How to Develop an Effective Influencer Marketing Strategy
A decade ago, influencing consumer opinions was reserved for A-list celebrities. Today, anyone can be an influencer, which creates more opportunities for brands to reach their target customers. It’s nearly impossible to scroll your favorite social platform without seeing an influencer marketing strategy in action. As a business, developing a dedicated influencer marketing plan is a great way to get in front of your target audience to build brand awareness, increase purchase consideration, and attract new customers.
In this post, you’ll learn what it takes to build a successful influencer strategy to authentically promote your products and services to your target audience. After all, influencer campaigns typically earn $5.78 for every $1 spent – making it a profitable and successful tactic for all types of businesses.
Ready to learn more? Let’s dive in.
An effective influencer marketing strategy helps you create authentic content for your audience
Determining your budget, goals, and platform will help guide which influencers to contact
Select influencers that match your brand voice to ensure quality content and audience response
What is an Influencer Marketing Strategy?
An influencer marketing strategy leverages digital creators that strongly influence specific industries or target audiences to make purchase decisions. With a successful strategy, you can partner with these individuals to promote your brand, products, and services through curated messaging.
Here are some of the benefits of developing an influencer marketing strategy:
Builds trust and credibility with the influencer’s fans
Boosts your brand awareness by sharing your story through valuable content
Fills the gaps in your content strategy
Allows you to reach audience members that are already interested in your product or services
State of the Influencer Marketing Industry
In 2014, standing out on social platforms like Instagram was much easier than it is today – all you needed was high-quality imagery, and you had a chance to be highlighted on the feature page. While influencers are still focused on creating the right aesthetic to grow their audience, the influencer marketing industry has grown so large that many have leveraged their social followings into a full-time career.
Why? Modern consumers are heavily influenced by what they see and hear. 49% of consumers say that they rely on influencer recommendations, so there’s no time like the present to build an effective influencer marketing strategy.
If you believe influencer marketing is still a fad, take a look at these statistics:
51% of marketers say influencers help obtain more quality customers
71% of businesses plan to increase their influencer budget within the next year
42% of people use ad-blocking technology to remove interruptive digital ads from the online experience, making sponsored content and other native ads more effective
89% of companies say influencer marketing ROI is comparable or better than other channels
With ample content opportunities and more technology available, influencer marketing allows brands to extend their reach and drive results through curated content that speaks directly to their target audience.
5 Key Steps to Build a Strong Influencer Marketing Plan
Before promoting your brand with influencers, you need to develop a strategy that allows you to maximize exposure, optimize your campaign performance, and track progress every step of the way. Here are a few essential steps to help you get started:
1. Define Your Marketing Goals and Budget
You need to define your goals and annual budget to ensure your strategy remains consistent throughout the campaign. Some goals you’ll want to consider include:
Grow brand awareness and brand identity
Increase your brand’s social followers
Earn more shares, comments, and likes on your content
Enhance your marketing funnel or sales pipeline by offering a promotion or lead magnet
Increase consumer purchases
Improve your search engine optimization tactics with backlinks
When it comes to budgeting, you should expect to pay influencers a fixed rate based on their follower count and the number of sponsored posts you’re requesting. For example, 19% of businesses spend between $1,000-$10,000 a year, and 18% spend between $100,000-$500,000 a year.
With a significant range, it’ll depend on your industry and if you intend on reaching out to macro- or micro-influencers. Macro-influencers typically earn $5k-$10k per post, while micro-influencers make $100-500 per engagement.
2. Choose Your Type of Campaign and Key Messaging
Assuming you have a solid understanding of your target audience and buyer personas, you need to determine what type of campaigns you want to run. Your influencer campaigns should inspire people to learn more or engage with your content and be enticing enough to make the influencer want to work with you.
A few typical campaign examples include:
Contests or giveaways
The messaging should be conversational and authentic, but you also want to make sure that each influencer post aligns with your brand voice and values. Depending on the details of your campaign, you may also want to work with each influencer to develop landing pages, post graphics, and more. Consider using popular target keywords and terminology to attract your audience and drive engagement back to your brand.
3. Qualify Influencers and Start the Outreach Process
No matter the industry — fashion and beauty, gaming, technology, and more — there is someone out there building credibility and influencing purchase decisions. From social influencers and bloggers to thought leaders and B2B industry experts, there are many options for you to find the perfect influential voice.
If you plan to promote on social platforms like TikTok or Instagram, consider using an influencer marketing tool like Paladin or hire an agency to help you identify potential partners. It’s typically more beneficial to work with an influencer who has a presence on multiple channels to increase your exposure.
To qualify influencers, keep these questions in mind:
Does the influencer post content relevant to your industry or brand?
Does the influencer have a credible engagement ratio?
Has this influencer worked with similar brands in the past?
Does the influencer’s style and personality fit your brand guidelines?
Next, you’ll need to determine how to start reaching out to your target influencers. You can typically reach out to micro-influencers in a direct message on their most popular social media platform. You may need to contact more established influencers on their website or send an email. From there, you’ll work with the influencer to define the campaign requirements, content deliverables, and reporting activities.
4. Manage Your Influencer Campaigns
Whether you’re starting with three influencers or 30, an essential part of your strategy will involve managing the campaign details. You can choose to be hands-on and directly interact with each influencer, hire an agency, or use an influencer marketing platform to guide the process. Again, this will largely depend on your starting point and budget.
It’s important to remember that influencers are not your employees but brand ambassadors responsible for helping you build a community of future customers. With this in mind, here are a few tips to help manage your influencer relationships:
Develop a smooth onboarding process and provide your style guidelines upfront to ensure each influencer understands your expectations
Ask your influencers how they typically work with brands and whether that includes monetary compensation, discounts, or free products
Give your influencers as much creative control as possible, so the content comes across as authentic to their followers
Influencer management is critical to your overall campaign success. You could risk ruining the partnership by micromanaging the campaign process, but you can also lose sight of your brand messaging with too little involvement. You’ll need to find the right balance to be successful.
5. Track Your Results and Refine Your Strategy
It’s essential to monitor campaign performance so you can evaluate whether to keep working with the same influencers or change your strategy. The first step is to determine if your campaign reached your goals.
Here are a few KPIs to help you measure success:
Brand awareness: Website traffic, social or PR mentions, and quality of links
Audience building: Social followers and opt-ins
Engagement: Likes, comments, and shares
Sales: Leads, new sales, and overall ROI
You should track the data from each campaign to evaluate what worked and what didn’t in order to optimize future campaigns. For example, did a video reel generate more engagement than a traditional story post? What was the conversion rate on your dedicated landing page with a promo code? Make sure you track all campaign variables to understand how to drive better results in your next campaign.
Grow Your Business with Influencer Marketing
Once you have developed your strategy, you’re ready to start testing campaigns and driving business results. A successful plan will help you develop meaningful relationships with your target audience on their preferred platforms and with their trusted, influential personalities.
While influencer marketing is here to stay, the most successful strategies and tactics are constantly evolving. Brands need to build a robust strategy that not only captures your current audience’s attention, but also can scale for future growth as the industry continues to shift.
Ready to get started with your influencer marketing plan? Schedule a free demo of Paladin today.