The Ultimate Influencer Marketing Guide

If you are only going to read one Influencer Marketing Guide and you’ve already read “11 Things You Should Know About Influencer Marketing“, you’ve come to the right place. Having been a pioneer in the Influencer Marketing space for more than 6 years, we’ve compiled our knowledge into an All You Need to Know – Influencer Marketing Guide.

Let’s get started, but as a refresher we’ll start at the beginning:

What is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing is a type of marketing that focuses on using online leaders to drive your brand’s message to the larger market. Rather than marketing directly to a large group of consumers, you instead inspire / hire / pay influencers to get out the word for you.

Influencer marketing often goes hand-in-hand with two other forms of marketing: social-media marketing and content marketing. Most influencer campaigns have some sort of social-media component, whereby influencers are expected to spread the word through their personal social channels. Many influencer campaigns also carry a content element in which either you create content for the influencers, or they create the content themselves. Though social-media and content marketing often fit inside influencer campaigns, they are not synonymous with influencer marketing.

Since influencer marketing is a discipline all its own, you’ll need a few unique components to build an influencer campaign. Here are the steps we teach to help our clients build influencer campaigns:

  1. Planning Your Influencer Marketing Strategy
  2. Influencer Identification & Selection
  3. Program Workflow and Automation
  4. Monitor & Track Key Metrics
  5. Optimized Distribution

However, before you start looking for influencers or create a strategy, you’ll want to determine a few key things to help set the stage. You’ll need to: know your audience, set clear goals, and define how you’ll measure success.

Know Your Audience
A common mistake brands and agencies make is to decide first the type of influencers they would like to work with. We recommend stepping back and looking at your audience. Who are you trying to reach? Who is the target market for your message?

Set Clear Goals:
Many of the common goals for influencer marketing campaigns are: Brand Awareness, Get people to try a product, Gain Social Media followers, and Increase sales.

Define How You’ll Measure Success:
The last key ingredient is how you or your client plan to measure success. These often roll up to higher level marketing goals or key performance indicators (KPIs) you hope to achieve. By setting up the right tracking methods you’ll be able to identify where a consumer is in the decision journey. i.e. Awareness, Purchase Consideration, Preference, or Loyalty.

What are the Key Components of Influencer Marketing?

1) Planning Your Influencer Marketing Strategy

Developing a successful influencer marketing strategy takes careful thought and planning. To get started you’ll want a workbook that contains helpful worksheets and examples that will lead you through the process we use with our clients to build influencer marketing plans.

Here Are 5 Critical Worksheets for Developing Your Influencer Marketing Strategy

2) Influencer Identification & Selection

Depending on budgets and scope of your campaign there are four main ways to identify influencers to work on your campaigns.

Google – This use to be the main way brands and agencies found influencers to connect with. This method requires individual searches, then scanning webpages for contact info, and then populating spreadsheets to keep track of it all.

Databases – Do site scraping for you, pulling publicly available data. These are good places to start but be prepared to spend time vetting each influencer and communicating with them directly.

Networks – This method of connecting with influencers sits in the middle of a database and a marketplace. A network has relationships with the influencers, but will require that you go through them to reach out.

Marketplaces – A marketplace will offer the best of database by pulling in real-time information, along avoiding the middleman like you get with a network. Check out the Anatomy of the TapInfluence Marketplace

Influencers come in all shapes and sizes and with varying levels of influence. We bucket them into categories because each bucket serves a different purpose and is motivated differently.

Celebrity Influencers – These social media stars have broken out and command a pretty penny to work with, but leveraged for their own brand name and cache’ of followers. They can deliver on a large scale and are great to use as the face of a campaign.

High-Quality Content Creators – These are the high volume content producers that have attracted a sizeable audience because they’ve gotten to know them during their building process. These people know how to create content for a certain type of audience and have data to understand what works and what doesn’t.

Buzz Builders and Promoters – Are great at getting the word out and have audiences that range in size. Some are large deal focused bloggers and other are know for spreading the word on what’s hot and can help get your brand the attention you are looking for. They will help you scale your outreach efforts with little collaboration

Advocates and Employees – These brand ambassadors naturally love your brand and can be found online talking about you already. Pay attention to your social channels and invite them to share and create content. These people already love your brand and are willing to talk about what you are doing.

Learn 8 Things You Can Ask Influencers to do for Your Brand

3) Content Collaboration and Campaign Workflow

The key to any great Influencer Marketing campaign is creating great content. Content that is compelling to its target audience, authentic to the storyteller’s voice, and delvers against your bran objectives. If even one piece of this equation is missing, the content will fall flat. How do you create great content?

Give ‘em Something To Talk About
One way this can be done is by giving your influencers an experience or brand immersion they won’t be able to stop talking about. Experiences provide the creative inspiration influencers crave, and also align nicely with your brand messaging since you control the atmosphere.

Other ways you can engage your audience is to create a conversation, promote sharing, let them shop content, drive them to a brand destination, or crowd source new ideas.

4) Optimized Distribution

Using influencers to create content that will attract the right audience is the bedrock of any influencer marketing strategy. But it doesn’t just stop with the content being posted on their site, or across their social channels. So what else can you do with it? Build a content strategy to extend its usefulness over your whole marketing strategy. Use influencer content in quotes and testimonials. Feature top tier celebrity influencers in your TV or print ads. Even share your content in a dedicated section of your brand newsletter.

For Even More Ideas Learn How To Turn One Piece of Content Into Dozens

5) Monitor & Analytics

Different metrics and methods for measurement can be used to define your success as it ladders to your original goals. Take a look how online actions map to the consumer decision journey:

As you collect data (this is where a technology solution can be of benefit) you can start to use that data to optimize your influencer marketing efforts. You can rank your influencers based on output, what content resonates with your audience, and which of their social channels are best for distribution.

If you want to dive deeper into measurement – here is a great ebook about how to “Measure the Impact of Your Social Content”.

What Does Success Look Like?

One of the best ways to show the return on your investment is a influencer marketing campaign is to determine a dollar value for the content itself, the audience it reached, and the engagement it received to calculate a Total Media Value of your influencer content. Here is a calculator your potential Total Media Value.

Do you have an idea for your first Influencer Marketing campaign? Do you have questions about your current campaigns? Are you looking to scale your current Influencer Marketing efforts?

Let’s Talk About How TapInfluence’s Influencer Marketing Automation Platform will allow you to take your Influencer Marketing to the next level.

**Bonus Content for History Lovers: When did Influencer Marketing Start?

Marketing historians point to The People’s Choice as the first time the idea of influencer marketing was fully fleshed out. Though this book focused on political communication, the idea was universal—consumers respond better to the opinions of friends and family than those coming from large brands or political figures. The authors of The People’s Choice, Elihu Katz and Paul Felix Lazarfeld, argued that a two-step flow of communication (what they dubbed the Multistep Flow Model) would be a much more effective means of persuading the masses. As you might guess, the two-step flow entailed first marketing to influencers, and then incentivizing influencers to market to the wider public.

Though that book was written almost 70 years ago, recent studies have confirmed the ideas contained within The People’s Choice.  Nielsen recently published a study that asked consumers which forms of advertising they trusted the most. The overwhelming winner was “Recommendations from People I Know” at 84%. Towards the bottom of the list were online banner ads (42%) and ads served in search engine results (48%), two staples of online marketing for the past few decades. Given these statistics, it’s a natural progression for brands to use influencers to spread brand messaging.

Though influencer marketing has existed in some form for the past half century, it wasn’t until the advent of social media that influencers were able to substantially increase their personal reach. This larger reach has increased the value of influencers to brands, and made it more lucrative to be an influencer.