Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing, which includes businesses collaborating with influencers, is a powerful strategy for brands to broaden their social media reach. It's growing in popularity– over three-quarters of US marketers will employ influencer marketing in 2022. Influencer marketing initiatives are not one-size-fits-all. Much depends on your specialty, goals, and the pool of influencers in your audience. With the right strategy and approach, influencers can help any business reach its marketing objectives.

What exactly is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is a social media marketing strategy in which companies collaborate with influencers (also called content creators) to promote a product, service, or brand. The influencer creates and distributes material about the brand or product, and the business compensates them with cash, free items, or both. Typically, businesses will supply the influencer with whatever product they will be featuring on their platform. To guarantee the influencer will post about your product, you’ll have to pay according to their sponsorship rate sheet. Reach, traffic, engagement, and conversions are the most common influencer marketing KPIs.

The first type of influencer marketing was celebrity endorsements. Social media content creators with highly engaged specialized audiences may now provide more value to marketers than superstars with large but generic followings. This is because social followers find social content producers relevant, trust their suggestions, and are committed to exhibiting their support.

How to plan an influencer marketing campaign

Here are the stages to launching a successful influencer program for your company.

Establish your objective

Like any effective marketing plan, the first step is to define your objectives. Defining your goals for influencer marketing can help you develop a practical approach throughout your campaign. It will also assist you in understanding the metrics you should follow to determine the effectiveness of your campaign.

Below are some good influencer marketing objectives to consider:

  • Boosting brand recognition
  • Increasing your fan base
  • Raising engagement and generating leads
  • Increasing your sales and conversions
  • Boosting brand loyalty
  • Link building for SEO
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Understand who you're attempting to reach

A successful influencer marketing strategy requires reaching the right people with the appropriate tools and influencers at the right time. Create audience personas to better understand who you're attempting to target with your campaign. Outline specifics regarding your target audience, such as:

  • Chronological age
  • Optimal spending habits or comfort level (if you want to drive sales with your campaign)
  • Their pursuits
  • Geographic location
  • Where they spend their time online.

You have to know your target audience to know which influencers they engage with. The influencer must be relevant to your target audience– otherwise, you’re throwing money down the drain. 

Recognize the guidelines

Before implementing an influencer marketing plan, you must first grasp the guidelines. The Federal Trade Commission establishes those rules in the United States. Transparency is key here. Influencers must also be aware of sponsored content requirements, and they frequently fail to do so. Or the influencer may make the revelation of their sponsorship delicate and partly buried. The restrictions for advertising vary widely by nation, so verify them. The sponsorship must be disclosed to the audience with clarity. Social media platforms like Instagram and YouTube are simplifying this by adding features that identify a sponsored post as such. 

Consider the three Rs of power

These three factors determine influence:

Relevance

The appropriate influencer for your campaign shares content about your industry and company, and their target audience must be similar to yours.

Reach 

Reach is the number of individuals who could see your material through the influencer's audience base.

Resonance

The influencer's potential degree of engagement with an audience that resonates with your brand is referred to as resonance.

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Influencers to be considered

The key to a successful collaboration with influencers is trust. Whoever you collaborate with must have your audience's confidence and respect. Without authentic content, your influencer marketing campaign is unlikely to achieve the desired marketing objectives.

The best approach to tell if a prospective influencer is trustworthy is to look at their engagement and the feedback they already receive from their followers in the form of comments, direct messages, likes, and shares. Socialblade is a great tool for doing a closer analysis of each influencer with which you are considering collaboration.

Conduct your research

Your study does not end with creating a shortlist. Before signing any contracts, there are a few more steps to solidify the success of your campaign. Determine how frequently your potential influencer uploads paid material. If they share a lot of sponsored posts, their engagement rate may be lower than what you would like. 5% engagement is generally considered healthy, so keep that in mind as a general rule of thumb. 

Keep the influencer's posting schedule in mind when considering the content you'll want the influencer to share. Any influencer strategic about their approach is very cautious about what promote and when. So if you ask them to share too many pieces of promotional content in a short period, the influencer will reject your offer (or their compensation expectations will increase dramatically).

Reach out privately 

Invading a potential influencer's DMs and asking for collaboration right off the bat may not be the best method to start a relationship. It can sometimes be perceived as too forward and even a bit tacky, so do your best to navigate the start of the connection with care and professionalism. Don't get me wrong: it may be effective to reach out cold, but there are other communication methods for planting seeds that lead to longer-lasting partnerships. Influencers accustomed to working with brands often list an email in their bio for this purpose. Start by engaging with the influencer’s content...Enter their direct messages after establishing an authentic interest in them as an individual and an interest in supporting their content.

Create great content in collaboration with your influencer

A social media influencer who has worked hard to build their brand would refuse any offer that jeopardizes their integrity. So it's better to offer some rules/guidelines on what you want but leave the actual content creation process to them. Content creators know what their audiences resonate with. They can also spot what will be an immediate turnoff. Best practices are to offer talking points and guidelines that the influencer can work into their native content however they see fit.

Analyze your outcomes

When you begin your influencer marketing campaign, the number of likes and comments on your branded content may overwhelm you, especially if your influencer has a significant following. These are vanity metrics that don't accomplish anything for your brand. You must calculate your actual return on investment (ROI) to determine the value of your campaign.

Even though users who engage with the sponsored content might not purchase right away, they are now aware of your brand and have started their journey to becoming a customer. Getting them to follow you or visit your website opens that door.

And even if they don't follow your account, your product will come to mind when a need arises. They can revisit the influencer's post to find the link and make a purchase. That's the power of influencer marketing-- an influencer's audience trusts their recommendations. If a follower needs something, they use the influencer's recommendations to make their purchasing decisions.

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After running a successful sponsorship, consider pulling the influencer's content and posting it to your own account as a paid ad. This maximizes the value and ROI of the partnership and allows you to reach segments of your target audience that are not already following the influencer, but that would still benefit from the influencer's content.

Social media has become an integral part of our everyday lives and an essential space for brand discovery. With over 500 million daily active users, Instagram has become increasingly important to marketers who want to reach large audiences. Whether you’re just tapping into the power of Instagram or looking to level up your current strategy, we have 5 Instagram hacks that can help you on your Instagram journey.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

A Meta-commissioned study found that 83% of their survey group use Instagram to discover new products or services, 81% use it to research products and services, and 80% use it to decide whether to purchase a product or service. 54% of people surveyed say they made a purchase either in the moment or after seeing a product or service on Instagram. In other words, your first impressions on Instagram matter.

The images or videos that you select should convey your message and align with your branding goals while keeping an organic feel to them. Instead of having a lot of text or large brand logos in your photos, think about your target demographic and the type of organic content they’d be most likely to respond to.

Whether you’re running ads on Instagram or not, you should also pay attention to image and video sizing for different types of posts and placements. There are a myriad of different types of posts and placements available when running paid social ads. When choosing an ad type, be sure to keep your business goals in mind. To understand more about the different ad types and how they can help you achieve your goals, check out Meta’s page for more information.  

Additionally, placements play a key role in achieving your goals. This is where you’ll be able to choose whether your ads will be seen on Facebook, Instagram, or both. You’ll also be able to say whether your ads will show up in feeds, stories, in-stream, search, messages, or in apps and sites. Keep in mind that each of these placement types may have different sizing and aspect ratio requirements for your creative. This is important as you want to make sure that as a brand you’re putting your best foot forward to your target audience.   

Boost your Best Content

If you’ve recently made an organic post that had great engagement, try applying a boost to it, which essentially turns that organic post into an Instagram ad. Boosting content is also a great way to make your organic content work harder without having to call on your creative team for special assets. 

If you’re already a post-boosting boss, Marin Social has a tool that can automate your post boosting workflow (aptly named Message Booster). You can use Message Booster to set rules for automatically boosting posts, so you don’t have to lift a finger to take full advantage of this Instagram hack.

ABT = Always Be Testing

The best social experts encourage consistent testing to integrate new ideas, improve on existing strategies, and get the most out of your advertising dollars. Some examples of things you could test on your account are auto placements, audiences, and ad types. If you haven’t run a test before, also think about how you’ll measure success in a quantifiable way. Some common examples of metrics used for this purpose are: Click Through Rate (CTR), Impressions, and Clicks.

Testing is a component of most of the hacks we shared in this article - we always recommend testing new ideas before making them a permanent part of your advertising strategy. To organize and prioritize your tests, try creating and following a testing roadmap. If you want to learn more about how to test ads for performance on Instagram, check out this free course from Meta Blueprint.

MarinOne Social also offers a time saving solution for split testing called Ad Studies. This tool lets you split test at the touch of a button and track the results using Marin Software’s advanced reporting suite.

Know your Audience (or Get to Know Them!)

There are a multitude of different audiences you can target on Instagram. When you decide to target an audience group, make sure you are keeping them in mind when it comes time to create your ads. A college student interested in a popular musician has different social media habits and interests than a retiree interested in recent events.

If you’re unsure of what your audience likes, start with some tests to determine what types of content and ads will work best. 

Be the First to Leverage New Products and Features

New features and releases are great examples of items to add to your testing roadmap. Using a new feature could unlock new possibilities for your ad performance, help you better reach your current audience, and/or help you reach new audiences. If you’re newer to Instagram and are unsure of which features to test first, you can find some ideas here.

If you’re a current Marin customer, your Marin rep will keep you up to date on new features which are released and how we can help you test them. Our partnership with Meta helps keep us at the forefront of new features, so you’ll be one of the first to hear about new features from Instagram!

If you’re interested in learning more about using MarinOne Social for your Instagram ads, reach out to us here.

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