social media influencer marketing

Social Media Influencer Marketing

Partnering with social media influencers is one of the fastest growing and most effective digital marketing strategies- IF done right!

Influencer marketing introduces your brand to a new and very targeted audience via a more trustworthy source, your influencer partner. Everyone loves a referral right? But the problem with the traditional referral practice is that it’s not exactly scaleable. Working with a well selected influencer delivers similar benefits to receiving a referral- a shorter sales cycle, better quality leads and insta-trust!

A Step by Step Guide

1. Pick your platform: Do your research and find out where your target market hangs out. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are going to be your best choices. Facebook generally is better for older audiences 40 plus, and Instagram tends to skew towards younger users. Twitter serves a more universal audience, but isn’t as popular in Canada as the US.

2. Look for an influencer who shares your target audience. Begin by going through your own followers- maybe you are already associated with someone who’s familiar with your brand story and could be a potential representative? You can also use an influencer database app- there are many to choose from- but I’ve heard good things about Tap Influence (they have over 50,000 influencers to choose from.) Plus their AI feature provides information about influencers’ audiences, brand affinities, and interests, along with advanced demographic data. It also comes with built-in program management for campaign deployment and tracking. However if you’re operating locally you may want to use a platform specific to your city, or search your chosen platform with hashtags to bring up the top results. [Important!] Always research your influencer by visiting all of their social profiles, googling them, visiting their website, and going through their follower list to avoid fraudulent or puffed up accounts.

3. Once you’ve narrowed down your list of influencers reach out, generally in their bio influencers will let you know how to get in touch with them. It’s a good idea to also follow their account and show appreciation for their content before sending a DM. When you do reach out I suggest asking for a media kit- professional influencers should be able to provide you with audience demographics, and analytics for their engagement, reach and pricing. (do NOT base your decision on hiring and/or pay rates just off follower count- this can be easily inflated.) Some platforms like Tap will be able to give you this information as well.

4. Come to the table with a clear goal and campaign objective, communicate with your influencer and be open to hearing their insights and feedback.

5. Execute- use tracking links (Bitly) and promo codes to measure impact.

Ways to Work with Influencers

There are a number of ways to work with influencers. Having a conversation and determining the best way to build a mutually beneficial relationship is key! Here are some ideas…

Set up an account take-over, this is where an influencer posts and engages on your account for a set duration of time.

Send products for influencers to sample and take photos of for posting on their channels and/or on your brands. Creating organic content that shows products in real-life situations tends to resonates more with followers.

Have influencers create content in the form of videos, reviews and blog posts.

Best Practices

Drive traffic and create sales by having influencers share backlinks to your product.

Choose quality over quantity: You’re better off developing a deeper, long term and consistent relationship with a few influencers, rather than working on a one-off random basis. This gives their followers a chance to get to know your brand more intimately through a series of posts and engagement. I’d still recommend creating a trial period where you can measure and review KPI’s- but the goal should be to find long term partners.

Consider working with micro influencers: A micro-influencer may have less followers but they often have a more active and intimate relationship with their followers and a higher reach percentage- working in niche groups and regularly responding to posts, group members and blog comments. Micro-influencers are also a more affordable option- and will often accepts goods in exchange for promoting your brand.

Another compensation option alternative to a flat fee is to offer an influencer their own unique affiliate link that pay them a percentage of sales referred.