Jun 28, 2022
As marketers, we know the value of a good influencer. Influencer marketing helps you gain reach in a targeted audience or niche and can drive campaign performance whether it’s increasing brand awareness, generating leads or boosting sales.
Working with an online content creator means your brand can benefit from their creativity and authenticity. Influencers are creative individuals with a skill for making content that their audience will love, and their voices can be valuable to your brand.
It can also allow you to gain traction on platforms where you may not yet have a presence; creators on TikTok for example are experts at making promotional content that fits in seamlessly with their organic content and entertains their audience.
But influencer marketing can be tricky. It’s not just about finding someone with a lot of followers, it’s about finding the right influencer and making the most of that collaboration. Ultimately, it’s about being clever with your influencer marketing strategy from the start.
This influencer marketing guide offers everything you need to identify influencers, conduct outreach, plan effective collaborations, and much more.
Let’s start at the beginning, what is the definition of influencer marketing? In a nutshell, influencer marketing is about product placement or endorsement on social media networks through an influencer (a person with a social following and deemed an expert in a certain area).
Just think about the influencer superstars in this realm - the Kardashians who smash social media on a regular basis.
In this blog, we’ll explore these topics to help your influencer marketing strategy succeed:
Watch our Team Talk video to find out how influencer marketing is changing the game:
By 2025, there will be over 4 billion social media users globally according to Statista data. That’s a huge amount of people active across social networks with an appetite for content. So what networks are they active on?
Let’s dig into some influencer marketing statistics to give you an idea of how you can capitalize on this growing social media usage.
Check out our blog ‘20 Influencer Marketing Statistics that Will Surprise You’ for more insights.
There’s more than just one category of influencers, and they all offer different exposure opportunities.
Working with any of them can turbo charge your marketing campaign by dramatically increasing the reach of your messaging. However, you need to ensure you choose the right type of influencer. Let’s look at the different categories:
Influencers can give your brand sparkle and credibility that you might struggle to build on your own. However, be sure to choose the right influencers for your brand.
There are a few top tips you should think about for your influencer marketing campaigns - otherwise known as your influencer marketing do’s and don’ts checklist!
As your collaboration takes off, make sure you amplify it by resharing and cross-posting the content on all of your social channels. And make sure you have a conversation with the influencer about opportunities to repurpose the content they create; for example, you may use a TikTok post created by an influencer as advertising content.
While it can be tempting to hop from one influencer to the next, building relationships with individual influencers is hugely valuable. Returning to specific influencers for multiple campaigns helps them be even more authentic when talking about your brand, and builds on brand awareness among their audience.
Before reaching out to an influencer, don’t be afraid to actively engage with their content and show your support. While the collaboration is running, be present and active on their channels, and keep it going after the collaboration has ended.
It’s important to not be overly prescriptive or controlling when working with an influencer. It is, after alll, a collaboration and you should be making the most of their creativity, originality, and connection to their audience. While a detailed brief is useful and script approval can be arranged, allow the influencer to contribute ideas and take the lead on things like content scheduling and release details.
When sending your first outreach email to an influencer, don’t be vague or impersonal. Be very clear about who you, your organization and/or your product are. And don’t forget to state what you like about their content, why you think they would be a good fit for your brand, or call out specific work you admire.
You should have a clear idea of your KPIs for your influencer collaboration, and be upfront about them. Be clear about what analytics or stats you expect to be delivered at the end of the campaign. Influencers often provide a general set of analytics, but it’s always worth stating exactly which metrics you want to see from the outset. Our ‘Targets and KPIs toolkit’ can help you develop metrics if you need guidance.
There are some negatives to watch out for when it comes to choosing an influencer so make sure you are aware of these red flags at the research stage:
There are multiple ways for a brand or organization to engage and collaborate with an influencer. Here are some ideas.
Event marketing is a perfect opportunity to engage influencers. If your event is aimed at people in a particular location or with specific interests, influencers who operate within those areas or niches are ideal for getting your event in front of your target audience.
Get them on board early to build up excitement, and allow them to conduct live coverage on the day. Here are some tips for making your virtual event a success if this is something you’re thinking about. One example is TikTok movie guy Straw Hat Goofy.
49 percent of consumers depend on influencer recommendations, and gifting is your opportunity to capitalize on this. Gifting involves seeking brand exposure for the price of your product or service. Send a sample or offer them a free experience, and include information about you and your product to make it easy for them to promote you. An example here is Irish influencer James Kavanagh.
A video collaboration could involve engaging an influencer to star in a campaign video or video series. Video content can be easily repurposed and re-distributed and you can make quality videos without hiring a professional, like the Joy of Clean account.
If you are planning a giveaway, you could engage an influencer to host the giveaway for you on their platforms, creating the visual to promote the giveaway and driving their audience to your profile.
See the example below from Twitch streamer, YouTuber and professional gamer Ninja with computer hardware manufacturer, NZXT.
This involves engaging an influencer to ‘take over’ your social channels for a period of time, allowing them to post content directly to your story, or host a live video. Make sure you and the influencer promote the takeover in advance and they cross-promote on their channels on the day. The example below is a takeover of Goop by Dr Shauna Shapiro.
This is an example of a short-term activation that’s particularly great if you have a timely message, charitable cause or social issue you want to boost, like a new helpline or a charity event. For this initiative, it works to contact a targeted list of influencers of various sizes, ask them to boost your message and give them options – this could be as simple as sharing your post to their story.
A great example is the National Adult Literacy Agency in the UK which used Instagram influencers to promote its free distance learning services.
If you work in this sector, listen to our podcast ‘Marketing for Nonprofits’ to find out more.
So, now that you know more about influencer marketing, how do you build an influencer marketing campaign? Here are some important steps to help you plan:
Before you kick off any influencer campaign you need to nail down your goals or KPIs for the campaign. Are you looking to raise brand awareness, promote a new product or drive leads?
At this stage, you need to confirm the budget you will need for the influencer to promote your brand or product. The costs vary depending on the influencer, network and scope of the campaign. Use this media budget planner to keep track.
Make sure you choose the right platform for your audience, sector and campaign type. Is it video content you’re creating, a blog article or imagery? The content type will determine the platform as TikTok or Instagram are great for videos while a blog may do better on Twitter or LinkedIn.
Choosing the right influencer is essential and there are several areas to consider:
Once you have identified suitable influencers, make contact with them. You can do this via a ‘reach out’ email or social media, but be open, friendly, and honest about what you want and tell them a little about you and your brand. Don’t be afraid to include detailed information that will grab their attention and let them know if the collaboration is of interest to them. Once they are engaged, you should establish fees and terms and consider a contract.
This is the fun part as you get to share the campaign assets with your chosen influencer and see what happens online! Make sure to use tracking parameters and relevant hashtags you can monitor and set a timeframe.
With your KPIs and goals in place, you can monitor campaign performance. This can be done on the social platform and also on your website through Google Analytics or your CRM. Your influencer should also be responsible for providing data on performance.
There are some useful influencer marketing tools out there that can help in your campaign strategy. These include platforms that can automate influencer discovery, influencer outreach and even run entire campaigns.
Let’s look at the best influencer marketing tools by category so you know which ones can help at various stages.
Meltwater provides a social media monitoring and engagement software that uses AI-driven analytics to examine millions of posts from social media networks, blogs and news sites to find the content of interest to you and your brand.
Talkwalker offers social listening and also provides visual recognition analysis so it can track imagery and find influencers on platforms like Instagram or Snapchat.
Upfluence uses software that indexes and updates influencer profiles in real-time and analyzes all their content for reach and engagement. Its Live Capture tool finds the best influencers for your brand.
Followerwonk focuses on Twitter and can help you search profiles, compare accounts, breakout followers and contrast your relationships to find the perfect influencers.
Grin is the all-in-one creator management platform that helps brands build partnerships. It helps discover influencers, reach out and nurture relationships and report and analyze campaigns.
Maverck has platform that finds relevant influencers, manages the campaign and reports on performance. Its ‘Influencer Index’ lists millions of macro and micro-influencers around the globe and across all major social platforms.
Tip: As the network of choice for many influencers, it’s important to know the top influencer marketing tools for Instagram. Grin, Maverck, and Upfluence all track the platform while Aspire focuses on influencer discovery but recently added a feature to track Instagram Stories.
Download our influencer tracker tool to create and manage a list of relevant influencers and check out what tools you should use in your digital marketing.
When we think of influencers, we naturally think of social media. So, it’s important to understand how to leverage social networks in your campaigns to meet business goals. DMI’s Professional Diploma in Social Media Marketing will help you understand how to conduct social research, create engaging social content and use affiliate marketing and social commerce. You’ll also learn the ins and outs of all the key social networks - Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube amongst others.
We've created a comprehensive influencer brief checklist and template to help you a handy list of what to include when approaching an influencer. From agreeing on deliverables, key messages and timing, to content uses and reporting.