The challenge that marketers and ecommerce business owners are seeing is that the ROI is not all there when it comes to influencer marketing. It’s really hard to be ROI positive in influencer marketing for 3 reasons:
Influencer marketing is not just another hat trick that you can throw money at and get good results every time.
The big brands out there like Nike and Adidas have extensive marketing teams, spend enormous amounts of money on some very large influencer databases like Klear or Grin, and pay their influencers thousands and thousands of dollars.
So what do you do if you don’t have the budget or the team to optimize these campaigns?
Here are a few ways that you can find influencers.
The first thing you should do is to look within your following and your connections and see if there are influencers that follow you already.
Then you should reach out to them and ask them if they would like to promote your product or service on social media.
Another great way to find influencers is to search for them on social media. You can search for a topic or by using a hashtag.
And then you could check out a few and find the top influencers that post using those hashtags.
If you are looking for a quick list of influencers on a topic you should use an influencer list.
That’s the fancy way of saying - just Google it! Search for “top home decor influencers” and you will find a few really good comprehensive lists of the top influencers.
That’s a good starting point if you are looking to identify microniches in your industry.
A database tool is a marketing tool like NinjaOutreach, that simply displays the influencers for you and grants you a way to message them all.
This isn’t a full-blown influencer marketing tool, it won’t let you manage campaigns, see the influencer sales and ROI stats, or message them directly through the platform.
But it’s a good start.
If you have the budget for it ($150-$1500/month), I would highly recommend using an influencer marketing tool.
Use these tools to do the following:
-Find the right influencers
-Send out messages directly on the platform
-Launch and manage campaigns
-Approve pieces of content
-Pay and track payments
-Set up contracts and agreements
You need something that has a lot of filters and allows you to get really granular in your search for the perfect influencer.
The best part is that a lot of these networks are invite-only, so you’re getting access to the top 1-5% influencers.
Here’s a list of influencer tools you should check out:
And that's just a short list, there are probably hundreds out there.
Now that you’ve found the perfect influencer, how do you work with them?
Here are all the steps you need to take to set up your influencer campaign properly.
In all the hype, you’re going to forget to actually vet your influencer. So make sure you do this.
This step is crucial.
The first step is to set a goal for your campaign.
What are you trying to reach?
The goal can be any of these things:
Remember, don’t try to be too salesy and push your product to a new audience. Let the content creator decide how to best present your product to their audience. You may be more lenient when you are trying to get more views or engagement, or more particularly if all you care about is how many orders this campaign will get.
It’s up to you to find this balance when working with influencers.
If your goal is sales or subscribers, then you should make a special landing page. Make a promotion, offer a discount, do something that will make it easier for the influencer’s audience to buy your product.
Speaking about the audience, you need to be very clear on your target customer.
In the next step, describe your target audience.
Gender, age, interests, country, language, favorite movies, books, music, and finally - who is the authority for your target audience.
The better you understand your target audience, the easier it will be for you to find the right influencers.
Once you decide on the target audience you need to find an influencer that has a similar audience, with similar demographics.
Finding an influencer with the right audience is not the only thing you need to look for.
Here are a few other tips.
Here are some of the most common things you need to avoid when choosing an influencer for your campaign.
Irregular posting - Make sure that the influencer has posts content on a regular basis. If the influencer didn’t publish anything new for more than 30 days, then his engagement numbers may be overinflated, and your new post might get no traction.
Too many ads - Make sure the influencer doesn't advertise too often. If the influencer’s content is more than 50% advertising, it’s best to avoid working with them.
Fake followers - Check the quality of the influencer’s audience. If there are a lot of suspicious accounts and mass followers, or fake accounts, you should not work with them.
The audience is not engaged enough - Look at the quality of the influencer’s comments and likes, if there are a lot of suspicious ones, then there is a high probability that they are buying them to inflate their engagement rate.
Here’s an example of a below-average influencer, that you should probably avoid:
Doesn’t align with your brand values - just because an influencer is popular and has good engagement doesn't mean you should be working with them. Look at their content, scroll down their feed, and make sure that the influencer aligns with your brand values.
Inflated follower growth - Look at their followers’ growth, if you see sharp spikes there, with a sudden decline in followers, then most likely this is either the purchase of followers or participation in a giveaway. As a rule, there is a significant churn of subscribers after a giveaway (~20% of subscribers), so be cautious when working with such an influencer.
Here’s an example of good organic follower growth.
It is better to communicate with influencers via email, and preferably your work email (so that they see that you are serious).
Introduce yourself, tell them about your brand and why you are interested in working with them, and why they are the right person to promote your brand.
Remember, the influencer gets a lot of emails. Be polite and follow-up often.
Describe in detail what you want from the influencer.
If you have no idea about the cost, then ask the influencer for the cost.
It's important to discuss who you or the influencer is making the content.
What does an influencer need from you? Do they need a script? The exact wording? A description of your product?
How and when is the payment made?
How can you use influencer’s content?
It’s best to summarize everything in a quick agreement, between your brand and the influencer.
Here are some key aspects of a solid influencer contract:
Influencer creativity – Give the influencer creative freedom and refrain from controlling their process and voice too much. By stifling influencers, sponsored content won’t resonate with their audience. Trust what has worked for them in the past, and consider them an extension of your brand.
Content ownership – Don’t reshare or repurpose influencer-generated content without getting their permission first. Define the terms of the partnership at the start and explicitly state how you intend to reuse the influencer’s content and on which marketing channels. Be sure to also specify the duration of content ownership.
Brand messaging – Inform creators of the campaign’s main goal and the message you want them to convey. This helps eliminate the back-and-forth of disorganized influencer campaigns that don’t have predefined objectives, and it also prevents influencers from missing the mark with brand messaging.
Deliverables – To ensure a smooth influencer marketing campaign, you need to communicate exactly what you envision, including visual/audio elements, talking points, and the format of those talking points. This will help you avoid a catastrophic disconnect between expectations and execution.
Clear deadlines – Set deadlines for deliverables in order to ensure the campaign runs as planned. This includes defining the duration of the campaign, deadlines the influencer must deliver content for brand approval, and the dates and times the influencer must share the sponsored content.
Exclusivity – Outline a time frame for influencers that prohibits them from engaging with your competitors. If you fail to define these terms and your influencer works with a direct competitor the week after your own collaboration, their content’s positioning will be less impactful and trustworthy, and your own sponsored content will suffer.
FTC Disclosure – Require influencers to clearly disclose the sponsorship to ensure they comply with FTC guidelines. This may mean providing the verbiage influencers need to use, whether written or verbal. On Instagram, the best practice is to use the #ad hashtag.
Once everything is clear and the contract is written up, have the influencer publish the content at the right time, and in the best format.
Make sure that you approve the content before it goes live.
It’s super important to measure the results of every single influencer campaign. Without measuring and analyzing how can you ever improve?
Here are some best practices:
You should approach influencer marketing as a long-term strategy. Over time you will get better at picking influencers that bring you better results.
Approach every failure as a learning opportunity and continue going.
There are many ways you can repurpose influencers content:
Now remember, you can do all of this only if you have proper agreement from the influencer, and that’s why it is important to discuss it in the beginning.
Most influencers will agree to you repurposing their content, but you never know. You don’t want to have to pay extra because you forgot to add this into the agreement.
To make things easier, you should use a tool like HypeAuditor, that has all the features to support you every step of the way.
HypeAuditor has 19M+ influencers in its database, and you can use 35+ filters to search for them (such as keywords, categories, demographics, brands mentioned, etc).
It also has a really cool Fraud detection feature that helps you weed out suspicious influencers with fake followers.
The tool also has performance tracking and reporting, and competitor analysis.
HypeAuditor simplifies the process of Influencer discovery and selection, saves time and money, helps to avoid influencer fraud, increases ROI, and makes influencer campaigns more predictable.
In our next topic, we discuss some of the best influencer marketing strategies.
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Here are the best influencer marketing strategies, these have helped eCommerce brands generate millions of $$'s. We cover the top tools, tips, and hacks.