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ARTICLE MarketingFebruary 23, 2016

Influencer marketing series, part 2: How to kick off an effective influencer marketing campaign

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In part 2 of the influencer marketing series, we examine the best practices for selecting the right influencers for your brand and also share expert tips on running a successful influencer campaign.

Businesses are making $6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing, according to a poll of marketing professionals conducted by Tomoson.

The poll also found that marketers rate influencer marketing as their fastest-growing online customer acquisition channel, outpacing organic search and email marketing, making it a great opportunity for marketers in the e-commerce space to ride the wave.

While it may be tempting to rope in influencers for a marketing campaign, there are certain best practices that you must be aware of before spending your time and money on an influencer marketing campaign.

Selecting the right influencers

Influencers come in all shapes and sizes, and picking the influencers who can benefit your brand depends largely on your objectives for the campaign.

“We see an opportunity for pretty much anyone to be ‘influential’; however, influence should be measured not only by the size of a blogger’s social network, but also by how knowledgeable they are across different categories,” explains Nick Law, Co-founder and Managing Director of Contagious Agency, which specialises in influencer marketing.

He illustrates this point with an example, “You may have a friend who is extremely knowledgeable about cars – in this respect he is influential because you respect his opinions and knowledge in this space. Is he an influencer across other categories? Probably not. The point is there is no one type of influencer.”

He advises engaging teams of hundreds, if not thousands, of lower-reaching “peer-to-peer influencers” in a campaign, over recruiting a select handful of “high-reach uber-influencers”.

“A team of peer-to-peer influencers creates much more conversation and buzz about a product than the high-reach influencers because they engage with a set of people that genuinely knows and trusts them. In fact, peer influencer campaigns are the future.”

However, the most important criteria for selecting an influencer should be based on your campaign objectives, says Law.

The two most popular objectives of influencer marketing campaigns are:

Increase advocacy and sales. This objective can be achieved by engaging brand advocates that have had multiple positive experiences with your brand, product or service. As they are then coming from a genuine place of advocacy it is going to make any recommendation feel more authentic and powerful. The Net Promoter Score can also help to define advocates, based on how likely they are to recommend your brand, product or service to others.

Improve reach and awareness. An influencer marketing campaign is the best fit to increase reach and create brand awareness, as influencers tend to have wider audiences than brand advocates. When selecting the influencers, make sure there is a balance between the influencer’s reach versus engagement. You should be careful not to be impressed by the face value of an influencer who reaches millions. Often it is tempting to engage social media influencers with a perceived huge reach, but when you drill down you find that the majority of that person’s audience is not at all who the brand should be trying to connect with. For example, a 20-something Bondi glamour girl on Instagram is most likely being followed by men across the world than by a like-minded female audience.

It should also be noted though that the strength of the relationship between the influencer and their audience is weaker than that between an advocate and their networks – and obviously impacts results (albeit more in terms of sales conversions).

Selecting the “right” product for influencer marketing

The success of any influencer marketing hinges on getting the right product out in front of the right audience, but Law says, “all kinds of products and services can benefit from positive word of mouth (WoM), recommendations and influencer marketing”.

“Influencer marketing is not a new phenomenon – it has been happening for hundreds of years, but social media has made it more powerful and amplified than it ever was.”

Here are tips from Law on getting your influencer marketing campaign right.

Be clear about your objectives. Before launching any campaign, identify what you want to achieve: are you trying to increase awareness or are you more concerned with generating more sales?

Target market. Identify your target market, as this will help you select the right influencers.

Develop a strategy. Be sure to develop a robust engagement strategy, so that your influencers are clear about how they should promote your brand, product or service.

Select channels. Think about which influencer channels will be best for your audience. Find out if your target audience mostly hangs out on Instagram or YouTube. Then select influencers who use the social media channels that your audience are most engaged with.

Measurement. Don’t forget to consider how you will measure the effectiveness of your campaign before you reach out.

Remember, influencer marketing may well be a hot ticket item right now but you get the best results by working with experts who understand how and where to drive true value with your influencer marketing efforts.

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