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Events — 01 Aug 2022

How to Build Influencer Marketing Strategy

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Building a Data-Driven Influencer Marketing Strategy

Influencer marketing has gone from a social media buzzword to one of the most powerful tools in a digital marketer’s playbook. 

As traditional means of advertising struggle to capture the new-media audience, brands worldwide have turned to influencers to provide a direct line to both their existing and potential customer bases. 

While this has proved a successful enterprise (essentially transforming influencers into pseudo-celebrities), many brands still struggle to find the best influencer and make the strategy effective for them. That’s why mastering data-driven influencer marketing strategies is crucial for brands looking to not just find an edge, but solidify their position in the market. 

So, how can data make your influencer marketing strategy stronger and what kind of data should you be looking for? Let’s find out.

roi of influencers
Source (blog.voxfeed.com)

The era of user-generated content has done away with the need for flashy, polished traditional advertising. Today’s customers understand brands can have a tendency to stretch the truth, so they’re eager to get a second opinion from people they view as similar to themself. This raw, authentic, and unfiltered avenue of fun videos, perfectly framed slice-of-life photos, and aspirational crossovers resonate with customers’ modern desires. 

All of this resulted in the creation of an industry worth an estimated $16.4 billion in 2022, speaking to the crucial nature of giving your brand a sense of authenticity, relatability, and modern understanding that only influencers can provide.

marketing platforms
Source (99firms.com)

The many forms of influencer marketing

Depending on the platform you’re using influencer marketing campaigns can take many forms. 

It’s not just the intricacies of an influencer and micro-influencers that define a campaign’s appearance and content, but the popular platform it’s posted on. An Instagram campaign isn’t just defined by the guidelines you provide, but the structure of the app, the type of content you can post and the way audiences will be interacted with. 

Some of the primary platforms you might be looking to use and the types of content you’d use on them include:

  • Instagram: Lifestyle posts featuring your products and services in everyday situations (this is particularly effective for fashion, beauty, and lifestyle brands).
  • YouTube: Product unboxings, demonstrations, and reviews.
  • Facebook: Long-form posts detailing the influencer’s experience with the product. 
  • TikTok: Product placement in popular forms of content such as shopping hauls or trending dances. 
  • Twitch (and other streaming platforms): Sponsoring a popular streamer or their show can be particularly effective in the online gaming world, where brands have been able to establish fantastic product placement opportunities.

Remember, each platform has its own audience size, reach potential and unique culture. Facebook will naturally appeal to an older, perhaps more considered buying audience, while Instagram users may already be on the app to shop for products, making them more inclined to watch sponsored content. 

Some additional content you might consider using an influencer’s endorsement for include:

  • Contests 
  • Podcast sponsorship for hosts with a unique online presence 
  • Social media takeovers
  • Guest bloggers writing content for your website
  • Unique discount codes and themed sales
  • Short-term products and services designed alongside the influencer 

Of course, there are some clear rules and formats you should follow to make your content a success outside of data influence. Always ensure influencer content is marked as sponsored and the influencer is provided with clear brand guidelines and the direction for your specific call to action.

growth of influencer
Source (influencermarketinghub.com)

Building a data-driven influencer marketing strategy

With the background covered let’s look at how you can begin to build a data-driven influencer marketing strategy. 

Selecting your influencers

The best-branded content is only as good as its influencer. 

If you’re channeling your content and strategy through influencers who don’t command any of the target audience for your brand, you won’t see an effective return on investment. Finding the right influencers with a mutually beneficial pricing per post structure is often the hardest part of campaign management which is why taking a data-driven approach is important. 

Big data can be leveraged in social media marketing to identify the perfect influencer for your brand or campaign. While the essentials stand out by themselves (a dedicated, highly-engaged audience who have demonstrated an ability to view, like, and comment on content), there’s often more to a potential influencer that will drive genuine awareness and sales. 

Instead, an intelligent, real-time data-driven approach utilizes the importance of conversion rates to determine not online the right influencer for your brand, but which products will sell well with that particular audience. 

Similarly, demographics such as audience age, location, and interests are vital for finding the center point of your influencer campaigns. This allows you to filter out the irrelevant audiences and the influencers they flock to, perhaps diminishing the scope of your campaigns but ultimately making them more profitable and informative in the future. 

Influencers are not celebrities, meaning you’ll rarely be approached by a representative to work with them. Instead, you need to use tools to find these influencers by yourself and approach them with your pitch. There are a number of useful tools you can use to find influencers:

  • Google searches
  • Social listening tools
  • Influencer marketing platforms
  • Follower count rankings by genre

CRM software integration can be used to collect vital personal data around customer preferences, which can help influence your decision on the best type of influencer for your brand. You’ll also want to keep an eye out for discrepancies. Latching onto an influencer who has purchased fake followers to inflate their numbers can be harmful to a brand. 

Some key questions to ask before you go searching for your influencers include:

  • What are our goals? 
  • What kind of content do we want to produce?
  • What do we consider important to our brand? 
  • Are we looking to work with one or more influencers? 
  • How quickly do we expect to see results?
influencer marketing
Source (businessinsider.com)

Creating quality content

Even in a world where influencers trump traditional advertising, content is still as important as ever. 

You may be using data to inform your search for influencers, but it’s just as important an indicator of the kind of content you should be making. Content should always be developed with an influencer’s personal data, influencers, audience, and trends in mind. 

Of course, trends come and go. 2021’s big hit might be out of fashion by 2022, so ensuring you’re constantly updating your influencer content strategy is crucial. While on-site content can be updated with the times, simply copying and pasting your content to influencers who always operate in the here and now just won’t do. 

Analytics tools can be used to see the topics, themes, and types of content that are trending in your niche. Noticing a trend across influencers like the ones you want to covet isn’t necessarily the best way to define your content strategy, but it can be used to direct it temporarily while you work out what works for your brand. 

As mentioned previously, Influencer content can take many forms. Some influencers reach out to their audience through a sense of admiration and the curation of a perfect lifestyle, while others do it through relatability and a sense of unique creativity. You can opt for either of these, offering them a list of directions or trusting them with your brand guidelines. 

Data should inform this decision to an extent, but also follow what works for your brand. How has your audience responded to content in the past? Are they more inclined for an informed type of content or would the lighthearted nature of influencer content make them more inclined to interact? 

Important influencer marketing metrics

With all that said, what are the important metrics you need to harvest, analyze and use to inform your data-driven influencer marketing strategies? 

Influencer marketing has led to the unveiling of vital insight that otherwise wouldn’t be known, such as the concept of “super spreader marketers.” These are the most connected influencers in a specific network and can be used to establish a collective reach within your specific sector. 

Some key metrics and partnership statistics to look out for include:

  • Reach and impressions: Some of the most important metrics. Reach and impressions define the number of people who see a particular influencer’s post and can offer an insight into how many people are and potentially could see your branded content.
  • Audience engagement: Comparing user engagement rate relative to the size of an influencer’s audience demographics can give you a genuine picture of their live userbase and the actual audience you’re paying for.
  • Brand mentions: Pre-campaign, you can use listening tools to see how active mentions of your brands are at this moment and the impact of influencer offers.
  • Revenue from social: This metric can be used to establish exactly the ROI of your influencer campaign. Tools such as Google Analytics can offer insight into your goal value metrics, which can be assigned to particular conversions.

Additional metrics can be found post-campaign, where you can investigate how effective influencers were at directing new customers to your brand. Consider making this an important part of your post-purchase customer service. The voice of the customer is a brilliant tool that can also be used to streamline everything from customer service to service enjoyment, additional data that can be used to streamline earlier steps in the campaign namely influencer marketing. 

Of course, always consider your own personal company KPIs as an indicator of influencer marketing success.

biggest roi in social media
Source (blog.hubspot.com)

How to improve your data-driven influencer marketing

With your influencer marketing strategy in place, let’s look at some ways you can improve it over the years. 

Refresh your audience research 

To make sure you’re not falling behind or leaning into lost trends, it’s important to keep your audience research up to date. 

Each month, ensure you’re refreshing your audience research, using new insights into how your brand is spoken about, what type of influencer is trending right now, and how people are buying to define your strategies. 

Platforms can change, as can the wealth, goals, and values of users. For example, the growth of eco-friendly shopping habits lead to a significant rise in influencers of this arena, offering opportunities for sustainable businesses to work with influencers who would have previously been in the remit of large high street brands. 

Look into social listening, discussions around influencers you’ve used in the past, and how successful your current campaigns are over sustained periods. 

Use data from past campaigns and collaborations 

In the same vein, using data from previous campaigns can help to inform ongoing or upcoming ones, and should act as the lynchpin of your influencer strategy. 

Check with both yourself and influencers for insight into their metrics. When were the peaks and troughs of your campaign? How did certain age brackets react? Is there an upswing during the holidays? This could help make the decision on that next big campaign you’re planning, or signal whether an Instagram bio link is enough of a CTA. 

Simple insight into these numbers can make a huge difference, with data highlighting trends that simply looking at likes, comments and shares never could. 

This data can be used for automation as well as user-based decisions. For example, marketing automation for SaaS businesses may benefit from insights into when particular businesses are looking for new services and immediately launch a product-heavy newsletter.

instagram posts
Source (nealschaffer.com)

Make use of partner relationships 

Just because someone has a huge following, doesn’t mean they’re a natural salesman. 

Not every social media mogul is a natural influencer. They might just have an amiable personality or great products of their own – not much use to your brand! 

This is why many brands follow the affiliate route. This won’t interest every influencer, but affiliate relationships can be a profitable asset to influencers.

In an affiliate relationship, influencers don’t just get payment or a gifted product from you in exchange for promotion, but a cut of the profit every time someone shops through their links. Ecommerce is built on relationships such as these, with major brands including Amazon using affiliate partnerships to great effect, finding ways to reach entirely new audiences that wouldn’t otherwise shop if it didn’t directly benefit a creator they liked. 

As paid advertising becomes more important, establishing strong profitable partnerships at low costs is essential. Commissions make creators go the extra mile, a great motivational and education experience. 

Follow current trends 

Trends are a neat way to make the most of your influencer campaigns. 

When you spot a trend relevant to your brand, product, or services, that can be taken as a signal to reach out to influencers and sign that you need to be more active with your influencer discovery game. For a business that’s never used influencers before, it makes sense to lean on them and their knowledge of how to navigate top trends. 

Trends can be a great way of defining the details of your campaign beyond the influencer you partner with. Say you’re a sustainable clothing brand and bamboo sunglasses are in vogue (further cemented by online discussions around the importance of going plastic-free). Gifting a pair to a sustainability influencer can be a top method of getting in the trend at the ground level and making the most of its peak. 

Trends don’t last forever though. Knowing when to get out is just as important as picking the perfect launch time. Once again the knowledge of influencers can help you here as they’ll have greater insight into the kind of trends that have staying power. 

What are your goals?

To avoid wasting time and resources on failed campaigns, it’s important to establish a set of clear goals that will define your strategy ahead of contacting any influencers. 

Without goals, it’s impossible to first establish the features of the campaign and learn from the lessons the data provides you. For each campaign milestone, there should be financial and reputational goals you can use to justify future influencer marketing campaigns. 

Consider building your goals around the following goals: 

  • Improving overall brand awareness 
  • Increasing brand engagement rate online
  • Attracting new audiences to your brand
  • Improving customer retention 
  • Establishing your brand within a particular sector or movement

However, too many goals will result in an underperforming campaign that lacks clarity. It makes sense to keep your goals obtainable and measurable, grounded in the reality of your brand. 

b2b content marketing
Source (snov.io)

The road to success

Influencer marketing shows no sign of slowing down. There’s little sign it’ll remain anything other than a hugely valuable tool for marketers and brands looking to gain an advantage in their early years. 

As long as data is used to inform decisions and brands do their best to keep up with the changing nature of social media platforms, key players can be used to jump on trends and reach an entirely new set of consumers.

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Jenna Bunnell - Senior Manager, Content Marketing, Dialpad

Written by

Jenna Bunnell is the Senior Manager for Content Marketing at <a href="https://www.dialpad.com/glossary/multichannel-contact-center/">Dialpad</a>, an AI-incorporated cloud-hosted unified communications system that provides valuable call details for business owners and sales representatives. She is driven and passionate about communicating a brand’s design sensibility and visualizing how content can be presented in creative and comprehensive ways. Check out her <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/jenna-bunnell/">LinkedIn</a>profile.

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