The past decade has completely changed the way consumers make buying decisions. No longer are they watching commercials or turning to the yellow pages to make a purchasing decision. It has now shifted to trust in recommendations and promotions from third party influencers on social media. The credibility being received from social media stars and industry influencers is providing businesses with the visibility and traffic they need to take sales through the roof.
Below are tips for getting started with harnessing influencer marketing on social media.
Define your goals
In order for any marketing endeavor to be successful, you should always begin by creating clear, concise goals for your campaign. What do you hope to achieve from engaging with influencers? Are you hoping for content promotion, a partnership, or are you simply looking to generate backlinks? These should be some of the questions you are asking as you think about your end goals. Identifying your exact objectives will allow you to properly strategize how you will go about achieving success with your campaign.
Figure out who the right influencers are
You must know your audience in order for this type of marketing to work. That is step 1. Once you have that figured out, you can now move on to determining who the key influencers are in your industry. If you don’t already know who they are, start by searching relevant hashtags to see who is engaging in conversations about your brand or industry. You can also set up a Google Alert for trending topics. Doing this will allow you to see who is writing about your industry.
Once you have figured out who they key influencers are, it’s now time to eliminate those that will not be a good fit. In order to determine this, you should be looking at some basic metrics like number of followers and level of engagement. Take it a step further and see how active they are on social media and how frequently they are posting. Also make sure that their style and tone are in line with your brand. If you choose the wrong people to align your business with, it can be very damaging. You want quality over quantity. For more details on how to find the right influencers for your business, check out this article: http://sproutsocial.com/insights/social-media-influencers/
Engage before reaching out
Before you reach out to your pick of influencers, take the time engage with them on social media for at least a couple of weeks. Check out any blog posts they write and be sure to not only read them but comment as well. Try re-tweeting any of their posts on twitter. Be creative in finding ways to be a part of the conversation. You will get to know them better and when it comes time to reach out to them, you will already be on their radar.
Send your proposal
So now comes the time to make that important first contact. Hopefully at this point, you have engaged with the influencer you chose and some rapport has been built already. Be sure to present your ideas so that they see what the benefits are for them as well. As a rule of thumb, do not contact them via an agency or third party. Influencers tend to respond more favorably when businesses reach out directly. Lastly, treat them as you would a friend. These are hard working people who have put their time in with building their brand.
Measure your results
Now it’s time to analyze your results. Did you receive the response you wanted from your promotion? Did you achieve the results you were expecting? If you did, how did it benefit your bottom line? You want to measure each area of your campaign. If the intention of this collaboration was to promote content, as an example, take a look at the price difference in cost per engagement as compared to other marketing avenues. If your goal was to expand brand reach, examine the number of impressions you garnered etc. For more tips on measuring your ROI, read here: https://www.newswhip.com/2016/12/state-influencer-marketing-2016-determine-roi/
Check out tools like Moz Open Site Explorer, Google Analytics, and of course any inside sales reports to see if this program met your end goals.
Modify your strategy where necessary
If you analyzed the results and they came up short, it’s time to rethink your strategy. This does not mean a complete overhaul. Sometimes just some small changes can get you where you want to be.
Start by coming up with a fresh list of influencers and perhaps try engaging with them more before reaching out. You can also look into adjusting your offer or doing some A/B testing with your subject lines.
In conclusion, social media platforms play an essential role throughout every step of the buyer process. With that being said, it is not the channels themselves doing the influencing, but the engagement amongst peers that is driving sales. The social proof influencers and customers are generating for different brands really allows companies to engage with customers in an organic and powerful way.