How to Leverage Influencer Marketing to Grow Your Brand

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How to Leverage Influencer Marketing to Grow Your Brand

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Ten years ago, the idea of influencer marketing was hardly even a thought for most brands. The idea of spending hundreds of thousands or more on an unproven marketing tactic that made ROI tracking difficult wasn't in the cards for the average company.

Fast forward to today, and influencer marketing has become a viable tool for any business, regardless of how large or small, it may be. Today, we're going to take a closer look at what influencer marketing is, why it's effective, and how you can leverage influencer marketing to grow your brand.

What is Influencer Marketing?

What is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing is a partnership between a brand and an individual or collective of tastemakers where the influencer agrees to endorse or mention a brand's products in exchange for compensation.

Influencer marketing is effective because influencers have developed a great deal of trust with their followers. When influencers post themselves using a product or service, it's a crucial example of social proof that resonates with your target demographic.

Whether your brand is targeting gen z, millennials, baby boomers, or any demographic in between, you'll find that there is no shortage of influencers you can work with to market your products.

How Effective is Influencer Marketing?

How Effective is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing has proven itself to be one of the most effective marketing methods in the 21st-century. Consumer opinions and feelings toward brands have changed over the years, and while traditional advertising was once the most effective way to attract new business, today's customer demands more.

Today, customers are far more likely to trust the recommendations of their friends, family, and the thought leaders they follow on social media than they are to trust a commercial or print advertisement. 88% of shoppers look to social proof before making a purchase decision, and an incredible 92% of shoppers weigh earned proof like testimonials over traditional ads.

How Your Brand Can Benefit From Influencer Marketing

How Your Brand Can Benefit From Influencer Marketing

If you're ready to begin growing your social reach and increase sales with the help of the influencers in your industry, you've come to the right place. Read on as we show you how to find the right influencers, engage with them, and begin growing your brand today.

Finding the Right Influencers

With over 500,000 influencers on Instagram alone, finding the right fit for your brand can be an intimidating task. Thankfully, there are some simple steps you can take that will make it much easier for you to find the influencers who can help move the needle forward for your brand.

Doing the Research

The first step to finding the right influencers is right under your nose. Meet with your colleagues and employees to discuss what influencers they already follow within your industry, and start creating a list of those people for you to research later. Be sure to do the same with your following to get a better handle on which influencers you'd be interested in working with.

Next, you'll want to check out influencer marketing tools such as BuzzSumo or NinjaOutreach to help you identify more of the top influencers in your industry. Add anybody that seems like they may be a fit to your list. Reddit can also be a valuable (and free) tool to help you identify influencers in your industry.

Narrowing the Field

Once you've assembled your list of potential influencers, you'll need to vet them to identify the best fits for your brands. It can be helpful to assemble a spreadsheet so you can keep key information about each influencer organized and easy to access. Here are just a few of the metrics you'll want to consider as you evaluate different influencers.

  • • Follower count;
  • • Engagement level;
  • • Types of engagement (likes vs. comments vs. shares, etc.);
  • • Reach.

Influencer marketing tools will make it easy for you to find out more about these metrics, and influencers themselves can provide you this information as well when you contact them to discuss a partnership.

Once you have a shortlist of influencers you're interested in working with, you'll want to spend some time on their pages to learn more about whether their aesthetic is a good fit for your brand and the type of engagement they're receiving from their followers.

If a particular influencer doesn't jive well with your business or product, you could end up doing more harm than good by entering into a partnership with that person. During your research, be protective of your brand, and eliminate any influencers who don't seem like their style is a strong fit for your company.

Approaching the Top Influencers in Your Industry

Approaching the Top Influencers in Your Industry

Once you've narrowed the field, you should have a good idea of the influencers you're most interested in working with. Now, it's time to reach out to them to understand better how they'd fit with your business. Remember that the top influencers across any industry have tons of other brands like yours clamoring for their attention. These tips can help your brand stand out.

Focus on a Connection

The first contact you make with an influencer isn't too dissimilar to a cold call, so you must establish a connection with them and give them a reason to listen to what you have to say from the get-go.

Maybe you're avid fans of their work, or you love a blog or review they wrote recently for a publication you read. Whatever your angle, focus on showing the influencer that you're a fan of their work, and quickly explain how their style aligns with your brand and its goals.

Let Them Know What's in it for Them

Influencers are professional marketers, and they certainly aren't here to promote your brand out of the goodness of their hearts. When you're engaging with influencers, you'll want to let them know early on what you're prepared to do in exchange for this partnership.

Monetary compensation is part of the puzzle. But, especially for businesses with a limited budget for influencer marketing, you'll want to highlight the other benefits that you could offer through your partnership. Here are a few ideas for additional benefits you can offer:

  • • Sharing their content through your social channels or on your website;
  • • Free product;
  • • An advanced product that hasn't been released to the public yet;
  • • An interview or testimonial that links back to their site or social channels.

Be Gracious

Whether you're courting tech influencers or engaging in any other business activity, you'll want to show gratitude and thank them for considering your proposal and the opportunity to work with you. Show that you value their time and consideration, and you'll always have a bridge in place with that person, whether they decide to work with your brand or not.

If the timing doesn't quite work at the moment, reach back out in six months or so to check in and discuss new opportunities.

Making the Most of Your Influencer Campaigns

Making the Most of Your Influencer Campaigns

The success of a campaign isn't up to the influencer; it's up to you. Follow these tips, and you'll be on your way to creating a successful campaign that produces measurable results for your business.

Provide Every Resource They Need to Succeed

From brand guidelines to photo, video, or graphic assets, anything you can provide your influencer to help them develop greater synergy between themselves and their audience, and your product is helpful. These resources can be especially important if you're working with journalists and bloggers.

Graphic designers play an important role because your audience will demand high-quality, real-time, and interactive content more and more. Thus, your banners, ads, memes, and other imagery you will use need to ensure an interactive and appealing feel.

To succeed, you know all the details about how to hire a graphic designer and make sure the candidate has the right skills, the attitude, and the experience that will help him do his job well and make you succeed. Graphic designers have a great impact on user experience. To get great results, they will collaborate with content specialists, user experience architects, as well as digital marketing professionals, and product managers.

Offer Product Support

You'll have plenty of time to discuss key features and product points with your influencer before they create a post, but they still may run into issues or have questions regarding a particular feature or aspect of the product.

You'll want to be available at a moment's notice to provide them with the answers they need, so there's no disconnect between the influencer and the product. If they're left feeling confused or frustrated with your product, it can easily taint their impression of your brand and the quality of the content they produce for you.

Provide Creative Control

A primary reason for the popularity and success of any influencer is the style they've developed when they engage with their followers. Their page has a defined look and feels that followers identify with and enjoy. It's one of the main ingredients in the special sauce that makes an influencer influential.

As a brand, it may be hard for you to relinquish creative control for fear of compromising your brand or product. But, for the sake of an influencer campaign, it's best to let them control the overall look and feel of the advertisement, provided it doesn't frame your brand in an unflattering light.

Ensure FTC Compliance

Most countries take advertising disclosure very seriously, including the United States. If your influencer marketing runs afoul of FTC regulations, it could spell disaster for your company and the influencer you're working with.

Make sure that both you and the influencer you're working with are well versed on FTC requirements, and ensure that disclosure guidelines are built into your advertising agreement with the influencer.

Keep in Touch

Once you've established a relationship with an influencer, you'll want to nurture it, as you never know when an opportunity will present itself to do business again. Establishing a strong relationship may encourage an influencer to continue talking about your products, and it also leaves the door open for future campaigns.

Treat your relationships with influencers the way you would other business partnerships, and you'll always have a variety of avenues you can pursue for future influencer campaigns in the future.

Until next time, Be creative! - Pix'sTory made by Romy Catauta

Photo & Animation Maker

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