Influencer Marketing: 4 Simple Steps to Get Started


What is marketing really about?

Marketing is about influence and trust. But here’s the problem: companies do not have much of either of those things. Consumers have a tough time being influenced and trusting companies. After all, why should they? They perceive them as greedy, faceless entities after their hard-earned money.

So who do people trust? Other people.  

That is why we have seen a rise in influencer marketing over the last few years. Because we are more willing to pay attention (and buy) after someone we know and trust personally recommends it to us.

In fact, 39% of marketers say they plan to increase their influencer marketing budget in 2018, and 70% of millennials’ buying decisions are influenced by their peers.

So, how can you start utilizing influencer marketing for your business or agency?

The first step is to define your ideal influencer.

Let’s say you sell hair pomade for guys in the United States. Your influencers should have a followership demographic of mostly guys between the ages of 18-35 living in America. They would also have to be theme-related to hair and beauty.

Depending on your budget, you can work with micro-influencers (1,000-100,000 followers and generally cheaper) or macro-influencers (over 100k followers and more expensive). Finally, you should choose the social platform you’ll target – usually Instagram.

The second step is to create a Dream 100.

Your Dream 100 is a simple list of 100 influencers that you would like to collaborate with. You can easily find them organically by searching on Instagram or by using discovery platforms such as Upfluence. Using the example above, your list could have 25 hairstyle tutorials, 25 barber shops, 25 male models and 25 even smaller micro-influencers.

After you have a list of potential influencers, now it’s time to approach them.

When contacting influencers, always keep in mind that you are first trying to find out if there would be a good fit for both parties.

Tip: they know their audience better than you, give them creative freedom. The advantage of influencers over other marketing strategies is that they are authentic, so do not lose that by imposing your ideas on them.

Actually approaching influencers is pretty straightforward: most have their contact information on their accounts or you can always send them a direct message on Instagram.

There are influencers for all budget sizes. This study shows that 84% of micro-influencers charge $250 or less for each sponsored post on Instagram. Some smaller influencers will even work with you in exchange for free samples or products. On the other end of the spectrum, high-end macro-influencers like athletes, singers, and top celebrities can charge over half a million dollars per post.

As a relatively new marketing strategy, advertisers are still struggling to find efficient ways to calculate ROI from their campaigns with influencers. The most common way around that is to give your influencers a discount code that they can share with their followers so that you can identify and track how many sales come from them.

After that, it is as simple as comparing your investment to the profit it generated.

All in all, influencer marketing is a great market response to the lack of trust and influence that companies have over consumers. It gives businesses of all sizes the opportunity to work with individuals who already have a loyal audience that believes in what they recommend.

Marti writes about digital marketing and entrepreneurship. Find him with coffee and a laptop while traveling back and forth between Barcelona and Charlotte. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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