The A-Z guide of influencer marketing

The A-Z guide of influencer marketing
Tamar Weinberg is the VP of Customer Success at influencer marketing platform, The Shelf, which lets you find the most targeted and relevant influencers for any outreach campaigns through its proprietary patent-pending brand and ecommerce indicators. 

Influencer marketing is a great way to position products in front of people who can help act as your brand ambassadors, acting as individuals who can influence purchase decisions among a loyal and audience.

But what exactly can you do with influencer marketing? Let’s have a look.

Affiliate Marketing: If you represent a product or service and have an affiliate program, you can pay the influencer a small percentage of products they sell for you. A lot of bloggers in particular are affiliates of some sort, selling products from diapers to shoes to tech software subscriptions. Even I’ve been an affiliate of products relevant to my audience in the past.

Blogger Outreach: Influencer marketing is the umbrella term for blogger outreach. Blogger outreach is an influencer marketing campaign that hones in on bloggers, offering them something in return for a blog post.

All Killer, No Filler

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Cold Emails: In influencer marketing, you definitely do not want to send cold emails. Personalize everything. Show the blogger you truly did your research.

Drive Awareness: Influencer marketing is amazing at driving awareness. I recently spoke with the founder of a startup who said that the bulk of his leads came from influencer marketing. This guy specifically reached out to relevant bloggers who ended up writing glowing reviews about the software, and now he’s doing tremendously well.

Event: If you are in the media and representing an upcoming event, it may help to utilize influencer marketing to invite local bloggers to this event. Perhaps you want coverage. Perhaps you want the face to face connection. Regardless, your best bet is to use a tool like The Shelf to find these hyper-local bloggers.

Freebies: Infuencer marketing doesn’t happen for free. You’ll need to offer them some sort of freebie, such as a product or service, in return for a product review.

Giveaways: Giveaways are a great way to build a loyal fan base, especially when the giveaways occur on the right type of site. Using a tool such as Rafflecopter or Giveaway Tools will help you manage your campaigns really well, so that you don’t have to manually verify answers or do a lot of the heavy lifting.

Help Others: Influencer marketing is a give and take relationship. By reaching out to your selected influencers, you’re doing so because you firmly believe whatever you are doing will help them. Make sure that’s at the forefront of your focus. The marketing should be an afterthought. :)

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Identify: There are two elements to the identification process to find the right influencers. First, there’s your ideal consumer. Find out who is the best buyer candidate for your product and service. Then, identify online authorities who matter most to you based on their social footprint.

Join the conversation: Sometimes, in order to get an influencer’s attention, you’ll have to join the conversation. Retweet them. Comment on their blog. Like their FB posts. Share their photos on Pinterest. Let them know you’re an avid follower, and they’ll be more receptive to your outreach.

Kim Kardashian: Don’t necessarily only go after the Kim Kardashians of your industry. I love the story about some of the brands who use our platform and go after the biggest online influencers out there. As Lauren, our co-founder says, “Would a celebrity go with you to the prom? No, probably not. They’re busy going to the prom with other celebrities.” Focus your energy on influencers who matter, not those who won’t bite and who don’t.

Listening: In order to do influencer marketing well, you need to be listening to what the influencer is saying. Read their posts. Learn a bit about what makes them tick, what their personality is like, what their family life is like if they get personal, what products they like, and whatever else.

Media relations: Just as blogger outreach is to influencer marketing, so is influencer marketing to media relations. Influencer marketing resides within the media relations discipline. Media relations incorporates other forms of outreach, such as public relations to the media, to educate the public on about companies and their missions and offerings in a consistent and credible manner. A good influencer outreach campaign should be consistent as well, in order to constantly drive new eyeballs and brand awareness.

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Name dropping: Once you have social proof, name drop away. If preexisting relationships exist, influencers are far more interested in you than if you’re a nobody who has no mutual contacts. Relationships–both direct and indirect–matter.

Outreach effectiveness: Why utilize influencer outreach? Quite simply, influencer content is more effective than branded content. I am far more likely to buy based on product reviews from peers versus ads from faceless corporations.

Prospecting: Identification and outreach of influencers is like sales prospecting. Do it well and you’ll shine; do it poorly and you won’t see ROI.

Quality, not quantity: Influencer marketing will do well if you focus on quality bloggers who can truly convert to sales or inbound interest. Don’t just hit all the numbers in the world because it sounds like you can. A little story: our founding team started out in the quilt business. As such, when they forayed into their first tech startup, a fashion app, they found that the quilt bloggers didn’t give them ROI. That’s because, quite simply, they were focused on the wrong quality bloggers for their purposes.

Relationship: Relationship building is substantial for your influencer marketing campaigns to do well. If you are in the influencer marketing game just to take and not to give back, you’re just going to burn bridges at the end of the day. Focus on relationships that are sustainable, because you never know if you’ll be back again.

Sponsored posts: Sponsored posts are paid posts that are created for the purposes of leveraging one’s audience to help promote the brand or company. Sponsored posts could take all types of forms: blogs, Instagram photos, tweets, pins, or even YouTube videos. The blogger receives compensation in return for their promotion of the product.

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Targeting: Targeting is critically important, especially for identifying the right type of influencers that truly will cover your space. Targeting is extremely nuanced. For example, if you are in the fashion space, one of the biggest flaws would be to reach out to a self-proclaimed “fashion blogger” just because they do fashion. Some do preppy fashion. Some do grunge fashion. Heck, some do maternity fashion. You don’t want to be off target when you pitch them. Not all bloggers are equal.

Unbiased: When you ask for reviews, note that not all of them will be positive or glowing. You may receive an unbiased review. You may get a negative review. You may also turn out seeing new brand ambassadors who sing your praises. Don’t expect any type of outcome besides tangible quantifiable ones. You can’t expect your influencer to love your product.

Value. Why are you reaching out to these influencers? They’re drawing an audience becasue they are offering value to them. Their audience is deriving value from their promotions. That’s how you find the right people. They have a loyal following, and you should take advantage of it.

Word of mouth marketing: Influencers are tremendous goldmines for word of mouth marketing. If you find a targeted influencer who gives value, and that influencer decides s/he wants to market for you, the domino effect of potential gains are tremendous.

Xperiment: Okay, I lied that I had a word that started with the letter X. While you can use tools to really help you hone in on the right type of audience, you’ll find that your overall marketing and influencer marketing strategy will need to be consistently refined over time. Experiment with everything: your targeting criteria, your outreach, your compensation offered, your products offered, whatever it takes to drive success from your campaign.

YouTube: Don’t forget about YouTube! Video stars can, with just one video, drive millions of eyeballs to your product that would have otherwise never heard about you before. There are thousands of YouTube influencers who are worth tapping into.

Zealous: Influencers can tell whether you’re passionate about what you’re selling to them or not. They will respond better to the passion than to the blanket pitch. Show passion about what they’re doing too, and you’ll succeed.

Now you’ve learned all there is to know about influencer marketing. Why not give it a try?

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