0:00:03.3 Jacalyn Holsted: Hello, I’m Jacalyn Holsted, and you are listening to On Point Conversations. In this podcast series, we share creative marketing content and branding strategies that help your business successfully navigate the new normal marketing environment.
0:00:33.1 JH: Last week, in my podcast at On Point Conversations, I talked about influencer marketing, and I talked about some general things regarding influencer marketing, how you might select an influencer, some of the things you should look for, and I got questions on that topic. So today, to answer those questions and to give some idea how you might launch your own successful influencer marketing program, I put together 10 steps that I’m going to go through today to help you evaluate whether you want to do an influencer marketing program, and then to determine how you best go about it. And then how do you get the best results? Influencer marketing programs are very, very popular, and that’s because our social media is becoming so cluttered and has been for some time, that companies find it easier and more beneficial to find an appropriate influencer who has a following already to promote their product.
0:01:28.4 JH: Influencer marketing at its base utilizes influencers to promote a product or service. It is working because the influencer already has their user base built for you. They have followers and those followers trust the influencer and they are looking to either buy your products or services or figure out how to use them in their own lives. Influencer marketing is not necessarily as easy as approaching an influencer and saying, I’m here, will you promote me? And you may have tried that already. If you did, you might find the influencer is ignoring your messages, unless you have a very good reason for them to contact you. In this podcast, I’m going to be talking about what those steps are. Step one, which I think is always important when you’re going into any kind of marketing program or strategy is to list the pros and cons.
0:02:28.8 JH: The advantages of an influencer marketing program are, you can quickly build trust because the influencer already has a trust level with their audience. It improves brand awareness quickly if you can get in with the right influencers and they promote your product. It adds to your own content strategy, so you can generate more content. It’s a very effective way to reach your target audience. It’s a very valuable way for your target audience to get information, and you can build winning partnerships. Now, there are cons. One, it’s not easy. Two, it costs money, whether you look at a budget of actual dollars or time, time equals money, you’re going to need a budget of some kind to do this type of program. Now you can, if you have the budget to hire an influencer agency to create your influencer marketing campaigns, strategy, research, and contact, and with the right agency, you save a lot of time.
0:03:29.8 JH: However, again, that’s a budget issue. You have less control over metrics; you can’t always determine the metricz and have your influencer give you all the metrics. In essence, you don’t own that relationship, the influencer owns the relationship to their followers, so you are borrowing that relationship and what you want to do in ways that you use your strategy is to build your email list, so somehow get those people to sign up for information about your products so that you can have those people on your own email list. Your email list is your goal, so you want to always make sure that you’re building that email list, because again, as I said, you don’t own this relationship and you don’t own these followers. Additionally, if you’re doing or wanting to do more traditional media placements, you would have another agency, so you would have an agency on top of that, or you would have it internally and those resources internal.
0:04:22.9 JH: Step two, I’d like you to determine your budget, what you’re willing or what you can spend on this project. You don’t know at this point who your influencers are going to be. You don’t know the cost, but you know how much you must spend, and that is a really important tool to have, because that way you can prevent yourself from trying to be over-sold and you can also prevent yourself from going way over budget. Step three, set up your goals for the influencer marketing program. Again, you’re not quite down to finessing it yet, because you don’t have your influencer in place yet or influencers, but you can develop your goals of what you’re trying to achieve with this program. Step four, find the right influencers. Now, I want to… Later in a step I’m going to talk about smaller influencers, larger influencers, but I’m going to bring that up here.
0:05:10.5 JH: When we talk about influencers, we’re not just talking about the celebrity influencer or the one who has a million followers or even 100,000 followers. You can look at markets and followers or you can look at these types of programs, influencers, who have smaller targeted audience, but they’re very receptive/ They’re communicating back and forth, they’re very proactive in what they’re doing, and their audiences are spurred to action, and those are good influencers to have also. Even if you find that they only have 10,000, 20,000, 30,000 followers, you can have several of those influencers, and that way you can even build up faster and more frequently you can be promoting your product. So, when you’re finding the right influencer, and this is a big step, you want to start with looking yourself. That means, first, I’d like you to determine what your niche is and who is relevant to your niche.
0:06:08.7 JH: What influencers do, communicate, and promote should be relevant to your niche and relevant to your business. They don’t necessarily have to be in the same market or the same types of things that you’re doing, but they very much are good in a partnership together. For example, a fitness influencer is compatible with the yoga studio or nutritional supplements, but they might not be as compatible, and I wouldn’t recommend it, to say a vegan or animal-friendly food products. Ultimately, it depends on the nature of the followers of the influencer, and that’s going to dictate whether that influencer is a perfect fit for your business. Secondly, access the influencer’s level of influence. And what I mean by that is, can they or are they spurring their audience to action? You want an influencer that’s able to encourage their market to take an action, to do something, because you’re not just putting this product out there to show it to them, you want some revenue produced, you want to see some sales, you want your product or service used and promoted.
0:07:20.4 JH: So, look at what influencers are doing If you have an influencer who’s basically just putting out content, but they’re not actually promoting any products or they’re not really getting their market into action, that’s probably not the person you want to work with. But look at people who do that. Also look at ways that they could incorporate your product and/or your service. What they’re doing. This does require some research, so therefore an agency is a good option if you have the money and the budget to do that. If you don’t, use things like the search engine, get on social media and watch who’s doing what. Look at all those influencers and watch them for a while, see what they’re doing. And then I would urge you to keep track of who you’re talking to and what you’re talking… Just in an Excel spreadsheet, because it does get to be kind of overwhelming when you start talking to a lot of different influences or you start watching more influencers.
0:08:28.2 JH: Now I’m going to talk about objectives, so here’s where you want to start with some objectives, because if you’ve moving ahead and you’ve looked and now you selected or at least you pared down the list of influencers that you’d like to work with, what are your objectives going to be for that influencer? So, you know more specifically, do you want more traffic? Do you want to increase your sales, do you want more brand expertise, do you want all three? Prioritize what you want, and as always with goals, make them measurable, determine how many sales you want to get, determine how much you want to see in this metric that you’re formulating, so that you have something to measure against.
0:09:07.6 JH: Now, sometimes I get asked, why do you need an objective? Well, an objective gives you direction, so it’ll be sending the path for you since you will then know where you’re going, you’ll know when you get there, or you’ll know when you’re not in the right track, so you’ll know when you need to make changes. And later I’m going to talk to you a little bit more about measuring results. Step six, have something worth sharing. Okay, you know now that you’ve selected or you’re during selecting an influencer or influencers that you want to work with, you think would be good for you, but you need to remember that what you’re providing them is value to them. What is your value to them and of value to their audience? What’s going to make it worthwhile for them to promote or talk about or use your product? One thing that people have done, I don’t necessarily agree with this, but you can do template-based email marketing and go out and put it out to a few influencers and see if you have anybody who is interested right away.
0:10:17.9 JH: I would rather that you develop your relationships with your influencers, or at least you start to communicate with them on their own social media channel. You start to engage with them, and then you start to see how and who they’re working with, whether they’re working through an agency, whether you can get a hold of them, who their staff is. So, what you’re trying to do is basically get in front of them with something, again, that’s of value to them, and worth sharing. And step seven is, be very creative in your approach. Influencers know their worth, they’re getting approached all the time, and that’s the reason why when they have thousands of followers, that they’re valuable to you. So, they know what makes their audience tick, and they know how to capture that attention. And because of this, you need to have a creative approach to win them over.
0:11:10.5 JH: You might collaborate with the influencer, you might discuss doing an online event with the influencer, you can give away your product or your service and do something along that line to promote to their followers. You might collaborative on this, a collaboration on the product. Knitting designers will often do this, in fact, very often, they will create a pattern and they will use a particular yarn that comes from a particular company or companies anyway, so they will have that yarn, and then they will then again, promote the online stores or the stores that have that yarn in place. So, they’re working all collaboratively together, and generally when you find that, where you get a knitting pattern and they’ve used a particular yarn, that yarn sells out fast.
0:12:00.8 JH: So, you can do this in other areas too, that’s just an example of how you might work together to collaborate on promoting your product. Another way is, you can hold influencer meet-ups, that kind of thing where you just need to treat them to a dinner and they get to meet or now we’re doing so many things on Zoom, maybe you’re meeting with them and talking, giving them a presentation on how you might work with them. But always keep in mind that they know they’re valuable and you know you’re valuable, but you need to provide them a reason to promote your product to their company or to their followers. Also keep in mind that there’s a trust level there, so when you do get an influencer that you’re able to fulfill on any orders, you fulfill quickly, you have good customer service. In other words, you make the influencer who has now promoted your product as a hero in their own followers’ lives.
0:13:00.4 JH: Step eight, follow up, follow up, follow up, follow up. And most business owners give this approach, “I’ve sent out an email and I’ve sent it to an influencer, and they didn’t respond, so they probably don’t want to talk to me. They’re too busy, they don’t really like what I have, they don’t really see the value.” That could be the reason, but probably it’s more that they’re super busy. And therefore, you don’t just contact them one time. So, go out of your way to extend an invitation to… Maybe provide them with product if you can, if you have a service that you can offer to them to try. So instead of saying, “Well, I didn’t get a reply,” try again, and keep that going, because it is a relationship. Once again, remember that they must trust you as much as you’re trusting them.
0:13:50.6 JH: Step nine, and I alluded to this a little while ago was, leverage those micro influencers. We tend to think of influencers as big… Somebody who has tons of followers. Those are going to be more expensive, those types of influencers are harder to get into. But meanwhile, there are those micro influencers, which means you’d have more than one, but they are people who may have 1000 to 100,000 followers. They’re thoroughly engaged, they’re small, but their audience is very interactive and really likes them and really trusts them, and they respond to the influencer’s requests to what they do. So, keep in mind that you can promote to those smaller influencers, and you can have a successful program doing that. In fact, you might even find that multiple micro influencer promotions are going to be more effective than doing one big promotion. And it also allows your brand much more exposure and more traffic, and therefore more sales.
0:14:56.6 JH: Step 10, and my last step is, measure the results. You always want to measure the results and you want to measure results as you go, so you don’t get to at the end of the program and say, “Oh, I wish I had done this,” or, “I wish I had done that.” And be sure to recap at the end of your programs, if you have an agency recap with them what went well, what didn’t go well, recap it with them, how it worked, how it might work better next time. So, it’s important to do this as a routine, and that means checking your results frequently. It’s been good to talk to you today. I hope that you’ve got something from this. If you have questions, be sure to go to my website, which is onpointthinking.com. Go to the contact page and you can put in whatever question you want there, I read those and answer them. And I look forward to connecting with you next week on my On Point Conversations podcast, where I will be talking a little bit more about influencer marketing and kind of wrapping this up but talking a little bit more about how you might extend your influencer marketing programs and some ideas of what other people are doing with those programs. Thanks for listening and have a great day.
0:16:07.3 JH: Thank you for listening, and I invite you to join me next week as we talk more about specific actions you can take to reach your own business goals. You can find my library of other inspiring podcasts like this one at onpointthinking.com. Again, thank you for listening. This is Jacalyn Holsted at One Point Conversations.