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How to Successfully Use Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is growing year over year, and brands big and small have the potential to successfully take advantage of this social media strategy.

If you run a small business, you may have fallen victim to the common misconception that launching a successful influencer marketing campaign is out of reach. Some of the bigger, more visible brands on social media have been able to see serious sales by partnering with influencers who have follower counts in the millions. However, this does not mean that you can’t experience influencer marketing success with a smaller budget!

In fact, the most common influencer marketing budget in 2020 is $1,000-$10,000. These numbers make it clear that smaller businesses have also been able to leverage the power of influencer marketing for their brands. It’s all about taking the right steps to reach your target audience.

Likewise, if you are an influencer with a smaller follower count, you still have the potential to launch a successful brand of your very own! Micro-influencers (influencers with anywhere from 1,000-40,000 followers) actually produce 60% higher engagement rates than mega-influencers (1 million or more followers).

This article will take a look at influencer marketing and the important considerations to make to successfully utilize this strategy.

What is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is a strategy in which brands partner with various social media users with a wide range of engaged followers that trust their product and/or service recommendations. Sometimes these influencers will even launch their own products that fit within their niche and will appeal to their followers.

Followers place a certain amount of trust in social media influencers, who then leverage the power of word of mouth to make sales. Word of mouth marketing has been identified as the most effective strategy, according to 64% of marketers.

Much like businesses, social media influencers exist in many shapes, sizes and follower counts. The type of influencers that your business partners with will depend on how much of your budget you can allocate to this particular strategy. Again, do not let a smaller budget deter you! Even with their higher engagement rates, micro-influencers are 6.7 times more cost-effective per engagement.

Influencer marketing has proven to produce results for many brands, but you will want to take the right steps to increase your brand’s chance of success! A big budget will not necessarily translate to a positive return on investment (ROI), nor will a small budget necessarily prove to be a waste of resources when it comes to influencer marketing.

Whether you are a business looking to leverage influencer marketing to increase sales and/or brand awareness, or an influencer looking to launch your own brand, here are some things to consider when getting started.

1.Consider influencer content.

As a business, you will want to ensure that the content of the influencers you may want to partner with aligns with your brand. For instance, if your target audience consists of new moms, you will want to find an influencer that speaks to that niche.

This will also apply to influencers who are trying to launch their own brand. For instance, if your content is family-focused, “mom” content, it wouldn’t make sense to launch a line of construction boots. Not that moms can’t also be construction workers, but chances are, this particular product would not appeal to the largest segment of your audience. Instead, you will want to launch a product line that addresses the everyday needs of the majority of your audience.

Your business will also want to make sure that prospective influencers match your brand’s tone of voice. For instance, is your business’ tone of voice more serious and professional? If the answer to that question is “yes”, then you may want to partner with influencers who also share those values on their social media channels. An influencer whose content is more comical and entertaining may not be appealing to your target audience. All of the marketing done for your business should strive to stay on brand as much as possible, and any influencer marketing strategies should also follow this rule.

2. Follower engagement

These days, engagement is as important, if not more, as follower count. This is true for many social media platforms, including Instagram which is the most popular channel for influencer marketing. Engagement includes things such as likes, comments, story replies, story sticker taps, etc. Put simply, any time a follower takes action on a post or story, the algorithm counts that towards engagement.

The Instagram algorithm, for example, no longer shows posts in purely chronological order; instead, it prioritizes posts with high engagement rates over more recent posts with lower engagement. In other words, the more engagement a post or story receives, the more followers it will be shown to. This is great news for small businesses and micro-influencers!

When considering partnering with an influencer to promote your product or service, your business may want to ask for proof of engagement. The engagement rate is calculated by dividing engagements by that account’s number of followers. If your influencer of choice is tracking their analytics (and they should be), they can screenshot these pages to send to your team as proof.

3. The Plan

Are you noticing a bit of a trend yet? Many of the factors that will determine the success of an influencer marketing strategy are the same factors that affect the success of any other marketing strategy!

Your business will need an influencer marketing plan. What will you do to tease the partnership or product launch? What kind of posts will work best? How will you set customer expectations and generate interest?

Yes, word of mouth and trust is invaluable when it comes to influencer marketing, but beyond that, your business or brand will need to ensure that your mission is accurately represented. This will set customer expectations on what to expect if they make a purchase. In other words, how will they benefit from purchasing from you?

If you are a business partnering with one or more influencers, you will want to be on the same page as far as the plan is concerned. However, don’t forget that, as a business, you are surrendering some of your creative license over influencer posts.

If you are an influencer launching your own brand, let your followers know what it is all about! Your success as an influencer depends on your followers’ ability to trust you, so setting expectations and living up to them is crucial when starting your own brand.

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Influencer marketing can be an incredibly powerful tool as part of your overall social media strategy. Use the tips in this article to get started, and see for yourself how it can work to benefit your brand!

 
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