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Published August 8th 2022

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, recent studies suggest that influencer campaigns can earn as much as $5.78 for every $1 spent on average – making it a successful tactic for many brands.

Ready to learn more? Let’s dive in.

You can also skip directly to each section.

What is influencer marketing?

The power of influencers

What is an influencer marketing strategy?

Five key steps to building a strong influencer marketing plan

  1. Define your marketing goals and budget
  2. Choose your type of campaign and key messaging
  3. Qualify influencers and start the outreach process
  4. Manage your influencer campaigns
  5. Track your results and refine your strategy

Grow your business with influencer marketing

Key takeaways

What is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is a type of social media marketing based on brand/influencer partnerships and involves endorsements. Typically, influencers getting endorsed are individuals with a large, highly engaged community of social media followers. But it’s not always the case

Influencers are usually subject-matter experts whose dedicated social media follower base turn to their favorite influencers for more information and advice on a particular topic. 

Influencers get sponsored and compensated by brands via payments or perks (it can be a free product or large discount) in exchange for an official endorsement shared on the influencer’s social media pages. 

The power of influencers

Today’s social media landscape is highly fragmented, and it’s becoming more and more challenging for brands to capture consumers' attention, build brand awareness, and acquire new consumers.

According to a recently published study by Oracle, 80% of consumers have purchased products in direct response to relevant social media content, and 37% of consumers said they trust social media influencers over brands. These numbers suggest that consumers perceive advice and tips from influencers they already follow as credible and trustworthy. And it’s no surprise the influencer marketing industry is currently estimated at over $16 billion and is rapidly growing.

The state of the influencer marketing industry

Instagram first launched ads on the platform towards the end of 2013, and in 2014, standing out on 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 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 to or better than other channels

Pro Tip

42% of people use ad-blocking technology to remove interruptive digital ads from the online experience.

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. 

What is an influencer marketing strategy?

An influencer marketing strategy leverages digital creators who 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

Five key steps to building a solid 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 media following
  • 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:

  • Guest posting
  • Sponsored content
  • Mentions
  • Contests or giveaways
  • Takeovers
  • Affiliates
  • Discount codes

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 Influence 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 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 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 their 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? Book a free demo of Influence today. 

Key takeaways:

  • 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
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