Working with Influencers
Influencers are the royalty of social media. These self-created experts don’t just have their finger on the pulse, they are the pulse. Most Influencers won’t promote products that they don’t like, so even though they are paid by companies to promote products, their fans trust their recommendations.
There is an art to Influencer Marketing. This guide highlights the basics and is a great resource to reference when exploring working with Influencers.
How to Find Them
1. Do Your Reseach
Explore key search terms and hashtags in your niche on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter. Be sure to follow the Influencers who capture your interest. Make note of engagements, their brand and the quality of the content. Remember that the number of followers isn’t everything. What’s more important is that they fit you and your product, they engage with their audience and they post quality content.
Pro Tip: Reach Does Not Equal Influence
It’s not all about the number of followers. Some Influencers may have smaller reach, but they have a very dedicated, engaged base. It’s often the quality of the engagement between the Influencer and their followers that makes all the difference.
2. Use Influencer Search Tools
Using the Influencer search tools below, search for Influencers in your target subject. Be creative about the areas you consider. The Influencers you reach out to don’t necessarily have to be cannabis Influencers. In fact, some wellness Influencers have done an incredible job of showing the many wellness benefits of cannabis.
3. Create a List
Create a robust list of about 20 Influencers that you really like and keep track of who you reach out to in a spreadsheet.
How to Contact Them
As you can imagine, Influencers get tons of unsolicited emails. Building relationships with Influencers is key. Be patient. Sending them a flurry of emails is going to be a waste of everyone’s time.
1. Build Relationships
Follow them and/or subscribe to their channels. Write thoughtful, personal comments on their posts. Share their posts. This is a gesture of good faith (just be sure to tag them).
2. Send a Proposal
Once you’ve established a relationship with them, draft a mutually beneficial proposal for the Influencer and email them. Your proposal should contain the following items:
- A personal, authentic tone - Be sure to reference some of their work
- A brief, simple explanation of what you want from them and how your brand fits with their brand
- A clear, appealing offer (payment, product, giveaways, etc.)
- A quick and easy call to action - how should they reach out to you?
How to Work with Them
1. Be Creative
Beyond asking them to share pictures and testimonials about your blog, you can also invite them to sponsor events or new product rollouts. They can then report back to their fan base about your event and you as a brand. Another interesting tactic is to ask Influencers to host a contest or special giveaway.
2. Share Your Goals
Outline your goals with the Influencer at the beginning of the campaign and let them be your partner working towards those goals.
3. Invite Feedback
Be sure to invite their feedback and insight. These folks know the market and current trends better than anyone. It would be a shame to miss out on what insights they could offer.
How to Pay Them
While there isn’t a formal standard or pay structure for Influence Marketing, there are many ways to compensate Influencers.
1. Know Your Budget
Before you approach an Influencer, have a good idea of how much you’re willing to invest. This will help set the course for your Influencer Marketing.
2. Consider How You Want to Pay Your Influencer (and Be Flexible)
Of course, it is totally up to the Influencer how he or she prefers to be compensated, but it doesn’t hurt to offer options. There are many models of payment that you can use, and some Influencers have a preferred method.
3. Don’t Be Too Pushy or Sales-y
Influencers do not have to work with you. Be careful not to come across too sales-y or pushy when talking to the Influencer. Treat them like an equal partner and invite their ideas.
4. Keep Your Eye on ROI
Consider your return on your investment based on the following factors:
- how long the Influencer will run the campaign
- his or her average engagement rate
- his or her number of followers
- usage rights (can you use the photos in other channels, etc.)
How to Measure Success
1. Set Clear, Realistic Goals
Having clear, realistic goals is crucial to measure your success effectively. What exactly do you want to do? Do you want to increase sales by a certain percentage? Do you want to build your social media channels by a set amount? Whatever your goal, have it set in your mind from the beginning to the end of your Influencer campaign.
2. Capture the Total Cost of Your Investment
Include the cost of your time researching and engaging the Influencer, as well as time you spent working on content. Other costs to consider: cost of free products or samples shared with the Influencer.
3. Consider the Following Metrics
We share the following list with a caveat: these metrics are not a “one size fits all” solution. Tailor your metrics to your goals.
How did the Influencer engage with their audience and how did their audience engage with them? Followers can like posts, comment or re-post them. Not all engagements are equal. Lots of people like and comment on posts. But how many re-posted or shared the post? What were the comments like? Were they simply “nice post” or were they thoughtful comments sparking discussion? The more re-posts/shares, the better. By looking closely at the engagements, you can also determine the audience’s general sentiment to your product and the Influencer’s content. What resonated the most with the audience? How can we capture that again?
Mentions are simply a measure of how much people are talking about you. And in this business, the more people are talking about you, the better. How many @mentions have you received since the Influencer’s post was published?
Response to Your Call to Action
Fancy marketers use the term “conversion,” but this metric is all about seeing how effective a post or campaign was in encouraging your audience to follow through on your call to action. Whatever your call to action, have a clear idea in your mind how much each “follow through” is worth to you. How much are you willing to pay for each new email address or sale?
- Use Promo Code/No. of Times Promo Code is Used
- Tag #yourpromo/ No. of Tags
- Sign up for Our Mailing List/No. of Email Addresses Received
- Visit Our Website/ Traffic to Website
- Take Our Survey/ Form Completions
- Buy Now/Sales
How many people saw your Influencer’s post? Compare this to the number of your Influencer’s followers, as well as the number of impressions you typically receive. This will give you an idea of how successful the Influencer’s post was.
Growth of Your Channels
How many new followers did you receive on your social media channels? If you see a bump in followers after an Influencer post, that’s a good sign that the post generated new views and followers for you.
- Entrepreneur.com: 11 Common Mistakes You’re Making with Influencer Marketing
- Inc.com: 10 Tips for Working With Social Media Influencers
- DigiDay: Cheatsheet: How Brands Can Work with Influencers
- Foundr: An Insider’s Guide to Working with Influencers on Social Media
- The Mission Daily: The Ultimate Guide on How to Reach Influencers
- AdWeek: How to Determine Instagram Pricing for Influencer Marketing