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Influencer Marketing: All You Need to Know to Plan, Execute, and Generate ROI

Influencer marketing is the process of collaborating with influencers in order to expand the reach and awareness of your brand. The right investment can help you cement your position in the market and build trust and credibility with your audience. When done well, a successful influencer marketing campaign can work wonders to boost the bottom line of your business. However, in order to ensure a good Return on Investment (ROI), there are a number of things that you need to keep in mind.

This guide will help you build a campaign that sets you up for success by looking at: 

  • What is influencer marketing and how it works.
  • The steps to building an effective strategy. 
  • Best practices to help you increase your ROI
  • How to streamline your processes with an influencer marketing platform.

 

What Is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing is a form of social media marketing that involves collaborating with professional influencers who publicly endorse your brand. This helps you build your business and reach a larger audience.

Before we look at the different types of influencers that you can hire, let’s begin by taking a look at the benefits of embracing this effective marketing strategy.

Benefits of Influencer Marketing

Here are the biggest benefits of using an influencer marketing strategy to boost your brand:

  • Build trust: Influencers have already built trust, engagement, and credibility with their followers, so their audience is more likely to buy into their content and recommendations.
  • Improve brand awareness: The right strategy can expand your reach and online positioning, encouraging more people to find out who you are and what you have to offer.
  • Enrich your content strategy: An experienced influencer can provide you with inspiration for new content ideas, helping to fill the gaps in your content strategy.
  • Reach your target audience: Relevant influencers can help you share your content with a niche audience that is more likely to be interested in your product.

Types of Influencers

There are many different types of influencers and brand ambassadors out there. They can vary by audience size, industry and niche market. 

Let’s take a look at some of the most common types to see which would be the best choice for your brand.

  • Nano-influencers: Between 1K and 10K followers. Because of their reduced following, nano-influencers are usually able to engage consistently with their audience. While they may be less experienced than professional influencers, their content is typically more authentic and focuses on a niche topic. 
  • Micro-influencers: Between 10K and 100K followers. Although they have more followers, they usually manage to maintain a relatively high level of engagement. They are also more likely to have a targeted audience focused on a particular niche.
  • Macro-influencers: Between 100K and 1M followers. These profiles tend to have a much broader appeal and often include social media stars, bloggers, vloggers, and podcasters. These influencers also have a much greater reach. However, due to the sheer size of their audience, they are unlikely to have a high engagement rate. 
  • Mega-influencers: Over 1M followers. These include celebrities, rising stars, and KOLs (key opinion leaders). Because they have such a strong social status, their recommendations tend to be listened to. However, they are less likely to be engaged with their followers or specialized in a particular niche or industry. 
  • Brand ambassadors: You also need to understand the benefits of using a brand ambassador vs influencer. A brand ambassador is more likely to have a genuine passion for your brand, as they directly represent your brand. However, they often have a smaller following. 

Influencer Marketing vs Affiliate Marketing

The terms influencer marketing and affiliate marketing are often used interchangeably. This is because, ultimately, they have the same goal: collaborating with a third party in order to boost your marketing efforts. However, there is a distinct difference between the two terms that you need to be aware of.

Affiliate marketing tends to be driven by sales. You partner with an affiliate who is skilled at promoting products with the sole aim of increasing revenue. And with affiliate marketing, you only pay commissions for direct conversions. 

With influencer marketing, sales might be one of your end goals, but it is not your primary focus. Instead, influencers focus on expanding your reach and increasing awareness of your products or services.

Ultimately, the biggest difference between the two concepts is that affiliate marketing is generally focused on top-line revenue growth, whereas influencer marketing tends to focus more on brand awareness.

How to Build an Influencer Marketing Strategy

Now let’s take a look at everything you need to keep in mind when you build your influencer marketing strategy.

 

How to Find Influencers

The first point we are going to look at is how to reach out to influencers for collaboration.

The influencer collaborations you create to promote your brand can have a huge impact on whether or not your marketing campaign is a success. That’s why it’s so important to put in the groundwork beforehand to make sure they are a good fit. And that means taking a number of factors into consideration, not just the number of followers a potential influencer might have.

Consider the following:

  • Audience: Take a look at the demographics of your potential influencer’s following. What is their location, age, gender, and language? Do their demographics align with those of your target audience? 
  • Content: Do they follow an effective influencer marketing strategy? Does their content align with your own brand values? 
  • Performance: Whether this means looking at awareness, engagement or conversions will depend on your campaign goals. 
  • Fake influencers: You also need to make sure an influencer’s fan base is real. In other words, they don’t have fake followers. 
  • Platforms: Are they active on the same platforms as your target audience? Do you know how to find influencers on TikTok? What about finding influencers on YouTube or Instagram? Remember, every platform is different.

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How to Hire Influencers

Once you’ve found an influencer, you need to understand how to get an influencer to promote your product.

These are the basic steps you should be following:

  • Communication: Reach out to them on social media and strike up a conversation. Ask them about their successes and what they are interested in. Listen to what they say and make sure you seem genuinely interested. Your influencer will be much more open to your pitch if you establish some form of relationship with them. 
  • Negotiate terms: Make sure your initial proposal is both specific to your needs and crafted to their influencer brand. It’s also important to be clear about your expectations at this point. This includes what you are willing to pay, how much brand coverage you are looking for, and how much control you expect to have over any sponsored posts. Don’t forget to discuss content usage rights at this point, too.
  • Contract: The next step is drafting and signing a social media influencer contract. Make sure you cover contact details, platforms, campaign information, payment terms, content rights and confidentiality in your agreement.
  • Campaign objectives: Finally, make sure you are clear about your campaign objectives from the start, including any metrics that you will be using to track and measure performance. Working towards clear objectives with a well-defined strategy will help to maximize the ROI of your campaign from day one.

 

Influencer Marketing Budget

It’s important to have a well-planned budget for your influencer marketing campaign. Start by conducting research to find out answers to questions like “How much do influencers get paid?” and “How do influencers get paid’” so that you know what to expect. That way you can create an enticing value proposition.

Fees tend to vary greatly according to a number of factors, including audience size, industry, and experience. Influencers in certain markets, such as the United States, will normally charge more for their services than content creators in countries where this trend is still up and coming.  

You might even consider including non-monetary incentives and rewards that will help you secure partnerships with your selected influencers, such as free products, VIP benefits, or event passes.  

Influencer Marketing Campaigns

The next step in your plan is creating a strategy. This will help you define what your goals are, and what you expect from the influencers you collaborate with. 

Consider these influencer marketing best practices

  • Objectives: What are your goals? Are you looking to increase sales, improve SEO or build brand awareness? Do you care more about reach, impressions, or engagement?
  • Target audience: Who are you trying to influence? What are the demographics of your target audience? Make sure you take into account the three Rs of influence: reach, relevance, and resonance.
  • Measuring: Which metrics do you need to track in order to quantify an influencer’s performance?
  • Guidelines: Make sure you create clear guidelines for your influencer so that they understand your goals and your core messaging strategy.

Influencer Marketing Analytics

Choosing the right influencer marketing KPIs that align with your goals is the most effective way to measure the impact of your campaigns and calculate your ROI. But with so many metrics available for tracking, how do you know which ones are right for you?

We will look at specific influencer marketing KPIs shortly. For now, let’s focus on influencer audience analysis.

The best way to conduct an overall influencer audience analysis and measure the effectiveness of a campaign is to quantify its value in terms of return on investment.

UTMs (Urchin Tracking Modules) are one way to track the visitors an influencer sends to your website or social media page. They can also help measure how much engagement the campaign receives. When you assign each influencer their own unique links with UTM codes, you’ll get a clear picture of the results. That allows you to calculate the impact on your bottom line.

How to Increase Influencer Marketing ROI

Return on investment (ROI) is another key metric for evaluating the performance of your advertising campaign. The more successful an influencer campaign is, the more return you should be getting on your investment. And this is the goal of any marketing strategy. 

Let’s take a look at a few strategies you can use to increase your ROI.

Influencer Marketing Campaign Goals

Which influencer marketing analytics will you be monitoring as part of your influencer tracking strategy? To identify the best KPIs for your campaign, you first need to be clear about your overall objectives. Are you looking to increase sales, improve SEO or build brand awareness? Do you care more about reach, impressions, or engagement?

Influencer Marketing KPIs

As we mentioned already, it’s important to identify which influencer marketing results and KPIs you are going to track in order to measure the success of your campaign. This will give you an idea of how much of an impact your chosen influencer is having on your brand awareness.

Here are some of the most common influencer analytics that you might decide to monitor:

  • Brand awareness
  • Organic reach and impressions
  • Engagement
  • Conversions & sales
  • Website traffic
  • Like and follower growth over time
  • ROI
  • Profile visits
  • Social sentiment
  • Follower quality

Look for a High Earned Media Value

One of the best ways to calculate ROI is by looking at Earned Media Value (EMV). EMV is a direct reflection on the success of your influencer campaign. Essentially, it involves calculating the value of the interactions generated through your campaign, including reach and engagement. EMV metrics are important as they indicate brand popularity and the overall interest in your products. Basically, they tell you how much you would have invested in paid campaigns to get the achieved results.

To calculate your EMV, you first need to know the CPE (Cost per Engagement or Interaction), CPM (Cost per Mille Impressions) and CPR (Cost per Reach) of your current paid campaigns. For example, if in your paid campaigns an interaction costs you $1, a post with 1,000 interactions would cost you $1,000.

To find out your EMV, you’ll need to do the same math with the influencer posts, so if an influencer’s post gets 2,000 interactions, your EMV will be $2,000, a higher ROI than with your paid campaigns.

The higher your EMV, the better job an influencer is doing of promoting your brand. 

Influencer Marketing Platforms

Influencer marketing platforms help you streamline each stage of the influencer marketing process. Using a centralized platform like Influencity will not only save you valuable time, but you will also get access to the right influencer tools to make sure your posts are performing at the optimum level. 

With Influencity, you get a full spectrum of influencer marketing tools and features that help you find the right influencers and track their performance throughout your campaign.

Let’s take a look at some of these tools.

Influencer Search Tools

An influencer search tool, also known as an influencer search engine, is like a Google search bar for content creators. The best search tools let you filter not just by influencer interests and demographics, but by the interests and demographics of their audience as well. Once you’ve found what you’re looking for, you can view details about the influencer on their profile page to make sure they’re a good fit for your brand.

Many influencer marketing platforms have begun offering free versions of their paid software. However, free versions tend to focus more on ‘vanity metrics’ such as likes and engagement, which makes searching for the perfect influencer for your brand like searching for a need in a haystack. Be sure that your search tool offers a wide range of filters, making it easy to narrow down profiles based on their niche, top hashtags, and audience interests.

 

An Influencer Relationship Management (IRM) tool

An IRM is a one-stop shop where you can view influencer analytics, add relevant information about your collaboration, and contact them with email integration. 

Just like a sales team wouldn’t be caught without a proper Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool, most IRMs include the following information: 

  • Contact information
  • Industry
  • Interests
  • Follower count and engagement rate
  • The option to add and update price historicals
  • Activity splits: the number of likes, video views, etc., to expect on each post
  • Information on audience location and demographics

Basically, an IRM eliminates the need for static Excel databases and allows you to make data-driven decisions when choosing the right influencers for your campaign. 

Influencer Tracking Tools

The final point we are going to discuss in this influencer marketing guide is tracking tools. 

You can use a tracking tool to monitor your defined KPIs and identify how well an influencer is performing. In other words, whether or not they are effectively promoting your brand. In fact, of all the influencer marketing tools, this is arguably one of the most valuable, as it gives you insight into what’s working, and what needs to be improved. What’s more, you can also track performance on different levels, to compare performance from post to post, influencer to influencer, and between social media networks. 

You can, of course, manually keep tracks of the likes, engagement, and audience stats of all the posts in your campaign. However, as your marketing strategy grows, it will become difficult to adequately track the performance of all of your sponsored posts. This is where an influencer marketing platform like Influencity comes in handy, as it breaks down post and influencer performance data into one highly visual and easy-to-read report that you can share with teammates and clients.