Surely you’ve wondered how working with a famous YouTuber or Instagrammer could affect your online shop.
You’ve already seen plenty of ads that they appear in and you keep hearing (good things) about working with them.
And the same idea keeps coming back to your mind:
“If any of them recommended my products, my e-commerce would go through the roof.”
But is that really true? Can an influencer really increase your business’ sales that much?
In today’s post we answer those two questions and explain the first steps to take if you want to start an influencer marketing strategy.
All the pros and the cons of working with an influencer – no censorship.
Here we go. ;)
What is influencer marketing?
Or let’s start with something simpler – what is an influencer?
The ability of the Internet to connect millions of people from all over the world has allowed some people, through their blogs and social networks, to become trendsetters and natural opinion leaders.
These people, who are able to “influence” their followers, are considered to be influencers.
Here you have a definition:
Influencer marketing takes advantage of the reach and popularity of other people to gain visibility and increase the conversion rate.
They don’t have to be famous, but their Instagram or Twitter accounts or their blogs can sometimes become commercial platforms as powerful as primetime TV slots.
But we can even go a step further.
1. How does it work? Do we believe in other people’s advice?
According to this study by Nielsen, 83% of online consumers trust the recommendations from the people closest to them (friends, family, etc.).
After all the efforts put into traditional publicity in an attempt to capture users’ attention at almost any cost, consumers have sought out new alternatives.
Other people’s opinions have become our new preferred method.
And what if those people are especially important because they are considered to be experts or relevant enough in a specific area? That’s the influencer marketing game.
If I need to buy a microphone and I can see that an audio specialist mentions one brand in particular on his or her blog, I will probably consider it to be an option, at very least.
But, of course, they may cross the line: we trust other people’s advice when they don’t have an overwhelming commercial interest. That is to say, as soon as the audience feels that the influencer is just recommending a product to make money, they lose their credibility and, alongside it, their ability to influence.
2. Influencers vs. micro-influencers
This is similar to a football league.
Big teams that play in the top division are the ones that get the most famous players. Lesser-known players are in second division or the next league down, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t do an excellent job for their teams.
If your brand is still starting out, forget about hiring big stars.
Leave Rubios, Dulceida, or PewDiePie for the e-commerce giants. Look for influencers who have a small but loyal community.
Huge Instagrammers may have millions of followers, but they are not necessary to run a successful influencer campaign. Micro-influencers can get the job done – and they’ll be cheaper too! ;)
Advantages of an influencer marketing strategy
Don’t think that your sales will take off just because a YouTuber mentions your brand. We hate to break it to you, but it’s not magic.
Influencer marketing works when done properly, but it must be part of a bigger global strategy. These are some of the benefits that you’ll see if you carry it out the right way.
- Visibility: don’t make conversions the main objective because you’ll most likely be disappointed. Keep track of new followers, new mentions, and your website traffic. Being related to a famous influencer will mean really useful visibility during the first few stages of your project.
- Traffic (sales): we’re still not mentioning sales as the main goal, but if you get more people to your website, you’ll more just because of statistics – it’s a numbers game.
- Notoriety: in the eyes of your audience, after collaborating with an influencer, you’ll be at the same level as that influencer. It’s all about using their image, their reputation, and their prestige – capturing their ethos.
- Top-of-mind awareness and indirect attribution: if someone who follows an influencer that you’ve worked with later sees your post in their Google results, they’ll probably click on it before any other result. Why? Because you’re the one that comes to their mind, which eases the conversion process. This way, after some time, you will get sales that don’t come directly from influencer marketing, but that did originate from it.
Again, it’s time to remind you that not everything is as easy as it may seem.
Choosing an influencer, defining a campaign, and measuring the results take both time and effort. Let’s take a look at the steps to follow.
How to plan the strategy
Now that you’ve decided to start an influencer campaign, there are some other aspects that you have to take a look at first:
- What type of influencers do you want to hire?
- How are you going to compensate them? With your products or with money?
- What kind of budget do you have for this campaign?
- What are your goals?
Once you have clear answers to those questions along with a list of the KPIs that you want to track, you can start following these steps:
1. Create a list of interesting influences
In order to make the most out of your budget, look for bloggers, Instagrammers, or YouTubers related to your sector that are not so well known by most people, but who generate lots of interactions with their communities.
If your budget allows for it, look for more high-profile options, but remember that they’ll be less reasonable and won’t be as committed to the collaboration.
Create a spreadsheet that includes:
- Number of followers
- Interaction rate (comments and likes between followers)
- Pros and cons that you can see
Double check that they don’t have profiles that look overly commercial. If they are promoting products every day, it’ll be difficult for yours to stand out among the rest.
If you don’t know where to start looking, you can use an agency such as Keeper Experience or Brandmanic.
2. Get in touch with them or with their managers
Try to avoid sending the same email or DM to all of them.
If you really want them to trust you and to do a good job, you must create an honest relationship from day one (and sending the same template to everyone doesn’t quite cut it in this case). ;)
Remember that a good influencer marketing action should not look like an ad. Feeling natural is the secret ingredient.
In previous steps you already established how much you were willing to offer – be consistent with your negotiation limits and don’t let them overwhelm you with their stats and number of followers.
You have heard about bots for Twitter and Instagram, haven’t you? Buying followers is more popular every day.
3. Dismiss pseudo-influencers
The boom of influencer marketing strategies led to influencers popping up everywhere. If you have a business account, you’ll get collaboration proposals nearly every day. Filter them out and don’t give your products away to anyone.
Recently, there was a case that went viral about a hotel’s response to so-called influencers who wanted eat or stay there for free.
Watch out for people with no shame.
4. Set deadlines and measure results
These types of actions don’t end with a post or getting the agreed upon mentions. Monitor what happens after that in order to check if the campaign was really worth it.
If the campaign was associated with a discount, wait until the end to evaluate the results.
Remember that most of the traffic coming to your website will be cold, which is to say, it’s going to be their first visit. Only a few of them will convert into sales (remember the conversion funnel steps).
Have a strategy ready to get leads and be able to unleash your email marketing weapon.
Added bonus: tools that will help you in the search for influencers
Beyond searching manually or through specialized agencies, there are some online tools to find and filter relevant influencers. Here are just a few of them:
- Heepsy: with Heepsy, finding the perfect ambassadors for your brand is a piece of cake. The free version allows you to search for keywords in a huge database containing profiles of people with more than 5k followers.
- Klear: this is a paid tool, but you can ask for a free trial. The most powerful features are its filters. In reality, it’s a complete suite that helps you execute your strategy from top to bottom.
- Buzzsumo: every community manager or social media strategist sees Buzzsumo as a must-use tool. You can monitor mentions, search for the most important posts or profiles, and filter them according to their authority.
- Fheel: a Spanish platform used to mediate between brands and influencers. Sign up and you’ll have access to an extensive list filtered by topic or price.
- Publisuites: this platform is not just for influencer marketing, but it has a really good section where you can see other brands’ reviews of their collaborations. It works like prepaid credits that you use after each sale.
You can use any of those, but our advice is for you to manually check if they can really work with your project.
Conclusions: is working with influencers worth it?
Yes, yes it is.
However, you should always bear in mind that influencer marketing forms part of a bigger global strategy.
Don’t let the number of followers dazzle you when beginning a new collaboration. Concentrate more on if it’s related to your sector and how much community engagement there is.
You can get great results, but it takes hard work and elbow grease just like everything else. Get to it!