Influencer marketing is the buzz word of 2016 (and for many, a holdover buzz word from 2015). In short, influencer marketing describes the popular technique of working with influencers to market a brands product or services. In this case, influencers can be a wide range of individuals from bloggers to YouTube stars, from politicians to celebrities, from online to offline. In 2016, no good social media plan can exist without also having a great influencer marketing plan. And, this is the part that people often forget.
An influencer marketing plan needs to be a strategic plan that has wide buy-in across your organization and a strategic connection to your business goals. When you create a strategic connect approach, you drive a positive ROI. Burst Media argues that for every dollar of paid advertising you spend in your influencer marketing, you will see an average ROI of $6.58 in return. Not quite as high as email marketing, but a sizable positive ROI.
Nicole Smith, who leads influencer marketing for Intel, supports this argument saying that the single biggest thing you can do in creating an influencer marketing plan is to set the right approach. Without a strategic plan you can find yourself wasting lots of time and money. Yet with a smart plan, she argues, you can increase sales, encourage conversion and boost your social media engagement.
But, how to get started? First, you need to find the right influencers for you – not the ones who have huge celebrity followings or massive amounts of reach. Instead, the ones who talk to your business audience, who increase your brand’s ability to do its job and who you want to work with. Smith states that the approach to influencer marketing is the same as traditional public relations: you have to build relationships for the company by educating them on the company, creating long term relationships and helping to build brand advocates rather than paid spokespeople. This influencer marketing approach means spending a lot of time with the influencers you are working with over a long duration of time.
It’s not easy, but when done right can be an important and credible pillar in your social media strategy. Find more great tips from Nicole and others by signing up for my email list or following me on Twitter!