How to Start an Influencer Marketing Campaign

influencer marketing campaignAre you ready to start an influencer marketing campaign? Now that you’ve read part one of our series, on what influencer marketing is and why it’s worth your time, you’re sold! You know how top harness the power of popular people to make your marketing life easier and boost your brand while saving you time and money. But where do you begin?

Here’s how to start an influencer marketing campaign in four steps.

STEP ONE: DECIDE WHO YOU WANT TO TARGET

Start off easy here and go back to the core of your brand: who is your target market? Stay at home moms? Dog lovers? Baking fanatics? Who are you trying to reach to sell your product/service to? Identify your customer personas – it is an essential step to finding the right influencer for your campaign. You may want to revisit your business plan, or meet with a business counselor to really drill down into your target audience before you move on to the next step.

STEP TWO: LOCATE INFLUENCERS

With your target locked in, now it’s time to scour social media for your perfect match. This may be the longest part of the process of starting an influencer marketing campaign, but it doesn’t have to be difficult.

Start off by searching key words for your brand on social media. If you have a baking business in the New England area, use simple, obvious keywords like “baking,” or “New England baker.” Many influencers, especially topic-centered influencers, use keywords like this in their user names, profile descriptions, and posts.

If an influencer is not centered around a specific topic, such as food or beauty, it may take a bit more time to uncover one. Go into the mind of your target consumer and find profiles that your target consumer would like. These can be other well-known brands or just themed profiles. Searching through these profiles, looking through followers — and who they are following — can lead you to influencers with huge followings. You may also want to look through who your competitors follow, and if you see a common profile followed by many people in your industry, take note.

Though it may take some trial and error, don’t give up! Keep a running list of profiles of interest that you find, and rule no one out. List their followers, websites, social media handles, typical content, quality of images, and a short description so you can refer back to it at the conclusion of your search. Make sure to read enough of the influencer’s reviews or social updates to get a feel for their tone and style. Do they ever write negative reviews?

STEP THREE: REACH OUT

The tough part is over. Now it’s time to reach out to your top contenders. Start slowly by spending two weeks getting to know them better online. Follow all their social media profiles. Read their blog. Join their blog email list. Begin liking and commenting on their updates. Once you are reasonably confident that the influencer has noticed you paying attention to them, email them to introduce yourself and ask if they are interested in establishing a relationship. Make it clear what you are offering – a free pass, a comped meal, perhaps a personal tour of your facility. Treat influencers with a special touch, much as you would media. Both influencers and media have the power to write something nice about your brand, or something really awful. We recommend not requiring any write up or social content in exchange, but sharing what you are interested in receiving. As you work through the details, it is fair game to ask how long they would take to publish something if they decide to, if they will take original photos, and if they will link to tag your business in their content. Past content is a good indicator of how they will handle your brand.

STEP FOUR: MEASURE YOUR RESULTS

Yes! You got a great group of distinct influencers on board and they’ve started writing about your brand. Now, it’s time to track the results. Monitor comments and likes on the influencer’s content, and request traffic data from the influencer. If you conduct surveys of your customers, keep your ears out for the influencer’s name. Check your own traffic stats and see if you received any referral links. If the results are not what you were expecting, considering tweaking your strategy or finding a new influencer.

What is your experience with influencer marketing?

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