Today’s brands are investing larger portions of their marketing dollars than ever before on social media influencers and with good reason. They’re seeing a larger return: Up to 11 times more conversions than a typical digital campaign, as younger targets—especially Gen Z—look for more genuine recommendations than a traditional ad can provide.
No matter what your industry or target, influencer marketing can work for your brand—it just takes the right combination of people, platforms and content. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you get started.
There are influencers for any brand of any size.
Influencer marketing isn’t just for more visually appealing verticals like fashion or restaurants. Whether you’re an eight-person medical group, a $10 million credit union or worldwide nutritional brand, there’s a community of people who want to find your business, and experts they’re following to help guide them toward it. It’s up to you to identify those influencers and work with them so they talk about your brand in a meaningful way.
Identify the best platforms and influencers for your brand.
When you’re first starting out, focus on one platform that has the audience you want to talk to most. Are you a college offering classes in fashion design? The visual appeal of Instagram makes it a great starting point. A wellness brand with an older clientele? Facebook might have the best demographic for you. A community bank looking to attract younger account holders? TikTok has tons of influencers sharing financial literacy tips you might be able to work with.
Once you’ve decided on a platform, it’s time to find the most appropriate influencers. Search relevant hashtags or use social listening tools to see who’s posting. There might be folks out there talking about you already. When you find one you like, check out the comments on the post and their page to see if it’s a fit. Researching the right influencers for your brand may take time, but it will educate you on the space and generate ideas for the type of content you’d like an influencer to produce.
Look at the whole picture.
When you identify an influencer you like, make sure their page’s aesthetic, voice and style jibe with how you want your brand represented—then look at their follower counts. Influencers with smaller follower counts but a lot of likes and comments are a better buy than influencers with larger follower counts but little engagement. In fact, more brands turn away from larger macro-influencers in favor of micro- and nano-influencers: Their genuine voice, reach and engaged audience can’t be beat.
Use tools like SocialBlade to audit the history behind an influencer’s followers. Do they see consistent follower growth, or are there big spikes? These trends can help you see whether they buy followers or gain them organically. You’ll be able to see their average engagement rate too.
Be prepared to invest.
Even nano-influencers will need more than a plug on your own channel, a free product to review or a promo code for their followers for them to promote you. After all, creating quality content takes time, and they should be compensated for it. When you start speaking with influencers in your niche, you’ll get a feel for that niche’s market rate. Between voice, style, follower count and price, you can choose the best influencers to recommend your business.
Give them guidance.
There’s a fine line between dictating exactly what you want and giving the influencer space to use their expertise and voice to create something that resonates best with their audience—after all, that’s what you hired them for. But if you want them to communicate a key brand message, use a specific hashtag or tag a certain channel, make sure they know that up front.
Do some research and share examples of posts you like (from your own channel and others). If you have creative or copy changes, try to limit it to one round of revisions and be clear and concise in your feedback (especially if you want to work with that influencer again in the future).
Use those assets.
Make sure to get usage rights for any influencer content created for your brand. You can stretch your dollars further by using those assets in your own ads, emails or website.
Need help getting started with an influencer marketing strategy that works for your brand and targets? Contact us.