SEO

Influencer Marketing Strategy: How to Create One in 9 Simple Steps

A successful way to bypass the self-promotional and mediocre content featured on most social platforms is by collaborating with an influencer who is relevant to your niche. An influencer marketing strategy offers several lucrative advantages for today’s marketers and brands.

It can strengthen your brand’s reputation and connect you with a broad audience without being overly promotional.

Not convinced?

Well, most marketers have found success with influencer campaigns and plan to increase their influencer marketing strategy budgets this year.

Image via Linqia

However, before you can assign a budget for your influencer marketing strategy, you need to know that executing a successful campaign requires meticulous research and planning.

So, how can you successfully run influencer marketing strategies that drive awareness, sales, and revenue?

We list out powerful tactics you can implement below.

However, before we outline the steps to create a successful influencer marketing strategy, let’s take a closer look at what the whole strategy entails.

What is a Successful Influencer Marketing Campaign?

Influencers are social media personalities with a huge number of engaged followers. These followers are extremely devoted to their favorite influencers and remain loyal to their recommendations.

Unlike mainstream celebrities, influencers don’t hide their personal lives under a veil of secrecy. Instead, they leverage social media platforms to forge connections with their followers.

This gives influencers the power to win their followers’ trust.

They are not meant to be put on a pedestal and worshipped. Instead, they are regarded as normal consumers but are treated as role models.

Best of all?

They often share a friendly rapport with their followers and are capable of shaping their opinions and purchase decisions.

They are also often perceived as experts or authority figures in their niches.

So, what do influencer marketing campaigns involve?

Influencer marketing involves collaborating or partnering with social media influencers to promote your brand. You can build your influencer marketing strategy to strengthen brand reputation, increase brand awareness, and drive conversions.

Depending on the influencer marketing strategy objectives, you can collaborate with these influencers to write high-quality content or announce giveaways and contests. You can also invite influencers to write on your blog or be a part of your weekly podcast series.

For instance, Ralph Lauren collaborated on a TikTok campaign with Diana Silvers, an influencer, model, and actress. They then tied their campaign to the US Open Tennis Championship and consolidated the #USOpen hashtag to their own hashtag #WinningRL.

This means they married Diana Silver’s interests and audience to tennis and US Open fans. Currently, the videos featuring Diana on the Ralph Lauren page have over 200k views.

Image via TikTok

But Ralph Lauren didn’t stop at that.

They also opened a Sponsored Hashtag Challenge page on TikTok where people would win a special gift if they showcased their pro-level moves and outfits.

Image via TikTok

According to Mediakix, 71% of marketers agree that the quality of customers and traffic received from running an influencer marketing strategy is far superior.

However, an influencer strategy is more than just getting your brand featured on an influencer’s social media profiles. Before developing your influencer marketing strategy, it is crucial to figure out why it is important for your brand.

Why You Need An Influencer Marketing Strategy

Due to their high reach, influencers can help start online conversations about your products and increase brand awareness. They help you get more visibility and enable you to reach a new audience that would have remained inaccessible otherwise.

A recent report revealed that 33.5% of those surveyed use influencer marketing for building brand awareness.

Image via Influencer Marketing Hub

Having an influencer marketing strategy can, therefore, help you bypass any ad blockers that might be used by your target audience.

What’s more?

Consumers perceive Influencers as trusted sources of valuable information. Thus, when influencers recommend your offers, their followers treat it as honest feedback from an actual consumer. This is often more effective than a brand tooting its own horn.

In fact, according to research, if a product recommended by an influencer is right, they purchase it directly from the influencer’s account. 80% of shoppers buy by clicking on a link or image influencers share.

Why is this?

A recommendation from an influencer is often treated as a vote of confidence in favor of your brand. Having it encourages their followers to give your products a try.

An effective influencer marketing strategy, therefore, helps you build a large number of loyal brand advocates.

It also adds a fresh perspective to your content strategy. They create high-quality content to engage their followers.

Running an influencer marketing strategy breathes new life into your content and helps make it more engaging. In addition, when an influencer lends their unique voice to your content, it makes it more authentic.

Best of all?

Incorporating influencers can have a positive impact on your website’s search engine rankings. When an influencer shares your content, it is likely to get shared even further, thus driving more traffic to your website.

In addition, it also helps you earn a number of genuine and high-quality backlinks. All of these factors tell search engines that your website is popular and deserves a prominent position in search engine results.

It is evident that a well-planned influencer marketing strategy offers a number of advantages. The strategy is also far more effective than conventional forms of marketing such as print ads, television commercials, etc.

And according to the report mentioned above, influencer marketing works. Its return on investment is better or comparable to other marketing strategies you may use.

Image via Mediakix

Now, let’s discuss the steps to create a workable influencer marketing strategy.

9 Steps to Develop an Effective Influencer Marketing Strategy

Influencer marketing entails more than just a simple shout-out from any random influencer. It is not just about getting featured on an influencer’s social media page.

If you want to increase brand exposure, generate leads, and increase sales, it is crucial to outline an influencer marketing strategy. It requires a deep understanding of your goals and target market to develop an actionable plan.

Here are nine steps to create an effective influencer marketing strategy:

1. Define Clear Goals

The ultimate objective of your influencer marketing strategy has a tremendous impact on the type of influencer you collaborate with.

In addition, it dictates the kind of content you are going to create with the influencers. A clear idea of your marketing goals also helps you assess the overall performance of your campaign.

Therefore, the first step of your influencer marketing strategy is to outline the specific goals that you want to achieve.

Do you want to start a conversation about your brand? Or do you want to attract more potential customers and generate leads?

Your answers to these questions will determine the final objective of your influencer marketing strategy.

Typically, you can define one or more of the following goals:

  • Increase social media presence
  • Build brand awareness
  • Improve audience engagement on social media
  • Achieve higher profits

2. Assign Suitable KPIs

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are measurable metrics that you use to evaluate the performance of your influencer marketing strategy.

And if you want to analyze whether your influencer marketing campaign helped you achieve the desired results, it is crucial to designate appropriate KPIs. This will also help you determine the ROI of your influencer campaigns and help you understand if they were successful.

Based on your final objective, you can assign KPIs such as:

  • A certain number of social media followers per month
  • A percentage increase in website traffic per month
  • Closing a specific number of sales in a given time period
  • A particular percentage of engagement on social media posts
  • A monthly, quarterly, or annual revenue target

This is a crucial step in your influencer marketing strategy.

Assigning proper KPIs helps you monitor the performance of your influencer campaign and track any deviations. It enables you to apply necessary corrective measures to help you achieve your desired influencer marketing strategy results.

3. Know Your Target Audience

Every marketing campaign is built on a solid understanding of the target audience.

But why?

If you fail to identify your ideal audience, you will not be able to connect with them through your campaign.

And guess what?

This unsaid rule also applies to your influencer marketing strategy.

To run an effective influencer marketing campaign, you must have a deep understanding of your potential customers.

But how do you define them?

Outline different parameters such as age group, gender, geographic location, profession, academic background, etc. In addition, you should have a clear idea about their preferences and pain points.

It also helps to delve deeper, study their online behavior, and identify the devices and social media platforms they are most likely to use.

Therefore, identifying your target audience is one of the critical stages of your influencer marketing strategy. It has an impact on the type of influencers and social media platforms you select.

In addition, it also helps you develop more user-centric content that will appeal to your potential customers.

4. Choose the Right Channel

According to the previously quoted report by Influencer Marketing Hub, Instagram is the most popular channel for influencer marketing.

But that doesn’t mean you should run your influencer marketing strategy on Instagram if your audience is more likely to use Twitter.

In addition, not all social media influencers are equally active on every platform.

Image via Influencer Marketing Hub

In order to build a successful influencer marketing strategy, it is crucial to identify your audience’s most preferred communication channel.

This will have an impact on the type of influencers you select and the content you publish in collaboration with them.

And guess what?

You can choose to run your influencer marketing strategy on different social media platforms, blogs, and video-sharing platforms.

For example, let’s say you want to promote a sophisticated keyword research tool for digital marketers. Working with a lifestyle blogger for an Instagram campaign is not likely to yield good results.

Your audience is more likely to read detailed and insightful blog posts related to digital marketing. Therefore, you should partner with marketing experts and get them to feature your tool in their blog posts.

5. Define Your Influencer

This is perhaps the most crucial part of your influencer marketing strategy. And it can decide the fate of your campaign.

However, finding the right influencer for your campaign can be extremely challenging.

According to the previously quoted study by Mediakix, 61% of marketers find it challenging to get influencers for their campaigns.

Image via Mediakix

Instagram influencers are around or little less than 37 million influencers. This leaves brands and marketers spoiled for choice when looking for influencers to collaborate with.

However, picking any random influencer can do more harm than good.

Therefore, it is crucial to identify the most suitable influencer for your influencer marketing strategy based on the following criteria:

  • Reach – The more followers an influencer has, the more exposure your brand is likely to get.
  • Relevance – Find influencers relevant to your niche. Their public persona and content style should resonate with your brand’s image.
  • Engagement – An influencer with a large number of followers may not be able to deliver campaign objectives if their audience doesn’t engage with their content. Therefore, it is crucial to analyze the social media posts of an influencer. Check the number of likes, comments, and shares their posts are receiving. In addition, you should also pay close attention to how the influencer interacts with their followers.
  • Experience – An influencer who has worked on similar campaigns or with similar brands might be able to give valuable insights.
  • Platform – You should work with an influencer who is active on those social media platforms that your audience is most likely to use.
  • Goals – Collaborate with an influencer who will help you achieve your marketing objectives. For instance, if you want to drive awareness for a social cause, you can collaborate with activists or journalists. On the other hand, if you want to drive sales in a local community, working with a micro-influencer may be your best bet.

6. Find the Right Influencer

Once you have defined your ideal influencer, it is time to search far and wide on the internet and find them.

But what’s the best way to find those who would drive results for your influencer marketing strategy?

You can run a simple Google search to get a list of the most relevant influencers in your niche. Key in the command “influencer type* the number of followers*site” to identify key influencers you can consider.

Image via Google

Also, considering the ever-changing nature of social media marketing, indicate the time range so you don’t get recommendations dating back from 2016.

For this, head to Tools, and input either a custom range or choose from the past year.

Image via Google

Now, Google shows you results from your location, but if you need to find potential influencers from a different region, you can head to Settings and change it from there.

Alternatively, you can use other tactics, including:

  • Setting up a Google alert using keywords related to your brand and niche. This allows you to identify bloggers and influencers who are writing actively in your niche.
  • Monitoring your brand, product, and keyword mentions on social media. This gives you access to influencers who are already talking about your brand.
  • Keeping a close eye on the most relevant and popular hashtags in your niche. Watch out for those influencers who are actively using these hashtags.

Once you have found the influencer you want to collaborate with, it is time to connect with them.

And your best strategy?

Direct influencer outreach.

Many influencers provide their official contact details in their social media profiles. You can write to them outlining a detailed proposal for collaboration.

Alternatively, you can actively engage with an influencer’s content and develop a rapport before you approach them for a partnership.

7. Create Engaging Content

You have now reached the stage of your influencer marketing strategy where you will decide on the type of content you will publish.

And your best tactic?

Give sufficient creative control to your influencers. They create user-centric content regularly and have a fair idea of what their audience wants.

In addition, you should also set aside a specific budget for the content creation process.

The key is to create high-quality social media content that does not come across as an overly promotional pitch. If the influencer mentions your brand in their content, it shouldn’t look like a sponsored endorsement.

That is why it is such an important component of your influencer marketing strategy. Your marketing objectives will also have a significant impact on the content creation process.

But what types of content can you use?

Content Types You Can Use in Your Influencer Marketing Strategies

The following are content types you can leverage to make your influencer marketing strategy a success:

Product Reviews and Testimonials

Your potential customers are often wary of brands that indulge in self-promotional tactics. They’d rather find out what others think about your brand.

And this is one of the reasons running an influencer marketing strategy is crucial.

When influencers offer honest feedback about your product or service, they give credibility to your brand. This, in turn, helps generate a plethora of leads and convert them into paying customers.

When Choice Hotels wanted to promote their new brands, Cambria and Comfort Inn, they collaborated with lifestyle bloggers and influencers.

They invited lifestyle blogger, Chelsea Foy, to stay at one of their properties and share real-time updates of her experience. This influencer campaign helped the international hotel chain reach more than 40 million potential customers.

 Image via Lovely Indeed

Social Media Takeover

This involves relinquishing control of one or more of your social media profiles to an influencer for a specific time period. The influencer has the freedom to create and share content on your behalf.

This influencer marketing strategy gives your audience a break from promotional content. In addition, it enhances the engagement levels and credibility of your content.

For instance, the UK-based Sheffield Hallam University invited their students to take over their official Instagram account. The idea behind this seven-day campaign was to increase their social engagement and reach. Today, Sheffield has more than 21K Instagram followers.

Image via Instagram

Contests and Giveaways

Another clever influencer marketing strategy is to collaborate with an influencer and host a giveaway of your products.

Typically, the influencer announces the giveaway on their social media profiles. Then, their followers are required to like the post, follow your social media profile, and tag their friends in the post.

You can then reward the winners with a gift basket of your products, a discount coupon, or a free trial.

On the other hand, a contest may also require them to participate in a poll or even a selfie competition.

And the good news?

Both contests and giveaways are incredibly useful for boosting brand awareness, social media presence, and engagement.

But how?

They expose you to social media users who may have remained inaccessible otherwise to your brand and your products. In addition, if the winner likes using your product, they might consider purchasing it, recommending it, and becoming your brand ambassadors.

Image via Instagram

Podcasts, Interviews, Q & As

If you already host a weekly podcast series, it might be a good idea to invite relevant influencers and content creators to be a part of it. This influencer marketing strategy positions your brand as one that cares about the growth of your audience by sharing valuable information with them.

JCPenney, for example, regularly hosts influencers in their live session to promote featured merchandise.

Image via YouTube

8. Keep it Legal

One of the most crucial yet often neglected aspects of an influencer marketing strategy is the legal contract.

For safety purposes and to protect your brand, sign a formal contract with the influencer outlining details such as timelines and deliverables.

What’s more?

Mutually decide on a suitable compensation for the influencer and ensure that all your influencer-backed content adheres to FTC guidelines.

9. Monitor Your Campaign

Your influencer marketing strategy doesn’t end right after the influencer publishes content or announces the giveaway.

It is an ongoing process that demands regular monitoring and you should keep a close eye on the engagement levels and reach of your posts.

You should also engage with the audience when possible. You can do so by replying and liking comments and questions from consumers on the influencer’s posts.

Most importantly?

Measure your KPIs to evaluate the performance of your influencer marketing strategy and identify the scope for improvement.

FAQs

Q1. How do you develop an influencer marketing strategy?

A. Use these steps to build a perfect influencer marketing strategy:

  • Define goals
  • Assign KPIs
  • Know your audience
  • Choose channels
  • Define influencer requirements
  • Find influencer
  • Create content
  • Keep it legal
  • Monitor campaign

Check out the post above for details on how to effectively apply these steps in your influencer marketing strategy.

Q2. What is an influencer marketing strategy?

A. With an influencer marketing strategy, brands leverage the influential status of individuals online to boost their profiles and promote their products or services.

Q3. How successful is influencer marketing?

A. Marketers who run influencer marketing strategies say it's effective, with 89% saying its ROI is better or comparable to what they get from working with other marketing channels.

Q4. How much does it cost for influencer marketing?

A. Different factors determine how much an influencer will charge. They include:

  • Type of influencer
  • Their engagement and reach
  • Channels they use
  • How much effort they need to put
  • Number of posts or visuals you require
  • Influencer marketing agency fee (if they work with an agency)
  • Whether you need posts cross-promoted

Depending on these, the influencer can then charge between $10 to over $1 million per post.

Q5. What makes a good content strategy?

A. A good content strategy has a specific goal, a defined audience, and channels of promotion. It also caters to different stages of the sales funnel and helps your brand turn prospects into loyal customers.

Q6. How do you plan and build a successful content marketing strategy?

A. Use these steps to design your content marketing strategy:

  • Define goals and KPIs
  • Conduct audience research
  • Run an audit of the current published content
  • Decide on content types
  • Identify the best channels
  • Brainstorm content ideas
  • Create content calendar
  • Publish and distribute
  • Measure results

For an in-depth look at each of these steps, check out this content marketing strategy process.

Q7. Does influencer marketing actually work?

A. Yes, running an influencer marketing strategy works, and here's why:

  • Even after the pandemic hit, influencers quickly changed tactics to suit their audience's stay-at-home needs. They are responsive.
  • Instead of intrusive ads, the consumers check the influencer's feeds to see what they do, eat, use, etc., in their lives.
  • Influencers expertly package content in an appealing way for their audience.
  • Influencers know how to relate with their audience, which means that their content outperforms branded content.
  • You don't need to work with celebrities or mega-influencers to get your products in front of the right audience.

Q8. How many followers do you need to be an influencer?

A. It depends:

For nano influencers, you need around 1000 to 5000 followers

Micro-influencers from 3,000 to 100,000

Macro-influencers 100,000 or more

Mega influencer one million+

Q9. What companies use influencer marketing?

A. You can run an influencer marketing strategy irrespective of whether you are a small or large enterprise.

The secret is to collaborate with influencers who mirror your brand values and deliver tangible results. Ensure they have high engagement, reach, and the ability to convince audiences to take action.

Q10. Who is the most famous influencer?

A. Overall, the most famous influencers are Christiano Ronaldo with over 517M followers and Justin Bieber with over 455M followers.

However, besides celebrities, we have other personalities who dominate specific social media platforms. For example, Charli D'Amelio on TikTok and Felix PewDiePie on YouTube.

Kick-Start Your Influencer Marketing Strategy

An effective influencer marketing strategy is crucial for increasing brand exposure, credibility, and sales conversion rates. It attracts the right people to your brand and helps convert them into paying customers.

In addition, influencer-backed content breathes new life to your social media profiles and improves engagement.

However, in order to develop your influencer marketing strategy, you must have a clear understanding of your end goals and target audience.

It is also equally important to define and select the right influencers who will help you achieve your goals. And you need to choose a communication channel and type of content that will resonate best with your target audience.

These factors are crucial for the success of your influencer marketing strategy.

Have you executed a successful influencer marketing strategy before? Share your experience and insights in the comments section below.

Gaurav Sharma

Gaurav Sharma is the Founder and CEO of Attrock, a results-driven digital marketing company. Grew an agency from 5-figure to 7-figure revenue in just two years | 10X leads | 2.8X conversions | 300K organic monthly traffic | 5K keywords on page 1. He also contributes to top publications like HuffPost, Adweek, Business2Community, TechCrunch, and more.

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