What Is Influencer Marketing?

As the digital age continues to show no signs of stopping, the ability to spread your brand message online is more critical than ever. You’ve probably heard “influencer marketing” and related buzzwords getting thrown around in marketing and sales circles for the last few years, and this valuable strategy continues to be relevant for brand awareness and lead generation.

Influencer marketing is a tactic where a brand works with thought leaders and industry experts who have the power to influence consumer opinions. Influencers come in many varieties — celebrities, thought leaders, industry experts and social media personalities. Essentially, anyone who can potentially play a part in a sales decision and convince someone to make a purchase from your brand can be an influencer.

Investing in influencer marketing is a good idea for most consumer-focused brands. 63% of consumers trust influencer messages about a brand more than a company’s advertising about their own brand. Read on to learn how to get started marketing through influencers, and how to ensure the success of your influencer marketing strategy.

Building an Influencer Marketing Strategy

There are a few things to consider before you jump in, as an influencer marketing strategy involves multiple channels and communication methods.

First, make sure you’re choosing the right influencers for your brand. While you might think that more followers mean a better influencer, in most cases the opposite is true. Micro-influencers, which are social media influencers with 1,000 followers or fewer, tend to have greater conversion rates than celebrities and those with higher follower counts. In fact, 82% of millennial customers state they are likely to follow a micro-influencer recommendation as part of their purchase decision.

Next, define what you want your influencers to accomplish. Are you simply looking for a review of your product to be shared with their follower base? Do you want to provide them with a sponsorship? Are you looking for them to get you clicks, leads or customers? Understanding what counts as an influencer conversion will set your program up for success.

Once you’ve defined goals and identified potential influencers, it’s time to reach out. Develop a plan to reach out to influencers on a regular basis, and communicate with them about your brand and the messages you’d like them to deliver. The most important factor of a good influencer campaign? Making sure your influencers are genuinely excited about your brand.

Last but not least, define what your influencers get in exchange for promoting your brand. Nothing is free, least of all a positive opinion. Let your influencers know how they’ll be compensated for their efforts — while some influencers are willing to share a post or review in exchange for a free sample, others will ask for per-post, per-click, or per-lead compensation. Define how much you’re willing to invest in influencer marketing, and be sure to understand what to expect in return.

Including Influencer Marketing in Digital Marketing

Because influencer marketing typically requires a lower investment of time and resources than many other digital marketing channels, it’s a great way to spread your brand message and build awareness. In order to make sure it’s successful, you need to have a solid brand presence and marketing strategy that continues to serve content to influencer-generated leads.

A marketing automation platform can help you effectively manage influencer posts, track and attribute leads, and manage automated emails. You can generate custom landing pages with individual URLs for each of your influencers to share, and serve content to leads who visit those landing pages based on the influencer who led them to your brand.

Whatever you choose to do when using influencers for marketing, be sure that you’re able to attribute leads and purchases back to those influencers to know exactly how your efforts are paying off.

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