Influencer Marketing Strategies for SMBs in 2018
Over the past decade, Influencer Marketing has become one of the biggest buzzwords throughout the business world. While the concept of using influential people to promote products and services is nothing new, the rapid advancement of social media and online accessibility has made this practice a staple in marketing strategies across all industries. The general idea is to not only expose your brand to more people, but improve credibility and website trust with the word of a reputable figure. This can be anyone like a celebrity, journalist, blogger, social media personality, thought leader, or even another business.
According to a recent report conducted by BI Intelligence, total market spend on influencer marketing is poised to reach as much as $10 billion by 2022!
For as great as it all sounds, developing a fruitful campaign is not a simple apples-to-apples undertaking. If a collaboration comes off as inauthentic or forced, both yours and the influencer’s reputations are put at risk.
Given the state of influencer marketing in 2018, strategies need to be thought-out beforehand.
As a small business, a wisely-planned influencer marketing campaign can be a key factor in getting your branded content in front of more interested eyes. Here’s how you do it.
Understand The Influencer’s Purpose
Prior to setting the pieces for your campaign, you need to know exactly what your objectives are and how a certain influencer can help you reach them. Start by coming up with the overarching goals. For each one you set, you need to have milestones with hard numbers and details attached.
Is your goal to boost engagement?
- – By how much?
- – Where do you want the engagement to take place?
Expand your following?
- – Do you want more email subscribers?
- – Social media followers?
- – How many more?
Advocate your brand?
- – To whom?
- – What are the target demographics?
- – By how many?
- – At what point in the buyer’s journey will these conversions take place?
- – What’s your monthly goal?
- – Yearly?
- – What’s your ideal average order value?
The answers you come up with should serve as the groundwork for how you narrow down your potential influencer partnership(s). As you begin to fill in some of the details necessary for your campaign, creating a list of potential names to target is the next step.
Fortunately, there are plenty of influencer marketing guides/tools available to help you with this. Buzzsumo is an industry favorite that allows you to get a glimpse at trending conversations and popular figures across your industry.
You can filter the search to include companies, bloggers, journalists, regular people, and more.
Conduct a Thorough Benchmark Report
Once you’ve answered some the key questions that form the basis of your approach and have formulated a decent list of prospects, you will need to examine certain areas of how the partnership(s) would potentially work.
This benchmark report should include:
- Brand Perception
- – What is the current status of your brand within the industry?
- – Do many people know about it?
- – How do people typically respond to your messaging?
- Content Overlap
- – What types of content does your influencer normally produce?
- – What are the common threads that link your messaging to theirs?
- – Are there any topics they are currently lacking in?
- Share of Voice
- – How does yours compare to the influencer’s?
- – How does it compare to competitors’?
- Industry Chatter
- – What are the major trending topics in your industry?
- – How can you and your influencer contribute relevant value?
A good benchmark report is critical for assessing the benefits and shortcomings of influencer marketing strategies. Based on this information, you can nail down the direction of your campaign and highlight opportunities to capitalize on.
One of the major aspects of being a small business is establishing a local presence. That being said, working with micro-influencers in your area is one of the best ways to improve your network and get more involved in the community. Local influencers can often times have a much stronger regional presence and better active engagement than the bigger names. Generally speaking, the larger the audience, the broader the focus.
If you are planning to have influencer content on Facebook, it’s important to note that the latest algorithm update places a high value on local content. Therefore, collaborating with influencers in your area can be beneficial in pushing your messaging to the top of people’s News Feeds.
Influence.co is a great tool to start discovering popular figures in your community. For example, if you are looking to do some influencer marketing in San Diego, all you need to do is enter in your category, which can be your niche, topic, keyword, or anything else related to your brand. Then, you would input San Diego as the location. From here, the system will show the profiles of all the big names in your area, their categories, and followership.
If you want to get a bit more in-depth with the search, you can filter for things like website visitors per month, total reach, content types, as well as rates.
If you are new to the concept of influencer marketing, definitely make it a point to start local.
Know How to Measure ROI
Perhaps the trickiest part of running an influencer campaign is understanding exactly how well your efforts are meeting the objective(s). While it’s easy to launch a campaign and hope for the best, you need to have granular insights for the impact the partnership is having.
Measuring ROI will depend largely on the goals you set in the beginning.
Using added revenue to measure the ROI of your influencer campaign is one of the most straightforward ways to gauge success. However, knowing exactly how many sales were a direct result of the campaign can be a challenge. There are several options you can use to measure this.
One of the most common ways to do this is with affiliate links. These are unique links you give to the influencer that track the online sales made through their channels.
Another strategy is to give them a special product that is only promoted by them for a certain timeframe. This practice is known as isolated marketing.
More engagement is a very common goal for an influencer campaign. Engagement involves audience interactions such as views, comments, shares, likes on social media, click-through rates, sign-ups, and so on. These numbers give you a good indication for how people actually feel about your brand, as opposed to just the product or service. To determine the ROI, you need to measure the cost-per-engagement (CPE). The formula for this is very simple.
CPE = Total Amount Spent / Total Measured Engagement
CPE is a critical metric in the success of most influencer campaigns. This is because it measures long-term interest, rather than interest for a one-off sale.
As an SMB, one of your primary goals for an influencer campaign is probably to improve your reach and expose your brand to a wider audience. For this goal, your ROI would be based on growth in followership, impressions, traffic, etc. Measuring this type of ROI is relatively easy. On the surface level, you need to keep a close eye on your website data and social media management system once the influencer content goes live, then, measure these numbers against the amount you paid the influencer.
Working with influencers can do a lot for SMBs looking to expand their presence. Nowadays, the possibilities are practically limitless. With the right amount of planning and data-backed research, businesses can make sure every dollar is wisely spent in creating partnerships to put them on the map.