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Getting started with influencer marketing

It is no secret that influencer marketing is taking the business world by storm. With its exponential growth, the influencer marketing industry is predicted to be worth $10 billion by 2020

No matter how big or small your business is, when used correctly, influencer marketing is able to achieve amazing results. Influencers can increase brand awareness and SEO for your company by driving traffic and conversions to your website from their audience.

What is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is defined by Pixlee as “a form of marketing that focuses on targeting key industry leaders to drive brand messages and awareness to a specific market of consumers”. Influencers can provide an easy and quick way to reach a large and relevant audience, connecting your brand to people with similar values. For example, Old Navy partnered with Alex Rodriguez, an alumnus of Boys & Girls Club of America (BGCA), on their Black Friday campaign which raised over $1 million.

Online influencers are able to connect with their audience in a way that traditional marketing could not. Influencers are able to deliver their messages in a more authentic way, making it more reliable than a brand’s self-produced ad. In fact, 92% of consumers trust recommendations from other people over brand content and 49% rely on influencers for recommendations. 

The most popular influencer marketing platform, Instagram, has made it very convenient for influencers to turn followers into leads and conversions with their shopping and scroll-up features. The shopping feature enables customers to directly buy a product, and the scroll-up feature instantly increases the number of click-throughs to your site.

In addition to investing in traditional marketing strategies, it is time for businesses to consider incorporating influencers in their marketing strategy. It can be more cost-efficient and offers better tracking of campaign results. The cost of a paid partnership is generally cheaper than creating billboards and commercials. Businesses with a good understanding of influencer marketing earn up to $18 for every dollar spent on influencer marketing and generate 3x as many leads.

With influencer marketing, you can easily track sales by using custom URLs and promotional codes. 89% of marketers say that the return of investment (ROI) from influencer marketing is comparable or better than other channels of marketing. 

Here, we have five ways on how you can get started with influencer marketing:

1. Know your audience

Before reaching out to potential influencers, it is important to understand who your ideal client is. Consider audience geography, demographics, and browsing behaviours when selecting your influencers. Browsing behaviour is an important factor to consider because it lets you know what kind of content your audience is generally interested in. You can collect all this data by looking at reports on Google Analytics. After determining key characteristics of your audience, you can start searching for an influencer to partner with.

2. Brand-influencer alignment

Today’s consumers appreciate authenticity and can pick a fake. The best way to avoid a campaign that seems ingenuine is to work closely with the influencer in developing it. The influencer will know what resonates best with their audience. The challenging task for you is to find an influencer that aligns well with your brand. 

One way to find an influencer is to search up hashtags that have been used on your company’s socials and identify the influencers that pop up. Another way to look for influencers is to research individuals who already show interest with your brand by looking at comments, mentions, and tags. Before selecting an influencer, it is also important to check out their page to see the saturation of their sponsored content, and if they are already working with competitors. Influencer marketing research tools such as PeopleMap and Upfluence are great options because they give you data on influencer reach, engagement and sometimes, estimated costs for a partnership. 

3. Use analytics software to measure campaigns ????

After a campaign is launched, the effectiveness can be measured using Google Analytics. This tool allows you to tag URLs with unique codes, called UTM parameters, that measure the amount of traffic generated through influencer posts.

For this to work correctly, it is important to make sure your URL parameters are labelled and organized properly. This is to ensure that your data will be easy to understand when shared with your team. 

Some common UTM parameters are:

  • Utm_medium: This parameter identifies the channel where the link is displayed. Examples of mediums include organic search, social media, cost-per-click or email ads.
  • Utm_source: This parameter is required for every website and identifies the web source visitors originate from. Examples include LinkedIn, Google and Instagram.
  • Utm_campaign: This parameter identifies the campaign title of the ad. You can customize these titles to denote promo codes, slogans, or names of campaigns. Some examples are ‘spring-sale’, ‘early bird 2020’, or ‘holiday40’.

Google Analytics offers a variety of parameter options, but the one that is most valuable when tracking an influencer’s reach is the campaign source parameter which indicates the referrer of the link.

4. Micro-Influencers can generate the strongest engagement

A micro-influencer is a content creator with 1,000-100,000 followers on a social media platform. Brands and micro-influencers can both benefit from the partnership if done correctly and authentically. It is not all about global celebrities like the Kardashians, but about micro-influencers who have a genuine connection with their followers. 

Big-name celebrities have a high saturation of paid content which can make them seem ingenuine about the products/services they promote. In fact, 6 in 10 Youtube subscribers say that they would rather follow advice on what to purchase from a content creator than a celebrity. 

Micro-influencers generally have more personable content which allows their viewers to feel more of a connection with them. They have a loyal niche audience with greater engagement on their posts.

Micro-influencers are less likely to have bought followers and bots, which means that their engagement is likely to be higher. 

Another plus about micro-influencers is that they are more affordable and reliable, which is an important factor to consider for smaller businesses. Influencer marketing can help your business increase brand exposure, especially to the generation X population, at a cost that won’t break the bank. 

5. Tap into your employee and network base

Social media icons are not the only people who have an impact on consumers. 

Word of mouth marketing is a cost-saving strategy used to increase brand awareness and leads. Nielsen found that 92% of people believe in information from friends and family more than information from ads. 

Your site could significantly increase click-throughs by sharing company content onto your employee’s and network’s personal channels. If you have any connections with leaders in your industry, it is important for you to try to reach out to them. 

Psychologically, people are more inclined to read and share posts written by reputable individuals or someone they know. 78% of people share this type of content because it makes them feel connected to the world.

Sharing a post can indirectly boost employee morale and make them feel more involved with the company by building connections with potential clients through comments. In some cases, it may be difficult to convince employees to post this on to their own social media accounts. A potential solution for this is to give them an incentive, such as creating an internal reward program for the most amount of click-throughs or sign-ups. 

To round it up…

A thorough understanding of influencer marketing allows you to capture the attention of an online audience. Influencer partnerships can strengthen your brand’s engagement and increase the number of conversions. By using the tips in this post, you can start planning your influencer marketing strategy to build brand awareness for the new year. 

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