Influencer marketing has been around for a very long time the only thing that changes is the way that the influencer distributes their content.
Before social media and the internet the big distribution channels were television and the newspaper. Think of influencer marketing like a celebrity endorsing a product.
When a celebrity says they use a certain product there audience will typically want to buy what it is they are using because they are an influencer and they are part of their community.
Nowadays there are more options to use when it comes to influencer marketing such as the internet and social media.
The way to use influencer marketing in your business is pretty straight forward. What you will want to do is first create a list of people who have access to the group of people that you would like to target.
Once you figure out who the influencers are the next thing you are going to want to do is create a marketing strategy to build your awareness and relationship with the influencer.
After you start conversations with the influencer you are going to want to figure out how you can add value to the influencer first and foremost.
The biggest mistake people make when they are trying to do influencer marketing is they take the "users" mentality and instead of providing value to the influencer they want to take and extract as much as possible from them without thinking of the value exchange.
If the influencer gets a sense that you are only trying to use them without you giving them anything of value in return they are going to not only avoid working with you but most likely they will also tell their influential friends not to work with you either.
So make sure that you are offering something of value to them and do your research. Find out what is important to them and then creatively make things happen. Think long term and relationship building where you want to be able to do things with them over and over again not just a one shot.
Now once you provide value and you are adding a positive experience to the influencer the next thing you are going to want to do is think creatively on how you promote your product/service.
One of the things that works really well is when you create promotional materials that don't come off overly promotional but instead come off more organic and natural.
This is a fine line balance that you have to follow in order for the marketing to work because if their audience can tell that the influencer is just doing this for money and doesn't believe in the product or service then not only will people be annoyed at your product but it will also create a negative feeling towards the influencer which is not fair.
So be very conscientious about how the promotional materials will come off to their audience because they have worked extremely hard to build this community and all it takes is the wrong messaging to really turn their audience against them.
The best way to come up with a plan is to just let the influencer kind of take over how the promotion should go since it is their audience and no one knows their audience better than them!
The other thing to keep in mind is make sure you are coming in with either a revenue split or an advertising fee to compensate the influencer. If you go into a deal trying to get it for FREE there is nothing that could be more insulting than that.
By trying to get things for FREE, that communicates to the influencer that you don't really respect them and value what they have to offer.
You have to look at their audience no different than if you were going to run a commercial on TV. You would not expect ABC to just show your commercial for FREE just because you exist.
You are not entitled to FREE advertising so don't treat influencer marketing as so and respect them because they have done something very valuable and most importantly difficult.
As far as budget is concerned the price to do influencer marketing can be as low as a hundred dollars and as high as several thousand dollars depending on who you are going to do business with and how detailed the campaign will be.
The best way to track influencer campaigns as far as return on investment is concerned is the same as every other channel you would use.
Calculate how much you are going to spend and how much it costs to drive whatever action you are trying to drive whether that be direct sales, email capture, or traffic to your site.
Returns can be very big since influencer marketing can cost a fraction of what a TV commercial would cost with much higher engagement.
And the final thing I will say is BEWARE of fake influencers. There are accounts and individuals who have built up communities that are not real since they have bought fake followers from websites that offer it.
Unfortunately this is a common practice that you have to watch out for and the best way to double check if their following is legit is first look at their engagement of their audience.
See how many likes and comments they are getting compared to how many followers they have. If they are virtually getting no engagement or comments be very weary.
That does not always mean that their following is fake but it should be a red flag where you'll want to look into it a little bit further.
So with that being said influencer marketing definitely works and give you a great return on investment if you do it right!