One of the best ways I can describe influencer marketing is the old saying “it isn’t what you know but who you know.” Influencer marketing is basically when a business collaborates with an influential person on social media to promote a product, service or campaign.
Now I am not going to focus on those well known celebrities who have millions of followers and charge a small fortune to spruik a variety of products but rather micro-influencers. Though micro-influencers have a smaller audience (generally under 100,000 but over 10,000 followers), they can be a highly effective way to share your brand with a wider and tailored audience without paying an arm and a leg for the privilege.
So here are my top 10 tips to help you use influencer marketing as an important strategy in your social media marketing.
1. Identify the Goals and Budget for Your Influencer Marketing Campaign
To build a successful influencer marketing program for your fitness business, you’ll need to determine how the program fits into your overall goals. Every marketing channel plays a role in moving the needle for your business and your influencer marketing program should be no different. So ask yourself, do you want your influencer marketing to:
- Increase brand awareness
- Increase sales
- Improve engagement and customer retention
- Increase your social media following
2. Determine The Right Micro Influencer Social Media Channel
Instagram has become the largest platform for micro influencers because it has a nearly unlimited supply of influencers of every different size and reach. Instagram also has influencers in a huge variety of content and interest categories and niches.
That said different platforms reach target audiences in different ways with varying degrees of success.
YouTube also offers niche interest categories, but because of the video format, it is often more expensive than Instagram for the equivalent reach. Examine each platform’s unique features and audience to determine which platform best suits your campaign goals.
3. Define Your Ideal Influencer Profile
Influencers are social media users who have established credibility and audience. These are users who can persuade others by virtue of their trustworthiness and authenticity. The challenge is identifying the right influencers to work with. There are many different types of users who have built large followings online – the key here is to identify an ideal person to represent your brand and to reach your target market and beyond.
4. Find Potential Influencers
Now that you know which type of influencers are a good fit for your brand, you’ll need to identify the influencers you want to partner with. They can be anyone from bloggers, journalists, analysts, thought leaders or just a regular person that’s built a loyal following on social media. Maybe you are even an influencer!
There are several ways to find influencers:
- Do a Hashtag search
- Find Micro-influencers among your fans
- Do a Google search for local bloggers
- Use Third-party tools to find people in your niche like BuzzSumo, Klear, and Ninja Outreach
- Ask for recommendations
5. Select which influencers are best for your business
When you are making a final selection of who to use, consider the five golden rules:
- Do they have a large and engaged audience?
- Are they relevant to your customers?
- Do they appear to be authentic?
- Are they active on social media and post frequently?
- Is their tone and style a good match to your brand?
Don’t just consider the number of followers that makes a micro-influencer – it is the number of engaged users that is far more important. This is what shows their audience are truly interested, that they care about their point of view and opinion and that they listen to them. And be aware of fake followers!
6. Reach Out to Influencers
Once you’ve identified a list of brand influencers you’d like to work with, build out these partnerships. To start these relationships off on the right foot, make sure you reach out to them directly, get to know them, and keep track of your goals.
79% of social influencers prefer businesses to reach out to them directly. Influencers are most responsive when they’re contacted by the business itself. (such as email, direct messages or even use comments to start a conversation).
7. Put together an influencer brief
When you have agreed to work together, the next step is to put together a brief – this is really important as this ensures you are both on the same page when it comes to what you expect from each other. Some items to cover include:
- The campaign and why are you implementing it
- Key messages
- The deliverables
- The visuals and colours to be used
- The call to action
Developing a strong relationship with an influencer is so important. Bear in mind that earning a status of an influencer took a lot of hard work and effort. These people have followers that trust them and want to see great content. So, instead of getting them to write what you say, allow influencers to create their content and mention your brand.
8. How to reward influencers
When it comes to influencers’ motivations, several factors actually outweigh cash rewards. The participants in Augure’s study cited these as the most common motivations:
- 55% Increase their reach/grow their audience
- 45% Create quality content for their audience
- 29% Shape their image
- 25% Get perks (discounts, free samples)
- 24% Earn money
- 22% Living new experiences (trips, events, etc)
So what about offering some free PT sessions to your influencer or giving a 50% discount on a gym membership? This may carry more weight than just a cash payment (plus they get a better understanding of what you offer).
9. Measure Results
Once your influencer marketing campaign is up and running, you’ll want to assess whether your campaign has helped you meet your business goals. Think back to the goals you outlined in the first step – has your influencer helped you reach those goals? Are you getting more leads and sales? Are you getting a return on your investment?
10. Don’t forget your other marketing campaigns.
Don’t get so excited about influencer marketing that you forget about your other marketing efforts.
Influencer marketing drives a lot of brand awareness, which leads to consumers doing things like checking out your social media and visiting your blog so use influencers to complement your existing marketing so make sure all your other marketing activities are running smoothly.
Social media platforms play an integral role across the entire buyer journey. However, it’s not the social media channels themselves that are influencing purchasing decisions but the peer-to-peer content and personal storytelling present on these channels that affect sales.
Even more, it’s the social proof that social media influencers and everyday customers are creating for brands and sharing on these channels that allow companies to reach and resonate with customers in a more natural and effective way.