Influencer marketing is the buzzword ringing through almost every social media marketing strategy these days – eCommerce or otherwise.
A recent research has revealed that for every $ 1.29 spent on influencer marketing a return of $ 11.38 can be generated – which is 11 times higher than that of banner ads!
From YouTube influencers to Instagram influencers, social media is packed with powerhouse individuals that brands want to collaborate with. These influencers cater to a large number of people that brands want to appeal to.
It’s a no-brainer then! Every marketer wants their brand to jump on the influencer marketing bandwagon.
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What Is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is not a new concept – we have had celebrities endorsing brands and products since as long as marketing exists.
What has changed is the rise in the number of social media stars who are creating content on a daily basis. These influencers enjoy a strong base of followers on platforms such as Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.
HubSpot defines influencer marketing perfectly:
However, like every other marketing fad, you should not rush into investing in influencer marketing without a proper plan and strategy in place, and not as a standalone exercise.
It’s important to note that the results from influencer marketing, although time-consuming, have a significant impact on your marketing ambitions and social reach.
5 Parameters You Must Consider Before Investing In Influencer Marketing
1. Identify Your Objectives
Influencer Marketing, as earlier mentioned, should be part of your larger eCommerce marketing strategy. While the overall objective should be the same, it is critical to set goals that you want to achieve through influencer marketing.
You could be aiming at getting more visitors to your website, increasing the number of followers on your social media platforms, creating brand awareness, generating more sales, and so on.
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Whatever be the aim, there will be a different influencer suited to your needs. Additionally, it will help you measure the effectiveness of your influencer marketing activity if you pre-define your goals before initiating a campaign.
Think about your objectives in terms of SMART goals. Your objectives should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound.
Furthermore, take the following three parameters into consideration:
- Reach: This is the ability of an influencer to deliver your brand message or content to your target audience through an influencer. With ‘reach’, you can determine how many people on a particular social media platform are actually seeing your content an influencer is posting. Use tools such as SocialBlade to understand the reach of your influencers.
- Relevance: This helps to understand the level of connection your audience feels towards your brand or product through the work of an influencer. For instance, if your audience sees a celebrity they love and admire with your product, they might begin to feel a strong connection to it as well.
- Resonance: This enables your audience to take a specific action because of an influencer’s posts and content. Resonance is all about the impact an influencer’s content has on your target audience. For example, if a blog post or Instagram post by an influencer drives people to click the link in the blog or in their bio that directs them to buy it, you have yourself an influencer that resonates with your audience.
2. Define Your Target Audience
This is a pre-requisite to any influencer marketing campaign; it is essential to know who you want to target to. Based on this, shortlist the influencers who will help you achieve your objectives.
Taking your targeting a notch above is the creation of buyer personas which will help you target your activities towards your buyers in ways and means your buyers are most likely to respond.
There are tools available in the market that help you identify websites and platforms where your audience visits the most.
While the benefits of utilizing these tools are multifold, what they all essentially do is help you identify the right social media platform as well as influencers through whom you can reach your audience most effectively.
3. Find The Appropriate Influencer
While the above two steps are meant to lead to finding the right influencer for your influencer marketing strategy, you are additionally required to select the most relevant influencer for your brand.
Simply going with the influencers with most following does not necessarily guarantee good results for your influencer marketing campaign; contrarily it has proven over time to be the least effective.
There are several ways in which you can categorize influencers:
- Depending on your objective
- Based on the size of audience size (micro-influencers, celebrities, etc)
- By type (bloggers, journalists, etc)
- Platform-wise (Instagram, Twitter, personal blogs, podcasts, etc)
- Based on verticals or topics (health, beauty, fashion, travel, tech, etc).
What is critical is to analyze the topics they cover, how engaged their audiences are with their content, and how effective they would be to influence their audiences into connecting with your brand that they will endorse.
An additional step here is to pick and choose the right platform for your influencer marketing campaign.
While Instagram marketing remains the top choice for influencers and brands alike, it may not necessarily be the right medium for your product or service.
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4. Approach The Influencers & Build Your Strategy
This may seem like the most obvious thing to do however we are here to tell you that you can choose different ways in which you can streamline your approach to influencers.
One way is to manually search and pick the right influencers and gradually build a long-standing relationship with them.
This will help the influencers to cherish your brand and in turn, create fruitful content customized to your needs.
Alternately, you can sign up on specific platforms that host a database of potential influencers that you can utilize for your brand.
They have automated systems that you can make use of right from selecting the most suitable influencers to approaching them for your campaigns.
If you are just starting with influencer marketing, we suggest you take the earlier approach and be selective in your engagement with influencers to create content that is fresh and effective.
Not every influencer engages with his or her audience in the same way, and it is, therefore, important to customize your selling points in the language best suited to the audiences of the influencer.
Once you approach the influencer, here are some ways in which you can reward them:
- Money (offer payment prior to or after the content is created and shared, depending on your agreement)
- Swag (such as custom merchandise like clothing, accessories, or product samples)
- Free product (give them your product for free)
- Access to discount codes and coupons
- Promotion on your website, blog, and/or social media platforms
5. Track & Measure Your Campaign
Your audience is constantly evolving with regards to the type of content they consume, where they consume it, and how invested they are in it.
To stay relevant, it is essential that you constantly track and measure your influencer marketing strategy.
Here are a few parameters that you should be tracking and measuring:
- Engagement: This includes all the various interactions such as the number of likes, shares, comments, Retweets, mentions, direct messages, and reposts to other channels.
- Reach: This includes the number of people actually seeing your content through the influencer.
- Resonance: This includes the actions taken by people following an interaction with your influencer’s content involving your brand.
- Brand Awareness: This includes quantitative and qualitative metrics such as direct traffic and social engagement; and social listening and awareness surveys.
- Clicks: This includes the total number of clicks you get on the content that the influencer shares about your brand. It could be a direct link to your eCommerce store, a CTA, a social media giveaway, or a signup form.
- Conversions: This includes your conversion rates which are an indication of the number of leads who become customers as a result of your influencer marketing strategy.
- Return on Investment (ROI): This includes calculating the return on your influencer marketing investment by dividing the return (or benefit) by the cost of the influencer marketing investment.
- Follower Count: This includes tracking the number of people following your brand on social media after collaborating with influencers.
The process of selecting and engaging with influencers is not a one-time activity; your audiences may be engaging with a newer and more versatile group of influencers on an altogether new platform.
To bring effectiveness in your marketing campaign, you will need to be present where their attention lies, speaking the language they respond most positively to.
Measuring the effectiveness of influencer marketing campaigns takes us back to the initial objective you set for your influencer marketing strategy.
You should compare your ROI to your objective to properly gauge the effectiveness of your campaign.
In case you have failed to achieve your objective, relook at your strategy and try to understand where the problem lies.
You need not wait till the end of your campaign to analyze its effectiveness – tracking your campaign as you go ahead will help you keep an eye out on every step that you’ve taken before you reach the end of your campaign.
Influencer marketing is definitely here to stay. But with the increasing number of influencers out there, it is important to identify the type of influencer best suited for your eCommerce business and develop a marketing strategy that will help you to improve your reach among the right audience.
So, begin developing your eCommerce business’s influencer marketing strategy today!