There are several common objectives for an influencer marketing campaign. The most common is to drive revenue.
For those just getting started with influencer marketing, establishing clear sales goals will help you leverage the power of influencer marketing ROI.
As you begin managing influencer campaigns, you’ll quickly discover that driving revenue is not the only way to measure ROI. Some of the most common objectives are increasing brand awareness and domain authority. These kinds of long-term goals ensure that you generate sales now and in the future, all from a single campaign.
Regardless, influencer marketing can be one of the most profitable means of driving sales for your organization. But to get ROI from an influencer marketing campaign, you have to effectively build your influencer team and establish IRM (influencer relationship management) best practices. Here is a quick guide to help you drive serious revenue with the help of influencers.
Find the Right Influencers for Your Brand
Not every influencer can help you drive the revenue increase that you’re looking for. More importantly, a mismatch between your brand and the influencer’s voice could create confusion among members of your audience.
Know Your Customer
The ideal influencers have been nurturing relationships with their audience for some time. The partnership between consumer and influencer is no less vital than the partnership between an influencer and your brand.
That’s why knowing your customers is critical to finding the right influencers that will drive sales. If you haven’t already done so, answer the following questions about your audience:
- What is the average age of your customers?
- Are they most often male or female?
- What is their budget and quality of life?
- What products do they most enjoy?
- Where do most of your customers live?
- What problems are your customers dealing with regularly?
- How do they prefer to digest information?
When you know the answers to these questions, you can identify influencers that authentically engage your ideal customers.
You want your brand and influencers to achieve audience alignment. The best influencers are those that share your ideal audience.
After identifying your ideal audience, the next step is to determine the social channels in which your audience is most active. Knowing what those channels are will narrow down your influencer search.
Influencers use social media creatively to build a community of like-minded consumers. Identifying where and how influencers are interacting with your ideal audience can also help you recruit the most effective influencer team.
Once you know that an influencer shares your audience, the next step is to review engagement metrics. Your goal is to find out just how effective an influencer is at engaging members of their audience.
Like and follower counts can be deceptive. That’s why Instagram started removing likes on some accounts last year. Instead, you’ll need to use social media interactions such as comments and shares to measure true engagement.
Tools like influencer mapping can help you test the quality of your prospective influencers. Or, you can use post comments and shares to calculate an influencer’s engagement rate.
# post comments + # post shares / # followers
If you’re using an influencer aggregator tool like GRIN, the software will generate their qualitative metrics for you.
Build Strong Relationships with Your Influencers
When you find a new influencer, you should do everything in your power to engage them authentically as well. Influencer marketing managers are also relationship managers.
Influencers put their personal lives on display for the sake of generating awareness and doing business with like-minded brands. If your organization respects the influencers on your roster, you are more likely to generate higher sales through your influencer program.
Striking a Balance
Because influencers leverage their personal lives for the sake of doing business, you should consider their personal lives, too. Celebrating influencer birthdays and showing a general interest in them can go a long way.
However, brands should strike a balance. Influencers are professionals, and as such, professional boundaries should also exist.
Maintaining this balance of making your influencers feel appreciated on a personal level while also upholding professionalism can be challenging. Every influencer is different, and there is no “one size fits all” approach.
An essential quality for any influencer relationship is collaboration. Influencers are good at what they do, and brands that micromanage influencers will not reach their full influencer marketing program potential.
As an influencer marketing manager, your work will become more enriching and fruitful if you brainstorm ideas with your influencers. When you agree on a campaign approach, you can work together to set the tone, build the best offers, and troubleshoot less-effective means.
Your influencers are contractors, not payroll employees. Appreciating their brand integrity will help them respect your brand integrity in return. Mutual respect will generate the highest influencer ROI possible.
Influencer relationships often involve exclusive perks, such as free products or trips. If you know that your influencer will generate the engagement you want, consider offering them more exciting opportunities that they will also enjoy.
As your influencers become more excited about your brand, they will achieve higher levels of authenticity with their audience on your behalf. When this happens, higher sales are just around the corner.
Once you’ve completed a successful campaign, it is entirely appropriate to show public appreciation for your influencers.
Not only does this deepen relationships with your influencers, but it also helps influencers increase their brand awareness with other like-minded audiences and organizations.
Run Effective Influencer Relationship Management
How you run your influencer campaigns shows influencers your brand integrity. And your ability to manage influencer relationships in action correlates directly with campaign results.
To achieve this level of competence, here are a few points to keep in mind.
Everything “On Paper”
Influencer agreements and campaign briefs lay everything out in the open. While putting everything “on paper” doesn’t have to mean drafting physical documents, digitized documents and signatures put everyone at ease about future business efforts.
Influencer documentation ensures that all players operate fairly within clear parameters from beginning to end. All agreements and briefs should be clear and straightforward. The more often you can keep documentation to a single sheet at a time, the more digestible the information will be.
Campaign briefs name the number of posts, content substance/type, timelines, key performance indicators (KPIs), and anything necessary to achieve clarity between yourself and your influencer.
It is not enough to establish a campaign brief. Clear communication is active and ongoing. Continue communication after you send a campaign brief and maintain contact with your influencers throughout the campaign.
Your influencers should feel safe to ask you questions, offer feedback, voice when a campaign is going poorly, and share genuine positivity throughout the campaign. An open line of communication allows all campaign players to adjust efforts mid-campaign for best results.
Whatever you do, don’t cheat your influencers.
If you promise them a particular compensation structure or working relationship, make sure you follow through. When you have to initiate a change of plans/direction, inform your influencers immediately.
Influencers put enormous effort into crafting their voice and personal brand. Be wary of asking them to do things with which they are uncomfortable. Most importantly, never repurpose an influencer’s content without their permission.
If you’ve vetted your influencers for engagement over vanity metrics, you are usually safe from influencers taking advantage of your organization. Influencers with vanity metrics (such as high follower counts with low post engagement) could be buying likes and followers to inflate their brand artificially. By recruiting carefully, you can count on your activated influencers to get the job done with the highest level of integrity.
As you scale your influencer program, you will need help. Managing influencer relationships often means assigning a certain number of influencers per team member.
If you’ve employed the aid of influencer marketing software, your team will be able to manage your group of influencers more efficiently. From campaign briefs to emails with influencers to results tracking, GRIN’s IRM tools keep everything in one place.
Run Sales-driven Influencer Campaigns
Since you’ve identified your campaign objective – driving sales – you can structure your influencer campaigns accordingly.
With the assistance of your influencers, formulate messaging that establishes your products’ value. Additionally, each post should have a clear call to action so that your audience knows the next steps to take.
Examining your Shopify or other eCommerce store data can help you determine the best products to promote. Using offers and promo codes entices shoppers to take advantage of limited-time offers.
If you are launching a new product, work with your influencers to show consumers exactly how the product works and why they should buy now (as opposed to later).
Tracking Tools (Tags, Attribution, Landing Pages, etc.)
It is critical that you track results. If you’ve built landing pages, created tags, and collaborated with your influencers on using hashtags, you’ll be able to correctly attribute every sale to the post from which it originated.
While managing these details can be overwhelming, failing to do so will leave you without a clear picture of how well your influencers are performing. Spreadsheets will suffice if your influencer team is small. But once you decide to scale your program, you will want to invest in influencer-specific tracking software. Doing so will streamline your tracking efforts and save you time.
Your influencer campaigns are sending customers to your website. If your site’s user experience (UX) is satisfactory, then you should notice immediate results.
However, a bad UX design can make it difficult for customers to know how to buy or navigate your site. Before launching your influencer campaign, ensure that your website is a pleasant experience for visitors. Your online store should be a place where customers may naturally peruse and purchase products.
Scale Your Influencer Program and Increase Your Revenue
After debriefing yourself and your team after each campaign, you’ll notice that some influencers perform better than others. Invest in your winners, and allow the new data acquired from each campaign to inform recruiting and influencer program scaling efforts moving forward.
With each new campaign iteration, your program will become more potent. Relationships with your influencers will deepen, and you will be able to drive revenues in ways you never thought possible.
Final Considerations on Driving Revenue with Influencer Marketing
With each new campaign, you’ll develop confidence in preparation for the next campaign. And if you achieve your sales goals, you’ll be inspired to tweak your influencer efforts to increase results, as well as add new objectives like improving your website’s SEO.
Like most digital marketing initiatives, influencer marketing ROI increases by a trial-and-error approach. Failure is learning, and success means that “you’re onto something.” Continue to dig deeper into your influencer efforts to produce the best possible results every time.