How to Leverage Influencers in Your Marketing Strategy

Gael Breton

Founder & Chief Editor at @authorityhacker

It doesn’t matter if your business is new or old, a good part of your budget is going to go to marketing. A famous chef was once asked, “Why do you keep pushing the bar when you’re already at the top?”

He replied, “You’re only as good as your last plate.”

The same can be said for business. It doesn’t matter what you do, there is always going to be competition and only one top spot that everyone is vying for. 

If you want to increase brand awareness, keep sales rolling in, and make your conversion rate explode, consider adding some influencer marketing into the mix.

What Kind of Influencer Should You Use?

Influencers are people who have lots of followers on social media, a blog, or YouTube. They may be famous. They may be really hard workers that build up their channels by grinding out content.

Most of them are incredibly savvy business people and some are going to be more than willing to help your business grow. For a price. 

Influencers are broken up into five different categories:

  • Nano-influencers (1,000-10,000 followers)
  • Micro-influencers (10,001-50,000 followers)
  • Mid-tier influencers (50,001-500,000 followers)
  • Macro-influencers (500,001-1,000,000 followers)
  • Mega-influencers (1,000,001 plus followers)

Let’s give some examples of who you will find in these categories. 

The Nano-influencer: They’re just starting out. Most of their followers are real-life friends and family. Because of this, their authority is high despite having a smaller following. 

You’re not going to lie to friends and family about products, are you? 

This makes nano-influencers some of the most powerful influencers. On top of this, they’ll usually help you out for a relatively cheap price.

The Micro-influencer: This influencer is starting to build out their network. They’ve been in the game for a while and though they’re still relatively new, they have pull and quite a few followers that listen to what they have to say.

This level of influencer is figuring out how they want to make money. They likely know their audience has value but they’re still small enough to offer you a decent deal.

Mid-tier-influencers and Marco-influencers: These people have perfected the art of growing their brand. They’ve likely been influencers for several years, maybe as long as a decade, and they have their act together. Hitting up this market is going to be costly.

You shouldn’t go after this market until you have a really good idea of what you’re doing. Once you’ve done some A/B testing and tracked your process over a year or two, you’ll be ready for this level.

Mega-influencers: Their last name is probably Kardashian. It’s likely this tier of influencer is going to be out of your reach. Especially if you’re a start-up or have limited funds.

How to Leverage Influencers in your Marketing Strategy

We’re going to focus on getting access to nano, micro, and the lower end of the mid-tier influencers. This is where you’re going to get the most bang for your buck.

You want to spend the majority of your time finding the right influencer for your promotional programs. This means your time will be spent identifying these influencers and reaching out to them.

Step 1 – Identification

The first thing you need to do is find the right influencers. These are typically going to be social media influencers but can be bloggers and YouTubers as well.

Trying to partner with influencers who have nothing to do with your niche is a costly mistake. Instead, find the folks out there that are already promoting goods and services that are similar to yours.

Better yet, find nano and micro-influencers who aren’t promoting anything yet. Maybe they don’t know how this process works. Or maybe they’ve been getting spammed with junk offers. Or maybe they’re terrified of being outright scammed.

Go back to your buyer persona. Where do these people hang out online?

As an example, if you’re in the gaming or tech field, Twitch is probably an obvious choice. If you’re looking to target stay-at-home moms, then YouTube or bloggers are going to be the influencers you want. Health and wellness niches do well on Instagram.

Once you know where to go, use search terms to help identify potential influencers. The most time-consuming part is going to be rifling through their content to see if they are a good fit for your brand.

Not every influencer is going to be interested in partnering with you. And this is fine. If you’re just getting started with using influencers in your marketing strategy, you probably want to test the waters a bit.

Step 2 – Outreach

A lot of marketers out there are probably wondering how to reach out to influencers or why they haven’t had any success with their efforts.

Sure. Outreach matters, but how you reach out matters more. The word of today is connect. You need to connect with the influencers to create a relationship and then build upon it. 

Then they need to connect with their audience so their efforts to help your brand and increase your sales actually work.

Here are a few tips to connect with influencers, put your best foot forward, and build long-lasting relationships with.

Engage – If you want to know how to leverage influencers in your marketing strategies, you’ll need to know how to understand the importance of engagement. To have success, you’ll have to reach out and give before you take.

What do your chosen influencers want? Shout outs? Likes? Follows?

Answering this question is similar to building a buyer persona. Revisit this buyer persona to find out who is going to be a good fit for you.

If you’ve decided you want to work with a particular influencer, the next step is to visit their social platforms. Give them likes. Follow them. Leave comments. Remember, you’re in this for the long game.

As the days and weeks go by, continue to engage to see if they’re responsive. Once you think a relationship is possible, move on to the next step.

Work on a deal – When you think the influencer is ready, email or DM them. Explain who you are and why you want to partner with them. 

You can start with something like, “Hey X, I started following you a few weeks ago. I really enjoy your content and was wondering if you would be interested in working with my company? If so, we can talk about rates and what we can do for each other.”

Some influencers aren’t going to respond for reasons already covered. But some will. They’ll tell you what their rates are and either tell you what they can do for you or ask what they need to do.

Rates are not going to be cheap. However, if you work out a long-term deal, you can find yourself with a substantially better ROI.

As an example, a micro-influencer may charge $100 for a post. But if you ask for one a week for six months, maybe they’ll cut it down to $75 per post. Also, you want them to share the content on all of their social channels, not just their main platform.

If this $75 a week leads to $150 a week in increased sales, then it’s worth the effort.

Mention Influencers in your Own Content – When it comes to marketing, there needs to be a lot of back-scratching. If you want an influencer to work with you then you should help them. 

Use your own social channels and marketing skills to promote the influencer and their content. This includes content that has nothing to do with your brand.

However, this also works to your advantage. Mentioning influencers on your social sites and engaging with their audience will only make you look better to the influencer and their audience.

Step 3 – Come Up with and Implement your Strategy

Once you connect with your influencers and work out some rates, now it’s time to decide on what they’re going to do for your brand. Here are a few ideas on what influencers can offer their audience.

Reviews: This is one of the most popular methods influencers like to use to promote a product or brand. Bloggers and YouTubers love doing reviews on products they like. Firstly, they get paid. 

Secondly, this is content. No matter how good a blogger or YouTuber is, they all eventually run out of content ideas.

Third, and possibly why reviews are so viable, is people love to read them and watch videos on them. Review content is one of the most popular styles of posts for these content creators as well as their audience.

Product Placement: Product placement is when an influencer has a product in their content. This works well on Instagram and YouTube. How many times have you seen a can of Coke or Pepsi in a piece of content? Have you ever wondered if it was there on purpose?

There’s a chance it was placed in this content intentionally. People tend to purchase what they see.

If someone is constantly checking their Instagram feed and they continuously see popular and beautiful people drinking Coke, they’re more likely to buy that product over Pepsi the next time they visit the store.

Contests and Giveaways: If you want to double whammy potential customers and give influencers a reason to continuously promote your content, this is a great way to do it.

How does this work? 

The influencer says they’re going to give something away or host a contest with prizes. There are a couple of different ways to go about this.

First, you can provide your own products or services as prizes. To be eligible, the potential customers need to like and follow all of your social pages and maybe provide an email address. The influencer can pull a name out of a hat or similar method to announce the winner.

The second way you can pull this off is to provide the prizes for a giveaway or contest. The eligibility requirements can work the same way. The influencer mentions that you sponsored the content by providing the prizes.

If you want people to remember you, giving them something for free is a good way to start a relationship with them.

Create an Affiliate Program – Affiliate programs are a fantastic way to drive sales.

The best part is you don’t have to do nearly as much outreach with this method. The influencers can come to you.

This is how affiliate marketing works. You create a special link for each influencer. When their audience clicks on this link and makes a purchase, the influencer receives a commission. There is no additional cost to the customer.

This may not seem like a great deal but if you have a limited marketing budget, it can be fantastic. You don’t have to pay the influencer until they make a sale. And in a way, these influencers operate as independent contractors for your sales team.

All of the heavy lifting is done by them and your team can focus their efforts on other endeavors.

Step 4 – Track your Progress

Not every tactic is going to work for every business. A SaaS company and an affiliate marketer who focuses on profitable niches aren’t going to find success with the same methods.

Also, you should keep in mind that different audiences will respond differently to various tactics. You’ll have to do some manual testing to find out which methods work for which influencer and which product and service your business offers.

If you’ve built a proper long-term relationship with your influencers, just reach and tell them you want to try new things. Once again, this is great for them, as they get to create new content for their audience.

Content creators are always trying to think of new ideas to keep their audience on their toes. If they keep making the same stuff day in and day out, their audience will get bored and wander off.

How to Leverage Influencers in your Marketing Strategy – Wrapping It Up

Influencer marketing can be exactly what you need to help your business take off. Start with nano and micro-influencers to get the best return on your investment.

If you need help creating and tracking your strategies, look no further than HypeAuditor.

Check out this page to see all of the features HypeAuditor offers to help you create, track, and analyze your influencer marketing strategies. 

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