10 Steps For Developing A More Effective Influencer Strategy

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Word of mouth has always been the best form of advertising.

Many people — 92% according to one survey — trust recommendations made by friends and family more than any other kind of advertising.

That’s the reason why your marketing efforts need to include an influencer strategy.

Social media can make strangers feel like friends that people can trust. Influencers on social media have tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, sometimes even millions of those “friends”.

The Value of Influencers

A good influencer strategy allows you to tap into that relationship.

It can be an efficient and effective way to connect and enhance credibility with your target market. But it’s not easy. It requires a lot of person-to-person relationship building with influencer — once you find them.

Savvy marketing leaders know that a successful influencer strategy must be personal and authentic. To get the highest ROI from influencer campaigns, you’ve got to leverage technology whenever possible.

Spend your energy on building relationships with the right influencers for your business, not the process itself.

10 Steps For a More Effective Influencer Strategy

Use these steps to develop and execute your next influencer campaign.

1. Know Your Goals

Don’t get caught up in the buzz of using influencers in marketing campaigns without knowing what you need to achieve. Like any business initiative, setting clear goals is the first step to getting the results you want.

Examples of what you might be looking to achieve:

  • Increased traffic to website
  • Increased sales
  • Greater brand awareness
  • Strong launch of new product
  • Increased market share
  • Greater customer loyalty
  • Toehold in new (to your business) customer demographic

It’s possible to have more than one goal but try to have no more than three. Each must be attainable and measurable. For example: “Traffic from new visitors to the website sales page increased by 20% by the end of Q2.”

2. Identify Key Demographics of Target Customers

The more you can describe the customers you seek to gain, the better equipped you’ll be to find the right influencers for your product or service.

Key demographics usually include location, gender, age, socio-economic class, marital status and level of education. But it’s the interests of your target customers that make influencer marketing powerful.

Does your target customer like sports? If so, which ones? Don’t be afraid to get as specific as teams, if it makes sense to your products.

There are countless interests. Some, like cooking, gardening, or playing video games are common. Others, like collecting wood carvings of animals, might seem too niche. But if that aligns with your business, it could be vital to your influencer strategy.

3. Research Influencers

Now that you have the description of your target customer nailed down, you can effectively go about finding influencers.

You can scan social media platforms to figure out who holds sway with their followers. It takes weeks to do this properly, because you need to see their interactions over time.

A good way to reduce the amount of time spent on research is to use a database of known influencers. It’s always faster to strike names off a list than try to build a list from scratch.

No matter how you develop your list of influencers to investigate further, the goal is to gain a solid understanding of their interests and reach.

How do they interact with their followers? Funny tweets? Instagram stories? LinkedIn posts? Facebook live video? YouTube how-to videos?

How does community interact with them?

Look for people who are more than authorities on a topic. Valuable influencers also have positive, ongoing interaction with their community.

Get to know the influencer’s personality online. Pay attention to what they already promote or influence.

Think about how each influencer could authentically interact with your product or service. Also identify what value you could bring to them.

Document everything you’ve learned about an influencer in a single place.

4. Get On Their Radar

There is an art to reaching out to an influencer. Cold-calling seldom works. The starting point is following them on all their social media platforms.

Become familiar with their content, pet projects, pet peeves, bio, and position on any hot current events.

Interact with them through meaningful replies and comments for several weeks or months, if possible. You want your name to be at least visually familiar when you do reach out directly.

Ideally, you will also create discussion with them or among their followers.

It a bonus when influencers notice you before you reach out to them.

Keep notes of all your interactions in the repository with other notes. If there are any valuable trends or aberrations, you’ll be able to spot them more easily if everything is in one place.

5. Connect

At some point, you do need to connect with them directly. It’s customary to do this through email, not direct messaging.

Like any business communication, be respectful and clear. But also be human. Use natural language. Make sure the subject line stands out. You want to compel the influencer to open the message, not send it to trash.

Open with a personal greeting. Don’t hesitate to compliment their work on social media with a specific example but keep it to one sentence.

In total, the message should be 7-10 sentences long.

Be direct about your purpose but also show how they could benefit. The purpose of the email is to start a conversation to discover if you are a good match. Save spelling out your campaign and vision for later.

Try to present the benefit to them in a phrase that they could comfortably repeat to their manager.

After you’ve sent the email, don’t change your social media activity. They will probably check you out more closely on social media, if they are interested in your proposal.

Can take a few messages before you get a response. Tracking can help you measure how much effort is going into reaching the influencer.

6. Nurture the Relationship

Your influencer strategy must leave plenty of room for personal interaction with influencers who show interest.

It will take many conversations for both you and them to feel it’s a good match. It’s a red flag if an influencer doesn’t take their time vetting you. Often, it means they can’t authentically speak about your product or services.

Nurture the relationship by promptly answering their questions. Always highlight the benefits to them.

Share your vision and influencer strategy with them to help them feel included. Ask for feedback and respond if they provide it.

Talk in terms of helping their community. Valuable influencers are often protective of their followers and don’t want to lead them astray.

And once they have opted-in to work with you, make it easy for them to find what they need.

7. Manage Their Performance

The more support and direction you can give an influencer, the better.

Make sure they know key dates and information about products or services. Set expectations and make rewards clear.

Use a system that track and report on their total reach, engagement scores, and activity. You need data to help you know which are your influencers who deliver results.

Influencers themselves often want to know how they are performing. Sometimes there’s an element of ego but most often it’s about being able to prove higher value to the next marketer who approaches them.

8. Streamline Compensation

Whether you compensate influencers with cash or products, there’s no value to spending unnecessary time on the process.

You want a system that makes it easy for you to see that the necessary conditions have been met and payment can be released.

9. Measure ROI

Throughout your marketing campaign, you need to monitor your influencer strategy.

If tweaks are necessary, action should be taken quickly.

ROI is perhaps the most important and complex measurement. It’s easy to capture the monthly or annual cost of an influencer management system. But, there more to the investment side of the equation.

You want to know how much time was spent on research and relationship-building. Added to that is compensation to the influencer. The more followers an influencer has, the higher the cost to you.

To get a picture of the return on your investment, you need to be able to easily track engagement rates. Then you need to map them to sales and revenue data.

10. Share Results

Marketing leaders must always be prepared to show results.

Dashboards and relevant and real-time reports with a wide range of filters are ideal.

With a comprehensive influencer management system, marketers can give the appropriate information to stakeholders with ease. Flexibility reporting leads to evidence-based decisions throughout the lifespan of the influencer strategy.

In Summary

An influencer strategy can be profitable. But only if it well-planned and executed.

A poor strategy can waste time, money and damage your brand.

Influence marketing depends on building meaningful relationships based on authentic interactions. Use your people’s talent and energy to find and nurture the right influencers.

Grin, a robust influence marketing management system, can take care of all the behind-the-scenes processes.

Ready to get even more from your influencer strategy? Contact us today!

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