Influencer marketing is something that has had its ups and downs. We all remember the Snapchat and Kylie Jenner incident.
However, there is no doubt that it can be very effective when the right strategy is employed.
So here is our guide to working effectively with influencers.
What is an influencer?
Influencer Marketing Hub describes an influencer as “someone who has the power to affect the purchasing decisions of others because of his or her authority, knowledge, position, or relationship with his or her audience.” (source)
The different types of influencers
There are hundreds upon thousands of influencers throughout the world and so it is helpful to categorise them by their follower number and their audience.
These can be split down into four levels:
Mega influencer:Mega influencers are more famous rather than necessarily influential. They do not necessarily stick to one niche or are subject matter experts but they have a huge amount of reach.(source)
Macro influencers:Macro influencers usually become famous through the internet, as opposed to being a celebrity in the first place.
They can be bloggers, vloggers, YouTubers or podcasters and would usually have an audience of between 100,000 and one million followers.
Micro influencers:Micro influencers have between 1,000 and 100,000 followers and usually focus on a specific topic. (source)
Nano influencers:A nano influencer usually has a small number of followers but has influence within their community.
This might be an interest community or a geographical area. (source)
Do not discount micro and nano influencers just because their following is not as big as other influencers.
Their followers are often more engaged and have stronger relationships with them and therefore more likely to be influenced by them.
You also need to make sure that any influencers you work with are aligned with your brand as their followers are likely to be too.
Make sure you take into account your marketing objectives and your budget as well, as there is no point going after the mega influencers if you cannot afford to engage them.
How to source your influencers
Now you have identified what sort of influencers you want to work with, you need to find them!
A simple Google search will identify top influencers in your sector, but there are a few other ways to find them too:
There are several groups on Facebook which have been set up to promote different opportunities for influencers and you too can sign up for them, posting your opportunities and campaigns here.
Try searching UK Influencer Opportunities on Facebook to get started.
The influencers that are most aligned to your brand might actually be already following your account.
Have a look at your followers first – if they are already passionate about, or interested in, your brand then it will be a natural fit for them.
You can also look at popular hashtags that are used within your niche and see which accounts have used them.
What to look for when choosing influencers
There are a couple of look-outs when it comes to selecting your influencers.
High engagement rate
Engagement rate is one of the best metrics to use when selecting influencers.
To work this out, simply divide the number of likes and comments on their latest Instagram post by the number of followers an influencer has and then times by 100 to get a percentage.
An engagement rate of between 1% and 3% is considered good. (source)
With the caveat that follower number is not everything, you do want to ensure that your marketing is reaching people and so you need to check that your chosen influencer has real followers.
There are various tools and software that can be used to generate fake followers on Instagram and this is how some influencers manage to grow their following so quickly.
You need to avoid any influencers with a fake following, as this will mean that your investment is wasted.
Luckily, it is pretty simple to do a quick spot check of followers.
Simply have a look at some of the profiles that are following your influencer to check their authenticity. You will be able to tell by their bio and their content if they are an authentic profile or not.
If your objective is SEO, rather than social reach, then you need to make sure that it is worth having a link on your chosen influencer’s website.
You can check this easily, by checking their domain authority. The higher the number the better, with anything over 25 being good.
Ways to work with influencers
Now that you know who you want to work with, let’s look at some ways influencers can help to promote your brand.
Gifted or paid reviews
Probably the most common way to work with influencers is on paid or gifted reviews.
Depending on your product or service and the level of influencer you are pitching too, they may be happy to review something in exchange for the gifted product or they may expect payment in addition.
Ensure that the deliverables from both sides are clear to ensure that there are no any disappointments when it comes to the final output.
User generated content
We all know how difficult it can be to create content, so why not get influencers to help with creating some user generated content?
You can create “top tips” posts with submissions from influencers and credits to their websites and once these are live ask them to share on their social media.
Ideally, for SEO, it would be great to get links reciprocated on their website back to this post.
This would ensure a longer-term benefit rather than the quick blast that social media channels provide.
Create brand ambassadors
When influencers are truly aligned with your brand, it is a good idea to try to cultivate these into brand ambassadors.
The more someone talks about your brand, the more likely their followers are to take notice.
Brand ambassadors can be provided with gifts and news, invited to events and included in other marketing campaigns. This goes hand in hand with affiliate marketing.
Give your influencers an extra incentive to promote your brand by inviting them to become an affiliate.
This means that you will pay them a small percentage of any sales you make and will make them more likely to post about your brand repeatedly.
How to measure influencer success
Although it is difficult to put a true ROI on your influencer collaborations, there are a few things you can do to measure the success of your campaign:
UTM tracking codes
If you are asking the influencer to include a link back to your website on their blog, you should provide them with a UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) tracking code. This way you can see how much traffic and sales the blog generates.
When you are discussing the collaboration with your influencer, ensure that you agree on what metrics the influencer is to provide.
Amongst others, they can provide you with reach and interactions on Instagram and page views on their website.