Influencer marketing is an incredibly effective way for you to market your product, even if you don’t have a budget to break the bank. You see, while many other forms of marketing and advertising have become a less effective one form of ‘marketing’ is still very effective and that is word of mouth.
That’s what you’re trying to tap into when you’re using influencer marketing. The people believe the influencer is telling them the truth about the online reputation of a brand and so they end up buying the products that influencer advertises.
The most interesting thing? Often it’s the smaller influencers who create the biggest impact, as their followers are often more engaged and are more likely to believe them. That is where you need to aim your influencer marketing, to begin with.
But what else do you need to do? Well:
1. Give them freedom
Do you know why influencers are influencers? Because people like them. For that reason, don’t try to impose a whole bunch of restrictions on them. Instead, give them the creative freedom to push your product as they feel their audience will appreciate it.
Yes, occasionally this might not work as well as your plan will, but on other occasions, it will work far better. And really, that’s what you’re aiming for – those spikes where a far bigger portion of the market is affected than on average.
What’s more, when you do give them the creative freedom to push your brand as they see fit, then even as their influence grows and their number of followers expand, they’re likely to stay with you. After all, who doesn’t like a client to that trusts them to do things the right way?
2. Don’t get ‘influenced’
Influencers are all about being bigger than life and convincing their audience that they’re awesome and fantastic. And that’s great for their audience. Don’t let them do the same thing to you, however. What do I mean with that? I mean, make sure that the influencer that you’re looking at is actually the right fit for your brand and that you’re not just chasing them because you’ve bought into their branding.
Often, people will think ‘I want Neil Patel because he’s sooo successful’ without looking at who actually reads Neil Patel. And so, they sink serious money into getting the man to represent their brand and find out he has absolutely no effect because Neil Patel’s audience is interested in marketing and they’re trying to sell cupcakes.
Don’t let that happen to you. When you’re considering an influencer make absolutely certain that they’re a good fit. Only in that way can be confident you’ll reach your intended audience.
3. Don’t get distracted by the follower count
The number of follows an influencer has is not what you’re interested in. Instead, what you want to know is how engaged their audience are. Why? Because if their audience isn’t engaged then it doesn’t matter how many followers they’ve got because on most social media platforms the vast majority will never see your product.
That’s because most social media platforms will only slow what they’re showcasing to a small segment of the influencer’s followers. Only when they like it, will they show it to more. And so, it is vitally important that the engagement rate is high, as only then can you be certain that their followers actually see your marketing.
As an extra bonus, influencers with fewer followers will be much cheaper.
4. The multi-influencer strategy
Yes, if you keep telling people how great your brand is then eventually they’ll listen. That’s called the mere exposure effect. There is another great way to have people quickly decide that they like your product, however, and that is to have many different people tell them how great it is.
After all, if one person tells you over and over again how great something is that might convince you some, but if a whole bunch of people that aren’t related tells you how great a product is, then you’re far more likely to believe them.
To achieve this, don’t aim at getting a really big name on board. Instead, focus on getting a bunch of smaller names with the same audience on board. Often, that will be cheaper and as they’ll continue to hit the same audience with information about how great your brand is, they’ll end up being far more convincing.
5. Be willing to negotiate
Always ask for a price reduction. Use all the strategies at your disposal to do so. For example, get them to put up multiple posts for a fraction of what one post would cost. They’ll often still bite because it means they’ll have a steady income for a long time.
Similarly, offer them deals on your product. Often, you can use your product as part of the sales strategy. As long as they’re being offered that product for less than they’d have to pay in the shop, they might very well be interested. And as that price is still higher than your production costs for that same product that’s a great way to save money.
Another strategy is the always useful ‘we’re also considering X’ where you name one of their biggest competitors ‘we’d prefer you, but they’ve quoted a price lower than yours, so unless you come down we might have to go with them’.
6. Be careful!
A lot of brands when they first start on the influencer train don’t create subtle posts but instead, ask for something that’s closer to an infomercial. The big problem with that, of course, is that the influencer’s followers will see straight through that strategy and your product won’t get bought.
Instead, like I said in the beginning, allow the influencer to make the shots about how they’re going to put the product into their posts organically, while only talking up one or two points (That they’d actually talk up – so if they’re fitness freaks they might talk about the high protein count of your power bar).
That’s going to be a far more effective strategy to attract the to the best websites than creating something obviously artificial that hits all the points that you want to be mentioned but doesn’t actually hit any of the trigger points that their audience care about.
7. Remember the micro influencer
Some people don’t really see themselves as influencers yet. They might have a few thousand people that follow them and be very actively engaged with them, but not yet realize that means they’ve actually got influence. Many such people might not even be aware that’s an option.
If you can approach these people and get them on board, these micro influencers will often cost you a fraction of what a professional influencer would cost you. Heck, sometimes you don’t even have to pay them but can offer them free samples of your product for them to ‘review’ and discuss on their site.
Alternatively, you can employ them for other ends (for example, you can get them to write articles for your blog, or take pictures for your website) and they’ll almost certainly talk that up in their own social media profile. That means you’re killing two birds with one stone.
These are great opportunities to market your product for a fraction of the cost as their audience will likely eat up what they’re saying. What’s more, if they’re growing more popular with their audience then you’ll be able to grow your outreach with them without having to pay them that much more.
Follow the numbers
Remember, whatever you do, you’ve got to follow the numbers and make sure that you’re tracking how much is coming in from where. If you don’t do that, then you won’t know which influencer to keep and which one to drop, which will not make your influencer marketing campaign all that effective.
So make sure that you give unique links to each influencer to push. In that way, if those links are followed then you’ll have an easy way to track which influencer is bringing you the most traffic.
Similarly, stagger when your influencers put up their posts so that it becomes possible for you to find out when the bumps in traffic and interest occur and thereby track which posts were the most effective in getting you attention.
And that, in a nutshell, is how you can influencer market for relatively little money. The biggest one is to make sure that you don’t get start struck and that you keep measuring every single decision you make so that you’re not flying blind.
Another important thing to remember is that though influencer marketing is certainly an effective strategy that does not mean that it should be your only marketing campaign. As I mentioned earlier people are more likely to believe information that comes to them from multiple sources. Other marketing campaigns are good sources of such information. So don’t neglect them. Have a blog, have a website and have advertisements too. For only in that way can you be sure that you’re covering all your bases.
About the Author:
Janet Anthony is a blogger from Kansas City who has been writing professionally for five years now. Her motto is:
“What you do today can improve all your tomorrows”.