Today we have a guest post from Katrina Manning. Katrina is a published author and content marketing writer for Zintel Australia. Over the past eight years, she has written thousands of articles in the business, tech, and lifestyle genres. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering, experimenting with new recipes, traveling, playing with her cat, and looking at Instagram pics.
Rising in popularity, influencer marketing is gaining a foothold among digital marketers. The reason is that 92 percent of global consumers place more trust in word-of-mouth recommendations over all other forms of advertising. Imagine that in 2007, only 18 percent of consumers felt the same.
Moreover, consumers often listen to those they admire and follow—whether they be Hollywood and sports celebrities, social media sensations on YouTube or Instagram, or business leaders. Consumers crave marketing messages that feel more authentic than traditional forms of advertising. That is why marketing experts are following suit and turning to influencer marketing.
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is the process of engaging thought leaders in your industry niche to interact with your brand. The key term is "industry niche." You want to choose an influencer who is relevant to your brand. When those influencers share their positive experiences with their followers, your business gets a boost of credibility and recognition throughout your target market.
Here is how to choose the right influencers for your digital marketing campaign.
Look for key influencers.
You want to identify thought leaders who already speak to and interact with your target market. Some tools you can use include:
- Klout (Measures the reach of an individual Twitter account)
- PeerIndex (Can identify influencers in your market segment)
- BuzzSumo (Helps you identify the most-shared content in your industry)
- Twitonomy (Shows you most shared tweets)
Here are some other tips for identifying the top influences for your brand:
- They should be actively engaged on social media.
- They need to have a large following of your target audience members.
- They must be relevant to your brand, or identify a topic that resonates with your brand.
- They must have consistent engagement around related posts.
- They must be engaged with other companies around similar content.
Think of context.
Not every brand is a match for every influencer. Having a huge following does not necessarily mean an influencer can deliver the conversions your business wants. The influencer needs to have an area of expertise and personal style that complements your brand. Here are some questions to ask:
- How does this influencer interact with their followers?
- Do their values match yours?
- Are their posting habits consistent with your brand's requirements?
Do their followers listen to suggestions?
Is your preferred influencer able to get his or her followers to buy products and services that the influencer recommends? Influencers need to have the ability to get other people to follow their recommendations. This is why you need an influencer with energy and authority. These are people who can drive both action and revenues with their posts.
Successful influencers don't need to push their messages onto their audiences. Some are just naturals at their ability to influence others. Take a look at their blogs and social media accounts to see how much feedback they're getting.
Take a look at how your preferred influencer promotes various brands and/or recommends products. Notice how their fans react. Do their fans often follow the recommendations or are they more nonchalant?
Once you have a list of influencers actively engaged with your target audience, it is essential to build rapport. You have to take this step to show interest. Here is how you can do it:
- Follow them on their social media profiles.
- Share some of their content.
- Comment with compliments.
- Ask questions.
After you perform the above four steps, you may start to get a feel for whether or not the influencer is interested in interacting with you. Remember, this needs to be a two-way street. You want them to like your brand, products, and services.
Reach out to them.
You now need to engage your chosen influencers. Send them messages about why you think they would be a good fit for your brand; you can do this through their direct message links or via their website contact forms.
Share your proposal.
Let them know why you are interested in working with them and how you would like them to promote your brand. Send them a brief email explaining why you chose them and how your proposal will benefit all parties. Keep the email short: no more than five sentences.
Influencers get dozens and even hundreds of emails each day. You need to have an eye-catching subject line in order to capture their attention. Hopefully, you have already engaged with them on their social media profiles. You might reference that in your subject line.
Seal the deal.
Before you decide to hire them, fill in the details on your intentions, vision, and goals for each campaign.
Once they convey they understand and are excited to get started, you can discuss payment terms and have them sign a contract. Part of the contract should include a non-disclosure agreement, which means they cannot share details of the campaign or payment terms.
Give them creative freedom.
Once you have hired them, you should not try too hard to control your influencer's voice. Otherwise, your campaign will end up feeling phony. Plus, you might fail to reach your target audience effectively. Not to mention, your influencer may start to resent you. Therefore, you must treat the influencer professionally. Influencers chose their line of work because they do not want other people telling them what to do. If you don't like one influencer's voice, then pick another influencer.
Crowdtap found that 58% of influencers favor projects that give them creative freedom. You should build genuine relationships with them and discuss content ideas and campaign execution with them. One good example is Food Republic. They often let influencers take over their account and post content from their own perspective.
Influencer marketing is on the rise, and you should not skip this train. Of course, you need the right influencers. The good news is that the tips above will help you get there.