March 4, 2022

Adding Influencers to Your Digital Strategy

Learn how influencers can help market and grow your brand.


What is influencer marketing?


Influencer marketing is a form of online promotion where a brand partners with an individual (‘influencer’) who has a loyal social following, and engages the influencer to provide endorsements and product mentions.


As social media has become integral to many peoples’ lives, trust in influencers is growing significantly, and many see them as reliable experts. Due to the dedication they’ve fostered with their audiences, when used properly, the influencer marketing approach can be incredibly valuable. As influencers are perceived to be unbiased and trustworthy, their recommendations can have an impact on decision making.


In this article we’ll walk you through 6 key pieces of not only getting started with influencer marketing, but some tips and tricks on how to do it more efficiently and cost effectively.



1. How the heck do you find influencers?


Okay, let’s walk before we run. How do you even find influencers to work with? Well, there are many types and sizes of “Influencers”, from nano-influencers (under 1000 followers) to huge celebrities with millions of followers. Finding them can be as simple as going through your current follower list, asking your friends that are active on social media about the influencers they follow, cruising through hashtags related to your industry, or even reaching out to social media marketing agencies to connect with their roster of influencers.


We recommend you start out small, find your footing with a few smaller influencers, then work your way up as your budget, goals, and understanding grow. The smaller the influencer, the easier it will be to develop a mutually beneficial and quality relationship.



2. Choosing the right influencers for your brand.


Although it’s tempting to just go after the person with the largest following, that’s a really weak approach. Finding influencers that are relevant, authentic, and engaged with your audience is far more important than their follower count. Do your research and identify the influencers whose values closely match your brand or your vision for your brand.


Once you find the right person, be open to their ideas; the worst thing you can do is handcuff them from being themselves (remember, authenticity is key). You approached them because you liked what they were doing, so let them have some control, they’ll know their followers best.



3. Contacting influencers


Influencers without an agency:


When approaching influencers, it’s important to be transparent and upfront with your expectations. Both parties should be getting positive value from the relationship. Send a personal and thoughtful DM (never a generic message, nobody likes those) feeling out their interest level. If they’re open to it, walk them through what you are hoping to get out of the partnership. Outline the specific expectations you have as far as posting, timeline, budget, etc.


Influencers with an agency:


This is a little more straightforward. Simply reach out to the agency like you would any other business that you’re hoping to work with. Make sure to explain your needs, budget, and goals and they’ll match you with the influencer that they feel works best for your needs (but do your due diligence before agreeing to who they’ve selected).



4. Compensation for influencers.


Compensation expectations vary wildly. Smaller influencers may work for free products because they’re into your brand, while others will be represented by an agency or network and require a certain level of budget to work with.


The larger the influencer, the greater the cost. In general, we believe it’s much better to exceed smaller influencers’ expectations of compensation (when possible), because then they’ll view your relationship positively, and speak positively about working with your business. Also, taking care of the people you work with goes much further than nickel-and-diming.



5. Tracking your success.


Measuring your influencer marketing efforts is the only way to understand if what you’ve been doing was working and worth it. Tracking also allows you to adjust your approach as you move forward to get the most bang for your buck. So set some goals, define a budget, and determine a means of tracking whether you achieve those goals. Maybe your goals are related to traffic, engagement on your channels, overall brand awareness, or even direct conversions. Whatever it is, record the relevant info and numbers before the campaign starts, and compare with those same numbers at the end.


The complexity of your goals will directly relate to the complexity of the tracking tools you may need to use. You’ll likely want to get familiar with Facebook and Instagram’s insight tools, Facebook pixels, and Google analytics as a start.



6. Some of the potential negatives of influencer marketing.


As with most things in life, there are potential negatives to using influencers for your business. Most of the issues arise from not having a strategic plan in place, not knowing who you’re trying to influence, and choosing inauthentic or overused influencers. It’s becoming less of an issue as the industry evolves, but you also must be wary of influencers who purchase followers or have a high proportion of bots making up their follower count.


Lastly, beware of influencer fatigue. Overdoing sponsored posts and/or using influencers who overdo it can be detrimental to your brand and have the exact opposite effect you’re hoping for. At the end of the day consider this: if the influencers you choose aren’t believable as someone who might use your product or service without being paid, you’re not going to get great results.



In conclusion…


If used properly and authentically, influencer marketing can become a powerful tool that helps your business grow. Start small, and make sure you’re focusing less on follower counts and more on a strong alignment between your business and the influencer you choose.


Good luck!