The age of influencer marketing has reached new heights in 2020 and has even flipped the traditional advertising world on its feet as new ways of amplifying and promoting a product are no longer constrained to newspapers and magazines. Influencer marketing is a facet of social media marketing where brands partner individuals or influencers, who have garnered a following on social media based on influence, to promote products based on sharing an opinion or review. Some call social media a revolution in that it opened up new ways to reach and target global audiences, while others feel like it’s just a nuisance. But the numbers don’t lie – the influencer marketing industry will be worth over $15B by 2022.
When I first started working in the marketing space in 2011, the idea of social media marketing was a new concept until Italian blogger Chiara Fergerni struck six figure deals with luxury brand LVMH in the early 2010’s and Harvard felt compelled to write a report about this person’s influence. Since then, a lot has changed. There are agencies, key performance metrics and other industry best practices that exist to bring control to an industry that has existed as the wild wild west of marketing – back door deals struck with no contracts in place but good will. This may seem daunting for new business owners, but if this marketing tactic can be beneficial if you think about scaling your business marketing needs. Whether you are a restaurant owner looking to grow your traffic or a hair stylist seeking to engage in more clients, influencer marketing can help your business grow!
Here are five steps to kicking off an influencer marketing campaign.
1.Have a product and lots of inventory to sell.
This may be a no brainer for some, but you don’t want to end up paying an influencer for merch you haven’t quite developed yet because it can come back and bite you in the butt. Case and point: some businesses will pay an influencer to promote a product that is in a “presale” stage but fail to fully communicate that to their new global customer-base. Orders could be delayed and when people buy a product these days, they expect it to be shipped to them as soon as possible we live in the age of Amazon Prime. Therefore, it is important to not only have a tangible product, working product that is ready to be sold.
2. Establish and define your target audience.
Once you establish your product offering, you need to figure out who you want to sell your products to and where they may be located as it relates to your business. Social media is vast and can be categorized by personal interests. This is a key word that can not only help you find your niche but also your star influencer. Establishing your target audience starts with your business. If you sell hot dogs, then start searching for foodies and food enthusiasts, people who use the tag #foodporn and #foodblogs on social media is a great strategy to explore different people contributing to the food industry from an online perspective. If you are selling TV antennas, you may want to reach gadget geeks and people in-market to buy the latest electronics. Every business plan should have a target audience in mind, so translating this intel to an influencer marketing campaign should be easy.
3.Figure out what platforms you want to prompt your products on and partner with an influencer.
This is probably the most important detail you’ll need to begin an influencer marketing campaign. An iInstagram Influencer is different from a Youtuber because the obvious is that they exist on two different platforms. Instagram influencers are usually lifestyle bloggers, people who love to travel, enjoy life, have families or into showcasing different facets of their life. Youtubers are usually gadget geeks, people who love to give reviews and commentary on the latest trends in the tech space. If you’re a restaurant owner, you may want to partner with an influencer or Instagrammer who is located in the same city as you because you could offer that person an experience in exchange for promotion. If you’re an upcoming tech entrepreneur and launching a product, you may want to partner with an influencer on Youtube because you can review and entice their followers to buy your product. In general, you can find success by focusing your marketing efforts on one social media platform.
4.Partner with a credible influencer who has experience executing influencer marketing campaigns.
Congratulations, you figured out what you want to sell, who you want to sell to and what platform you want to sell on. Now, all you have to do is find credible influencers. Micro influencers are people with social followings of less than 10,000. If you are a small business owner, you may want to start with micro influencers. They are not only cheaper when it comes to bargaining a price but their audience is more likely to pay attention and consider the products on their timeline. To partner with a credible influencer, ask them to show recent brand campaigns. If they can reference campaigns on their timeline with likes, comments and shares, then that’s a great start. If they can show you campaigns they are currently running that include promo code promotions and videos, then that’s also a great indicator to know that they are serious about working with a brand. If they use the branded content tag or #sponsored in their posts, they are more likely to take your campaign serious as well.
5.Negotiate a price and contract terms that fits your business needs.
Gone are the days where influencer marketing takes place in someone’s DMs. It’s so tacky and not the move. You need to make sure a price is negotiated based on frequency of posts or exchange of product. It’s okay to offer an influencer payment by ways of product, but surely make sure you have something written down. Besides you need to account for this in your business accounting. I’ve partnered with many beauty brands and have accepted products in the form of payment. I’ve also gotten paid per post. It just depends on what the influencer prefers so be prepared! In this day and age, influencers will charge fees based on their following. This is the grey area advertisers at Fortune 500 companies struggle with because there is no set rate! You could be paying $100 for every 1,000 followers or a flat rate. That’s why influencer making is called the wild, wild, west; people can make their own rates based on what they feel their worth.
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