If you’re a business who wants to find influencers to help promote your brand but aren’t quite sure how to do so, look no further. Influencer marketing is a strategy that all companies, no matter how big or how small, can test out.
Moreover, depending on how well you plan your campaign, influencer marketing can also bring you a great return on your investment. Keep reading for some tips that can help businesses who want to experiment with influencer marketing.
Define your campaign so you can make goal-oriented decisions
If you’re running a business, you just don’t have the same type of budget and resources as companies like Coca-Cola or Nike. These giants have entire marketing teams, and lots of money, to dedicate to their influencer campaigns. Don’t get discouraged by this, and don’t compare your business to theirs.
Instead, know your limits, and work with those limits instead of against them. Before you do anything else, sit down and define your marketing campaign. Set your objectives, but also realistically assess what resources you have to meet your goals.
Home businesses who want to use influencer marketing should consider sending free products in exchange for publications. For example, a brand like home design studio @fadedchronicle could send free stickers to stationery or journaling influencers.
Decide on a campaign schedule, and define your budget. Remember that in influencer marketing, incentive can be free products. Also, establish your target audience. What type of people do you want to reach with this campaign? Where do they live, how old are they and what are their interests?
Basically, you need to have a campaign roadmap so you don’t get lost along the way. You’ll have to make lots of decisions further down the line, and this planning will help you keep them goal-oriented.
Work with nano and micro influencers to save money
As mentioned above, budget is a hot topic in influencer marketing campaigns, especially for smaller businesses. One way to work with smaller budgets is to prioritize nano influencers (1-5K followers) and micro influencers (5-50K followers).
Nano influencers will almost always agree to collaborate with your business in exchange for just free products. Micro influencers may sometimes ask for a fee in addition to products, but their rates will be nowhere near those of influencers with higher follower counts.
The best part about nano and micro influencers? They’re relatively low-cost, but can really be high-impact. Engagement rate is an important metric in influencer marketing that measures the level of connection between an influencer and their audience. Basically, engagement rate shows how engaged followers are with a certain influencer’s content. And nano and micro influencers have the highest engagement rates in the business.
An engagement analysis showing that the average rate is 3.6% for Instagram influencers with between 5-15K followers.
There are two primary reasons for this. First, followers find nano and micro influencers because of some niche that they’re actually very interested in. Second, the audience sees nano and micro influencers as authentic. They’re not perfectly polished celebrities, but real people like you and me.
All of this combined makes nano and micro influencers a great investment for small campaigns. They don’t cost much, and can bring in results that outweigh the investment. But, success here is dependent on finding the right influencer, which brings us to our next point.
Find influencers who align with your brand and analyze their profile’s health
If you don’t find the right influencer to work with your business, your campaign can become a lost cause. You might end up wasting your budget marketing to an influencer with lots of fake followers. Or maybe the influencer’s values don’t align with your business’, which can cause confusion and distrust among their followers, and potentially yours.
For that reason, it’s critical to find an influencer that aligns with your brand. This means your brand’s mission, goals, values and style fits with that of the influencer. For example, if your business revolves around handmade jewelry made from recycled materials, find an influencer who shows an active interest in that topic area. Coherency is key here.
Next, never collaborate with an influencer without vetting the health of their social profile. Let’s use Instagram influencers as an example here. Before reaching out to them, check into their:
- Follower growth over time, to see if it’s steadily increasing
- Engagement rate, to measure their connection with their audience (for Instagram, likes + comments / number of followers and x 100)
- Audience demographics, to see if their audience matches up to your target audience
- Audience authenticity, to assess if they’ve purchased bot followers, which don’t care in the slightest about your business
Audience authenticity is an important metric to analyze in order to make sure your marketing campaign reaches real people who can respond to your call-to-action, and not automated bots.
Streamline communication and logistics, and leave leeway for slips-ups
When you work with influencers, remember that you have to work with someone who isn’t a member of your team. This can be a challenge for various reasons. So keep in mind: like most collaborative activities, communication is key in marketing campaigns. Set up a good stream of communication between your business and the influencer from the very beginning.
To start, explain any requirements you have for the collaboration before the influencer accepts. Discuss deadlines, incentive, and “editorial guidelines” you want the influencer to follow. For example, maybe you want them to include a certain hashtag in all their posts. Or, you may want them to shoot content that shows your product in a particular setting. Make sure the influencer is OK with all of these before closing the deal.
Next, make an effort to stay in touch with relevant updates about the campaign. If you’ve agreed to send an influencer free products, shoot them an email once the package goes out. Give them the tracking number so they know when to expect the product. If there’s some type of delay, let them know.
Speaking of delays, plan for them. Leave leeway in your campaign schedule and budget so you can compensate for any errors or bad luck. Some common hiccups in influencer marketing campaigns include packages getting lost or delayed, expediting shipping costs that are higher than what you budgeted for, or influencers not replying to you.
That last item is another thing to bear in mind when setting up your campaign. Not every influencer you reach out to will be able to or want to collaborate with you. In fact, some might not even reply to your initial proposal. So search for and contact more than you need, and give yourself ample time to pin them down.
Give influencers creative freedom
This tip relates back to finding the right influencer. If you’ve done your research and found an influencer with a healthy profile and who aligns with your brand, you should feel confident that they’ll create good content for your campaign.
It can be tempting to micromanage influencers. It’s only natural. As a business owner or employee, you may be used to having a hand in every pot. And when working with less experienced nano and micro influencers, you might want to make sure they’re doing things the way you expect. But resist the urge: don’t micromanage, and instead, give influencers creative freedom when creating their content.
Influencers have attracted their followers with their unique perspective and style. Therefore, if you micromanage their creative process, the content may end up feeling forced or unnatural. Give them your brand’s message. Then let them work out how to communicate that to their followers. The result will be more authentic, which means a better chance at making a good impression on followers.
Any size business can try out influencer marketing. But the strategy calls for some dedicated planning, careful analysis, and the ability to think on your feet to solve problems that may arise throughout the process.
If you want to know more about how to manage an influencer marketing campaign, check out our influencer marketing guide. It walks through the five critical steps of a campaign, shows you how to find influencers, and more.
Author Bio: Kate Santoro works on the marketing team at Heepsy, an influencer marketing platform that helps you find the right influencers for your campaign. Kate produces digital content, and when not online she enjoys traveling or trying out a new recipe.