Influencer Marketing 101


Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 10.37.47 AM

Influencer marketing has become a ubiquitous tactic that most brands want integrated into their PR or marketing strategy. It sounds simple enough – go after influential people in your brand’s industry and get them to spout niceties about your brand. Easy, right? Not quite. It takes a lot more than “hey, let’s get Ariana Grande to tweet about our blackhead remover!” in a brainstorm session.

Show Me the Money

Before you even start the brainstorming, make sure you have the budget (either for sponsorships or free product) to offer influencers. Relationships are based on mutual exchange. Respect an influencer’s social network by offering them something of value, like diapers/formula to a mommy blogger or free makeup samples to a beauty vlogger. You can’t get something for nothing.

Who Are You Selling To?

The next step is to know who your target audience is. If you sell adult diapers, Kim Kardashian isn’t going to be the right influencer for you. Don’t just shoe-horn in the most popular celebrity, and don’t just target celebrities. Once you’ve identified your target audience, find out where they live online. Is it Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram? A quick search on those platforms targeting your brand’s keywords should tell you who the best influencers are. There are also plenty of paid services and networks that operate like talent agencies that can connect your brand to the right influencers so this is assuming that this experiment is a micro-budgeted DIY operation.

Now What Did I Get For All Of That?

Influencer marketing, like all things social media, is difficult to measure. If an influencer tweets about your business, and that tweet gets 5,000 retweets and 10,000 favorites, but you don’t see a spike in your business in the next month or two, how successful was that tweet for you? It all depends on what your goal is. If it’s brand awareness, then you’ve achieved that. If it’s a spike in sales, then re-strategize and investigate why that tweet didn’t generate what you wanted. Compare your social media metrics to your web traffic, and measure whether anything actionable is happening. It’s important to understand that influencer marketing is just one part of brand building and it all takes time to build toward the desirable outcome.

Don’t Forget Who Butters Your Bread

Your best influencers already exist – they are your customers. A customer’s stunningly ecstatic or depressingly negative endorsement of your product can lead to a domino effect among their connections. Make sure that you’re responsive in terms of social media engagement with your customers, and you’re treating your customers right.

Don’t Let The Numbers Fool You

Often, there’s far too much premium placed on the number of followers someone has. Let’s not forget that followers can easily be bought (which we wrote about here). Aim for true impact and engagement rather than the person with 10,000 (bot) followers. There’s too many services out there that lets you buy followers, and too many early adopters of platforms who quickly amassed followers.

Say “Thank You” 

Reward your influencers- thank them, retweet them, promote what they’re promoting, scratch their back. The key to influencer marketing is to maintain that influencer relationship, and show them that you care. When you have happy influencers/customers, they’ll be overjoyed to share their enthusiasm about your product and brand. Case in point: Zappos, who has gotten rave reviews on their exceptional customer service and overnight delivery. As the saying goes, “happy wife equals happy life.” Keep your key influencers happy, and they’ll be sure to tell their connections that you’re a brand worth their money, energy and time.

Share your thoughts with us on Twitter or Facebook