How to Work with an Influencer on Your Marketing Strategy
As a business owner, you’ve worked hard to get your business where it needs to be today. You’ve employed all the best tactics to hire a great team (fire fast, hire slowly), have invested in the right leave management solutions to help manage that team, and trained them to sell your product or service the best way possible. Building a brand is no easy task. But no matter how wonderful and competent your team is, chances are you didn’t happen to hire the influencer you need for your influencer marketing strategy.
An influencer is anyone with a sufficient online presence to influence the opinions of people in your target market. If you don’t already know, influencer marketing can prove instrumental to your brand. Inc. Magazine dubbed 2018 as the “year of the micro-influencer” and went on to say that micro influencers have a 22.2x higher conversion rate than macro influencers. Furthermore, 92% of consumers trust reviews by people that they know, and this extends to influences.
Choosing the Right Influencer
Choosing the right influencer can make or break your campaign. One of the best ways to approach the hunt is to use influencer tools like BuzzSumo, which allows you to easily locate the most relevant influencers through a simple search. Sort through the hashtags that are most important to your brand, and narrow your results by follower count, location, and much more. Create a list of your favorites, and start to draft a concise message that details why you think they’re the ideal person to work with on your influencer strategy, as well as what your brand is about.
Consider Different Types of Promotion
There are several ways you can work with your influencer to promote your product. For example, your influencer might post a product review to show their followers what your brand is all about. You can also work with them on giveaway campaigns, where the influencer actually gives some of your product away to their loyal followers. Influencers will especially appreciate this, because it allows them to engage with their audience in a more unique way.
And lastly, if your influencer has a blog, request that you publish a guest post on their site. Guest posting alone comes with a slew of benefits, including the ability to increase your SEO and grow thought leadership in your industry.
Think About Payment
How will you pay your influencer? In product or in dollars? This is one of the most important questions you have to ask yourself, and it depends largely on the influencer you choose.
If you’re working with an up-and-coming local influencer, they may be okay with simply accepting product and building their own brand as an influencer in the process. This is exactly what Kelly Sanders did when she started her gluten-free, healthy waffle mix company, Klean Plate.
Sanders searched for local fitness foodies in her area who were okay with accepting product in exchange for social reviews, and located a handful of influential mommy bloggers and active enthusiasts in the area. As a result, according to Marketing Sherpa, between January and April 2017, Klean Plate increased sales by 14x and increased web traffic by 204%.
However, influencers with larger followings will expect payment, often in addition to free product. These influencers have worked very hard on their brand, and expect to be compensated for the work that they do. Always be upfront about what you can offer, depending on the value of the influencer.
Brand guidelines help an influencer understand your brand’s core values, and what you’re looking for in a partnership. Create virtual mood boards and share them with your influencer to give them an idea of how the direction you intend to take. You should also provide more information on the language they’re expected to use when it comes to describing your product or service.
Don’t Hoard Creative Control
This may seem like an antithesis to the previous statement, but it’s all about balance. Although you want your influencer to follow a certain set of guidelines, you don’t want to stifle their creativity and micro manage their own brand. Instead of giving them rigid instructions, provide a path for them to follow—not specific directions on how to get there. Your influencer—especially if they are clearly the creative type—will appreciate this approach.
Instagram influencer Lee Vosburgh said in a blog post, “Personally, the best partnerships for me, in terms of audience response, are when I’ve had some time to experiment the product and have complete autonomy over how I share it with my followers.”
By keeping art direction to a minimum, you’ll increase the chances of the post coming across genuine, and the influencer better connecting with their audience.