Social media has changed the way businesses do marketing and advertising. Now, there are so many options to promote your brand. Along with this development, however, comes more competitors vying for the top spot. This makes standing out more challenging. There are steps you can take to improve your social media engagement. If you want faster results, many agree that using influencer marketing is a huge help. Let’s talk about this popular method and how to use influencer marketing to build your brand.
What is an Influencer?
Defined as trendsetters or experts in a certain field with a significant following, influencers are individuals who have the credibility and capability to persuade other people to try out products or services. They’re often bloggers, celebrities, YouTubers, or other social media personalities.
There are all kinds of influencers, like fashion, makeup, and travel influencers.
Anyone can become an influencer. This one of the reasons why their reviews or recommendations work so well: They’re regular people, like you and me. Many — their followers especially — consider these influencer’s opinions credible, and as a result, they’re more effective in promotions compared to traditional paid advertisements.
It’s a fact that people trust recommendations from people that they know. Influencers — who are often normal people and considered an authority in their respective niches — belong to this group. Thus, their words are considered trustworthy, and their recommendations are often successful.
Before we talk about how to use influencer marketing, let’s first define what else makes an influencer, so that you know what to look for.
What Makes an Influencer?
Let’s face it, there are many people online who claim to be “social media influencers,” but when you check out their profile, you’ll find that they’re really… not.
What should you look for in a credible influencer? Is follower count an indicator?
To answer: yes and no.
Follower count can be one of the factors you should look for in an influencer, but it’s not the only thing you should look at. True, a large following is enticing to brands interested in working with influencers, but here’s the thing.
Oftentimes, in an effort to increase the most sought after number, people turn to inefficient (and often expensive) methods of acquiring followers. One example is buying followers. And this, friends, is precisely what you need to watch out for when you’re searching for an influencer partner for your brand.
To determine whether or not a social media personality is truly an influencer, look at his or her audience engagement — not just the follower count. Check if people are sharing their posts, leaving comments, and engaging with their content to ensure that they’re authentic and not just for show.
To put it simply, influencers don’t just have a substantial following. Their followers are also real people who are interested (and believe) in what they say.
When it comes to learning how to use influencer marketing in your digital marketing strategy, follower engagement is an important factor.
The Benefits of Working With an Influencer
There are many reasons why brands want to work with social media influencers. Here are just a few.
Influencers Can Help Build Your Brand’s Credibility
A recommendation, especially one from a trusted personality, can help improve your brand’s image. This is especially helpful when you’re new in the market. Having influencers provide positive reviews of your product can help you build credibility and audience trust.
Influencers Can Expose Your Brand to New Target Audiences
If you want more people relevant to your industry to know you, then partnering with an influencer is an excellent strategy. Influencers have a dedicated audience. Having them promote your product exposes you to their followers, opening more opportunities for people interested in your industry to know more about your brand and what you offer.
This is a great way to gain relevant followers and generate leads.
Influencers Can Help Boost Your Sales
This is one of the reasons why you’re making an effort to build your brand online in the first place: to increase your revenue. Successful influencer marketing doesn’t just increase your brand’s exposure. It can also successfully convert your followers or leads to sales.
Are you ready to form a partnership with an influencer? Here is how you to influencer marketing.
How to Use Influencer Marketing to Build Your Brand
1. Find the Right Influencer for Your Brand
Now that we’re done talking about how to identify authentic influencers and the benefits of partnering with them, let’s discuss the next important step: finding the right influencer for your brand.
Why do you have to do this?
To ensure the effectiveness of your strategy, you must make sure that the influencer you partner with has the right credentials to promote your product. Otherwise, you won’t be able to reach your target audience and the effort will be all for naught.
Here are some tips to help you.
Know Who Your Audience Is
In order to improve the efficiency of your campaign, you have to identify who your audience is. One way to do this is to first and foremost determine who your product is targeted to. Who is your target market? Answering these questions might help.
- Are you selling a product for adults, teens, or children?
- Is it for males, females, or for both?
- Are you making a campaign for a gadget, makeup, or other product or service?
Clearly identify who you want to sell the product to. This will allow you to proceed to the next step with ease.
Find Influencers Related to Your Industry
There are many ways to do this to find influencers in your industry.
To start, you can search for popular and relevant hashtags in your industry. Instagram (and eClincher) shows you the top posts for each hashtag. Who does the post belong to? Are they an influencer? Are they relevant to your brand?
Another method is to check out who your own followers are already following. That will probably reveal a few influencers in a matter of minutes.
You can also search for influencers using tools and applications. Our friend, Google, is an excellent option for finding your industry leaders.
Once again, before committing to a potential influencer, remember to check their audience engagement and not just their number of followers.
2. Approach Them With a Mutually Beneficial Offer
You’ve already listed the best of the best in your industry. Now, let’s proceed to the next step. How do you get them to promote, recommend, or make a review of your product? Here are a few tips.
Establish a Connection
First things first. Establish a connection with them. Although you can always outright contact them and offer your proposal, your chance of success is better when you’re somewhat connected.
One way to do this is to engage with them. You can quote them on social media, or mention them (or their achievements, teachings, etc.) on your posts. It might encourage them to share your post, follow you, or at least become more familiar with your brand.
You can also reach out to them directly. One thing you should keep in mind when doing this is that you’re probably not the only one approaching them. There’s most likely a line of people who are trying to form a partnership with them.
We recommend the soft approach — ideally after you’ve engaged a few times with their social media content.
Let them know, sincerely, why you want to work with them and what you have in common. Share how they relate to your product or service.
Show Them What They Can Get in Return
Let’s be honest: If you were asked by a random person to do doing something without compensation, would you make an effort to do it? Unlikely, right?
It’s the same with influencers. This is business. When you want them to form a partnership with you, state what’s in it for them. They’re more likely to review or recommend your product or service if they receive something in return.
This doesn’t necessarily mean cash. In fact, some influencers don’t like receiving cash from partners as it may require them to provide biased reviews — and most audiences are very sensitive to that.
Instead of money, you can provide compensation in the form of free products that they can test out before the public release. For instance, if you’re a makeup brand working with a beauty influencer, you can send them free cosmetics or tools.
If They Refuse, Don’t Cut Ties
In cases where the influencer doesn’t agree to your terms or refuses to form a partnership with your brand, don’t take it personally. Moreover, don’t cut ties with them.
Continue to follow them on social media, comment on their posts, and share their content. It’s one way of showing your dedication. Who knows? The next time you ask them, they might say yes.
3. Provide Them With the Important Details
After your influencer agrees, equip them with the essential information, including materials and other resources, so they can produce sound reviews.
Make it as easy on them as possible, even sending caption ideas they can use on their social media. (But do give them the room to be creative in their own voice.)
4. Be Open to Communication
Keep your lines open in case your influencer partners need additional details or resources. As much as possible, respond right away. This can help them produce content for you quickly.
Also, be receptive to their ideas. Many influencers want to collaborate with you — not simply post content and that’s it. They know best what their audience likes. They have knowledge that your brand probably doesn’t. Let them use it!
5. Get the Most Out of It
Your campaign doesn’t have to end with one post. We don’t mean you have to convince the influencer to create new content again (although if you can, then that’s good too). You can prolong the campaign, though. How? Here are some ideas.
Share and Repost
One of the first things you should do once your review is released is to share or repost it on your social media accounts. That way, the post gets more views on top of the influencer’s followers.
Pin it on Your Feed
Make it one of your page’s highlights. If you’re on Twitter or Facebook, you can pin it on your feed.
Repurpose and Reuse the Content
Unless the content is time-sensitive, you can keep re-sharing it as long as you’d like. Post it on your blog, website, and other social media accounts. Send it out to your email list. Find new ways to use old material.
6. Keep the Relationship Going
After you’re done with the campaign, don’t lose touch with your influencer. Maintain the relationship and continue to engage with them. Drop in comments, shares, and likes every now and then.
Show them that you support them and keep on building rapport — make them notice you. This increases the chances of another collaboration.
Social media is all about building relationships, so be active in the community and keep the relationship going.
7. Track Your Campaign
Social media marketing is a continuous learning process. Don’t stop acquiring new knowledge. Remember, algorithms change constantly, and what works now may not be effective in the future. Moreover, brands vary, so you might need to experiment a bit every now and then to know which strategies work best for you.
Always monitor your data and track your campaign to determine which methods are effective and which aren’t. You can use the information you’ve gathered to improve your strategy and do better in the future. eClincher provides very robust analytics and insights, so you can determine if your influencer marketing strategy is working.
If you can’t track and measure it, you can’t know if it’s working!