The Beginners Guide: Using Influencer Marketing To Grow Your Business

Did you know that when referred by social media, 71% of people are more likely to make a purchase?

Customers are more reliant than ever on reviews and recommendations when it comes to buying a product or service. This means that recommendations from influencers on blogs and social media have become a powerful marketing tactic utilised by an increasing number of businesses.

The market was estimated to be worth $2 billion in 2017, and this is set to reach a staggering $10 billion by the year 2020.

Research by Activate by Bloglovin’s has also found that 67% of marketers believe influencer marketing has helped them to reach a more targeted audience, which has created stronger results.

So if you’re not using influencer marketing as one of the strategies to grow your business and reach a much wider audience, you’re missing a potentially lucrative trick.

In this post we’ll be explaining:

  • How to find the right influencers for your product or service
  • How to build strong relationships with these influencers over time
  • How to create meaningful content that will highlight the benefits of your offering
  • How to track your ROI on these campaigns

Let’s dive in!

What is influencer marketing?

In a nutshell, influencer marketing is when you pay a particular person to share your product, service, or message with their (usually substantial) social following.

For this to work, it’s not just about the numbers though.

This influencer must have an actively engaged audience who trust their opinion, and that audience must represent the target audience for what you’re selling.

How to find relevant influencers for your business

Say the product you’re selling is luxury suitcases. You would naturally want to reach out to travel bloggers and writers, and other influencers who travel frequently (e.g. fashion bloggers, models, and celebrities).

It’s vital you pick an influencer who is in your niche or has an audience that is made up of your target customer.

You also need to get clear on what your goals are for each campaign you create:

  • How much will you spend
  • How long will the campaign last?
  • How many posts do you want for this particular campaign?
  • Which platform(s) do you want to use?
  • How much revenue do you hope to generate?

The key here is to set realistic, but very specific goals for each campaign.

Once you’ve done this, you can select your influencers.

Here are a few key details you should begin to compile and compare when it comes to selecting an influencer:

  • Their background
  • Name and age bracket
  • Social media platform numbers (look for engagement level too)
Start using influencer marketing tools

The two biggest challenges most businesses face when it comes to influencer marketing are:

  1. Finding relevant influencers
  2. Managing those relationships

Many businesses will currently reach out to and engage with potential influencers directly through social platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

They’ll usually have a back and forth about a partnership, negotiate a price, payment will be sent, and then the influencer will create a post and share it with their audience.

Over time, this becomes hard to manage and keep track of.

That’s why there are now apps like Tapinfluence and Upfluence, which help businesses find influencers and then manage workflows with each of those people.

Most businesses who are taking their influencer marketing efforts seriously will be using some kind of tool like this to help them. These are designed to save you time, and help you track performance, so you can see which of your campaigns are the best performers.

Best practices for creating content

There are a number of different ways to utilise influencers and expose your product to a new audience.

  1. Influencer shares your product with their audience

This is where the influencer creates a product or service review, a product placement shot, or creates a video of themselves using your product.

Chances are, the influencer will know what works best for their audience, and where you will get the most engagement. So trust them, and allow them to inject their personality into it.

This will help build a stronger partnership, and make them likely to want to partner with you again in the future.

  1. Influencer creates content for your account

When an influencer takes over your account, their audience will follow them to it.

They can go ‘live’ on your Facebook or Instagram platforms, or create posts using your product which is then sent to you to post on your account in your own time.

  1. Join together and create a competition

This is a great way to build a stronger relationship with the influencer, and bring a lot of engagement to your account.

This might be done on either one of your accounts, or both to create an even bigger audience.

Create value

The whole point of using an influencer is you’re able to capitalise on their personality, and current lifestyle, which their audience has already bought into.

So, if you’re able to show your product in a way that highlights the benefits in their life, without it looking like an ad, you’re likely to see much better results.

After all, no one likes the feeling of knowing they’re being sold to.

A piece of great content will always create some kind of emotion in the audience, whether that’s entertainment, education, or something else.

So get clear on the story you want to tell with your offering. How can you tell it in a fun and creative way that’s going to capture people’s attention?

Measure your ROI

At the end of the day, businesses engage in influencer marketing to increase sales and generate more revenue. If you’re not seeing results, it’s your precious money going down the drain.

So how do you make sure you avoid this?

As we mentioned briefly earlier, there are tools you can use to track campaign metrics. It’s also vital you’re using UTM parameters (tags you add to a URL, which is tracked when that link is clicked on) so that you can track the specific actions of all visitors that are driven by the influencer to your site.

Some businesses also choose to give each influencer their own promo code which they share with their audience and are then able to track exact revenue figures to each influencer.

This will help you to see what’s not working, and what is so that you can make adjustments to your strategy in the future.

Focus on building real relationships with influencers

Influencer marketing is continuing to grow at a fast pace, so there’s no better time than now to start planning your strategy and building your team of influencers.

Businesses will see the best results by building real, long-term relationships with the influencers they work with. Because these are the people who are likely to be loyal to your brand and promote you with a more authentic enthusiasm, which will naturally be felt by their audience.

What results have you seen from your influencer marketing efforts so far?

Let us know in the comments below!

Are We Using Social Media to its Full Potential?

There’s no question that marketing has shifted into the digital along with everything else. While most of us can accept that, there’s still a certain stigma attached to bringing up platforms like Facebook and Twitter in a marketing meeting.

Make no mistake, to disregard social media as a legitimate source of marketing for our businesses is a huge mistake. Marketing is all about promoting our products where the attention is – and the attention is all on these platforms, so why wouldn’t we take them seriously?

The fact that other businesses dismiss them is to our advantage. Let them waste their money working with obsolete marketing strategies and ignoring better ones. Meanwhile, we can reap the rewards simply by paying attention to what works.

Why is Social Media the Way to Go?

Word of mouth has always had an impact on businesses. Whether a customer has a great experience or a terrible one, we know that a dozen people close to them are going to hear about it.

If that’s true, imagine the impact when sharing an experience through platforms like Facebook or Twitter. These comments, photos, or videos have the potential to reach limitless numbers of eyes and ears, which means they can’t be ignored. The worst thing we can do is leave it out of our control.

Platforms like Facebook give businesses an opportunity to connect with the consumer like never before. This is great news because we can use this means of communication to bring in even more customers.

Here’s how to use social media to its full potential . . .

Develop a Following

We’ve created our Twitter account, or our Facebook page, or our Instagram profile, now what?

First things first, we need a following – fans who eagerly await our new promotions. After all, what’s the purpose of sharing our current deals, events, or product changes if there’s no audience to see it?

Lucky for us, we already have fans; customers walk into our business every day! What we need to do is entice these customers to follow us online or subscribe.

We could, for instance, offer an incentive to our customers – “Get 15% off any product by following our [Facebook] page!”

It’s important to invite our employees to follow us, too. An employee who takes a selfie in their uniform and asks their friends to come visit them that night is free marketing. They’re also generally the first ones to share, like, or comment on our posts or to promote an exciting new product.

What we don’t want to do, however, is pressure our employees to market for us. This will lead to resentment and is likely to hurt our reputation.

Don’t Just Promote!

A big mistake businesses make when jumping to social media is constantly promoting themselves. They forget the “social” in social media and instead focus on jamming their deals down people’s throats.

By consistently promoting, people will tire of us and simply unfollow our pages. If that happens, we disappear.

Marketing with social media is a new game and staying relevant is the goal. To increase our customers and our sales, we must start by getting noticed and maintaining that interest. Many of these platforms like Facebook have algorithms which increase the rankings for posts with more likes, comments, and shares. Staying high on this ladder means we’ll be seen more often and by more people.

Thus, engagement with our fans is everything. The secret is to develop a presence on these platforms that our fans can become familiar with.

The Key to Engagement

While posting about promotions, product changes, and events is essential to our business, it should play only a small role in our social media marketing. So, if not endless promoting, what should we be posting?

How about introducing a new member of our team or sharing a favorite quote? We could upload a photo of our employees hard at work, or an Instagram story of the behind-the-scenes activities. Thank employees by name for their hard work or upload a video from the last work party where they embarrassed themselves in a chicken wing contest – the possibilities are endless.

But more than that, it’s about engaging with the community. This means posting a supportive message for our city’s sports team, wishing people a happy holiday, or warning them of the incoming storm.

How else can we engage? By replying to people’s comments on our posts and having real conversations with them.

Ultimately, we want to develop a personality – that’s what social media is all about! Every now and then, we can mention a promotion or a special event to get people through our doors, but we want to keep the focus on connecting with our fans.

How much should we post? We don’t want to take over anyone’s newsfeed, but we do want to keep their attention. In general, talking to our followers should be a daily thing.

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Utilizing social media as a marketing strategy is not just essential, it’s a no-brainer. With it, there’s no middleman between us and our customers and it costs nothing to maintain. It’s also the most effective way to keep consumer attention.

People aren’t just fast forwarding commercials on their TiVo anymore; they’re watching shows on their smartphones through their various apps. They’re muting and skipping ahead after five seconds of YouTube advertising and scrolling past the annoying sponsor ads on their newsfeeds.

We must keep ourselves educated and avoid falling into the trap of, “I can’t keep up with all this stuff anymore!” This attitude hurts business owners who are trying to stay relevant, today. If we don’t understand or pay attention to the modern consumer, how can we expect them to listen to what we have to say?

Read This if you Want to Stay Ahead in the Marketing Game

Nothing is more depressing than seeing a dip in the sales chart or having five or six servers on with no activity whatsoever. We want our business booming!

We must promote ourselves if we want those phones to ring. If we aren’t marketing, we aren’t bringing in enough customers.

This can be a bit daunting, sure. A lot of us might be thinking, “My focus is on running an efficient business . . . Now I need to learn to advertise?”

The great news is that it doesn’t take much to stay ahead of the crowd. Some businesses aren’t doing it at all and most that are doing it are doing it wrong.

In a world where everyone is nose-deep into their smartphones, old-school marketing tactics like TV commercials, newspaper and magazine ads, even signs in windows or giant banners on the highways are obsolete. The world has shifted to the digital age and we must be willing to follow the trends.

Without learning to market online, our business is bound to fall behind. Here are six methods of digital marketing to keep us ahead of the game.

Personal Website

Ever tried to search for a local business and found nothing but Google Maps coordinates and a phone number? It’s almost as surprising as it is frustrating. Our website is where we represent ourselves online. It’s where people go to find out about our products and services.

Of course, on its own, a website is not a marketing tool that will bring massive amounts of customers in, but it is our foundation in this new digital reality and the place where our marketing strategies will lead them.

We might try, for example, vlogs or blogs as a form of free content to drive traffic to our website. Keeping a focus on SEO will keep our rankings high so that it’s more likely our website will show on the first page results of Google.

Pay-Per-Clicks

Just like it is with our business, no one’s going to enter our website if they don’t know about it. PPC advertising is a great way to get our business noticed – every time someone clicks on one of these ads such as with Google AdWords or Facebook Ads, they will be brought to our site.

PPC advertisements can often be filtered so that our ads only show up for certain demographics, locations, and times. We may pay for the clicks, but the price is worth spreading the word and getting more people interested.

Social Media Platforms

Even if we don’t like platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, we must respect them as an incredible means of communication between us and our customers. Since marketing is all about putting our products where the attention is, these platforms are a game changer for us.

Having a Facebook profile, for example, is just as essential as having a website. But, it’s important to realize that merely having one is not marketing – it’s just the beginning.

To utilize it effectively, we want to engage with fans on a regular basis – posting daily and gathering likes, shares, and followers so that our videos, comments, and promotions are ranked higher and seen by more people. And replying to our fans is a must – even celebrities like Taylor Swift reply to their fans!

Email

How great would it be to send out a newsletter whenever we have special events, product or service changes, or promotions? With free services like MailChimp and AWeber, we can essentially collect a list of email addresses and send out information whenever we want.

The key to email marketing is to entice people somehow to subscribe:

“Subscribe to our email list to stay updated – and receive 15% off!”

Once we have our subscribers, we have our audience.

Mobile Marketing

Everyone has a phone and nearly all of us check our texts as soon as we feel the buzz. Thus, mobile marketing is by far the quickest means to reach customers directly and the cost is next to nothing.

While it’s useful for making bookings, purchases, and tracking our deliveries, it’s also a great way to market for time-sensitive promotions that we want our customers to know about immediately.

Like email and social networking, the key is gathering a list – this time in the form of phone numbers.

Apps

Apps like Google Maps and Yelp have been around for a while now and having our business listed ensures we are easy to find and gives us an opportunity to respond to reviews from customers. We should be checking these apps regularly because we want to be replying to all comments, negative or not.

Some apps may lose traction while others may rise in popularity. Regardless, marketing is all about testing different strategies and measuring the ROI. Apps are here to stay and by putting effort into them, we are promoting ourselves without spending a dime.

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The question isn’t whether we should market or not; marketing is a must. We just need to market properly – in the areas where people are paying attention. Those areas are all online and it’s not difficult to stand out.

Many businesses are stuck in the dark ages when it comes to promoting themselves and even those that have shifted to digital marketing are not doing it properly. This gives us an advantage!

The game has changed and it’s an absolute necessity to learn how all of this works so that we can stay ahead of our competitors, fill those