Influencer marketing has become a necessary part of the marketing strategy for brands of all sizes. Younger generations are using social media as a primary source for brand discovery, and influencer marketing is considered effective by 80% of marketers, according to HubSpot. Further, HubSpot also finds that 89% of marketers say that influencer marketing works just as well — if not better — than other marketing channels. These numbers reflect just how vital influencer marketing via social media is to a brand’s growth and future success.
Are you beginning to see why it’s important for your brand to have a solid influencer marketing strategy? But if you don’t have one, how do you start? Building an influencer marketing strategy may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. We recommend using influencer marketing tools to make the process easier and more effective. In this article, we’ll cover some of the top tips to consider when building your influencer marketing strategy and software tools you can start using immediately.
Understanding Influencer Marketing
As a type of social media marketing, influencer marketing uses endorsements, product mentions, and promotions from social media influencers. Influencers are typically individuals who have carved out a niche in a certain industry and have many followers who trust their opinions on products and services.
There are different levels of influencers, from micro-influencers (who can have anywhere from 10,000 to 100,000 followers) to mega-influencers (who typically have over 1 million followers). Most of the time, working with small- to mid-sized influencers is a great option when you’re first starting, because these influencers usually have regular engagement with their following — and often cost less than mega-influencers.
You can leverage influencer marketing to launch a new product, re-engage your audience with a classic product, build excitement among your customer base by collaborating on a giveaway with an influencer, generate leads and sales, and much more.
Read more about the benefits of influencer marketing.
When To Choose Social Media for Your Marketing Outreach Campaigns
There are many reasons a business may choose to use social media and influencer marketing campaigns, but some of the top reasons include:
- You want to attract a specific influencer’s audience.
- You want to expand your brand’s reach and build awareness.
- You want to build out a deeper library of content for your brand.
- You want to build a relationship with a successful influencer to open the door for future partnerships.
- You want to drive revenue.
5 Tips for Finding the Right Influencers
When searching for the right influencer for your brand, there are a few common characteristics we recommend you look for. First, you’ll want to ensure that the influencer engages with your target audience and aligns with your brand’s image. For example, you wouldn’t want to build a partnership with someone using profanity in their posts if your brand is family-oriented. Pick influencers who create content that aligns with your brand as it is today, or represents a style that’s aspirational for where you want your brand to go.
Additionally, you’ll want to look at the quality of their content. This will ensure that you get the best bang for your buck. If you’re looking for an influencer to create video content in collaboration with your brand, you wouldn’t want to work with someone who posts poorly made videos on their social media profiles.
Finally, some other general characteristics can signify a great influencer. Be on the lookout for authenticity, community involvement (engaging with their followers), trust, passion, creativity, storytelling skills, and a business mindset.
Here are five tips to help you identify the right influencers for your brand.
1) Define Your Influencer Marketing Strategy
Now that you know what makes a great influencer, you’ll want to work on defining your influencer marketing strategy. This process will help you narrow down your pool of target influencers to reach out to. Follow these steps to help you define your strategy:
- Do your research: Decide which social media platform will be best for your brand, what type of influencer you want to target (micro, mega, or in between), how much you’re willing to pay influencers, and how you will measure success (KPIs).
- Set a budget and decide how the campaigns will be managed: Identify a team member — or a few team members — to create a detailed budget, as well as a general timeline for each campaign. This includes how much time you can dedicate to planning, executing, and reviewing the influencer campaign. We suggest having dedicated team members regularly reviewing influencer campaigns, as this is not a set-and-forget type of strategy.
- Identify goals and message: Is your goal to increase brand awareness? Increase sales on a particular product? Target a new demographic? To help you make this decision, think about your brand’s current needs.
- Plot out your influencer outreach: Decide how you want to connect with influencers and what your standards are for outreach. Consider things like their number of followers, the type of content the influencer shares, and how often they interact with their audience.
- Plan to create, share, learn, and iterate: When it comes to influencer marketing, it’s vital for your brand to take an agile approach. Each partnership and campaign will offer a treasure trove of audience insights, market data, and new learnings. Prep your team to head into engagements with a testing mindset, and give them the resources (like an influencer management platform) to analyze, iterate, and reach your goals. 2) Crystalize Your Influencer Marketing Campaign
After you go through the process above, you’ll want to review and refine your influencer marketing strategy. This process would include looking closer at financial budgets, date timelines, and how you’re measuring your progress during the entire process. You may want to involve a few more team members to weigh in on the strategy — fresh eyes can sometimes see things that you may have missed.
3) Use the Right Tools To Find the Right Influencers
After your overall influencer marketing strategy has been finalized, you can jump into determining how to execute your influencer search. We highly recommend using some kind of outreach tool, as they can save you and your team a ton of time and energy. Email and spreadsheets may work when you’re chatting with a few people, but as you get into the double digits, it becomes complex, ineffective, and even frustrating without the appropriate solution. Great influencer outreach tools do a lot of the heavy lifting and keep everything organized in one place.
4) Develop an Influencer Outreach Campaign and Strategy
After you identify influencer and blogger outreach tools that could be helpful to your team, you’ll want to develop a specific strategy for influencer outreach. This might be as simple as creating a process document that outlines the steps to follow for each influencer outreach initiative. Think about including these items in your influencer outreach strategy:
- Objectives for each influencer (for example, what’s your pitch?)
- Influencer characteristics that are important to your brand
- Contact information for the influencer (Instagram or LinkedIn message, email address, or website contact form) if your platform doesn’t let you directly message the influencer (Popular Pays does!)
No need to start from scratch! Use our free influencer outreach templates to pitch a collaboration, ask for product feedback, send an event invite, and more.
5) Review Social Media Metrics and Monitor KPIs (Post-Campaign)
Finally, you’ll want to dive deeper into the key performance indicators (KPIs) you outlined when you defined your overall influencer marketing strategy. Specifically, identify KPIs for post-influencer campaigns. Some common and extremely helpful metrics we recommend tracking include:
- Return on investment (ROI)
- Cost per acquisition (CPA)
- Brand awareness
- Brand sentiment
- Website visits
This is the time to tap into your team’s testing mindset and build on anything you learned during and after the campaign, like we mentioned in step #1. Focus on improving the metric/KPI(s) at the center of your original goal. Read more about measuring the ROI of your influencer marketing campaigns.
The Best Influencer Outreach Tools
Now, let’s get into some of the top influencer marketing platforms you can use to build your list of influencers and streamline campaigns.
Popular Pays is a great all-in-one option for brands of any size looking for a tool to optimize their influencer marketing. Our platform has great options for startup brands and veteran brands alike. Popular Pays is broken down into three feature areas: connect, collaborate, and track. Among these areas, users can discover, vet, and communicate with influencers, collaborate on each campaign at scale, and report and analyze data for each campaign.
Need to spend less time managing your affiliate program, and more time building an excited and active influencer community? Dovetale’s all-in-one creator management system could be for you. Shopify merchants use Dovetale to find potential affiliates, review applications, share discount codes and samples, track sales, and pay their affiliated creators with ease.
As a web-based end-to-end outreach platform, BuzzStream is known for its effective and efficient list-building capabilities, as well as its features for emailing at scale, managing inboxes, and reporting data. So if your team is looking for a tool specifically for managing your influencer outreach via email and ensuring no emails slip through the cracks, BuzzStream is a viable option.
Athletes have a long history of being brand partners, with players lending their star power to campaigns for companies like Nike, State Farm, and PlayStation. Opendorse connects your brand with 70,000+ users, from college teams to pro teams, and helps all parties navigate deal pitching and building, Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) rule compliance, and endorsement management. Consider Opendorse to hit the ground running on your next athlete-led campaign.
Link building is a vital part of digital marketing — and influencer marketing specifically. If you’re working with bloggers or Instagram influencers, a link-building tool like Pitchbox can help you with prospecting and campaign management. Pitchbox also provides tools like skill-based workflows, as well as outreach and follow-up email templates and sequencing.
One of the most frustrating parts of connecting with influencers can be identifying an effective way to reach them. Of course, direct messages on social media can work for micro-influencers. But if you’re seeking to connect with an influencer who has a substantial following, they may not check their DMs themselves very often. So, to make sending outreach emails faster and more efficient, you can use Hunter, which pulls from a database of over 100 million indexed email addresses. All you need is a website domain — an influencer’s personal website, for example — and you can find a personal email address in seconds.
Promote Your Business With a Top-Notch Influencer Outreach Tool
There are a ton of great tools on the market designed to simplify managing your influencer marketing strategy — but a one-stop-shop when it comes to influencer outreach, management, and tracking your success can make the process even easier. For an all-in-one solution, PopularPays has your brand covered. Request a demo today to see how our platform can help you find the best influencers and manage your influencer marketing campaigns!