Influencer marketing has been a hot topic for a while now. And with the growth in the number of social media influencers, and the number of brands wanting to work with them, comes a lot of uncertainty about the best way to go about it. Brands are pouring money to work with the top influencers, to spread their message and promote their products, in the hopes of reaching their target audience in a more natural way.
With so much money being spent on influencers (some commanding upwards of £10k for a single Instagram post!), it’s made smaller brands a bit weary and unsure about how to proceed. And because of the popularity of influencer marketing within the fashion, beauty and travel market, there’s a missed opportunity for B2B brands to use this method for themselves.
But really, influencer marketing is just like in any other part of good marketing, it’s all about building relationships and having a solid campaign structure. It doesn’t have to be scary, and it certainly doesn’t have to be expensive. Take advantage of micro-influencers – those up-and-coming influencers with smaller, yet very engaged, audiences, instead of always aiming for those that have millions of followers and command tens of thousands of pounds for a single post.
Here’s a quick guide you can follow if you’re considering working with influencers.
Understand the different types of influencers
Influencers come in all shapes and sizes and it’s important for you to understand what type you want to be representing your brand. Mico-influencers have a smaller, very engaged audience. Mid-tier influencers have a larger, but still very engaged audience. Top-tier influencers have huge global audiences. If you’re a local brand, then why work with a top-tier influencer? Your time is better spent working with a micro-influencer who operates in your local area and has a small following who love every single post they share. Scale is not always the most important aspect of influencer marketing – it’s all about engagement.
Create a target list
Once you have understood the type of influencer you want to work with, spend some time researching online and create a list of your target influencers before reaching out to them. Don’t just focus on how many followers they have, but create a spreadsheet of useful information about them including how many channels they’re active on, their engagement rates, their tone of voice, type of post, brands they have mentioned in the past, location, age etc. This previous article explains things quite succinctly.
Segment your list
Resist the temptation to send out a mass email to your entire list asking them to do you a favour and post about your brand/product. This will likely get you ignored. Instead, segment your list, prioritise who you want to reach out to first, and then get to know them.
Get to know your influencers
Follow them on social media, read their blogs, watch their vlogs. Really do some online stalking here and learn about them. While you’re doing this, interact with them online so that they in turn can get to know you.
Do something for them first
With so many brands wanting to work with influencers, it’s likely that any reputable influencer receives tonnes of emails a day with generic requests for them to mention a brand or product. You will not stand out by doing the same. Instead, do something for them first. Perhaps feature them (or a quote of theirs) on an article in your blog, share something they have done in the past across social media, request an interview so you can feature them in a prime spot on your site. Get creative here, but the point is to provide them with some free publicity that lets them know you are genuinely interested in who they are and what they represent. This starts you off on a really positive journey towards building a long-term relationship that works both ways.
Propose working TOGETHER
Once you have gotten to know your influencers, and they have gotten to know you, propose working TOGETHER. The word “together” here is key. You’re not just hiring them to tweet about your brand, or post some generic Instagram photo of themselves with your product. You really want to create a lasting relationship here. You want your best influencers to be your brand ambassadors and to love talking about your brand to their audience. So ask for their opinion on how you can work together, rather than dictate what you want them to do for you.
Build long term relationships with your influencers and you will see long term results. Think about influencer marketing as just another aspect of relationship building, where you form partnerships with people who already have an engaged and dedicated audience in line with your target audience. Make it natural and rewarding for both parties involved. Follow the steps above and you’ll be on your way to creating some great influencer marketing campaigns.