Under the Influence: Eight Tactics to Benefit Your Influencer Marketing Efforts

Ruthie Careyby Ruthie Carey

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For those who have done some research and explored the potential of launching an influencer marketing strategy, there is a good chance that they have encountered conflicting information.

Typically, opinions on using an influencer marketing strategy fall into two camps:

  • Influencer marketing is the greatest thing since sliced bread
  • Influencer marketing is fraught with pitfalls and should be avoided

Here at Visiture, we think that when an influencer marketing strategy is done right, it can be a powerhouse tactic for driving brand awareness, traffic and sales, not to mention a great tool for earning and maintaining trust.

However, this begs the question:

Which influencer marketing tactics qualify a campaign as “done right” and will actually add value to an influencer marketing strategy?

Well, dear reader, that is precisely what this article is here to address.

Today, we are going to explore some of the most effective influencer marketing strategies for elevating campaign performance and ROI.

But before getting into the nitty-gritty of the topic, let’s take just a moment to dive into the concept of influencer marketing and why retailers might opt to employ an influencer marketing strategy over other types of tactics.

What Is Influencer Marketing?

At its core, influencer marketing is (typically) a type of social media marketing that leverages the credibility and endorsements of influencers to promote a product, service or brand.

Influencer marketing can also take place outside of social media, utilizing popular blogs to spread a message. But these days, it is more common to see influencer campaigns on social platforms than not.

For those who are somehow unaware, an influencer is defined by Influencer Marketing Hub as:

“People who have built a reputation for their knowledge and expertise on a specific topic. They make regular posts about that topic on their preferred social media channels and generate large followings of enthusiastic, engaged people who pay close attention to their views.”

Pretty straightforward stuff.

The reason why influencer marketing strategies work is because of the clout or trust that these social media personalities have built up with their followings, thus providing (more or less) instant credibility to the recommendations they make to their subscribers.

The Value of an Influencer Marketing Strategy

Part of the reason why so many merchants are interested in utilizing influencer marketing strategies to sell their company and products is because of how lucrative this discipline has proven to be over the years.

Looking at Influencer Marketing Hub’s State of Influencer Marketing report for 2021, the industry is expected to grow to a staggering $13.8 billion this year.

For reference, in 2016, the influencer marketing industry was only worth a fraction of that figure, clocking in at a mere $1.7 billion.

This is potentially, in part, due to the fact that influencer marketing has spread to nearly all social media platforms. While most are aware of the use of the practice on Instagram, it is not uncommon to see an influencer marketing strategy being deployed on YouTube, Snapchat, TikTok or any other popular platform.

Moreover, a recent report on the effectiveness of influencer marketing strategies revealed that, when surveyed about how well influencer content performs in relation to brand-generated content, 36 percent of marketers stated that the former significantly outperformed the latter.

As far as the ROI of influencer marketing is concerned, Mediakix reports:

“Nearly nine out of 10 marketers surveyed in Mediakix’s 2019 Industry Benchmark Survey agreed that the ROI achieved from influencer marketing is comparable or superior to other marketing channels. In the past, various firms have also measured influencer marketing ROI to be 11X higher than other forms of digital marketing yielding between $5.20 to $6.50 for every one dollar spent. When it comes to earned media value (EMV), advertisers can expect an average return of $11.96 to $18.”

With this foundation beneath our feet, let’s go ahead and turn our attention to some of the top tactics that will benefit any retailer’s influencer marketing strategy.

Influencer Marketing Strategy Tips: Eight Tactics for Better Campaigns

While influencer marketing can be an effective means of building awareness, traffic and sales, there are certain tactics that merchants will want to deploy to ensure that their campaign is as effective and advantageous for the brand as possible.

Some of those tactics include:

1. Utilize Tools to Locate and Connect with Influencers

Finding and approaching the right influencers for a campaign is one of the more critical components of an influencer marketing strategy.

After all, if a brand fails to partner with social media personalities who are congruent with the company’s target audience, values and the like, the campaign is likely to produce dismal results.

While it is certainly advisable to do some manual legwork and search social media for potential partners, there now exists a myriad of databases and marketplaces that merchants can use to uncover viable candidates as well.

For instance, IZEA is a popular influencer discovery tool that charges less than some of the other potential tools on the market, thereby enabling retailers to preserve their budget for the campaign proper.

Similarly, Upfluence is another of the more prominent influencer research tools available to marketers. However, this platform does come with a higher price tag than IZEA.

Some of the other platforms and marketplaces sellers might opt to use include:

However, it is essential to keep in mind that the lists generated by these platforms are high-level recommendations, which is why it is still necessary for sellers to do their own manual research on social media, read the content influencers are posting and assess if these folks actually motivate audiences to action.

Just because an influencer has many followers does not mean they will produce results for a company.

Therefore, it is critical to examine sponsored content that they have done with other brands and determine if an influencer and their style fit with a business and its ambitions.

2. Hire a Marketing Agency

If sellers are not sure where to start with their influencer marketing strategy, need help finding influencers or just want to produce the best campaign possible, then it is wise to partner with a marketing agency.

By taking this approach, sellers can connect with professionals who can build out a systematic, strategic approach to generating the intended results—be it awareness, conversions or outright sales.

Much like understanding what questions to ask when hiring an SEO agency, if sellers find a firm that they are interested in working with, it is advisable to ask about previous campaigns that they have run.

Specifically, it is wise to also find out the goals and results of those campaigns, as well as how influencer matches were identified.

3. Collaborate with Micro-Influencers

Not all influencers are mega social media superstars like PewDiePie.

In fact, some of the most beneficial personalities for merchants to utilize in their influencer marketing strategy are micro-influencers.

For those who are unaware, Mediakix defines micro-influencers as social media content creators who have between 10,000 and 50,000 followers. Those with smaller followings would be considered “nano-influencers.”

The reason why micro-influencers are likely the way to go for many brands is that, as research from Experticity (now called ExpertVoice) shows, “Micro-influencers have up to 22.2 times more ‘buying conversations’ that include product recommendations each week than an average consumer.” Moreover, as that same research reveals, 82 percent of consumers are “highly likely” to act on a recommendation from a micro-influencer.

The fact is, due to their smaller followings, micro-influencers can build stronger connections with their audiences. As a result, their followers are more engaged and likely to trust their product endorsements.

Moreover, micro-influencers charge far less than their more famous counterparts, thereby enabling retailers to partner with a variety of these folks for the same price that it would cost to collaborate with a more prominent influencer.

4. Invest in Influencers Who Produce Video

There is no getting around the fact that video is potentially the most popular form of content online today.

Therefore, integrating an influencer marketing strategy with a video marketing campaign can be an incredibly fruitful approach to the discipline.

Moreover, while YouTube had some serious trouble with advertisers pulling their dollars out of the platform several years ago, today, the platform is poised to take over the television advertising market.

As Fortune reports:

“It’s boom times for YouTube and its creators. The Google-owned service, bought for just $1.65 billion in 2005, reported ad revenue of $20 billion last year… If YouTube were a stand-alone entity, that would make it the world’s fourth-largest seller of digital ads, after its parent company, Alphabet, Facebook, and Amazon. But what really has Wall Street salivating is the question of just how big it might get. YouTube’s 2020 revenue was up 31 percent from 2019, compared with a 12.8 percent increase for its parent, Alphabet.”

As the piece goes on to state:

“Spending on TV advertising dropped 12.5 percent last year, while video ads surged 30.1 percent. Indeed, the analysts at eMarketer are predicting that the amount spent on video advertising will surpass that of TV for the first time by 2023.”

The implications of this are twofold:

Firstly, partnering with YouTube influencers is a potential goldmine for merchants who are putting together an influencer marketing strategy. Because video content (let alone videos produced by influencers) is so effective at driving sales, YouTube is a premier platform for sellers to target.

Secondly, merchants can use snippets from influencer videos and turn them into YouTube advertising campaigns that drive sales, thereby getting even more value out of the original campaign.

However, it is crucial to consider that YouTube is not the only game in town when it comes to video content.

Today, there are a myriad of ways to target consumers with video content, including Instagram Stories, TikTok advertising campaigns, Snapchat takeovers, Facebook live streams and the like.

5. Encourage Influencers to Get Creative

What makes an influencer marketing strategy effective is the content that the influencer creates. Plainly put, influencers are talented individuals who know what their audiences want to see.

This provides retailers with a massive benefit in that it saves merchants and their teams a considerable amount of time and effort in brainstorming content ideas.

However, there are still some sellers out there who have a vision that they want to impose upon influencers.

This is never a good idea.

The fact is that an influencer’s audience has chosen to follow them because of the content that they create. Therefore, it is in a seller’s best interest to provide social media personalities with ample room to flex their creative muscles.

Not only is this approach likely to produce better campaign results, but it is also likely to foster more amicable relationships between retailers and influencers.

6. Create a Definitive Publishing Schedule

One of the biggest pitfalls to an influencer marketing strategy is not clearly outlining the terms and expectations of the campaign.

Naturally, sellers will want to outline the guidelines, expectations, and requirements to be met in the campaign contract.

However, one of the things that is commonly overlooked is a publishing schedule. This is particularly important for campaigns that involve multiple influencers and social media channels.

Retailers should seek to align the influencer publishing calendar with other marketing initiatives and campaigns the company is running, such as blog posts, product launches, media releases, contests, and the like.

Additionally, a well-thought-out publishing schedule can enable sellers to pivot the campaign’s message should unforeseen events come to pass, such as a global pandemic.

But what are the odds of that happening?

By coordinating an influencer marketing strategy into a retailer’s larger integrated eCommerce marketing efforts is an effective means of guiding an audience and potential leads through the sales cycle, thereby helping to generate a higher campaign ROI.

7. Turn Loyal Customers into Brand Ambassadors

While retailers will likely want to tap a variety of professional influencers for their campaign, it is wise to also consider small nano-influencers who are already devout customers of the company.

The fact is that customer-based marketing strategies are a fantastic way to grow a brand. Moreover, by partnering with loyal customers and bringing them into the fold of the campaign to produce user-generated content, merchants can elevate the authenticity of the campaign to new heights.

This can be a particularly effective tactic for sellers who already have high engagement rates on social media, as they can reach out to their most fervent supporters to see if they would be interested in helping to promote the brand alongside more prominent industry voices.

8. Double Down on What’s Working

Naturally, merchants will want to measure their influencer marketing campaign as it is running. During this process, sellers are bound to discover specific strategies, influencers, or content types that are performing better than others.

When this occurs, it is up to sellers to help amplify these elements.

A great way to do this is to implement a social media and content marketing strategy that repurposes and boosts influencer content to help keep the campaign fresh, lively and constantly reaching new prospects.

As touched upon earlier, this can be achieved through the use of paid advertising campaigns to increase the reach of the message, targeting those who would likely be interested but may not have seen or engaged with the campaign as of yet.

Similarly, sellers can retarget those who were driven to eCommerce pages from the influencer marketing strategy but did not convert, as this gives retailers another chance at converting visitors into customers.

Final Thoughts

Building out an effective influencer marketing strategy is a powerful way for retailers to simultaneously reach new consumers, earn credibility and generate awesome content.

As long as merchants lay the proper foundation by identifying campaign goals, partnering with the right influencers, and clearly outlining campaign expectations, the tactics listed above can go a long way in helping to turn a good influencer campaign into a great one.

That said, if retailers want their influencer marketing strategy to be more influential, then reach out to Visiture’s paid advertising experts.

Our team of professional eCommerce advertising experts can help your brand to amplify the best elements of its influencer campaign, thereby working to elevate the campaign’s reach, impact, and ROI.

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