Influencer marketing is one of the most popularly chosen methods of marketing in this day and age. The market for influencer marketing continues to grow each year, rising from 6.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2019 to 13.8 billion in 2021. It’s no wonder why we see more and more brands engaging in this type of marketing every day – it works!

If your business or brand is new to the idea of implementing influencer marketing, it can seem like an overwhelming process. However, getting started is the most critical and foundational step to discovering what strategies work best for you. We’ve broken down the process of implementing an influencer marketing campaign into five concrete steps to guide you through the process. 

Define Your Niche.

First, and most importantly, discover and define your unique target audience. A niche is not simply defined by demographics but rather more specific qualities and characteristics your target audience share. Ask yourself, what does my customer value? What inspires and excites them? What makes them stand out?

Once you’ve defined your niche and have learned to understand them deeply, you will discover two things: what your campaign’s message should be and how to communicate this message to them in a way that they can identify with. In short, every aspect of your brand’s campaign should embody the unique characteristics of your audience.

Define Your Message and Goals.

Now that you’ve established your brand’s niche let’s discuss your message and goals for the overall campaign. The message of your campaign should be a product of your goals. Why is there a need for this campaign? In which department does your brand have room for growth? Most brands implement influencer marketing with the goals of spreading brand awareness and increasing sales. To meet these goals, which message would suit your brand and its audience best? 

Campaigns that have a particular direct or underlying message are, in our experience, the most effective in achieving goals.

Source Your Influencers.

Now you are ready to source the channel between your message and your niche: influencers. Sourcing can be cumbersome; however, it’s critical to put as much thought and effort into this step as possible.

Start with choosing the platform you see the best fit for your campaign and source influencers who are most active and relevant on that platform. Many great campaigns partner with influencers on more than one platform, but if you are just starting your influencer marketing journey, choosing one might be the best way to go. 

Next, you’ll need to make a list of criteria that influencers must meet before outreach occurs. Influencer criteria should relate back to your campaign message. Requirements can include demographics, values, beliefs, following, etc. 

For an example of a campaign-specific criteria list, take Markerly’s #HealthyTexas campaign. The message of #HealthyTexas was to educate and encourage Texas citizens to take safety measures against COVID-19. Before implementing this campaign, we needed to ensure the influencers we partnered with were:

  1. Authentic Texans
  2. Making lifestyle choices that aligned with government health guidelines
  3. Free of political agendas

When choosing your own criteria for influencers you partner with, think about which characteristics they should have in common to promote your brand and message authentically. 

Remember, trying to completely direct the way an influencer creates content for your brand is not natural or authentic.

Reach Out to Influencers.

Once you’ve sourced a good amount of influencers to potentially partner with, you’ll need to start reaching out to them. Influencers receive a massive amount of emails and requests to partner, so you’ll need to stand out from the crowd. The best way to do this is to reach out with the intention of building a relationship with them, not just a one-time partnership.

Building relationships with influencers is one of the most critical factors of an influencer marketing campaign. Not only does it make the partnership more enjoyable, but it also feeds into the authenticity aspect of your marketing. Ensuring that your influencers can fully trust and believe in your brand will hinder the best results. Building a relationship will make these influencers more likely to partner with you in the first place, and it will cause them to promote your brand authentically. We recommend not approaching them as a business opportunity but as a long-lasting professional relationship.

There are critical differences between reaching out to macro-influencers and micro-influencers. Many brands have found that micro-influencers produce more engagement and ROI. For more in-depth insight and tips on reaching out to micro-influencers, refer to our blog, How to Reach Out to Micro-Influencers on Social Media.

Review and Learn!

Once the campaign is finished, extensively review the results. What worked and what didn’t? Each influencer marketing campaign, and especially the first campaign, is a learning experience that gives concrete feedback and direction for next time. From campaigns, you’ll gain not only more profound insights into influencer marketing as a whole but your own brand as well.