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    If you have ever heard about using social media influencers for marketing, one of these questions has surely crossed your mind:

    • What even are social media influencers?
    • How does influencer marketing work?
    • How do I find and contact influencers?
    • How much do influencers cost?
    • How can I track results?

    Lucky for you, we’ve done our homework and have developed some answers to get you started:

    What even are social media influencers?

    Put simply, social media influencers are digital content creators that have built an audience for themselves typically around their entertainment, lifestyle or educational content. Influencers are trusted personalities and tastemakers in their niche that can have a very strong impact on ideas, trends, techniques, or products.

    How does influencer marketing work?

    From YouTube product reviews to Podcast sponsorships, influencer marketing is all about generating an endorsement from a trusted source. Think about the use of celebrities or professional athletes in marketing campaigns but at a smaller and more tactical scale. There are several ways to structure your influencer marketing campaigns, but we suggest starting by defining your objectives and targeted audiences for the campaign.

    For example, if you are looking to increase sales you could work with influencers to create a unique discount code or affiliate link with a special offer of your product. Don’t have commerce integrated into your website? Consider bringing the influencer to your brick & mortar location for a documented visit or fan meet-up.

    Overall, the content and structure of your influencer marketing campaign are entirely dependent on the agreement made between the influencer and your brand (I’d recommend putting the terms in writing).

    How do I find and contact social media influencers?

    Any way you slice it, hunting down social media influencers that align with your brand is no easy task. While there is certainly no shortage of social media influencers out there, it can be extremely cumbersome to audit every social outlet for influential accounts, relevancy, and contact information. With the emergence of a variety of new social influencer platforms, connecting with influencers can be easier than ever, just be prepared to pay a premium on top of your deals.

    For the “manual” approach, we suggest creating a spreadsheet with the influencers contact information, following, and average engagement/reach on each of their platforms. That means hunting down emails, tallying followers, and estimating the average reach or engagement per post/video. If you only have the resources to record one metric, average reach is probably the most important. Why you ask? Let’s say we have two social media influencers to choose from:

    • Influencer A: 1,000,000 Followers with 10,000 likes per post on average
    • Influencer B: 500,000 Followers with 25,000 likes per post on average

    If both influencers reach your target audience and are willing to accept the same deal, Influencer B should be the obvious choice. Try not to be wooed by large following counts, they can be an indication of credibility there are occasions where followers can be disengaged or just full of fake/bot accounts. Long story short, actual reach is generally more valuable than potential reach.

    Pro tip: Outside of engagement and relevancy, take a look and see if this influencer has done deals with brands in the past. Take note of the branded content quality and consider shying away from influencers that have sponsored competitive products.

    How much do influencers cost?

    I am sure you were looking for a hard answer here. Though I want so badly to offer you one, the real answer is: It depends.

    Some influencer marketplaces will try to tell you that they have simplified the pricing structure with influencers, but the reality of deal making is still quite variable. Depending on the industry, estimated reach, and type of engagement, prices and deals will vary immensely.

    You may be lucky enough to find influencers out there that are willing to create branded content in exchange for product, but more of them have started to recognize their leverage and ability to monetize with brands. When approaching an influencer with a request for business, we suggest leading with the exciting partnership potential with the brand, review content objectives and then slowly ease into the specifics of the deal. On occasion, some influencers may already have their own custom pricing sheet to share!

    How can I track results?

    Just like any other form of marketing, most business owners and marketing managers want to make sure that they are getting a positive return on investment. So how do we track results from our influencer marketing efforts? Ultimately it will depend on your influencer deals and campaign objectives, but here are some ideas to get the conversation started:

    • Number of sales using the influencer’s unique coupon code.
    • Traffic and conversions from an affiliate link.
    • Traffic and conversions on a custom URL (“yourwebsite.com/influencer”).
    • Amount of completed views on the influencer’s video.
    • Engagement or impressions on the page post.
    • Observe product sentiment in the comment section.

    Conclusion

    Influencer marketing may seem like a lot of tedious work, but it can have a potentially huge impact for your brand! Many social media influencers are still underpriced when compared to other forms of digital marketing, just be ready to put in the hours of research and communication.

    Think that influencer marketing is right for your brand? Get in touch with Gravitate today.