Tips for starting an influencer marketing program

Tips for starting an influencer marketing program

You’ve probably heard of influencer marketing before. Maybe the term brings to mind visions of Kylie Jenner sharing a product she loves on Instagram, and it seems out of reach for your business.

But to be honest, that’s just not true. There are options within influencer marketing for many types of businesses. You just have to find the right fit for you—and get started.

What is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing blends the ideas of traditional advertising, public relations and celebrity endorsements. It involves working with a brand or person who has influence in your space, likely on social media or a digital platform, to drive awareness for your brand and/or drive sales.

The sticking point for many people is that they envision these elusive influencers as celebrities with millions of followers. But influencer marketing can also mean working with what are known as micro influencers—a somewhat misleading term for influencers who have a smaller following, but who speak to a specific niche and have very engaged fans. These influencers might reach fewer people, but they tend to give you a bigger bang for your buck.

How to develop an influencer marketing strategy for your business

In short, influencers can make a big difference for you (we’ve seen it!), whether your business is a nationwide product or a local restaurant, drawing new fans to your pages and property and building that bottom line. You just have to find the right fit for you. Want to learn how? To start, you need to think long and hard about your brand and your goals. Check out our best tips below.

Define your goals. As with most things in business, you need to go in with eyes wide open as to what you want. Do you want to drive SEO results for your company with seeded keywords? You might want to focus on bloggers rather than social influencers. Do you want to reach young people with a wow-worthy, trendy product? Maybe TikTok is for you. Do your users have a big Instagram community? Maybe Instagram influencer marketing is the best way for people to discover your product.

This decision is going to drive all others—and ultimately determine how happy you are with the results—so choose wisely.

Outline the ops. Before you actually start working with an influencer, it’s a good idea to work out what that will look like. How will you package your product (special touches might stand out!)? How will the influencer check into the hotel or make their restaurant reservation, and how will you communicate to staff what’s going to happen?

At this stage, you will also want to think about budget. Many of the best influencers have a media kit outlining their rates for things like a blog post or social story. Others will accept products or experiences—depending on the value—in exchange for a reasonable scope. Some businesses also offer affiliate benefits for partners, allowing them to earn a commission on sales. Decide what your budget will be for this campaign and how you will handle it.

Find your fit. Now comes the fun part. Get on your chosen platform and do some research. Find the go-to influencers in your space. Explore hashtags, or check out other brands you admire to see who they work with. Do a quick search. When you find someone you think is a fit, look deeper. What kinds of things do they post? How many followers do they have? What is their engagement rate, and who is their target audience? Make sure they have enough sway with the right people to help you reach your goals, and make sure they’re someone with whom you want to align your brand.

Make it happen. Find your chosen influencer’s contact info and shoot them an email or just reach out on their popular platform. Outline what you’re thinking, and see if it aligns with their vision and standards. It might help to draw up an informal influencer agreement outlining what both sides can expect for the partnership. If this is a paid partnership with a big budget, you might even draw up a contract, like you would with any other ad deal. Be sure to ask influencers to follow all guidelines regarding disclosures. It can also be helpful to provide your influencer with your own media kit, especially if there are certain messaging points you’d really like to hit. Influencers will often pull from this so they can give their followers reliable information, and it can support your overall branding goals.

Track and reuse. Your influencer received your product, loved it and shared. They came to your resort and wrote a glowing blog. They visited your restaurant and posted a swoon-worthy pic on Insta or video on TikTok. Amazing! Now, you need to see if your program worked. Follow up with your influencer about their experience (you are, hopefully, building a relationship, after all!). Ask them to provide any internal stats they might have about performance (page views, reach, etc.). Take a look yourself at your web traffic or social analytics and see what can be tied to the partnership. This will all help guide you in future influencer partnerships.

And don’t forget a vital step—reuse this influencer content wherever you can. Influencers produce some amazing content for your brand, and you should be engaging with it, reposting it to your page and sharing blogs and vlogs to make the most of your partnership.

Influencer marketing can work for you

Now that you have the steps, tweak and repeat. Despite the sometimes bad rep influencer marketing gets, when done correctly, it can be a great thing for your business.

Feeling a little overwhelmed by the prospect of starting from scratch? Call in the pros. At Wellons Communications, we’ve put our PR savvy to work for years building influencer programs for everything from national products to local restaurants. We understand how the process works and have built great relationships with all kinds of influencers. We’d love to put our know-how to work for you. Give us a call at 407-339-0879 or email, and let us get started working for your busines