Ninety-three percent. That’s the number of marketers who now practice influencer marketing. This social media-focused strategy has proven to be so effective that 69.8% of marketers plan to increase their influencer marketing budget in 2020.

For the 7% of skeptics, here’s how influencer marketing can change your consumer packaged good business for the better. 

  • Increased awareness — Influencers are social media micro-celebrities who have large, devoted audiences. Working with them means you’ll be able to reach your target audience in a more genuine way and communicate with them from a more convincing source than your corporate account. 
  • More trust — Influencers interact with their audience on a daily basis, so they have a level of trust and authority given to them by their followers. They can authentically tell a story around your brand and talk about how it affects their lives, providing social proof and encouraging others to trust your brand as well. 
  • Boosted sales — Because of influencers’ perceived credibility, they have the ability to influence the decisions of their followers. In fact, recommendations from trusted and knowledgeable influencers have 4x the impact on a consumer’s purchasing decision than a regular recommendation.
  • Unlimited high-quality content — Influencer generated content (IGC) is high-quality, relatable, and diverse. Not to mention it is quicker and more cost-effective to produce than studio-shot creatives. Plus, brands can take influencer partnerships beyond social by repurposing IGC on their websites, paid ads, and even in-store.

There are seven social media channels that form the core of influencer marketing: Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and TikTok. However, Instagram is the most widely used channel by brands and influencers, as it is the only one that provides sufficient data and insights into the community. 

With so many different social channels and algorithms to learn, it’s difficult to figure out how to navigate the world of influencer marketing and carry out an impactful campaign. So today, we’re diving deep into 5 tried and true best practices that will empower your brand with strategies to launch an amazing influencer marketing campaign. 

1. Find the right influencer

Connecting with the right influencer is by far the most important step in your influencer marketing journey. Of course, there is no universal “perfect” influencer, but the ideal influencer will:

  • Align well with your brand in their personal identity, messaging, and aesthetic
  • Have an audience that matches your target demographic
  • Be a real fan of the brand and express their love for the brand in an authentic way
  • Create highly engaging content
Zarbees influencer marketing example

To find these ideal brand partners, start by doing your research and looking into each influencer’s history. Reach out to those who have a good track record of creating high-quality, relevant content. Don’t just look for mega-influencers who have huge followings. Instead, find influencers with engaged audiences and genuine interactions with their followers, regardless of their audience size. 

In fact, micro-influencers — or creators with under 150k followers — have proven to be valuable brand partners. Micro-influencers typically achieve higher engagement for a lower CPE due to their knowledge about some specialty niche. If your brand is targeting a niche audience, micro-influencers with high engagement may be a better fit for your brand because of their reliability, specialized content, and strong connection with their audience.

If you’re unsure of where to start, check out our 6 tips for identifying influencers in 2020, where we share actionable steps to finding the best influencers for your brand. 

2. Test and invest

When you’re just starting out, it’s hard to tell who will be the best partner for your brand. So, invite a handful of influencers with different audience demographics and content styles to test which creators best represent your brand and generate the most fruitful results. You might be surprised by the outcome!

See Ask an Influencer: Why Aren’t Influencers Responding to My Emails? for tips on reaching out to influencers.

Make sure to decide ahead of time which metrics you will use to track success, whether that be the number of followers, website clicks, or sales. Then, track the campaign ROI and see which creators perform the best. Reward the top performers by reinvesting in them and running more campaigns with them as partners in the future. It’s a win-win situation.

3. Aim for long-term partnerships

We live in a world where 40% of internet users use ad-blocking software to ignore online ads, making it difficult for marketers to connect with consumers through brand-directed content. Consumers resonate more with authentic content and word-of-mouth recommendations from people they trust, including friends, family, and influencers. 

So when you find an influencer who aligns well with your brand, hold on to them. Long-term partnerships will help build trust, as people continuously see the influencer raving about your brand time and time again. Additionally, a consistent relationship with an influencer will eliminate the need to constantly recruit creators and allow for faster campaigns because there are fewer misunderstandings and onboarding steps.

Check out @whatdoesnotexist’s post about their ongoing partnership with HelloFresh and the genuine love they have for the meal kit delivery service. 

Hello Fresh Instagram marketing example

4. Repurpose influencer-generated content

Once you’ve started working with influencers, you’ve struck a high-quality content goldmine. Because influencers act as a one-man production team, influencer-generated content is quicker and more cost-effective to produce than brand-directed content. Additionally, IGC is authentic, diverse, and high-performing. Don’t believe me? Check out these numbers:

So, stretch the impact of the amazing content you’ve already sourced by repurposing IGC on your branded social channels, paid ads, emails, website, and even offline. By using IGC throughout the funnel and across many different touchpoints, you are humanizing your products and making your brand more relatable.

Additionally, your brand will be able to cut costs and produce more by repurposing content. For instance, Makeup Eraser was able to reduce content creation costs by 90% and produce 10x the amount of content with the same budget by working with influencers and repurposing their content on and in Costco stores.  

MakeUp Eraser influencer marketing example

5. Use an influencer marketing platform

We know that manually managing spreadsheets, email lists, and Direct Messages can be complex and time-consuming. That’s why we recommend that brands invest in an influencer marketing platform like AspireIQ to streamline every step of your campaign. 

AspireIQ helps brands:

  • Discover targeted influencers at scale in a fraction of the time
  • Connect with influencers and make long-lasting relationships
  • Manage your influencer relationships and stay organized
  • Analyze and measure your campaign ROI by tracking important metrics such as the number of impressions, engagements, and brand mentions

With an automation tool like ours, your brand will avoid missing opportunities and damaging relationships with your valuable brand partners. Additionally, you will find yourself instinctively following every best practice listed above because of how easy it is to find the right influencers, track important metrics to determine top players, build long-term relationships, and gather all repurposable content in a media library. 

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