives will charge a fee, while others ask to keep the products they advertise.
If the company can cover other expenses—transportation or equipment—it is worth offering to do so.
But keep your budget in mind—be transparent about what your company can afford so that creatives know what their limits are.
Executing the Campaign
Finances are one aspect of an influencer collaboration—what is required of the content creator also needs to be discussed in detail.
Marketers need to share branding elements with their collaborators, including:
- Logos and logo placement on visuals
- Tone of voice
- Brand colors and fonts
- Brand and campaign hashtags
If there are any particular words or terms that the creators should avoid, they must be notified before any posts go live.
It is worth creating an approval process where the influencers send campaign managers their proposed post, along with posting schedules, so that they can be checked and edited.
Once the campaign is completed, check the metrics you had determined. Did you achieve your goals? Should the brand continue collaborating with these influencers?
Conduct a thorough analysis of the campaign and share your data with your partners—but also ask them to share their data and their feedback.
Build a report with data visualizations of the successes and failures of the campaign—and include key takeaways and suggestions for improvements.
Every collaboration may not be massively successful—but there are learnings that you can take away to better the next campaign.
Influencer marketing can change a brand’s reach and help them achieve their goals far sooner than they had envisioned.
But to achieve this, brands need to choose their influencers carefully and should determine which metrics they want to aim for.
Remember that influencers are doing a job and that they should be compensated accordingly—but also keep your budget in mind so you don’t sink everything into one event.
Learn from every campaign so you can make the next one even more impactful—and be open to suggestions to improve your content partnerships.