Choosing an Influencer Marketing Platform

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There are hundreds of influencer platforms, software tools, agencies and consultants, so it is easy to feel confused about the best way to choose an influencer marketing platform. Here are a few criteria to consider:

 

Ease of Use

The platform you choose should be easy enough for you to use for whatever purpose you have in mind, from finding influencers to tracking results.

Finding Influencers

The main point of using a platform is to shorten the research time and quickly locate influencers who will be a good fit for your business. The tools for doing this should be best in class.

Database Size

Some tools may look slick and professional, but may not have much under the hood by way of influencer audience data. Make sure they have a substantial database from multiple sources, not just Instagram.

Niches/Industries

Some platforms have started to specialize in some of the most popular industries, such as health and wellness. This might be a good idea if they have a huge database but might also limit you in terms of promotions that are a bit outside the box.

Maintenance

Check to see how much time it might take to maintain your activities and campaigns, track your results, and so on. You should be able to see all of your most important information easily from your dashboard.

Platform Cost

Compare pricing across all of the platforms you are considering using, versus the features it offers. In many cases, the company will offer a free trial. Make the most of each one you sign on for by giving it your full attention for a week and making notes about its pros and cons. At the end of a week, move on to the next trial, and so on, until you have at least 3 to compare.

In terms of pricing, look at the value offered at each level of service if more than one is offered. If you can’t see any use at this time for the items in the Platinum package, for example, just select the cheapest to start with. You can always grow into it and upgrade as needed.

Influencer Cost

Be clear about the numbers showing at each site. Some are a per project estimate of what it might cost to interest an influencer to work with you. In other cases, however, it might be a cost per CPM, that is, per thousand people, which could really start to add up if you want to work for an influencer will millions of followers.

Data/Business Intelligence

The platform should offer the essential data about the influencer, such as:

  • Followers
  • Views
  • Shares
  • Comments

And their audience:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Ethnic background
  • Education
  • Geographic location

And so on.

Collaboration

The platform you choose should allow for easy collaboration with the influencers you wish to work with. This allows you to do everything on one interface rather than rely on email to try to connect with the influencers which has shown to be a much less reliable way to communicate, based on platform data.

 

Influencer Marketing Trends

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Influencer marketing has been around for a short time, but there are already several trends emerging. Even if you are an influencer marketing newbie, some of these trends can help you get started.

What is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing allows brands and advertisers to leverage consumers online via social media outlets or blog with large followings, to share information with a specific audience. In this way, every post sent out gets magnified. Research must be done to find influencers who will be a good fit for and are open to making recommendations to their audience, but the results can be well worth it.

Influencer Marketing Trends 

Since the influencer marketing approach has been proven a success, different names in all industries have been utilizing it. It then becomes a question of both doing it well and standing out from the crowd.

Some current trends within the influencer marketing industry are posting on influencer’s respective stories and feeds/timelines – there has been a huge surge in influencers doing paid ads/partnerships in their stories instead of posts. This, in turn, becomes more cost effective for the advertiser and still generates the same, if not more, exposure. With the recent emergence of Instagram TV (IGTV), a lot of brands and advertisers have been leveraging this feature with native content ranging from silly one-offs to interviews with influencers.

FTC Guidelines: Influencer and Sponsored Marketing

The Federal Trade Commission has gotten tougher on requiring businesses to disclose financial relationships and interests. If a business is advertising through a sponsored post, for example, it should say sponsored. If influencers are accepting money for ads, they should indicate this as well. The easiest way is to use the hashtags #sponsored or #partnerNAME, with your name at the end, such as #partnerPerrysPets. The relationship should be disclosed in every post and you should check to see they add the hashtags to make sure the FTC does not find fault with your level of compliance.

Useful Content

People on the Internet are tired of ads. They want to learn, discover, and improve their lives in some way. Make sure every campaign offers real value to the people interested in your niche.

Go Beyond Instagram

While it is true that Instagram has been estimated to be one of the top 15 most influential sites in the world, it is also true that there are several other top channels worth trying which might be a better fit for you depending on the niche or industry you are working in. Also look for influencers on:

Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest.

This is also a good strategy because if they are charging for their services, the influencer’s Instagram rates might be quite expensive but cost less on the other platforms. This could generate a better return on investment (ROI) in the long run.

Influencer Marketing Tools

Now that influencer marketing has proven a success, some companies have tried to create tools to help with the process. The first part of the process is of course to find influencers who might be a good match, connect with them, and negotiate the way you will be working together and any payments involved. The second part is to track the success of the partnerships and campaigns.

Influence.com by Newswire helps brands and advertisers find influencers and manage your workflow. Then it is a case of tracking your success. One of the best ways to do this is to create a coupon code for every campaign you work on with an influencer. You can also use hashtags with a unique word no other campaign is likely to have.

Create a new landing page for every campaign. Check your traffic logs and compare the number of visitors with the number of coupon codes/sales.

#Hashtags & Tags

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When it comes to influencer marketing, hashtags and tagging matter for a number of reasons and can help make marketing campaigns more successful.

What is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing is one of the hottest new trends in marketing. The goal is to influence people online via social media or bloggers with a large following and share your information with their audience. This is the opposite of most business to consumer marketing, which tries to cast as wide a net as possible. By targeting influencers, every campaign you send out has the chance to go viral, as more and more followers of the influencers interact with the content.

Making Content Visible

Hashtags and tags make your content more visible. They are keywords which show what your content is about, so it can show up on social search. Tags can give more information, such as location and niche. Tags using the @ symbol and someone’s name sends the content directly to them. If they are an influencer, this can get you a lot more visibility for your content.

The hashtags on the social sites are clickable; you will be taken to a page with a listing of the most recent articles published. This means even people who are not currently following you at that network can see your content. This could lead to more followers, engagement and virality.

Hashtag Strategies

Studies have shown that hashtags can generate significantly more engagement than posts without them. However, it is important to have a strategy before overloading posts with hashtags. Some Instagram users will stuff 30 at a time into their posts, which is then becomes overkill.

Have a goal for each post, and use hashtags and tags that will support that goal. Also use hashtags that make sense and are likely to be understood and used by your target audience. A lot of marketers suggest using a unique hashtag in order to try to track the success of your campaign, but it is tough to get your target audience to adopt it if it has little or no meaning to them.

Use Hashtags Naturally

Don’t place them all at the end of your written message. Instead, use them in your sentences as if they were regular words related to your niche.

What’s Trending

Look on each site to see what is trending. Check your Twitter feed as well. Chances are the hashtag might be driven by an influencer or a large company. You can cash in on their work by jumping on the bandwagon.

 

This can also show you which influencers are working with your competition. This can help you find all new influencers who might be willing to work with you. On the other hand, it might also affect your existing relationship with an influencer. If you don’t think you are getting enough value because they are promoting everyone in your niche, you can decide whether not to look for other influencers to work with. A platform like Traackr http://www.traackr.com/ will help you track all the hashtags individual influencers are using, so you can make better decisions about what type of content to give them, in the hopes that it will resonate well with their target audience.

Influencer Marketing Ideas

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Small business owners interested in influencer marketing are often eager to start, but not sure how. There are several ways to work with influencers in order to boost your brand and make meaningful connections with your target audience.

Why Use Influencer Marketing?

Studies have shown that 93% of marketers report increased visibility once they start using influencer marketing. Around 75% use the channel to generate new leads, and a similar percentage report it to be an effective way to earn customer loyalty.

Every online business needs:

  • Traffic
  • Subscribers/leads
  • Sales
  • Brand recognition and reach

Influencer marketing can be a shortcut to achieving all these goals if you model your efforts on tactics that are known to be successful.

A Few Suggestions:

1-Find the Right Influencers

Look for about 5 to start with. They should be a good fit for your niche and not promote so many products that their opinion would start to lose value.

2-Follow Them on The Various Networks

Once you have located niche influencers, follow them on the networks. Look at the kind of content they create. Is any of it related to products, services and recommendations? If it is, they should be a good fit.

3-Interact with Their Content

Engage with like, shares and comments. When you comment, don’t spam. Offer useful information that shows you are someone who knows your niche. Soon, people will start to recognize your contributions and want to learn more about you and your business.

4-Guest Blog

If any of the influencers you have identified are bloggers, offer to guest blog. Give them really high-quality content that is sure to impress them and their readers. You will get a link back to your site, for more traffic and brand reach.

5-Hold a Competition or Giveaway

When influencers promote these, they increase the reach of your brand and boost traffic and engagement. People love to win things, so if you make it easy to do so, you will get a great response. Design the competition in such a way that the more people engage, the better their chance to win.

One example would be to get the influencer to post an image regarding your business or a particular product and then invite their followers to follow your brand and tag their friends in some of your posts. Those who do are eligible for the prize.

Caption contests are also very popular. They would have to follow your account in order to suggest a caption.

6-An Account Takeover

An account takeover at Snapchat or Instagram can get a great deal of interest. Being allowed to take over an influencer’s account could be a dream come true. In both cases, the takeover means posting high-quality content that meets the needs of your target audience and also shows your knowledge of your niche.

7-A Twitter Party

A Twitter party could be a great way to work with influencers to engage with your target audience. Invite influencers to weigh in on a specific topic. Tell your followers they will be coming to the party in order to encourage them to interact with the influencer. Also try to come up with a unique hashtag so it will be easy to join in, and to track the activity at the party. Offer spot prizes to add to the fun.

8-A Live Event

Organize a webinar or a live video session and encourage influencers to participate. They will be sure to tell their followers. Once the live event is over, offer recordings so those who were not able to attend can still benefit from them. Give the URL of the recording to the influencers to share with their followers.

Authenticity & Engagement

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Authenticity is an essential part of social media and influencer marketing. The kind of content you create should show that you are an expert in your niche who is worth paying attention to. In this way, you will build trust in your audience.

Through your authority, influencers will be more willing to work with you to pass along your content. The influencers you choose should also be authentic and an expert in your niche, not someone who publishes and makes recommendations about hundreds of products and services.

Niche influencers offer useful information to their target audience, and everything they publish is useful and has a ring of truth. This is the best way to get engagement, Likes, Comments and Shares. Your audience will be much more likely to share if they feel confident you are the real deal.

Being real

A lot of marketers create a false persona and fake social media profiles in order to try to engage with and influence their target audience. However, when it comes to making deals and forming partnerships, you are going to have to come out from behind the cloak of secrecy. This could actually damage your business if you have been saying one thing online, but represent a different thing in real life.

Be honest about who you are and what your brand represents. Only work with influencers who are a good fit for your brand. Don’t just choose them on the basis of their following count.

 

Understanding the risks an influencer takes by working with you

Some online figures have spent years building their following and trust level. The last thing you want to do is damage their reputation with poor content or asking them to endorse a product of yours that isn’t 100% useful and does what it promises. Similarly, you should never partner with anyone just because of the money. The last thing you want is a reputation as a “sell-out” who will endorse any old rubbish just for the money.

 

Following all Federal Trade Commission regulations

Authenticity and transparency go hand in hand. You must disclose any financial relationship when it comes to content and influencer marketing. Use the hashtag #sponsored to help protect yourselves.

 

Include a call to action in all your content

It’s great to be able to get your content in front of your target audience with the help of influencers, but it is also important for them to feel like they have learned or accomplished something. A call to action such as “Click here to learn more,” with additional high-quality content, positions both you and the influencers you are working with as worth following.

 

Think long-term relationships, not short-term sales

A lot of marketers are so interested in driving sales quickly that they fail to think about actually getting to know their target audience and build a relationship with them. Influencers can be a shortcut to sales if you create valuable content, however, because studies have shown that people online are seven times more likely to buy something recommended by someone they ‘know’ than through any marketing material the business might produce. Be authentic in all your interactions and the sales will come.

Top Influencer Marketing Campaigns to Date

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There are constantly tons of influencer marketing campaigns being launched. A number of campaigns have stood out in 2018, so far, both for their originality in terms of content and the high profile of the influencers. Here are a few worth looking at.

Fiji Water

Fiji partnered with Instagram fashionista Danielle Bernstein for a #weworewhat campaign. In addition to Bernstein’s fashion related posts, the campaign also offered quick and easy 8-minute workout videos to get into great shape. It never once mentions water specifically, but of course, water is essential for hydration, especially when working out. The campaign aligns nicely with health, fitness, fashion, and doing your best for your body.

H&M fashion

H&M is one of the most influential fashion brands online as lots of influencers share their looks. H&M launched their new catalog in September 2017, and sales soared thanks to influencers like fashion blogger Julie Sariñana and model Ela Velden. The campaign had almost 25 million followers by the end of 2017 and it is still growing. Check It Out – the clothes aren’t to everyone’s taste or size, but great photography helps their content go viral.

Lagavulin Whisky

The My Tales of Whisky Yule Log won the Shorty Award for Best Influencer Campaign due to its attractive presentation just in time for the holiday season. The campaign had more than 2 million views in the first day and increased channel subscribers by nearly 20,000. The video was widely shared not just by individuals, but corporations as well.

Stride Gum

Stride partnered with DJ Khaled, a popular hip-hop artist and the “King of Snapchat,” to promote their content. Most of his videos get 3 million views, so he was the perfect choice for a Snapchat take over to announce a new line of flavors. See it here.

Subaru’s #MeetAnOwner 

This campaign used three top influencers in varying fields to put together a campaign that shows what it’s like to own a Subaru. The emphasis was on adventure and got nearly 2 million likes and 9 thousand comments

Walmart’s #FightHunger Social Good Campaign

Walmart partnered with seven top influencers and the charity Feeding America to highlight the problem of hunger in the United States. Most people see America as the land of plenty, but millions go hungry every day; many of them children. The Walmart Foundation announced it would donate $0.90 to Feeding America, enough to provide 10 meals to people in need, for every like, share, or #FightHunger comment on their post. They hoped to raise $1.5 million within 30 days of the campaign starting. The campaign was such a hit, they raised that in only 1 day.

Stella Artois Beer

Stella Artois teamed up with influencers to help with their fundraising for water.org, a charity which aims to provide fresh drinking water to the millions on the planet who currently have to do without. They tied into the Oscars as well to get the campaign to create even more of an impact. See the campaign here. 

Influencer vs Traditional Marketing

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Influencer marketing is becoming more and more popular with savvy business owners, because there are certain aspects of it that are actually better than traditional marketing, and will, therefore, give a better return on investment.

What is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing does not target a wide base of consumers directly, as traditional marketing does. Instead, it targets thought leaders in a niche or industry who have a large following on one or more social networks. The theory is that your brand can extend its reach if the influencer is willing to mention your products and services. If they try them, review them and/or recommend them, so much the better.

Why Does Influencer Marketing Work Better than Traditional Marketing?

There are a number of reasons why it works better:

1-You Only Have to Target a Few Specific People

You don’t need to write marketing material that is going to be all things to all people in your niche. Instead, you will be producing content and engage with a small, select group of people that you have the chance to get to know well. Once you know what they respond to, then you can create the right content they will respond to.

2-It is Seen as More Trustworthy

Around 80% of people on social media trust recommendations from influencers and people in their network, as compared with only around 30% trusting marketing material that comes directly from a business. This being the case, a good influencer who appears unbiased and doesn’t promote every product in the universe can be a powerful brand advocate.

3-It Taps Into a Younger, Savvier Audience

Consumers 18 to 30 want to save time, money and effort by buying what really works and avoiding rubbish. They are much more likely to ignore traditional marketing and pay attention to influencers when making their purchasing decisions. If your products and services are high-quality and appeal to a younger audience, you need to start engaging in influencer marketing.

4-It Works for Every Budget, No Matter How Small

Unlike traditional marketing, you don’t need a huge budget to start using influencer marketing effectively. It will take some time and patience to find the right influencers that match your business, and develop a relationship with them, but it really won’t be that much extra work compared to what you are probably already doing on social media.

For those who do have a small budget, you are likely to get around 11 times better return on investment with influencer marketing on Instagram, one of the most powerful sites for tapping into influencers who can spread the word about your brand and products.

The new tools and software emerging can help you manage connects, track your results, and even pay those influencers who will charge (a small amount) for their services, as compared with traditional ads. In most cases, however, you can start for free by engaging with the influencers you have determined are the best fit. Sooner or later, they will start to notice you, and be more willing to do business with you as a person in the know in your niche, and a company with effective solutions to common problems related to the niche.

5-It Boosts Traffic and Brand Reach Without Your Spending Hours Working at Them

One influencer with a million followers who really pay attention to them could help you gain more traffic and brand recognition with one comment or share, than countless hours chasing after regular consumers.

Influencer Marketing on Instagram

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Influencer marketing is quickly becoming one of the most effective ways for businesses to increase their brand reach and get traffic, subscribers, sales, and more social media interaction.

One of the more popular sites for influencer marketing is Instagram. Shoppers between 18 and 30 favor Instagram heavily, and spend at least half of their time on the site looking at influencer accounts. This being the case, connecting with influencers in your niche could be the best way to get more engagement and sales.

Why Instagram?

Instagram is a highly visual site, with 520 x 520 pixel images and short videos permitted. Most people use an app on their Smartphone to access it and to upload content. You can also get a Google Chrome extension that will allow you to add content from your desktop computer.

Instagram is now owned by Facebook, so you can safely bet they have a lot of plans for growing it in the near future.

Types of Influencers

There are influencers online at social sites for almost any industry you can think of. They are often divided into two groups, micro-influencers who have fewer than 1 million followers, and macro-influencers, who have more than 1 million.

While it might seem best to follow the macro-influencers, which can get you more brand reach, studies have shown you are 10 times more likely to get engagements at micro-influencer accounts. Likes and shares can really increase the visibility of your brand in a very short space of time.

Thought Leaders Versus Celebrities

Microinfluencers tend to be thought leaders, prominent bloggers or vloggers, niche marketing experts, and industry figures. Macro-influencers tend to be celebrities like Kylie Jenner or David Beckham. Do people really make shopping decisions based on what macro-influencers say? No. They are more likely to be swayed by people with more in-depth knowledge, that is, micro-influencers.

How Large are the Micro-influencer Accounts on Instagram?

While it is true that the accounts are quite small in terms of the number of followers as compared with other social networks, Instagram is a very popular site that tends to get more visits and interactions. The results of influencer marketing on Instagram also appear to be longer-lasting and sustained via micro-influencer accounts, rather than a huge spike on macro-influencer accounts, and then nothing.

Degrees of Interactivity

At a micro-influencer account, you have more chance of seeing what is being posted, and being seen. Whenever you interact with an influencer, show yourself to be helpful and knowledgeable about the topic. Don’t just post for the sake of it, or post overly commercial information, which can start to earn you a reputation as a spammer.

As you continue to engage and to post useful content, chances are the influencer will start to notice who you are and the valuable contributions you are making. This will make them more willing to follow you in return, and/or share your content. In a best-case scenario, they might even buy your products, try them, like them, and review or recommend them. Or they might be willing to accept a free sample for you and give you a testimonial, forward for your new ebook, and so on.

Instagram influencer marketing can make your business, products and services much more visible if you are strategic about which influencers you choose and don’t try to interact with too many at the same time.

Small Businesses x Influencer Marketing

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Influencer marketing is a hot topic for all savvy business owners. It’s not just for the big boys. You don’t need celebrities to help promote your business. All you need are connections with the influencers in your niche or industry.

What is Influencer Marketing?

An influencer marketing campaign targets top bloggers, vloggers and other people working in the same niche as yourself who have a reasonably large following on social media and who are worth interacting with because of their quality content and their expertise in relation to your niche. In particular, they talk selectively about products and services in your niche. They might even make recommendations, post reviews, and give testimonials, which can all influence their followers.

Studies have shown that around 80% of consumers pay attention to recommendations from the people in their network, even if they don’t actually know them that well, as compared with only around 30% paying attention to the marketing messages being generated by a company. This being the case, influencers can really make their followers sit up and take notice if you are strategic about your influencer marketing.

Set Goals for Your Influencer Marketing

What do you want to accomplish most through influencer marketing?

  1. Traffic
  2. Subscribers
  3. Sales
  4. Followers
  5. Brand Reach

The goals you decide upon can help you choose the right approach to influencer marketing for your business.

Getting Started with Influencer Marketing

Identify some of the top “movers and shakers” in your niche who are not in direct competition with you. Start looking up their social media accounts. You might wish to create a spreadsheet and note the number of followers each has at each network.

Start to follow them, and engage with their content in a helpful, not pushy way. Make notes on the types of things they post about, such as product suggestions. Do they share content from others? Whenever you comment, be sure to show what you know, but don’t overwhelm people or try to upstage the influencer you are targeting.

Study their website or blog. Consider offering a guest post on their blog. This will get you more attention within your niche and more reach for your brand.

Pay special attention to Instagram. It may not be the largest social media network, but 18 to 30-year-olds spend a lot of time on the site following influencers.

Use Tools to Help You Find More Influencers

Try hashtags on Twitter and Instagram. Visit the site Buzzsumo to see what the top content is related to your niche. Determine if those publishing the content could be considered influencers. Influence.com also offers easy search tools to help you find the perfect match.

Think Relationships, Not Sales

If your engagement with influencers’ content is consistently high quality, sooner or later you are going to stand out from the crowd and they are going to recognize your name. This will usually make them more receptive to working with you, such as through engagement with your content, swapping guest blog posts, sharing your content, and perhaps even trying your products and services. Don’t be a pushy spammer. Think long-term relationships rather than quick cash.

Developing a Influencer Marketing Strategy

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Influencer marketing has been increasing in popularity among marketers the past several years because it can be very effective if you develop a strategy based on the needs of your business.

Social media is booming, and more and more people in various niches and industries have developed very large followings as a result. Even just working with a small number of influencers can yield big results if they are a good fit for your brand and its goals. The secret to starting influencer marketing successfully is to get organized, do research, and start to develop relationships that can lead to sustained interest in your products, not just one promotional blast and then nothing.

1-Organization

Set goals for your influencer marketing. Do you want more:

  • Traffic
  • Subscribers/leads
  • Sales
  • Brand Reach

What types of high-quality content do you have that will impress influencers and their followers? Start organizing it for each of the main social networks:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • LinkedIn
  • Tumblr
  • Instagram
  • Snapchat

Instagram is the most influential of these sites, so start preparing 520 x 520-pixel photos, and get ready to film some short, interesting videos.

2-Research

Use a site like BuzzSumo to help you research top influencers in your niche or industry. Then look up their social media accounts. You may wish to create a spreadsheet of their number of followers to help you see what activities will give you the most return on investment once you start engaging with them.

Begin to follow them. Study the types of posts they publish. Do they discuss products and make recommendations? In this case, they could be a good fit if you can get them to pay attention to your products and services.

But before you starting trying to promote yourself, just study their accounts. Gradually start to interact with their content. Make intelligent and useful comments that show you are in the know in your niche. Don’t be too pushy or spammy. If they have a blog, offer a high-quality guest post to them, which will increase your visibility and continue to develop what you hope will be a long-term relationship.

3-Continue Developing the Relationship

As you engage with their content, influencers will start to notice you. Guest blogging for them will also help them cooperate with you when it comes to advancing your goals. It will always be a case of answering their unspoken question, “What’s in it for me?” Their keeping their followers happy and well-informed will usually be a couple of their main goals. So, too, is positioning themselves as an expert, and being able to publish good content regularly on a consistent basis. This can be tough to do on one’s blog and all the social networks, so if they see your content resonates with their audience, you can turn out to be a shortcut for them.

They might even invite you to do a Snapchat or Instagram takeover, 24 hours of you running their account and trying to publish content you think they will love, but without spamming the influencer’s followers.

Contests, giveaways, live events, special coupons, and so on, are all typical forms of content that influencers and their followers enjoy. Make them as interactive as possible and see how much engagement and traffic you can get.