There’s no denying that influencers are all the rage in digital marketing right now. Not only do we highly recommend implementing an influencer marketing strategy in your organization, but we provide you with the right guidance in how you should go about it.
You might be wondering why we are such strong advocates for influencer marketing. Research conducted shows just how much benefit brands are seeing from hiring an influencer. It has been gaining so much popularity in the last two years that 65% of marketers globally are actually increasing their influencer marketing budgets this year. This is up from the 39% who indicated that they would allocate more budget to their strategy in 2018.
The tricky part is, you have to get just the right influencer for your brand. You first need to decide what type of influencer you require and then ensure that they actually match your brand.
How do you go about doing this? We took a look.
Have a Strategic Plan in Place
The first thing you need to do is set your marketing goals, plot your strategy, and precisely know what you aim to achieve in the next six months to a year. It is vital to have a content calendar ready, together with detailed campaign maps, and set KPIs before you set off on your search.
Having this in hand will make it easier for you to find the right person to match your strategic direction.
Let’s take a look at an example. A car insurance comparison site is looking for the right influencer. The truth is that insurance is not a sexy brand, and getting an influencer is incredibly tricky.
In the next few months, however, the brand will be creating a lot of car-related content, followed by two months of solid financial advice. The influencers they can look for are personalities who do car reviews as well as financial gurus to create relevant content.
Once you have that goal set and know what you want to achieve, you can start reaching out to the influencers.
Know What You Have to Offer
When looking for an influencer, you will need to know what you have to offer before approaching them to work for you.
You will first need to consider your budget. Most start-ups and SMEs don’t have the budget for macro-influencers and famous celebrities. To put it in perspective, macro-influencers can charge hundreds of thousands of dollars. Just look at Kylie Jenner or Christiano Ronaldo, who will set you back around $1 million per post.
But micro-influencers can be as effective and even more engaging with their followers and your new audience. Have a budget ready, but keep in mind that you can also leverage them with free or discounted products and services.
It is also essential to have a brief ready and know what kind of content you want them to produce. Start the relationship by being clear about how much information and content you will be providing. You will also need to clarify whether you will be providing any video facilities, locations, or logistics around the content creation.
Start Casting Your Net Out
The next step is to find the right influencer for your brand. This is most likely going to take some time and resources, but there are many ways for you to hook that person. As mentioned previously, it is worthwhile thinking out of the box a bit and identifying creative ways to market your brand.
There are a number of ways to actually find someone:
Hashtags and Keywords
If you are looking at how to find Instagram influencers, this might be the easiest way to do so. You can start searching keywords and hashtags from your Instagram account and refine the results to look for actual people.
You can also search for content creators who are getting tagged in relevant content. Spending some time on your competitors’ accounts might also be a good idea. Not only will you get a good idea of who they are using, but you can springboard off their influencers to find someone similar.
It is also a great idea to have a look at who is tagging your competitors in posts. There might be someone who is looking to hook a brand that you can bring on yourself. If they are already tagging your competitor, they are most likely to represent your brand instead.
Make sure you keep up with trends and content that is being posted. An account might be independently posting organic content about your industry and around the same topic. If they have and are building up enough followers organically, you could approach them to partner with you.
Blogs and Content
Someone who blogs regularly about your industry could be a great catch. They most likely have regular newsletters and social posts that go out and a good social following and readership. Their followers are, therefore, more than likely to be your target audience. They have opted to subscribe to their content to be educated and informed on this topic that interests them.
To find the blogs, you can Google your specific keywords and the word blog right after, and you should be able to come across what you are looking for. It might be worth your while to subscribe to their newsletters to monitor the content. You can also generate some great back-links for your content with them, so request a content sharing exercise and make the whole experience worth your while.
Influencer Tools and Databases
There are several databases and online tools like Collabstr that you can use to find your unique influencer. These are specific tools that will help you filter your influencer’s exact requirements and help you pinpoint several options for you to contact.
You will usually need to go through the tool or the company providing the database and will most likely have to pay an inflated fee. Communication with the influencer will most likely also take place through this company for a while, which might seem tedious. These tools do take the initial hard work out of finding the right influencer for you and could put you in contact with someone notoriously tricky to contact.
We urge you to use some caution here, though. Multiple companies over-promise influencers who are no longer or never have been on their books. If you are going to go this route, make sure you get a company that has a reputable brand.
Use Google and LinkedIn
As we mentioned earlier, if you are looking for an influencer on Instagram, it is usually easier to find the right person on that platform, especially with the right hashtags. But what about in the case of an insurance company, for example? Finding an insurance, car, or finance influencer is quite challenging, as are most business-related topics.
Here is where something like LinkedIn can come in handy. Influencers on LinkedIn usually share a lot of reliable content on the platform through informative and content-heavy blogs and articles.
Google itself can also be useful to trawl for content and influencers on Instagram if you know how to search properly. When searching for someone, you can add “site: Instagram.com” directly in front of your keyword, and you should be taken straight through to content that you are looking for. You can narrow your search even further by adding more keywords like “influencer” or “blogger” and add in your area, your niche, and anything else you might find necessary.
Now that you have identified someone, or hopefully a few people, your next step is narrowing it down. It is not only important to disclose your budget and expectations early on, but it is also essential to know exactly what your ROI will be.
Use this initial contact to find out their following, what their engagement is like, their growth rates, and what their strategy looks like for the next six months. It might be important to make sure that your goals and strategies match up in order for it to be a success going forward.
Having an influencer, especially a micro-influencer, can connect you to your audience and make your brand a lot more relatable. Audiences identify with the people they follow on social media, and when they post organic endorsements of your product and brand, the viewer will emotionally connect with it. It is vital to agree to a strategy early, but keep testing it and molding it according to the audience's response.
In some cases, organic posting is more effective, while in others, the audience prefers to be surprised and delighted with a well-created informative video that is professionally put together. Keep testing until you get this right, and good luck!