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7 Steps to an Effective Influencer Marketing Strategy

Influencer marketing is not as simple as using a database filter to know who has the highest engagement, likes, shares, and pick-ups. It is far more complicated than that and it requires a sound strategy as well as deep research in order to find the right match. 

Your products might not be liked by all, and if an influencer doesn’t like your product, then their posts will be robotic and dry. They will lack emotions and excitement, which will kill your campaign and your money faster than anything else. 

Influencer marketing if it is done right it should give businesses a solution rather than a list of influencers from a database for you to pick from. 

You can think of it more in terms of matchmaking, and it is exactly like that. 

According to Wikipedia, “Matchmaking is the process of matching two or more people together, usually for the purpose of marriage, but the word is also used in the context of sporting events such as boxing, in business, in online video games, and in pairing organ donors.” 

In our case, we are matching your products with influencers who love your products and who are actively looking for them because they add value to their lives. 

When you make that match, the creatives, posts, stories, and copy are so natural because they comes from the heart. That is where the real power of influencer  marketing resides. 

If the match is perfect, the influencers will be more like partners. They might ask for a sales commission % or for a supply of free products for their personal use. It usually ends in a long lasting relationship that constantly drives engagement from the influencers’ audiences. 

Sales is a very delicate process and we as humans are sensitive to anyone trying to sell us something. The moment we sense that the influencer is promoting the product because they got paid to do so and that a post is pre-planned, we lose that connection and we no longer want or desire that product. 

Influencer marketing is the future of marketing. We have seen brands take off to incredible heights from that channel. It is a genuine and beautiful way to introduce a good product through word of mouth. 

Now that this is clear, let me show you the stages we go through when we do Influencer Marketing. 

Step 1: Understanding the product 

Just like Matchmaking, the first step is always to research and highlight the best qualities that might make your product attractive to influencers. 

Research is a process of understanding your product, what pain point it solves for your customers, and how it fits with the lifestyle of the target audience. 

Two components are necessary at this step:

  1. The pain points the product solves and why 
  2. The consumers’ behaviors 

We work on the first point early on, during the initial business evaluation stage and during our strategy call. 

For the second one, our team will dig into the buyers’ personas and hack into their social behaviors before we put together an action plan. 

Step 2: Developing a strategy or evaluating an existing one 

Once we develop a strong understanding of your product and hack into the consumers’ mindset, we put ourselves on the consumers’ path to purchase and build our strategy around that. 

During this process, we will look into your existing funnels and evaluate the user experience. We might suggest changes or rebuild unique funnels for the campaigns with trackable data points.

This process is so important to the success of the campaign. Without it, we risk losing opportunities coming from the influencers’ platforms, either via links they share or via product searches. 

It’s important to understand that influencer marketing is not a full solution on its own. It depends on other channels to make it work for your brand. 

If your objective is awareness and you are measuring engagement metrics, you should expect an increase in your branded term searches or an increase in your web pages visits. Or you might need to boost that campaign with advertisements for a higher reach. 

If your objective is conversion, you might look into using affiliates’ links and sales funnels for faster product purchase and check-out. You might even try retargeting ads at some point or making email nurtures if you are doing a product give-away. 

The worst mistake businesses make is jumping into influencer marketing without thinking of other contributing channels and expecting sales to skyrocket. 

That rarely happens. It will probably only happen if your product is damn good and the influencer has made some viral content out of luck.

Step 3: Agree on goals and metrics 

Goals and metrics set your campaigns on the right path. Without knowing what to measure, how will you know if the campaigns have performed well or not? 

At this step, we look at the metrics that match your objectives and set our reporting and data tracking around that. 

Step 4: Starting the outreach process 

The real work starts at this step. It is a complete manual process of prospecting, emailing, negotiating, and agreeing on terms. 

Outreach is not picking influencers from a database. It is a manual process and it works like this:

A. Prospecting: Following the strategy brief, and after gaining a deep understanding of the target audience and the product, we prospect influencers and KOLs who fit the consumers’ demographics and add them to a list. 

B. Analyzing the prospects’ metrics: We use an advanced Instagram API and an outreach tool called NinjaOutreach that pulls up engagement data (likes, average posts, shares, activities).

C. Developing custom pitches to present the product to the influencers in an informative and exciting way to attract the influencers to your product. 

D. Once the influencers or KOLs reply with a quote, we move into negotiations and agree on terms. At this stage, the influencer might ask for product samples before giving the final quote. 

It’s not a linear, simple process.  Many times the influencers reject a product because it’s not a good fit, or they simply don’t think it will resonate with their audience. 

Step 5: Presenting candidates for approval 

After our outreach campaigns, we usually end up with multiple suitable candidates. We present them to our clients with metrics, prices, and campaigns ideas. 

Once the influencers are approved, we move into production. 

Step 6: Launching the campaigns 

At this stage, we already have a strategy in place, plus influencers to work with. Next comes planning the creatives, ideas, and timing and how they will all be integrated with other assets, channels, etc. 

The best type of content is something that comes from the heart. It is genuine and real and it’s often not planned. The influencers will take over that process and we like to give them full freedom because we want them to be comfortable and real when they recommend your product. 

We might provide them with guidance, suggestions, and insights, but we never control their creative process. 

The goal is to genuinely introduce the products to the influencers’ audiences and highlight the benefits and impacts on their lives.

Stepk 7: Report, learn, and repeat 

The process continues and is never-ending. With each campaign, we learn something new. Not all influencers will deliver results. It’s critical to measure, learn, and change influencers if they don’t deliver results or engagement. 

At this stage, we look at the metrics and often test multiple influencers to determine the right fit for the next campaign. If, for example, in Campaign 1 we notice that a few influencers have been driving higher engagement rates than the rest, we continue with them on the second campaign and eliminate the lowerperforming influencers. 

Conclusion:

Influencer marketing is not picking influencers and KOLs. It is a long and complex process and you need to be prepared for it. That’s what agencies like ours do and it’s always part of an integrated strategy that is tied to sales and revenue. 

If you are looking for influencer marketing solutions, I suggest that you schedule a 30-minute discussion with us now.

Thank you for reading.

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Saif Abbas

Saif Abbas

Saif leads the growth strategy at Incify, a solution-driven digital agency that enables companies to operate with greater impact at a lower cost. He specializes in delivering website traffic, conversions, and revenue growth from organic search and direct response tactics.

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