What is influencer marketing? To influence someone is to have the ability to affect their behaviour.
Marketing is when you promote or sell your products or services to a specific audience.
Put them together and you get influencer marketing. This is when you sell your products or services by utilizing the ability to influence your target audience’s purchasing behaviour. Rather than sell to your entire audience, you would reach the network of trusted followers that individuals have built by targeting these influential individuals – Influencers.
Influencer marketing has been around for a long time, whether it’s a popular actor who has been pictured drinking your favourite beverage brand, or wearing a specific brand of clothing (think EVERY red carpet). Although influencer marketing has existed for a long time, it has evolved significantly with the introduction of the internet and social media. While an influencer used to be an individual such as a trusted newscaster, actor, or musician, an influencer now can be a blogger, a YouTube star, a popular Instagrammer, and others who use social platforms to build up a celebrity status and wide circle of influence.
When it comes to consumer purchase decisions, many people make a decision after reading a review or hearing what a family member or friend has to say about the product or service. This means that reviews are important for your brand, and if you can get an influencer to endorse you, it carries a lot of weight in the decision-making process – sometimes more than if you marketed to them directly.
Here are the basic factors of influencer marketing:
- Map your touch points. Touch points are the places that your target audience will be influenced, whether it’s certain channels over others, certain events, specific types of people, etc. You have to figure out all of the places you could potentially reach your target audience, then you evaluate and decide which touch point(s) you will target with your efforts. We’re going to talk about how you map out your touch points in more detail next week! The scale of your reach will likely depend on budget, but don’t let that make you feel like you have to hold back. A small campaign can have huge results if you go big in other areas (read on!).
- Set goals. Once you have done a bit of research into your target audience behaviour in terms of influence, decide what you would like to accomplish with your influencer campaign. For example, If you are trying to grow your email list, you likely wouldn’t run a photo contest on Instagram through a popular Instagrammer. However, you WOULD run a photo contest if you are trying to generate user-generated content and a bit of buzz on Instagram.
- Create an A-List and a B-List. Based on your strategic goals, create a list of influencers that would best help you reach your goals. Depending on your budget, you might not be able to reach out to everyone, so it’s best to create a tiered list and then set out to find out more about each influencer in terms of budget and how they like to work with brands. Remember, nothing is for free.
- Get to know your selected influencers’ styles. Just because there are two influencers who are in the same category doesn’t mean they are going to be the same. Find out more about their writing styles, the topics they like to and have covered. This will help you because you don’t want to pitch them blindly (this should sound familiar… Just like when you pitch media!). Try to make a connection with them right away.
- Get creative, or get ignored. Just like the media, influencers are bombarded with pitches every day, and they have been to A LOT of events. You have to find ways to set you and your brand apart from everyone else. If you are doing an event, get to know what types of events they have been to before, find creative ways to get product in their hands, go big on the messaging. While creating your story won’t cost you more, it’s best to invest a little more of your budget into the event and product drops. They might not see your pitch email, but they will definitely take notice if you send them a package that is on brand and fun.
- Have a strong follow up game. I’m not saying you should harass anyone. However, you should have a plan for following up after your initial outreach. Make it worthwhile for your targeted influencer to open your email or take your call. It is all about furthering your connection and building an authentic relationship that will get you noticed long-term. If you can make your influencers feel like they are strongly connected to you, then they will be more likely to talk about your brand. Pass along updated information about your brand or any changes to your plans.
- Track everything. Not sure this needs to be said, but it’s important that if you are reaching out to influencers, you should monitor what they are saying during your outreach campaign. It’s a great way to find a strong connection, but they might also slip in a mention of your brand that you might miss if you’re not listening.
Great influencer marketing campaigns require a lot of planning and time for a successful execution. When you’re on the right track, it can help you generate a lot of buzz about your brand.