Influencer marketing has been called one of the highest ROI marketing methods available to modern brand-builders; and yet, it has one of the most difficult ROIs to measure. Add to that the challenges associated with finding and connecting with influencers who are perfect for your brand and its audience, and you’ve got a marketing method that’s easy to walk away from.
Does that mean you should?
Even if you find yourself intimidated by the scope of influencer marketing, we suggest you pay close attention to its benefits and what it can do for a brand like yours. In many cases, brand-builders find that influencer marketing is the key to opening the minds of their most valuable, loyal (and most elusive) customers.
So how to get started? And how to determine if it’s really working?
As usual, we’re so glad you’ve asked.
Identifying the Best Influencers for your Brand Marketing
The first order of business as you’re initiating influencer marketing is to find the influencer who will bring the most benefit to your brand.
At first blush, it might seem like a good idea to choose someone who has a lot in common with your brand, or who uses products similar to those you sell. However, that thinking will get you less-than-stellar results. Instead, determine who has…
- a following with a high concentration of your ideal customers.
- values similar to your corporate values.
- a fabulous reputation for changing minds and influencing decisions.
- an active, engaged audience that’s eager to participate in conversations.
- an audience with great respect for them.
- fans and followers who, in turn, influence their own audiences.
- a reach that matches your geographical brand goals.
- dialogue that is applicable to your industry and relatable to your audience.
Searching for and finding just the right influencer—the one who will be the most effective in raising visibility for your brand—might take some time. Be patient. The right one can prove to be quite profitable. The wrong one can prove to be very costly.
Once you identify the perfect influencer for your brand, you’re going to have to make the connection with them. That’s your next step.
Connecting with your Brand’s Ideal Influencer
Shooting an email to the Kardashians isn’t going to place your brand in their daily conversations. In fact, you’re unlikely to ever make it past the gatekeepers of a big-name celebrity when your brand is fairly new.
That’s one of the reasons we suggest targeting micro-influencers, who have smaller audiences…and whose audiences are more closely tied to the niche in which you’re working. They’re smaller. Your brand is newer. Everyone involved is searching for growth opportunities. This is the perfect formula for growing together, and compounding efforts to get more done.
With that said, what can you do to get the attention of your dream influencer once you’ve identified him or her? Here are some tips I’ve found to be helpful:
- Follow the influencer on social media. This serves a number of purposes. Not only will you get to know the influencer and his or her audience, you will have opportunities to offer advice, answer questions, contribute to conversations…with the influencer and their audience members. Share their posts with your audience. Follow the hashtags the influencer frequently uses and participate in those conversations, too. Make your handle feel like a household name, so when the time comes to make their acquaintance, your name is already familiar.
- Link to their work in your blog or other online article. The influencer will be notified through their platform that you’ve linked to their work; however, don’t rely on them seeing it. Instead, make contact to let them know you’ve cited their content. Thank them for the rich contribution they’ve made to your article, and include a link to it.
- Comment and compliment. Offering your own expertise is valuable in its own right; however, never discount the power of flattery. Avoid being sugary sweet to the point of nausea—that can work against you. Instead, offer praise that not only acknowledges the influencer’s aptitude, but that proves you’re an expert in your field. In other words, demonstrate that you’ve got an eye for what’s right and good.
- Ask for their opinion. If someone is a true influencer, they will want to share their intellectual property in ways that help others whilst enhancing their own reputation. When you follow an influencer for a period of time, you will start to understand what’s important to them and what type of image they’re trying to create for themselves. Use that knowledge to ask a question or invite a contribution that they’ll be powerless to resist. Get this right, and they’ll remember the person who gave them a platform to talk about their favourite topic.
- Take opportunities to meet in-person. This will be more difficult to enact with bigger celebrities; however, micro-influencers can be fairly easy to connect with in-person. Attend an event where they’re scheduled to speak. Check their schedule for networking events near you. And when you have the opportunity to shake his or her hand, hit them with a pitch they can’t resist.
As you work to get noticed by your dream influencer, remember that your intuition and business acumen play large roles: follow your gut to get that handshake, that meeting or that endorsement.
And finally, how are you going to know if your influencer marketing is working? Again, glad you asked.
How to Measure Influencer Marketing ROI
ROI stands for Return on Investment, and it’s the standard by which marketers determine if their campaigns are getting good results. In short, it the resulting number when you compare what you’ve invested in a marketing campaign, versus the business it’s brought in. The higher the ROI, the better the results of that particular push.
Here are few tips for measuring the effectiveness of your influencer marketing:
- Set clear goals. You’ve got to be able to measure this, so having a vague goal, like “increase visibility” is not going to set any type of bar. Instead, decide how many new social media followers you want to gain, or the percentage by which you want to increase profits this year, and then find out how those new followers found your brand, or to whom you can attribute those sales. Then determine if influencer marketing or some other method is making the biggest contribution to accomplishing your goal.
- Apply tracking pixels. Until now, you have struggled to learn how people arrived at your website. Installing tracking pixels can take care of that for you. It will answer the common questions “Where did they come from?”, “How did they find me?” and “Who referred them?” You can find this software online, with a simple Google search.
- Use unique discount and promotion codes. If you want to know when new customers come to you through a specific influencer, run a unique promotion. For instance, if you give Susie Influencer a special coupon for 20% off to share with her audience, and no one else is using that coupon, you’ll know how those taking advantage of the offer found you. If you’re working with more than one influencer, make each promotion unique, or assign a unique code to each influencer’s coupon.
- Just ask. This is based on the old wisdom that comes with “How did you find us?” In many situations today, you won’t make direct contact with your new customers; however, when you do, there’s no harm in asking how they came to know about your brand.
Well, we hope that you have a better handle on influencer marketing, how to identify the best influencers, how to connect with them and how to measure their effectiveness. Remember, this isn’t just about getting the biggest possible celebrity to shout the name of your brand; it’s about finding the influencer who has access to lots of your ideal customers, so you can gain access to that audience.
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