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Influence strategy: your action plan in 5 steps

1 Juil,2021

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Influencer marketing is popular and brands have understood this! While consumers are less and less sensitive to traditional brand advertising, the impact of influencers on audiences is increasingly strong. The growing success of social networks has reshuffled the deck and today, collaborating  with influencers is one of the best digital levers to increase your visibility and develop your sales. You want to launch an influencer marketing strategy, but you don’t know where to start ? Discover in this article everything you need to know about influencer marketing and how to collaborate with influencers.

What is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is a partnership between a brand and popular people who are known to influence their community. These people can be public figures, influencers or opinion leaders who have a large number of subscribers and significant online engagement. 

The implementation of influencer marketing allows you to reach new audiences, develop your brand awareness, increase traffic to your website and ultimately generate sales.

Influencer marketing is often considered as the digital version of word-of-mouth. However, even if the result is similar, there is a slight difference. Indeed, influencer marketing necessarily involves compensation (financial or otherwise) between the brand and the influencer. 

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 What is an influencer ?

There are different types of influencers classified according to the size of their community and their ability to generate engagement: 

The nano-influencer is a person who has between 1,000 and 10,000 followers. This influencer is a niche influencer with high engagement and conversion power. He/she is in constant contact with his/her audience, and has the opportunity to respond to each of his/her followers’ comments. 

The micro-influencer has a community of between 10,000 and 100,000 subscribers. He/she is specialized in a particular field (sports, beauty, fashion, health…) and has gathered around him/her subscribers who are particularly interested in this theme.

He/she stays close to his/her community. The micro-influencer has a very segmented audience and a high engagement rate. Moreover, in 2018, Forbes magazine defined this group of influential individuals as the marketing force of the future.

The macro-influencer has between 100,000 and 1,000,000 subscribers. He or she is an expert and influential content creator. His/her large community allows him/her to have a high visibility. He/she brings together people from different backgrounds. 

The mega-influencer or public personality (celebrities, artists, athletes, etc.) has a community of over 1,000,000 subscribers. The reach of his/her publications is strong, but his/her engagement rate is low. Brands partner with this type of influencer in order to speak to an extremely large audience. The budget for a collaboration with a mega-influencer is substantial. 

Note that the number of subscribers of an influencer does not determine the rate of engagement of his/her community. The engagement rate is the ratio between the number of likes and comments and the number of subscribers an account has.

Key steps to implement an influencer strategy

Determine your marketing objectives and target audience for your influencer campaign

Objectives:

The first step is to define the goals you want to achieve with the launch of this influencer marketing campaign. 

Where do you want to take your brand through influence ? Do you have visibility and awareness objectives ? Do you want to develop your community on social networks and increase your engagement rate ? Do you want to promote a new product or service ? Or do you want to increase your sales and revenue ? 

The success of influencer marketing campaigns is different for each company, but regardless of what it will be for you, you must make sure to use SMART objectives, which means: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realizable and Temporally defined.

It’s important not to neglect this step, because clarifying your campaign goals will allow you to choose the right influencers, the right influencer platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, LinkedIn, Twitter, Youtube…) and the right messages to spread. 

Then, transpose these objectives into key performance indicators (KPIs) this will allow you to evaluate the success of your influencer marketing campaign later on.

Target audience:

Who do you want to reach by implementing this influencer marketing strategy ? What are their specific characteristics ? For your campaign to be truly efficient, it is very important to precisely define the audience you want to reach.

The mistake would be to target a large audience and hope to reach the maximum number of people. 

Depending on the objectives you have previously set, identify the target audience you want to reach and focus on specific audience segments to maximize the performance of your influencer campaign.

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Set a budget for your influencer marketing campaign

This key step is one of the essential components of your influencer marketing strategy: what budget do you want to allocate to your influencer campaign ? 

The necessary budget will include the remuneration of the influencers and the coverage of the cost of the products or services.

Be aware that a collaboration with an influencer, even one with a small community, requires a financial contribution from you. It is now very rare that an influencer accepts a partnership based solely on product donations. 

Depending on their notoriety, the type of campaign and the platform used, influencers’ rates will vary. 

To determine your budget with precision and to know the prices of the influencers, a market study will be necessary.

Define the messages and brief of your influencer marketing campaign 

Before you start contacting different influencers, it is important to define the messages of your influencer marketing campaign. 

Obviously, these messages will be closely linked to the objectives you have set beforehand and the target audience you wish to reach. 

This step allows you to further refine your influencer marketing strategy so that it is totally effective. 

Writing a precise brief, that clearly defines your campaign objectives, will help you determine the type of influencers you wish to approach. This brief will also allow you to present the course of your collaboration to the selected influencers so that everything goes as smoothly as possible. 

Selecting the right influencers, those who match your brand !

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This step is crucial and conditions the success of your influencer campaign. 

Depending on your objectives, on the targets you want to reach and your budget, you will be able to determine if it is more interesting for you to work with nano-influencers, micro-influencers, macro-influencers or even mega-influencers… 

Strategically, it can be very interesting to collaborate with several types of influencers in order to benefit from their cumulative visibility as well as a qualified audience.

It is important to choose them well and to make sure that each selected influencer has a real affinity with your brand. Authenticity is an important factor in the success of an influencer marketing campaign. The collaboration between your brand and each influencer must be natural and obvious in order for them to deliver a credible message to their community.

Here are the criteria you need to consider: 

The agreement between his/her universe, expertise, favorite subjects and your brand;

The common values you share;

Personality and history;

Expertise and professionalism;

Platforms on which he or she works;

Composition of his or her community;

Quality of the content he or she offers;

His or her creativity;

Capacity to influence;

His or her way of expressing himself or herself;

His/her relationship with the members of his/her community;

etc. 

To identify the most relevant influencers that can be part of your influencer marketing strategy, you can browse the different social networks, call upon an influencer agency or use a management tool such as Trustt. 

The tool developed by Trustt saves you precious time by giving you access to a pre-selection of influencers and all your emails and follow-ups are 100% automated.

Contact influencers and set up the partnership

Now that you’ve compiled a list of influencers that are potentially relevant to your brand, it’s time to make contact. 

Be careful ! At this stage, nothing has been won yet…. It is important to prepare the way you will contact each influencer and especially to avoid sending automated and impersonal emails. 

Indeed, according to a Reech study dating from 2020, 66% of influencers declare having already refused partnerships with a brand. The main reasons mentioned are: their lack of interest for the brand (73%), incompatibility with the values (59%), too little or no remuneration (50%). 

Take the time to understand each influencer, to determine the arguments that will make them want to work with your brand, and to establish a fair pricing proposal. 

Start by explaining what you like about them and their work and why you would be happy to work with them. 

Then, present your brand and its universe, your product or service offer, your values and your commitments. 

In order to make the collaboration clear for both parties, take the time to formalize each step and to give all your conditions: types and number of posts, frequency of publication, message to be sent, hashtags to be included, redirections to your website, promotional codes, etc. 

Finally, find an agreement on the compensation or rewards you wish to offer, if your influencer does not require financial compensation. 

This step is essential, because your objective is to build a solid relationship of trust over the long term with each influencer you have selected. 

You now have all the keys in hand to make your influencer marketing strategy a success ! Of course, as with any marketing strategy, don’t forget to analyze and monitor the results of your influencer marketing campaign. This will allow you to rectify and optimize your strategy if necessary and to be aware of its performance.

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