How to Set Up an Influencer Marketing Plan for Your Brand

September
12th, 2018
Keyhole - Content Marketing - Joe Dudeck
Joe Dudeck
President + Founder
September
12th, 2018
Keyhole - Content Marketing - Joe Dudeck
Joe Dudeck
President + Founder

Influencer marketing seems to be the biggest buzz word in 2018, growing in popularity in many different industries. We’ve had multiple clients reach out and ask about launching an influencer marketing plan; and while it doesn’t make sense for everyone, it can be a very targeted approach to reaching a specific audience and growing your brand presence.

That’s why we’ve put together this guide to influencer marketing, to first determine if it’s the right fit for your brand, and then some tips on how to get started.

How to Set Up an Influencer Marketing Plan

What is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing primarily exists within the social media world. It is a way for brands to connect to people who have a significant presence on social media to promote their message or products. If done correctly, influencer marketing can be a powerful tool for both the brand and the influencer, allowing each entity to grow their audience, loyalty and thought leadership.

While the early days of influencer marketing primarily targeted celebrities on social media, the landscape is changing drastically today. Influencers in the digital marketing space refer to individuals who have a certain number of followers across their social media platforms, as well as a high-level of engagement. This means your strategy could include macro-influencers, micro-influencers, brand ambassadors and advocates, and even employees.

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Why Consider an Influencer Marketing Plan?

Today’s millennial consumer base will total more than 1.4 trillion dollars in spending power by the year 2020. Research from Nielsen shows that 92 percent of consumers trust individuals over brands, and turn to real people for product reviews and recommendations.

Influencers add that human element to your marketing campaigns and allow consumers to have more meaningful connections with your brand. If designed strategically, influencers can play a huge role in showing consumers what you stand for as a brand, telling your brand story in an authentic way, and ultimately converting into sales.

How to Build an Influencer Marketing Plan

Our recommendations below shouldn’t serve as a comprehensive influencer marketing plan, but rather a framework and set of considerations when starting to build an influencer strategy:

Set Your Target Audience

We strongly recommend getting hyper-targeted in your approach to choosing influencers to work with. Take a step back, and reevaluate your target audience. Ask yourself:

  • Who are we trying to reach as a brand?
  • Who is the target market for our message?
  • Who impacts how our target audience discovers new brands, evaluates products and makes the decision to purchase?

The more specific you can be defining your target audience, the easier it will be to find relevant influencers for your campaign.

Choose Your Social Platform(s)

Similarly to analyzing your target audience, it’s important to intentionally choose which social media platforms are most relevant to your brand. Perhaps you could start with the platform where you already have the most engagement. Or maybe you’d rather start with the platform that has the largest opportunity to grow.

Look at your target audience and your goals, and choose 1-2 social platforms to launch your influencer marketing strategy to begin.

Identify One Goal to Focus On

Get really clear on your goals. We recommend focusing on one goal to begin, and then expanding those goals as you develop stronger relationships with influencers. Some common influencer marketing goals are:

  • Brand awareness
  • Increase followers
  • Gain email subscribers
  • Increase website visits
  • Encourage product testing
  • Increase sales
Setting Up an Influencer Marketing Plan

Identify Key Influencers

There are several different methods of finding key influencers to approach about working with your brand:

  • Use influencer tools such as Kred, BuzzSumo, NinjaOutreach, LittleBird to search for influencers.
  • These tools will pull databases for you, then you will need to spend time vetting the lists for the best options.
  • Google bloggers and influencers related to your industry – then keep track of your favorite options in a spreadsheet.
  • Work with an influencer network, which has already developed relationships with influencers.
    Networks require that you go through them to reach out, and typically comes with a fee.
  • Marketplaces are similar to networks, and offer you a database of real-time information and allow you to reach out directly.

Determine the Exchange

You could say we’re still in the wild, wild West of influencer marketing campaigns. This means there isn’t a set standard for pricing, structure and exchanges. The good news, is that this allows for more creative flexibility. You’ll want to work directly with each individual influencer to determine a specific set of exchanges and expectations. Here are a few ideas:

  • Trading services
  • Writing a guest blog post on their site, with a link back to your own site
  • Interviewing the influencer for a blog on your own site
  • Asking the influencer to review your products/services in a blog, video or social post
  • Asking the influencer to feature your offerings in a tutorial.

Create a Budget

Before launching your influencer marketing plan, it’s critical to create a budget of how much you’re comfortable spending on these campaigns. On average, working with an influencer who has less than 100,000 followers is around $300 for an exchange. Expect a comprehensive campaign to cost at least $5,000; as you’ll want to work with multiple influencers across 1-2 platforms.

Build Relationships with Influencers

Once you’re ready to start reaching out to influencers, we recommend following and interacting with their social media accounts to start. Visit their blogs and comment on a few posts. Then send personalized emails requesting a partnership. Make them an offer of free services or discounts in exchange for their participation.

Your relationships with individual influencers will most likely vary from person-to-person. Stay open, be willing to get creative, and remember this is a mutually beneficial relationships with negotiating the terms.

Begin Planning Content Together

We’d recommend starting to build content with 2-3 influencers to begin. Expect to spend a minimum of 20 hours creating content for this initial campaign. Ensure that your brand is showcased in every message, without coming off as a sales pitch. Rely on the influencer to help you make your content feel authentic.

Negotiate Rates + Contracts

Spell out the publishing schedule, deliverables, compensation and payment terms very clearly with each individual influencer. Include language in agreement protecting your brand in case the influencer doesn’t fulfill on his or her obligations. Also include penalties for missing deadlines. Once again, this may look different for every influencer you work with, but it’s important to have these factors in writing before launching into a partnership.

Report + Analyze the Efforts

Last but definitely not least, it’s critical to gather all available metrics throughout the campaign in order to measure its effectiveness. Review all social activity (likes, comments, shares, views) from the campaign, then compare those results against goals. Ask the influencers for their data, as well. Since this is a mutually beneficial relationship, the influencers should be willing to work with you to analyze the results and improve the campaign should you keep working together in the future.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when thinking about launching an influencer marketing plan. The ever-changing world of social media has opened up an endless amount of possibilities for brands and influencers to connect with consumers. Look for partners who blend their expertise with authentic experiences, and can give you a clear picture of the impact their influencer marketing campaigns has had with other brands.

Are you looking to create an influencer marketing plan? Have you started the process and now feel stuck or overwhelmed? We may just be the right partner to ease you through the process and help you achieve your brand goals. Reach out today; we’d love to hear from you!

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