What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing comes in many different shapes and sizes. At its core, influencer marketing is a word of mouth-style ad that is usually delivered through social media platforms. Whether you are hiring one celebrity with millions of followers or a couple dozen everyday people with just a few hundred followers each, having those people spread the message about your product or service is a powerful form of peer-to-peer recommendation that can help benefit your e-commerce business.
Influencer marketing campaigns can have many different objectives, such as generating sales, quality content, brand awareness or any combination of the three. Figure out your goals prior to hiring any influencers to ensure you have adequate planning in place to have a successful and profitable campaign.
We've boiled down the influencer marketing strategy to 6 key points. This list in meant to provide general instruction for e-commerce business owners and entrepreneurs who are new or have intermediate experience with influencer marketing. It is not all inclusive guide, but following all of these rules will help you be more successful with your influencer marketing campaigns.
1. Research and Qualify
Don’t hire people who just want to get paid and don't really care about your brand. Thoroughly research potential influencers to make sure they are a good fit before making a deal. Take the time to look at their content, read the comments and see what type of community they really have. It may take longer but in the end you will have better success with your campaign.
2. Be Kind
Treat influencers like you would a customer. Just like you don't want a customer writing a bad review, you don't want an influencer having a bad experience. If a large-scale influencer has a bad experience and gives you a bad review, the whole purpose of your marketing campaign will have backfired. Not that that is very likely to happen to you but just remember to keep communication clear and frequent to make sure you are always on the same page.
3. Use Tools
A quick Google search will reveal a wide variety of influencer marketing tools, both free and paid. But for this rule I am introducing you to Famebit. This is a great tool to help you find influencers and get an analysis of their followers. You can create and list your campaign for free, and then Famebit will introduce your campaign to lots of influencers that may be a good fit for you. Then all you have to do is wait, and influencers will start to message you and apply for your campaign.
Famebit's built-in analytics lets you look through potential influencers profiles and decide if you want to work with them. There's only one cost: if you do decide to hire an influencer through the platform, there will be a small fee added to the rate you agree to pay the influencer. The good news is you may have some added security with third party tools. It may be wise to look for a platform that doesn’t release the funds to the influencer until the work is successfully completed.
4. Be Compliant
Research the FTC laws based on the location and type of campaign you are doing. The FTC is not known for be unreasonable or harsh on small business doing influencer marketing, but you need to know the rules and how to be compliant. The most important thing to look at is the required disclosures for paid influencer ads and endorsements. In some cases FTC compliance may be as simple as the influencer disclosing that fact that they are a paid ambassador by your company. For example, using #ad or #sponsored in a social media post, or physically saying "I am sponsored by X company" at the beginning of a video post.
5. Make long-term relationships
It is much easier and less time consuming to maintain a current relationship than it is to form a new one. It is good to work with a variety of different influencers, but when you find an influencer that is able to generate sales, make sure you keep them around and take good care of them. The more long-term influencers you are able to build relationships with the easier your influencer marketing campaigns will be.
6. Keep up outreach
This one is very important if you want to have a consistent schedule of influencer promotions going over time. You have to constantly find new potential influencers and reaching out to them. Remember: not every influencer that you find will be easy to get in touch with.
Influencer marketing takes work. In fact, it requires much more hands-on work and support than more common forms of advertising such Facebook or Google ads. This is because influencer marketing lets you work with real people, not just computers and algorithms that are predictable and easily scalable. If you want more reach with a Facebook campaign, simply increase your ad budget.
Influencer marketing is about relationships. Remember to build long-lasting relationships with influencers who care about your brand and have an audience that is relevant.
Have any questions about influencer marketing? Ask them in the comments!