5 steps to win at influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is hot right now. Instagram influencers start trends but it can be hard knowing where to start.

Influencer marketing is hot right now.

Instagram influencers start trends but it can be hard knowing where to start.

We spoke to influencer marketing experts Charlotte Lake and Mona El-Saytari, Head of Growth at allplants. Together, they’ve transformed the strategy for allplants and ODDBOX, including landing a post with Gemma Styles (who has 6.5 million followers).

Here is Charlotte and Mona’s five-step guide to getting started with influencer marketing.

1. Reach for the stars 

Work out which influencers will work for your brand. Choose people with the right sized reach for your business. There are four key categories:

Nano influencers: up to 10K followers. They’ll usually be on Insta alongside their full-time job so will likely be a specialist in their field (e.g a photographer or entrepreneur). Reach tends to be smaller and more regional, but their audience is often super engaged.

Micro influencers: 10K-100K followers. Similar to nanos, micro influencers tend to be specialists in a niche genre (e.g. doctors or nutritionists). Followers are there for a reason and really connect with the influencer, though reach can be limited.

Macro influencers: 100K – 1 million followers. Macro influencers have risen to fame through the internet, so they’ll likely talk about a bigger range of topics. Their reach will be larger but engagement more limited.

Mega influencers: 1 million+ followers. Think celebrities like Victoria Beckham. They’ll have a hugely diverse follower base and be able to talk about a lot of different genres. But engagement will be lower and it’ll come with a hefty price tag.

Nano and micro influencers are the best place to start for small brands. You’ll be able to choose people with super-niche followings, helping you closely target potential customers who are more likely to love your brand.

2. Gift, gift, gift 

Start by seeding (product gifting).

Choose lots of influencers to test with seeding. Think about people who will resonate with your brand values. Step outside your comfort zone here. allplants found they got the most engagement when influencers who didn’t usually post about food talked about them.

Reach out to influencers before you send a gift. It starts the relationship off well and you’ll make sure they’re happy to receive your product.

Set aside a decent chunk of time to work on your gifts, and do it all at once (rather than dribs and drabs throughout the month). Don’t go overboard with what you send. Ideally, you want to replicate an organic customer experience for these VIPs. And don’t forget to explain your brand’s mission and perhaps send a discount code too.

Remember when seeding you can’t control what (or if) influencers post. But hopefully, you’ll start to see good results and will find your influencer sweet spot.

3. Flash your cash 

It’s time to think about paid campaigns

Once you’ve tested some influencers with seeding, you should hopefully start to see spikes in your analytics. If you feel like the relationship is a good fit, take it to the next level.

Start simple with your paid campaign. Approach the influencer(s) you’d like to work with, give them some positive feedback on the posts they created based on your gift, and ask if they’d like to work on a paid campaign.

Ask the influencers for past campaign stats. Most influencers are happy to send over reach, clicks and audience data. So make the most of it.

Negotiation time. You’d be surprised how flexible influencers can be (especially at nano and micro levels). This is especially true for mission-driven businesses, so if you have a purpose flex it.

4. Brief encounters 

Figure out exactly what you’d like to achieve from the campaign before you start. This will help you write a good brief.

Make the brief easy to skim. Include key details like deadlines, brand story and key messages. And make sure the most important info, the deliverables and non-negotiables, and content dos and don’ts, is super visible.

At the beginning of a partnership, it’s a good idea to be quite strict about what you want. But when you’ve worked with someone a few times, give them a bit of freedom. Influencers know their audience, their genre and what connects, so let them use their own words.

Make sure they know your non-negotiables, but be a bit flexible at the same time.

5. Measuring for success 

Check the data. Was the campaign a success?

Ask your influencer partners for their data and combine it with yours to see how the campaign performed overall.

Visualise your analytics at influencer level. Charlotte and Mona use a handy graph to see how each influencer performed (check out the picture to see it in action).

Influencers who fall into the green area had high reach and great engagement/conversion. These are the people who you should move forward and spend more money with.

Yellow influencers performed OK, but need a bit more testing, perhaps with different content or a different angle. And red influencers are the ones who didn’t do as well as expected. The best thing to do here is retire them from your list.

Once you’ve worked out your top performers, it’s time to do it all again! Use your data to guide your next campaign and keep testing for success.

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