Instagram influencers are changing the way brands formulate and execute their digital marketing strategy. Many brands mistakenly think that influencer marketing success is simply a matter of finding an individual with a large following, which they believe will automatically equate to improved conversions.
But it’s about so much more. Let’s go over the necessary pieces of developing the right influencer marketing strategy to improve your brand power online.
Step 1: Define Your Goals & Find the Right Influencer
Like we said a moment ago, it’s not only about merely finding an influencer with a big following. There’s also the matter of finding an influencer that parallels your brand. If an influencer is off-brand — which might very well mean that their audience isn’t your audience — you might not see as much success as you could with your marketing strategy.
Let’s talk about how you can avoid that.
Define Your Goals
The first step toward finding the best influencer for your unique brand is to clearly define your goals. What are you trying to accomplish with this collaboration and campaign? Are you trying to:
- Increase brand awareness?
- Sell a product?
- Source high-quality content?
- Launch a new product?
- Boost SEO?
Or maybe it’s a little bit of all of the above.
Whatever your goals may be, define them and be sure you have a way to track and measure them.
Let’s use the examples above. While these are excellent goals (and ones you should aim for), you might benefit from getting a little more specific. For instance, we can tweak “increase brand awareness” to make it more precise and straightforward to measure.
So, in this case, we might have a goal to:
- Increase post engagement by 20%
- Boost follower count by 1,000
- Increase link-in-bio clicks by 10%
Once you know what your goal is, you’re in a much better position to find the right social influencer. Your influencer marketing strategy won’t be nearly as effective — if effective at all – if you don’t collaborate with the right person.
First, let’s talk about logistics.
Look beyond their follower count and dig into individual post engagement, including:
- Post likes
- Their own replies to comments
Comments are gold. If a social influencer is getting a lot of comments, then you know that their followers are true fans and want to actively engage with them. You also want an influencer who responds to these comments. That means they’re making it a priority to connect with their fans and grow organic relationships.
Additionally, you should also consider asking the influencer for more detailed insights and analytics on their page and post performance. This will help you better determine if that person will not just get your brand attention but also be able to get their followers to take action – which is vital.
Once you’ve delved deeper into insights, there’s one more step to find influencers: Look for an aesthetic that flows with your own.
An influencer’s fans like their aesthetic. So, if they share a promotional post for your brand, and it doesn’t match your aesthetic — which is completely different — their fans will be confused and possibly turned off.
As an example, if your branding is minimalist and black and white, you might not see the best results working with an influencer who only posts bold, colorful content with tons of busy patterns.
Find an influencer whose branding is at least a little similar to your own.
Step 2: Start Your Influencer Outreach
Keep this important note in mind: Influencers get hit up with business opportunities all the time. Sometimes, by brands simply looking to take advantage of their online power. If you’re not being real with them, they’re going to see it coming a mile away.
Forming genuine, organic connections with influencers is non-negotiable.
Many brands do this manually, reaching out to influencers via email or their social channels one at a time to strike up a conversation. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but there’s a far more efficient way to do it. Using a solution like Aspire, you can speed up and streamline the process by searching through millions of influencers (or let our recommendation engine pick out the best ones for you) and maintain all of your communication in one place. Aspire can help you search for influencers via any keyword, hashtag, or mention, and you’re able to utilize dozens of filters.
Aspire also allows you to contact influencers with one click, plus use customized email sequences to continue the conversation and improve your response rates.
Using a one-stop-shop like our platform will save you countless hours when building your influencer marketing strategy. It essentially acts as your own personal Instagram influencer agency.
Here are a few more important things to keep in mind.
Explain How This Collaboration Would Be Mutually Beneficial
Remember, this isn’t just about you! It needs to be an enticing offer for them, as well. A lot of brands try to get away with sending free products, but free products won’t pay your influencers’ bills.
You can certainly send freebies their way, but this is business — which brings us to our next point.
Treat It Like Their Full-Time Job, Because It Is
It’s easy to look at influencer images and think, “Oh, all they do all take is take pretty pictures.” But really, they’re so good at it that they make it look easy.
In reality, many hours go behind those seemingly effortless photos. Think of things like finding the right setting, lighting, wardrobe, props, and editing.
Becoming a legitimate social influencer is a lot of hard work. Don’t treat them or talk to them like it’s a hobby. Talk to them like a fellow professional and expert, because that’s what they are. Be prepared to compensate them.
Contact Influencers You Believe Will Personally Get Behind Your Brand
Instagram influencers spend a lot of time and energy growing audiences and establishing an honest connection with them. Their fans trust them and look to them for advice and inspiration.
That’s why influencers won’t partner with a brand they don’t personally like, just for the sake of having a partnership. They won’t risk betraying the trust they’ve built with their audience.
When you’re conducting influencer outreach, keep this in mind.
Step 3: Manage Your Influencer Relationships
If you don’t have a reliable way to communicate with your influencers and manage the many conversations you’ll have, it can get very out of hand very quickly. Properly managing your relationships is important to make the relationship successful.
Many responsibilities involved in your influencer marketing strategy can be automated, including:
- Product tracking
- Content reviews
You should also aim to streamline the entire process by:
- Grouping each relationship by the collaboration stage it’s in
- Tracking contract signatures
- Utilizing mass-messaging and automated reminders
Aspire does all of these things and more.
Step 4: Monitor Your Influencer Marketing Campaign & Measure ROI
With so much data floating around, you’ll want to maintain all of it in one unified dashboard. A few metrics you’ll want to closely monitor are:
- Content value
- Sales conversions
Without knowing these numbers, you can’t know if your influencer marketing strategy is working. You also can’t know where you need to improve, and how. For instance, a photo can get 5,000 likes and still essentially be a failure if it doesn’t lead to any sort of conversion, or if you can’t repurpose the content.
Influencer marketing — social media in general, in fact — isn’t about vanity. It’s about conversions. It’s about getting people to take action. Your insights will tell you everything you need to know about this.
Tracking your data is a must, and we’ll make it easy for you with our custom tracking pixel.
Data is where so many brands fall short. It’s the less glamorous part of digital marketing, dealing with numbers and stats and figures. While it might not be as exciting as seeing your brand represented on a famous influencer’s IG page, knowing how to track and measure your progress will make all the difference in the world.
A Guide to Building Your Influencer Marketing Strategy
Without going through these four steps, your influencer marketing plan will very likely fall flat. To really scale your online presence leveraging the power of influencers, partnering with the right influencer marketing platform — like Aspire — will help you see a much bigger return on your investment. Contact us today and request a demo.