The average person encounters countless mentions of products throughout the day. Billboards flash past as they drive to work, friends share info on brands via social media networks and then there are the more blatant ads arriving via email or seen on television. Most people hear a lot of noise from a wide range of brands and learn to tune most of it out.
Around 92% of marketers found utilizing influencers an effective strategy. Even if you own a small business with a low budget, influencer marketing is within your reach. Before planning your campaign strategy, study the different types of influencer marketing and determine which one best suits your needs.
One way of utilizing influencer marketing is working with someone with a wide reach in your target market and allowing them to host a giveaway.
Sites such as Hip2Save offer these types of campaigns often, allowing users to make a comment on their blog and thus enter into a drawing for a free item. When hosting a contest, the giveaway needs to be relevant to the audience and tie into your business. The goal is to gain exposure and also wow the winner so they become your customer.
2. Sponsored Blog Posts
There are two ways of utilizing sponsored blog posts and expanding your brand’s exposure. You can enlist the help of an influencer in your industry and have them write a detailed review of your product or service.
If you can’t afford an individual campaign, another option is writing the author of an article about your types of products and seeing if they’ll include a mention of you in the article. If your brand adds value to their article, they often will plug you in at no or very little charge.
3. Online Networking
One of the simplest campaigns is networking with online influencers on social media. This helps you develop a relationship with influencers in your industry, see how frequently and what they post and perhaps get a mention in return. This type of influencer marketing costs nothing but your time. Seek out influencers who have the same target audience as you.
If you sell sweaters, then look for fashion bloggers with a strong following, for example. Once you find the influencers with the audiences you want to reach, begin sharing their posts your users might find of interest. Comment on what they post and interact with them to show you are interested in what they’re offering. Over time, they may return the favor, but even if they don’t you are developing a relationship where you may work together in the future.
4. Hire a Brand Ambassador
If you have a bit more money in your budget, develop an ongoing relationship with an influencer or two. A brand ambassador receives samples of your product and then talks up your brand. They serve as the face of your company, creating online content which you can share on your own pages. Let’s say you sell a new type of face moisturizer. You find a beauty blogger who promotes moisturizing.
After some back and forth, you come to an agreement that you’ll pay the blogger X dollars and send her free product to try out and review. You agree to send new products as they become available and the beauty expert agrees to post about your products once a week for as long as your relationship lasts.
Most marketers run between two and five influencer campaigns per year, so do your research and make sure the ambassadors you choose meet your marketing goals.
5. Choose Your Platform
Different influencers have more reach on different platforms. Marketers indicate Instagram is one of the most important social platforms for their influencer marketing strategy by 92%. Facebook comes in second at 77%, followed by blogs, YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter and Snapchat.
Look for an influencer on the platform of your choice. If you mainly want to reach women who enjoy DIY projects, Pinterest is an obvious choice. On the other hand, if your target audience is Millennials, you might want to choose someone with extensive reach on Instagram.
6. Seek Reviews
One of the most common types of influencer marketing involves sending the influencer a free product and asking for a review. Your first point of contact will be via email or direct message (DM) on social media.
Simply touch base with the influencer and let them know you enjoy following their posts. Mention one or two similar to what you’re looking for and ask if you can send a free sample of your product to the influencer for their consideration. They will likely let you know if they think your product might align with their vision for their brand and what the process is – some influencers charge a fee to even mention your free product and others only require the free gift.
Keep in mind that the influencer should always disclose they received the item free in exchange for an honest review. The last thing you or the influencer want is to violate trade laws or seem inauthentic. It’s always best to be upfront about the agreement but to make it clear the opinions belong to the person writing the review.
Encourage the influencer to be honest in their opinion. More than likely, it will mostly be positive, but use any negatives to make changes and address issues.
7. Plan an Event
If you have a bigger budget, you can take a page out of what Billy McFarland did with the Fyre Festival.
He started his idea for a big music festival by inviting influencers (mostly supermodels) for an exclusive event. They took pictures and things were supposedly fabulous. Those people were excited and they filled social media with information about the upcoming festival. It was one of the most brilliant influencer marketing campaigns in recent years. If only the planning of the actual event had been as brilliant, McFarland might not have gone to jail for wire fraud.
Think about how you can create something exclusively for the influencers you want involved and get them on board promoting your brand for you. The event might cost a bit of time and money, but you’ll gain the potential of dozens of influencers talking up your brand at the same time and catapulting you to success.
Jumpstart Your Marketing Campaign
Influencers are a great compliment to any marketing campaign. Seek out the influencers who have the ability to reach the people you most want to reach and find fresh new ways of utilizing their audience.
If in doubt, spend time chatting with the influencer as they’ve likely run other campaigns and may have ideas for how to create something no one’s ever seen before.
Kayla Matthews, a tech and digital marketing writer based in Pittsburgh, has written for sites like Marketing Dive, Cision, Contently, and more. To see more of Matthews’ work, visit Productivity Bytes or follow her on Twitter.