I already see your eyes rolling! I feel it across the digital atmosphere, and here’s the thing: I hear you. It’s 2018, and we’re being told as business owners that traditional marketing methods must make way for something as seemingly unconventional as hiring a selfie-posing, self-described Instagram “influencer”, who has built a social following doing ducked-lip poses with a caption like “Live, Laugh, Love #NoFilter”. Somehow THIS is supposed to bring your business to the next level?

Trust me, I get it. And I’m here to tell you, not all social media influencers are cut from the same cloth. Some might be a terrible play for your business, and some just might actually be the best possible way to spend marketing dollars. Allow me to explain.

First let’s start with a statistic. Studies show influencer marketing returns $6.50 for every $1 spent. What other form of advertising has that sort of ROI? It’s just unheard of. But how do you get that ROI for your business? There are a few rules to follow to get it right. 

First, find someone with an influence in your industry. This is key. The inspirational adventurer who climbed Mount Everest last week or went skydiving in the Bahamas the week later may have 2 million followers because of his insane lifestyle, but does he have any influence on baby food or products? No. As a company that makes baby food, you’d be paying to put your brand in front of 2 million people who could care less about what you’re selling. Now, if you paid a mom who has built up a following for cute videos of her kids, chances are, her followers are also moms who can relate to videos of cute kids, and your marketing dollars will go much further if you’re selling baby food. See how that works? So the first rule is finding a symbiotic relationship with an influencer that makes sense for your business and your industry.

Second, find an influencer with good engagement. Engagement is key because there are so many tricks to build an illegitimate following. Perhaps the influencer paid someone for followers to inflate their perceived influence and the followers are simply fake accounts. Obviously 250,000 fake accounts or bought accounts is completely useless to you as a business owner. You can tell how authentic the following is by how many people engage with the post through “likes” or comments. 

Third, be willing to provide product and cash compensation to the influencer. The product will allow them to provide an honest review, which is often a requirement from a reputable influencer.

Fourth, find someone who is a good photographer. This will insure that your product is represented in the best way possible. Ask the influencer to send you the photos they’ll be using ahead of time, this way you can approve them and insure brand consistency.

Finally, don’t think your marketing budget is too small. There are plenty of influencers out there with, say, 10,000 followers who might not get asked very often to promote a product. They might be willing to do it for free in exchange for a product. And don’t think a campaign can’t be successful with an influencer who has 10,000 followers. Those are 10,000 potential clients of yours.

The thought of influencer marketing may give most business owners a headache, but it can certainly work. You simply must be willing to go for it. Where do you start? By determining your marketing campaign goals and objectives, then doing some research to see who has an influence in that space and start reaching out!

We wish you the best in your marketing efforts!