Influencer marketing has become one of the most effective ways for marketers to build a brand and connect with potential customers. One study found that nearly 95% of marketers who employed an influencer marketing strategy found it to be effective. Another study found that for every dollar invested in an influencer marketing program, marketers saw a return of over $6 in revenue.
But because influencer marketing is a relatively new strategy, it can be difficult to know how to properly collaborate with potential influencers. Here are 7 tips for engaging with influencers appropriately in order to begin a successful collaboration.
1. Have a measurable goal in mind.
It is far easier to know whether your influencer strategy is working if you have a measurable goal in mind. Using an Instagram analytics platform, you and your team should create a goal that can be measured in some way. This goal should be related to overarching business and marketing goals, to ensure that the strategy is aligned with what is best for the organization.
Some metrics to consider include follower engagement, follower growth, visits generated by Instagram and revenue generated from Instagram.
2. Understand your audience by using personas.
A marketing persona provides marketing teams with a quick way of referring to a specific type of ideal customer. Usually, personas are created by interviewing members of the target audience to understand the demographic. With this information on hand, it will be easier to understand what the target audience is interested in, and what type of influencer the target audience will find compelling.
If your organization already has marketing personas available, consider speaking with a few customers who fit the persona well to learn about how they use Instagram, and to understand what type of influencer would be most appealing to them.
3. Follow potential influencers to understand how they work.
There are thousands of influencers on Instagram. Each one will produce unique content that may or may not fit your brand or appeal to your target audience. Rather than simply relying on a portfolio of past work provided to you by an influencer, consider following the influencer on Instagram directly.
Monitor the kind of content they post, when they post and how they describe content using Instagram captions. After a few weeks of observation, you and your team can decide if the influencer in question is a good fit.
To better observe influencers, consider using an Instagram analytics tool. Some platforms allow users to monitor competitors to see things like post engagement and follower fluctuations. These features can also be used to monitor influencers you are thinking of collaborating with to understand how good they are at growing their own following.
4. Reach out to potential influencers via their preferred means of communication.
Many influencers include contact information in their Instagram bio. If the influencer in question does this, it is best to reach out to them via this avenue first. If you don’t hear back, consider finding the influencer on LinkedIn and send them an InMail message to grab their attention.
Other influencers prefer to be contacted via a contact form on their professional website. Typically, influencers will link to this form in their Instagram bio. If, for whatever reason, you are unable to connect with an influencer, you can always send them a direct message via the Instagram platform.
Remember that, as a potential client, it is best to opt for an influencer who is responsive to your initial inquiry. If they don’t reply quickly or positively, it could be a sign that they are inattentive to clients and collaborators.
5. Provide influencer candidates with a clear brief.
A clear influencer brief will help the influencer in question to create a more effective Instagram marketing campaign. By providing a clear brief you will also be helping yourself to gain more value from a collaboration.
A clear brief should include an explanation about your organization and your organization’s goals. It should also include a breakdown of any marketing personas your organization may have developed. Finally, it is a good idea to include Instagram content that fits the look and feel you are trying to evoke with a collaboration.
6. Ask for a preliminary strategy.
Before working with an influencer, it is important that the influencer first provide a preliminary strategy that includes a timeline of when content will be created and published.
This allows you and your team to evaluate the potential impact different candidates could have on various marketing goals. It also provides a framework for you to hold an influencer accountable when you begin working with him or her.
7. Set clear expectations and provide them with access to analytics
As was noted earlier, Instagram analytics are important because they provide performance insights that help you and your team understand what is and is not working. In order to help influencers be more effective, it is a good idea to provide influencers with access to a detailed third-party Instagram analytics platform like Owlmetrics.
Before providing access, be sure to ask influencers to sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) to ensure that company data remains private.
Influencer marketing can be a highly effective strategy that generates new revenue and increases brand awareness. To begin collaborating with an Instagram influencer, be sure to first have a clear goal and a clear persona in mind. Then, be sure to monitor potential influencers to understand whether or not they could be a good fit.
Reach out via their preferred means, and provide influencer candidates with a clear brief before starting any relationship. Once you’re working together, give influencers access to analytics to hold them accountable and to help them understand performance.