As with any strategy, influencer marketing has its fair share of pros and cons. But, research shows that businesses that implemented an influencer campaign in 2018 experienced a 520% increase in ROI. That sounds like a pretty good deal.
Meanwhile, with the growing consumer demand for authenticity and transparency, statistics also reveal that nearly half of consumers look for product recommendations in the form of a vlog, social media post or blog from influencers before actually purchasing anything.
Influencers’ effects on consumers’ buying habits have prompted many brands and marketers to take notice.
But what exactly is an influencer?
What is an Influencer?
In a nutshell, influencers are socially savvy individuals who have amassed an online following due to their expertise in their respective niches, and the relatable content they post online.
An influencer can be anyone, from an industry leader on LinkedIn to a YouTube vlogger, or beauty influencer on Instagram. They regularly share their lives with their loyal followers, and are famous for generating a great level of engagement online.
Their relevance, authenticity, and relatability have attracted brands to work with them. But developing an influencer campaign can be quite challenging. It comes with its fair share of bumps in the road. One of these is fake followers.
Luckily, thanks to readily available online tools and software, marketers are now finding it easier to check the authenticity of their prospects before reaching out for a collaboration.
Influencer Marketing Lead Generation
In terms of how to get leads online, the pivotal role of an influencer is to convert interested online users into buying customers. And this role is not one to be taken lightly.
An interesting statistical report revealed that influencer marketing generates 11 times more return on investment than conventional methods of marketing like TV ads, billboards, and so on.
When executed properly, influencer marketing has the potential to enhance brand credibility, which can result in skyrocketing sales.
But before taking the leap and launching an influencer marketing campaign with generating leads as your end goal, here are a few tips to keep in mind.
1. Keep Track of Your Target Audience’s Purchasing Habits
Your main goal is lead generation.
As a marketer or business owner, here are some of the factors that you should take into account in order to attract more customers:
- The platform your target audience spends most of their time on – It can’t be stressed enough how crucial it is to determine the digital channel your prospects use on a regular basis. If you are a B2B that mostly targets professionals, placing your campaign on LinkedIn and Facebook is your safest bet. Instagram, on the other hand, is mostly populated by the younger demographic, which is why it’s the preferred platform of many travel, skincare and beauty influencers.
- Their online activities – Technology is paving the way for a more advanced method of monitoring your potential customers’ online spending habits. AI integration, for instance, is commonly used by businesses to collect and analyze data, like a consumer’s purchasing history and website clicks, to make informed business decisions.
- The influencers that your potential customers follow – For example, let’s say your target audience members mostly follow YouTube vloggers who share their day-to-day activities. You will, more or less, know what your influencer marketing campaign should focus on. Think of ways to start collaborating with an influencer who aligns with your brand’s objectives, which brings us to the next topic.
2. Work With Relevant Influencers
Once you’ve established your end goals and gathered crucial information about your target audience’s purchasing habits and online activities, make a list of potential influencers you want to partner with.
You should then narrow down your choices to those who are best suited to represent your brand. These influencers should:
- Have a distinct, authentic style and network of followers that align with your brand’s message. If you’re a beauty brand that is looking to target teenage girls, collaborating with an Instagram influencer is your safest option as the popular social network has a high concentration of teens and young adults.
- Help boost brand integrity. The influencer should be authentic enough to attract discerning potential customers who are after quality and transparency.
- Have real followers. Reliable online tools and software are used by marketers to check the follower/following ratio of the influencer. You don’t want to end up working with a so-called influencer who engages in fraudulent activities like buying fake followers and engagement.
- Deliver Excellent Engagement. One the latest influencer marketing trends is working with nano- or micro-influencers who have fewer followers than celebrities and macro-influencers, but generate a higher level of engagement activities. A massive follower count doesn’t necessarily translates to better engagement. So make sure to monitor how the influencer interacts with his or her followers before reaching out for a collaboration.
3. Provide Sufficient Creative Freedom to your Influencers
Regardless of whether you’re after increasing brand awareness or enhancing lead generation, it is imperative to build a solid, collaborative relationship with your influencers to be able to produce a win-win outcome.
So start by:
- Reaching out to the potential influencer via email or personal message. You can also start by interacting with the influencer by commenting on his or her post before taking the leap and sending a personal message.
- Be very clear about the campaign specifics and allocated budget. Be precise about what type of content you want to publish. Whether it’ll be a sponsored blog post or a product giveaway, you should provide every detail that needs to be included in the post like hashtags, call to actions, and so on.
- Let the influencer know about what you want to achieve as a brand, which, in this case, is lead generation. Exchange ideas on how to strategically produce and place content that’ll yield good results in terms of driving leads online.
- Lastly, encourage content co-creation without asking them to lose their distinct tone. The reason why influencers gain such huge followings is because of their unique style of delivering high-quality content. With the demand for authentic content, interfering with their creativity can actually do more harm than good as the followers can detect if the post looks forced and unnatural.
4. Plan a Regular Distribution of the Content
In order to avoid pitfalls and yield actual results when implementing your influencer campaign, carefully plan the content distribution with the influencer and the rest of your team.
Discuss when to post, what type of digital platform to post on, and how regularly you should post. You should also take into account the channel where your target audience spend most of their time and when they are most active on the platform.
Present your content well enough to get more people to notice and drive them to interact. This increases the chance of turning onlookers or regular followers into buying customers. For example, placing an ad on Twitter with a relevant hashtag that’s currently trending on the platform has a good chance of garnering more likes and shares.
Here are a few other examples of optimized content that will get more eyes on your brand:
- Instagram Story Q&A – This is a great way to boost engagement on the platform. Brands and influencers use this strategy to reach a wider audience as even non-followers can take part in this fun yet creative way of interacting with potential customers.
- Facebook Live – Plan ahead and make sure the influencer knows everything there is to know about the brand’s product or service before going on a live video, so he or she will be better equipped to answer real-time questions from the audience.
- YouTube Vlog – The content may come in a form of product testimonials or how-tos. Keep in mind that you should produce high-quality videos and include relevant hashtags to increase the searchability of the video content.
5. Measure the Success of Your Influencer Marketing Campaign
Has the traffic on your business website improved? Are the influencers’ posts garnering the ideal number of likes and shares? Monitor if the influencer marketing campaign has helped your brand generate more leads since its launch.
Keep track of the reach and conversions. To do this, closely monitor if there’s a significant increase in engagement, follower count, website traffic, subscriptions, and likes and shares on major platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. In addition, compare your sales before the launch of the influencer campaign to the numbers during and after the launch.
If you’re not getting the results you want, keep an open mind and reassess the situation to make better-informed marketing decisions. It surely helps to gain insight from customer feedback or the followers’ reactions to the campaign. Continue having a meaningful, collaborative partnership with the influencer and identify the areas that need improvement.
Using influencer marketing to drive more leads requires careful planning and execution. Establishing a healthy relationship with the influencer is a great step to ensure that your collaborative efforts will not go to waste.
Although there’s really no guarantee that your marketing strategy will achieve success, focusing on steady growth, staying aware of and quickly adapting to the latest trends, and learning how to recover from any setbacks will provide added benefits to your influencer marketing campaign.