What is influencer marketing, and why has it become so imperative to use influencers as your means of promotion? While it might be a little difficult to navigate through this new-age mechanism, we are here to help you understand, navigate, and use the tool to your advantage.
Who is an influencer?
Thanks to Instagram, most people have been using influencers as a prefix, but you don’t become one just by posting. An influencer is someone who shares his knowledge and expertise with the audience. This information over a period of time garners followers, as, let’s not forget, there is a market for everything. Once he or she has established certain credibility with the audience that engages with their content, brands start to collaborate with them so as to increase their reach. Remember, it is not just following but content engagement that one needs to look at.
How does it make a difference to promote through an influencer?
While every brand tries to back a famous celebrity to increase their visibility, the conversion of this mass audience however still remains an issue. This is where these influencers play a primitive role because they have a curated audience, and their followers are mostly people who are interested in the subject area of their content. Which makes it easy for the brand to not only target the right audience but also make conversions easy.
Now you must be thinking, if it were that easy, why not use your own Instagram?
Well, if you have been in the market long enough, you know that it is not easy to convince an audience; everyone looks at your reviews and customer experience to begin with. The market keeps revolving around the shifting needs of society and their perceptions. Even if you are a brand with its own standing, you still need to gain audience trust to maintain your goodwill. With your Instagram, you can make your product visible, but when an influencer uses it in front of his audience, it adds to the authenticity, and the best part is that every viewer on his account is your potential customer.
We’re influenced by what we see and hear, and in this age of excessive information, sometimes the sources of information matter more than the information itself. This is why influencer marketing works as a great tool because it is based on the trust that social influencers have gathered and built with their followers, and recommendations from them clothe your product with a layer of authenticity and verification and serve as social proof to your brand’s existing and potential customers.
What comes next? Develop your strategy!
How to create an influencer marketing strategy
Like any marketing tactic, an influencer programme requires deliberate targeting and planning. You won’t find strategic success just by sending free things out to everyone who asks or to your existing friends and acquaintances.
1. How to find influencers
Much like any strategy, you start by choosing the platform you want to focus on first. You can always expand to other platforms later, but if you’re just starting out, stick with one.
Then research all the influencers available in the market and go through their work thoroughly. Make notes of what you liked and didn’t like about your shortlisted influencer.
The industry you’re in also matters. For example, beauty and fashion brands have a better reach on Instagram and YouTube, whereas the video game industry works better on Twitch.
2. Set a budget and strategy.
Your budget will set the outline, and no matter how much your budget is, you should never invest it all at once. Invest some, and then use the information gained from your first round of influence to cut out the odds in the next round.
While celebrities can cost a lot and provide you with instant reach, micro-influencers can also help you set a benchmark for your name and add to your reach. But it depends on how much budget you have, how you wish to allocate it, and what stage of launch you are at.
Now that you have an idea of your budget, you need to set a time line. Because Unlike most automated ad-strategy influencers, who are human and frequently balance multiple partnerships, some may fall behind in their commitments to post on time or make errors in your requested tags or calls to action. You’ll need to have the time to be more hands-on with these relationships to cultivate them and refine your approach through experience about what works and what doesn’t in your niche.
3. Decide on goals and messages.
It will be more effective if you have checkpoints to measure your success and, most importantly, what works for you and what doesn’t. Also, no matter what your goal, be specific about it from day one with yourself and then with the influencer.
Your message is just as important as your goal. While you don’t want to stifle an influencer’s creativity and uniqueness, you also don’t want them to post something unrelated to your idea of the campaign. Determine how you want to structure your influencer marketing campaign, how many stories and posts you want to post, and when to post them. Instagram also shows what time you have the maximum engagement on your handle.
Whatever it is, make sure you and the influencer are on the same page, as this will help you reach a very targeted audience who is likely to be interested in your product.
4. Review and refine your strategy.
Even with all the technology, it is not possible to get it right in one go, especially when it’s a new brand, which is why you should not invest it all in one go. You should experiment with influencers, check your progress, and then use that information to further augment your approach in your next launch.