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Influencer marketing is one of the most popular marketing strategies for many brands and marketers. It is a successful way to reach out to and get involved with online audiences. Quality and the authenticity of the content are the basis of a successful influencer marketing campaign. Influencer marketing is a very powerful marketing tool with a better return on investment (ROI) than traditional marketing.
Bloglovin’ research in 2017 revealed that 63% of marketers have increased their influencer marketing budget. Which clearly means brands and marketers understand the impact of this form of marketing.
If you plan and implement your strategy for influencer marketing effectively, it can produce a sizeable return on investment. According to Tomoson, typically, $6.50 in revenue is generated from every $1 invested in influencer marketing strategies.
Are you wondering how to get the most bang for your buck from your influencer marketing campaigns? This article will guide you through few strategies to maximize your ROI.
#1. Identify and Research Your Target Audience
Your target audience is the central and important part of your campaign. You’ll need to select an influencer who can reach and connect with your target audience. But before you can do that, you need to identify and research your target audience.
#2. Find your Perfect Influencer
Finding the right influencers for the right campaign is important. And it is one of the most frequent difficulties faced by nearly 68% of the marketers. Of course, one has to take the influencer marketing budget in consideration here, before anything.
Based your campaign goal, make a list of qualities you want to have in your ideal influencer. This will help you to narrow down your search for suitable influencers. In general, you should look for an influencer owning qualities like authenticity, activeness, engagement, expertise, and leadership.
If you have a tight budget, you can try these free tools to find your influencers. A few of them have premium options, in which cases you will have to pay to access additional features.
#3. Investigate the Influencer’s Feed
It is always important to investigate an influencer’s social media feed before hiring one. First, make sure there is enough scope in the influencer’s feed for your promotion. Your promotion might not make an impact if their feed is already overloaded with other promotions and ads.
The influencer’s feed will give you an impression of the frequency which they post content. It will also help you to calculate their engagement rate. Their engagement and content will give you a better understanding of their social influence.
75% of marketing professionals say that the verified web traffic of an influencer is another crucial factor when selecting an influencer, of course they can check whether they fall in their budget.
#4. Select the Right Influencer Marketing Tool
Influencer marketing is a more economical and profitable form of marketing than traditional marketing. The right influencer marketing tool can help you to find and get connected with the most relevant influencers.
These tools can help you to plan and design an effective marketing campaign. Also, these tools and software are capable of tracking and monitoring the growth and results of the campaign.
#5. Define Your Goals and Objectives
A successful influencer marketing campaign requires a clear checklist of goals and objectives. Make sure you have clearly planned and designed your goals and objectives before you launch your campaign. Specific goals like enhancing social media presence, or increasing sales will act as parameters to measure the overall impact of your campaign.
Having a list of clearly defined goals with specific objectives will also direct the influencer in developing their strategy for the content they create for you.
#6. Select Relevant Social Media Platforms
Another crucial part of your influencer marketing campaign is social media. It is important to select a suitable social media platform according to your campaign budget. Different social media platforms have different types of audiences. LinkedIn, for example, is a platform for professionals. Whereas more and more young people use Snapchat.
Post suitable content according to the platforms you are using. Instagram is a platform where you can post high quality, vibrant photos. On the other hand, Facebook is considered best for sharing posts and videos.
Blogs and Facebook are among the top platforms for generating the highest ROI. 21 % of marketers report generating the highest ROI through Facebook influencers. And 37% of marketers report that working with bloggers who have a huge, loyal following generated the best return on investment. This helps you in keeping your influencer marketing budget on track.
Madewell is an online shopping destination for fashion lovers. Madewell teamed up with five fashion influencers on Instagram. The objective of this Instagram influencer marketing campaign was to promote their signature tote on the eve of their anniversary.
The promotion reached over 1 million targeted customers. The #TOTEWELL campaign was hugely successful by working with only five Instagram fashion influencers.
#7. Build Long-Term Influencer Relationships
Once you identify the right influencers and the right platforms, focus on building and nurturing stronger relationships with your influencers.
One-off influencer campaigns are not as beneficial as long-term cooperation.
Long-term campaigns offer a better return on your influencer marketing budget. Your influencers will be more committed and invested in your brand if they are in for the long haul.
The more you work together with your influencers, the more congenial your communication and partnership with each other will be. You will be able to establish better trust and understanding of each other’s working styles and expectations.
Your audience will appreciate it and will be more willing to convert if they find your campaign authentic. With time, the influencer will become more natural and their affinity with your product will reflect in their work. Repeated endorsements from your influencer will come off as more genuine and sincere to the audience.
Also, having quality influencers by your side will help you in any last minute crisis situations. For instance, if you need some definite results in a short time or if there is a sudden turnaround for a campaign, you can use your trustworthy influencers.
Therefore, when you find influencers who can deliver, continue to work with them to get maximum returns from your influencer marketing budget.
#8. Give Influencers Creative Freedom
Controlling the creative freedom of the influencer is a big no-no. And very often companies make this mistake. Give the influencer clear guidelines for your brand, goals, and objective. Then ask them to come up with content in their own voice and style.
83% of the influencers show interest in working with the same brand again, provided they are given creative freedom. Also, brands need to treat the influencers respectfully and appreciate their work. Around 54% of the influencer report they won’t work with companies who behave disrespectfully towards them.
Both disrespect and too strict of guidelines can negatively affect the overall quality and impact of your campaign. Know that this can lead to the wastage of your financial investment on the campaign and impact your budget adversely.
Example: Naked Juice
When it comes to creative freedom, this example from Naked Juice really stands out. Naked Juice is an American company which produces smoothies and juices. Kate La Vie is a lifestyle blogger who very strategically promoted the brand in a sponsored post.
#9. Negotiate with Influencers
After you’ve found your perfect influencer, it is time to talk about money. Before you offer the influencer compensation, it is important to have an internal discussion about how you’re going to compensate the influencer. The ability to negotiate a realistic payment according to your decided budget will help you maximize ROI.
You don’t want to get intimidated by the work of an influencer and end up paying too much. Neither do you want to underpay the influencer, which will further narrow your chances of working together in future. If you don’t compensate your influencer fairly as per your marketing budget, it can also negatively affect the quality of the content the create for your campaign.
5 Main Payment Models for Influencers
- Cost per engagement – You pay to influencers according to the engagement rate of their content.
- Cost per click – Influencer is paid according to the number of clicks they generate.
- Pay per post – In this model, your payment to influencers is a fixed amount for each post they create for your brand.
- Free products/experiences – In addition to, or instead of financial reimbursement, you can also offer free products or experiences in exchange for their partnership. Know that this helps you with your budget.
- Cost per acquisition – Also known as “cost per conversion,” or “cost per action,” this means you pay influencers according to the number of actions their content generates.
#10. Keep an Eye on Your Competition
It is beneficial for your company to keep an eye on the other players in your industry. By tracking your other contenders, you can teach yourself a thing or two about influencer marketing. Ensure that this helps with keeping your marketing budget as per the requirements.
You should observe which strategies are working and which are not with different audiences. This will help you to design a better methodology to achieve your goals and increase your revenue.
Remember, the less mistakes you make, the better your ROI and results will be. So don’t work in isolation. Work smartly, and keep a track of other players in the market.
Example: Under Armour
Under Armour is a sports brand that was established in 1996. Their competitors were Nike and Adidas, who have been in the sports industry for more than 5 decades. But Under Armour managed to build a solid presence on all social media platforms.
For various reasons, Nike didn’t establish an association with Stephen Curry, who is a well-known professional NBA player. Under Armour immediately approached Stephen and developed a partnership with him.
According to Morgan Stanley, Under Armour is now approximately a $14 billion business because of their partnership with Stephen Curry.
#11. Try Micro-Influencers
Always remember – trustworthiness is much more important than a number of followers. Instead of hiring macro-influencers with a huge number of followers, try and look for micro-influencers with loyal followers.
Although micro-influencers have a comparatively small number of followers, their engagement rate is much higher than the macro-influencers. 82% of customers says they trust recommendations made by micro-influencers, which proves they are more effective for conversions. And of course, they are budget friendly.
In the past, big companies with huge budgets, generally hired a big shot influencer with loads of followers. But things are gradually changing. Now big companies are also hiring micro-influencers. As it is now proven that this strategy is much more effective and can be implemented with smaller budgets.
Example: Lord & Taylor
Retailer Lord & Taylor teamed up with 50 fashion micro-influencers/bloggers. The brand asked the influencers to post pictures of themselves wearing the same dress on Instagram. As a result, the dress got sold out by the end of the weekend, generating a great ROI.
Lord & Taylor’s larger goal was also achieved by showcasing their Design Lab Collections to the followers of the influencers.
# 12. Leverage Videos
Videos are here, and they are here to stay as they are an extremely attractive and shareable form of content. People pay more attention to video content than to any other form of content.
The fact is obvious from the HubSpot research below:
Influencer videos are a very popular approach in the world of influencer marketing today. You can have them review your product, unbox it, give a preview, give a tutorial, and more.
As a brand, you are missing out if you are not leveraging videos and YouTube, the world’s second largest search engine. Check out the data below:
According to a December 2017 survey:
- 97% of marketers have found videos more effective to increase user understanding of their product or service.
- 81% of brands are using videos for their marketing.
- Also, 65% of the businesses who aren’t using videos currently, planned to start in 2018.
- Videos on Facebook have 135% more organic reach on average than a photo on Facebook.
- Influencer videos on YouTube had 7x more watch time compared to a standard brand advertisement.
YouTube is not the only way to engage your customers through captivating videos.
Facebook and Instagram videos are also highly desirable and popular.
Videos do not require a huge influencer marketing budget. Creating videos has become much more accessible with cost-effective video equipment and better mobile cameras.
Leverage this popular form of marketing for better engagement and effective use of your influencer marketing budget.
#13. Monitor Everything, Including Budget
Tracking everything is the most obvious things to do, regardless of what brand or service you are promoting. It is important to track things like the quality of content, influencers’ engagement rates, number of lead generated, etc. This will help you to understand which parts of your campaign are working, and which are not.
You can measure your return on investment, and other aspects of your campaign using tools like Google Analytics, Toggl, Cyfe, and Buffer.
#14. Have Patience
Unlike with the traditional marketing, you cannot assume overnight success with influencer marketing. All of the steps – like finding right influencer, designing the best content, and deciding which platforms are best to use – take time. It will also take some time to get reactions to the content developed by the influencer.
As previously stated, influencer marketing can also generate better results and higher ROI when you have a long-term partnership with the influencers. Hence having patience during the entire process is advisable.
If designed and planned properly, influencer marketing can be the best strategy for promotion. It is undoubtedly cost-effective and it can offer your brand or clients many benefits.
The trend of increasing budgets for influencer marketing is expected to continue. But larger budgets allocated to influencer marketing do not automatically result in a better return on investment.
Your return on investment is an important factor in the sustainable success of your marketing efforts. Follow the steps above to ensure that you’re getting the maximum ROI from your influencer marketing campaigns in 2018 and beyond.