This is the second blog in our series on Influencer Marketing. In our previous blog we discussed what influencer marketing is and how it can be beneficial to your business. In today’s blog we will discuss how Influencer Marketing can help get your business’ message out there and how to measure and analyze results. Enjoy!

Tell your boss that you would like to spend time cultivating a relationship with an influencer on social media, and she will likely roll her eyes.  But influencer marketing, whether executed by you, a virtual assistant, or your marketing team, is an increasingly important way to establish credibility online. It helps stimulate social conversations around brands and drives both online and in-store sales. Reliance on influencer marketing, however, is fairly new for small businesses and analytics to track success are often tricky and ill defined. Many social media networks do not even provide the most basic metrics for measuring the value and success of influencer marketing.

The Value of Influencer Marketing

Some businesses underestimate the value of influencer marketing because they don’t quantify the value of the results. However, you can think of influencer marketing as free digital advertising.  Digital advertising is usually sold by the number of impressions for your advertisement or cost per action (CPA), for example, the number of times somebody clicks on it.  So, forexample, using Twitter’s analytics, you can determine the potential reach of a Tweet, where “reach” includes users reached through retweets.  If an influencer retweets a post, you can estimate the potential impressions and, therefore, the value of the retweet.  Alternatively, if you are looking at CPA, you can use software like Google Analytics to identify the sources of incoming traffic from various sites and social media platforms.

Applying Influencer Marketing to Your Business

Identifying Influencers

Your selected influencers will depend on your company, brand, and target audience. Strong influencers, however, will typically have the same attributes that can help your with your marketing goals. These include:

  • Market Reach: This includes the number of people your influencer can interact and connect with.
  • Independence: If an influencer has a vested interest in promoting a particular point of view, service, product, or company, your target audience will likely be skeptical of their support for your brand.
  • Consistency: You want your influencer to be consistent in their interactions within their communities. Consistency is key to influencer impact. Strong influencers do not simply interact online once a month.
  • Expertise: Your influencer(s) should be knowledgeable in subject matters that pertain to your brand to appropriately influence buying decisions.

To identify strong and applicable influencers, look for activists and people who get involved in the topics they care about within their communities, business movements, political movements, charities, etc. Seek out people with connections. Some of the best influencers are those with a large social following. You’ll also want an influencer who is trustworthy. Without trust, an influencer’s role will have little to no impact. Finally, find trendsetters. They should be early adopters of markets and other trends. Specifically, try to find educators, teachers, coaches, and entertainers.

Engaging Influencers

Engaging influencers is about building a relationship with them. There are several ways to go about this, just be sure you interact with influencers appropriately. Mentioning someone out of the blue over a topic they have never posted about will come off as unsolicited spam.

  • Social Media: Interacting with influencers on social media is an easy and straightforward way to get their attention and build a rapport with them. On Twitter, you can retweet an influencer’s post or mention them in your own posts. Comment on or share their posts on Facebook. Interact with them in a LinkedIn forum. Use Instagram to comment on their photos or mention them on your own posts that they might find interesting.
  • Content: Address content that is of mutual interest to your brand and your influencers. Use your brand’s social media networks to re-post articles and blog posts created by your targeted influencers. Look for guest posting (blogging, podcasting, vlogging, etc.) opportunities with influencers on their websites.
  • Participation: Attract influencers’ attention and engage your target influencers by interacting with the communities in which they participate. Take part in discussions, ask questions, and get involved.

Influencer marketing is a powerful tool. It begins with finding the right influencer(s), relies on proper influencer engagement, and is measured by applying the correct metrics. While it is a marketing tactic that is new to many small businesses, using influencers to build brand awareness, reliability, and sales is undeniably beneficial.