Today’s global market is becoming increasingly consumer-driven and competitive. Conventional methods of advertising such as print ads and television commercials often fail to yield the expected results.
In addition, the growing popularity of ad blockers has made it even more difficult to connect with your target audience. This calls for innovative new marketing strategies that will help you reach out to your potential customers.
Influencer marketing is an extremely effective tool that can help grow your business. It increases brand awareness and credibility. And it is just as useful in gaining the trust of your target audience and shaping their purchase decisions.
Many brands and digital marketers have started collaborating with influencers to generate a higher ROI.
Before we discuss a few influencer marketing best practices, let’s understand its importance.
The Power of Influencer Marketing
Influencers are people with a huge number of devoted and engaged social media followers. What distinguishes them from traditional celebrities is the strong connection they share with their fans.
Instead of shrouding their lives in mystery, they share intimate glimpses of their daily lives. This helps influencers establish a friendly rapport with their followers and earn their trust.
Owing to these personal connections, influencers are perceived as role models or authority figures in their niches. When an influencer endorses your brand, it is viewed as more of an authentic testimonial instead of a salesy pitch. Influencers also succeed in building loyal communities of followers who trust their recommendations and swear by them.
It is evident that influencer marketing best practices can give increased visibility to your brand. Moreover, when an influencer recommends your product or service, it strengthens your brand’s credibility.
It is equally useful at reinforcing customer loyalty and fortifying your brand’s reputation. In addition, influencers can be instrumental in giving a distinct voice to your content to help it cut through the noise.
You can use influencer marketing to generate leads, increases sales, and ultimately, achieve a higher ROI.
However, it is important to understand that you can’t pick just any random influencer and ask them to recommend your brand. In order to maximize the ROI of your influencer marketing campaign, you must have an actionable plan. This starts with defining your goals and identifying the right influencers.
Here are some influencer marketing best practices that will help you earn a better ROI.
Set Specific Goals
The first step is to outline a clear set of objectives for your influencer marketing strategy. In the absence of a well-defined goal, it is difficult to measure the ROI and evaluate the success of your campaign.
Your goals will also have an impact on the influencers you collaborate with and the type of content you create.
Depending on your product or service, you can select one or more of the following goals:
Once you have identified your objectives, you should assign key performance indicators (KPIs) to each goal.
KPIs are measurable metrics that will help you track the ROI and success of your marketing campaign. That is why this is one of the most important influencer marketing best practices.
Based on your goals, you can assign KPIs such as:
A particular number of followers within a set time period
A percentage of increase in social media engagement levels
A monthly, quarterly or yearly revenue target
Know Your Target Audience
Your target audience is at the core of any marketing campaign. All of your efforts and strategies are focused on reaching out to this target audience. Influencer marketing is not an exception. Its success is largely dependent on how well you understand your audience.
It is important to dig deep and identify specific details about your potential customers. You must have a clear understanding of their age groups, academic and professional backgrounds, geographic locations, and other details.
In addition, you should also consider factors such as online behavior, devices used, preferences, dislikes, etc.
Your target audience will have a huge impact on the type of influencers you collaborate with. In addition, it will also dictate the type of content you create as part of your influencer marketing campaign.
Let’s say you own a brand of travel photography gear and want to target adventure travelers. Travel influencers and photographers who create attractive visual content would be the right choice to connect with your target audience.
For instance, Curaçao’s tourism board collaborated with influencers such as Marcel Floruss to promote the region to New Yorkers.
You must have a strong presence on the social media platforms and channels that are frequently used by your target audience. Once you have identified your audience, it is time to pick appropriate channels to communicate with them.
For instance, if you want to target senior-level decision makers of various companies, LinkedIn would be the ideal platform. On the other hand, if your target audience includes young and creative individuals, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest are the right channels.
This is particularly important because an influencer may not be equally active across all social media platforms. While some influencers have a strong presence on Instagram and Facebook, others might be more active on their blogs.
It is important to collaborate with an influencer who has an active presence on the platforms that are being used by your target audience.
In general, Instagram is the most popular platform to reach millennials as over 60% of its users are between the age of 18-24.
Influencer marketing best practices dictate that you must collaborate with an influencer who is relevant to your niche. Then their audience will be more likely to show any interest in your product or service.
In order to select the right influencer, you should consider factors such as reach, engagement, and relevance. Analyze an influencer’s social media feeds to understand how their content is being received by their audience.
In addition, you should find an influencer who is an expert in the niche that your brand belongs to. It is also crucial to ensure that the overall image and personality of an influencer aligns with that of your brand.
For instance, if you own a digital marketing agency, you can’t expect massive success from a collaboration with fashion bloggers. In addition, the influencer’s content style and voice should resonate with your brand image.
Don’t Ignore Micro-Influencers
In the context of influencer marketing, one of the most common mistakes is to prioritize reach over everything else. An influencer’s reach, although extremely crucial, is not the only factor that decides that fate of your campaign.
It is just as important to understand how devoted and loyal their followers are. And an influencer with millions of followers is likely to charge a hefty compensation.
What happens when you don’t have the funds to collaborate with such big-shot influencers? The alternative is to collaborate with micro-influencers who have a relatively small yet fiercely engaged fan community. They are often more successful in conveying a brand’s message to their audience.
Deliver User-Centric Content
High-quality content is the driving force behind any successful marketing campaign. The same holds true for influencer marketing. An influencer can strengthen your content strategy by lending their unique voice. Use it to your advantage and create content that is fresh, engaging, and authentic.
You can collaborate with influencers to do a simple shoutout for your brand or host a giveaway of your products. You can also work with them to create interesting videos that showcase your brand without being overly promotional. If your goal is to drive conversions, you can ask a relevant influencer to share an authentic testimonial about your brand.
The idea is to create and publish content that helps you meet the ultimate objectives of your marketing campaign.
One of the most crucial influencer marketing best practices is to avoid uploading salesy content. Instead, you should leverage the influencer’s power and showcase your brand in a seamless manner. You should also ensure that your content adheres to FTC guidelines.
Relinquish Creative Control
Influencers make a living by creating engaging content for their audiences. They already have a clear idea of what their audiences want.
Therefore, when it comes to content creation, it is recommended that you give complete creative freedom to an influencer. In addition, you should set aside a suitable budget to support influencer-backed content.
Provide Trackable Calls-to-Action
One of the most useful influencer marketing best practices it to provide discount codes or affiliate links to influencers. You can encourage them to use these codes or links in their content. This makes it easy for you to track the progress and evaluate the ROI of your campaign.
Offer Suitable Compensation
When an influencer promotes your brand, they expect something in return. As a part of influencer marketing best practices, you should reward your influencers with appropriate compensation. Big influencers with millions of followers often charge a fixed fee or commission.
Others, including micro-influencers, may be compensated in the form of free gifts and shoutouts on your social media profiles. It is important to have an open discussion and mutually decide the compensation.
Forge Long-Term Associations
A one-off influencer marketing campaign can help you achieve a better ROI and boost your online presence. However, in order to reap the full benefits of influencer marketing, you should focus on building long-term relationships with influencers.
This can be instrumental in transforming them into loyal advocates of your brand. This, in turn, strengthens brand credibility and expands your reach in an organic manner. In addition, you don’t have to go through the process of identifying suitable influencers all over again for every new campaign.
To make the process of building relationships with your influencers easier, you can use Grin. You can seamlessly communicate with your influencers from the all-in-one portal and even manage your relationships with them.
Influencer marketing is no longer an alternative tool for advertising. It is gradually becoming a hot favorite among brands and marketers. However, a successful influencer marketing campaign requires a proper strategy and planning. It is important to define your goals, identify your target audience, and collaborate with an influencer who is relevant to your niche.
In addition, you should strive to build enduring relationships with influencers. Reward them in a suitable manner and maintain contact even after your campaign is over. This is the essence of influencer marketing and can help strengthen your online presence over time.
Brian Mechem is CRO and Co-Founder of GRIN, the #1 software solution for direct-to-consumer brands who run influencer marketing programs. GRIN's software powers some of the best influencer programs in the world, providing insights on ROI and adding efficiency to the influencer marketing process.