Step by step process to find the right influencer for your brand.
After studying some of the most successful e-commerce Instagram marketing campaigns I learned that most of them revolve around influencer marketing. Finding the right influencer for your niche is a great way to boost your reach and increase your content engagement.
In this post, I’ll show you the benefits of using Instagram influencers to market your content. I will teach you how to identify the best influencers for your specific brand and develop a successful outreach strategy, so that you can use their credibility and reach to drive more traffic to your Instagram page and convert more customers.
Photo b Kyaw Tun
What is an influencer?
Instagram influencers are thought leaders, niche experts, or brand promoters who are trusted and well-known by your target audience.
The power of Instagram influencers to bring attention to a brand is undeniable; they have played a key role in many brands’ successful Instagram campaigns, especially in the realm of content marketing.
But before diving into the excitement of selecting and contacting your potential influencers, it’s important that you organize yourself and set some goals.
Photo by Estée Janssens
Setting your influencer marketing goals
There’s no doubt that influencer marketing should be a part of your Instagram marketing strategy. Harnessing the reputation and authority of key influencers will enhance your content marketing, but it’s up to you to first do the leg-work required to set clear objectives so that you can adequately steer your influencers toward those goals.
I always recommend setting SMART goals--in other words, goals that are:
- Realistic, and
There are a few main ways that Instagram influencers can help you achieve these goals. They can:
- Create unique content for your page;
- Drive traffic to your page;
- Bring trust and awareness to your brand; and/or
- Help you break into new markets.
Setting SMART goals will help you clearly identify what you hope to gain through influencer marketing. This clarity is important because it will help you provide your influencers with a solid idea of the nature of your request; i.e. what you want, how you want it, and within what timeframe.
For instance, if you want your influencer to share a video on your website, you first need to describe your customers, their areas of interest, and the tone and style of your site.
In the same vein, if you are asking an influencer to share your original content, you will need to direct them toward the appropriate images, messages, and incentive for sharing this content.
Unfortunately, influencer marketing comes at a price, so it’s important to convey to your influencers how they will benefit from collaborating with you.
Whatever your objective, it is important that you keep it in mind when communicating your needs to your influencer.
By having a clearly-defined goal, you will be better-prepared to direct your influencer to help you achieve it.
Photo by Štefan Štefančík
Choosing the right influencers for your brand
To understand which influencers are most capable of achieving your marketing goals, you need to first consider the needs, motivations, and aspirations of your customers and followers.
By cultivating a deeper understanding of the psyche of your customer base, you can more easily determine who influences them, and how.
Truly influential figures are not merely popular; rather, they are knowledgeable, authentic, and trusted members of niche communities.
To determine whether an influencer is a good fit for your brand, begin by looking for substantial overlap between the influencer’s community and your target audience. Consider your followers, with respect to these questions:
- Whose voice are they listening to within your industry?
- Who provides them with the information that helps them make decisions?
- Who do they rely on for answers to questions?
- Who controls the discussions on the sites or apps where they make purchases?
One way to find potential influencers is to use a tool such as Influencer DB. This tool will help you find influencers based on three criteria: reach; resonance; and relevance.
- Reach: Reach is the size of an influencer’s audience. You can measure an influencer’s reach by counting the number of email subscribers, Instagram followers, or blog visitors.
- Resonance: This is a measure of the interactions an influencer’s content receives. Think: high numbers of likes, comments, re-tweets, and link-backs.
- Relevance: Relevance refers to the influencer’s engagement with a specific topic or industry. Highly relevant influencers will use important industry buzzwords frequently, at specific times, and placed within specific sections of their content to attract new traffic and drive sales.
Influencer DB also provides the option to narrow your search by location, gender, or language, which can help you connect with specific segments of your target audience.
Now that we’ve discussed how to choose the influencers that are most likely to help you achieve your goal, it’s time to dive into the practicalities of how to actually approach and connect with them.
Photo by Lacie Slezak
Contacting influencers and getting a response from them
Instagram influencers are a hot commodity. Follow these best practices to improve your influencer outreach strategy and boost your chances of getting a response.
Don’t be a stranger.
In the e-world, just as in the real world, people are more likely to do favors for their friends. Once you’ve identified your ideal influencers, make an effort to engage with them.
Read their content, comment on their content, retweet them, and begin building a relationship. Once you’ve formed an authentic relationship, collaboration will come more naturally
Perfect your pitch.
The best pitches are personal. Find ways to communicate your brand in a way that is welcoming to your influencer and relevant to his or her interests and passions.
Show that you’ve done your research, and highlight the ways that your influencer’s audience will benefit from your brand or product.
Finally, wrap up with a memorable and personal story that will stick in your influencer’s mind and add charm to your pitch.
Highlight the value you offer.
Because this is a collaboration, it is important to underline the value you offer your influencer. Ask your influencer how you can help them.
Can you offer access to a product or service that is important to your influencer? Can you provide access to a diverse audience? What value does your brand offer to your influencer’s audience?
Remove the obstacles.
Make it easy for your influencer to communicate with you and fulfill your request. Be precise about what you need, and do the tedious work yourself.
For example, create basic templates if you already have an idea of how you want your content presented, or provide easy access to the images or posts you want to emulate.Once you’ve selected and connected with your influencer, it is time to set the terms of your collaboration agreement.
Photo by rawpixel.com
How to create your collaboration structure
Now that you’ve selected the influencers you’re interested in partnering with and followed the best practices for contacting them, the next step is negotiating a collaboration structure. When coming to this agreement, consider the following:
- Output: What are you asking your influencer to produce? Be specific. For example, you want two pieces of content, one that will be published on your influencer’s blog with a mention and a backlink, and one that you plan to post yourself, at an undetermined time in the future.
- Timeframe: When do you need it by? Be clear and frank about the deadline. Explain the importance of respecting this deadline and make sure your influencer has no conflicts that would prevent him from meeting it.
- Payment: What will you pay in exchange for this service? As discussed above, the use of an influencer comes with a fee. Sometimes influencers work for part-fee/part-exchange (of a service, product, or experience), but price negotiation will be critical. Remember during this negotiation that you’re actually paying for a few services, including content creation, rights to use, and access to a wide audience.
- Content Usage: What rights do you have to this content? Typically, influencers keep ownership rights to the content they create, but it’s common for a brand to obtain two-year full content usage rights.
- Sponsored Hashtags: Should your influencer tag the content with a sponsored hashtag? This is a murky area, as the regulations concerning sponsored content are constantly changing, and are different from country to country. For that reason, it’s better to play it safe and request that your influencer use the hashtag #spon or #ad. Don’t worry--the inclusion of these tags will not affect how your influencer’s followers interact with the post.
Working with influencers has become a key element of successful content marketing. And now you understand not only the importance of setting clear and measurable goals for your influencer marketing plan, but also the best strategies for contacting and negotiating with your influencers, in order to meet those goals.
With these best practices in mind, as well as the help of some handy influencer marketing tools, you have all you need to create truly engaging marketing campaigns for your brand.
Hi, I’m Giles Thomas. Co-founder of RisePro.co, the place where ecommerce entrepreneurs & businesses go to learn how to increase conversions & profits. I’m also the founder of ecommerce growth agency Whole Design Studios. I’m a head marketing mentor at the Google Launchpad Accelerator & Google Marketing Expert.