How to develop your Influencer marketing plan?

De-mystifying myths of creating Influencer marketing plans

Most entrepreneurs and solopreneurs struggle with developing an influencer marketing plan for their businesses.

In the digital age, anyone with a smartphone can claim or can be an influencer.

Influencer marketing or Key opinion leaders (KOL’s) is a term which does not reflect in traditional business schools or in MBA books.

Hence it seems complex and proving to be a money-making machine for the influencers.

My purpose in writing this article is to peel the layer of complexities from the jargon – Influencer marketing or even writing an Outreach marketing plan using influencers.

What is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing is a communication strategy that identifies people/ Key opinion leaders, who have a strong influence on a brand’s industry or target audience. 

In an influencer marketing strategy, a brand does collaboration with an influencer for reaching out to the segmented audience/followers of the influencers.

The collaboration can be both either for money or for the kind purposes (barter in terms of giveaways which the influencer may use to give away to his/her followers by means of contests etc.

The premise – Influencer marketing.

The premise remains the same i.e. People love to buy from the people whom they love or trust.

Here the influencer becomes an authority on the subject matter and uses his/her influence in persuasive selling by promoting the benefits of the product or the service that is being promoted.

Basically, influencer marketing is all using the benefits of word of mouth and trust of the influencer in putting the product or service in front of the dedicated audience (followers) who may be interested in the product or service or may end up buying the product in the future.

Influencer marketing brings the brand’s product or service into the consideration mindset of the targeted audience/followers.

learn as to how your brand purpose can make or break your business, click here.

How big is influencer marketing in terms of value?

According to Adweek, the industry is set to reach $10 billion in worth by 2020. 

Other networks like Snapchat, YouTube, and TikTok have their own set of influencers with different demographics.

Myth- Influencer marketing means using celebrities.

One of the most common myths in the market is that brands think that influencer marketing means using celebrities.

This myth is partially correct since today most of the influencers have become a celebrity in their own domain/ or niche.

So the next question comes to mind..

“Can influencer marketing be done without using popular celebs?”

The answer is straight-forward.

“Yes”, it can be done.

You just need to know how to develop creative influencer campaigns that focus on targeting the right audience, not the largest audience.  

Putting your brand in front of its segmented audience, will be more beneficial rather than talking to a large audience, who may or may not be your core target group.

It also depends on the product category you are selling.

If you sell Coca-cola, then using K-pop band BTS makes sense but if you are selling specialized medical diagnostic machines, then talking to the specialist medical doctors and clinic owners would result in getting you more traction on your communication strategies.

Focus on the right audience, not the largest audience while choosing the right influencer.

How to find the right influencer for your brand?

  • Study your niche segment or industry in detail using social platforms like Linkedin and facebook and Instagram.

Look out for the people who are producing content in a contextual manner for that industry.

  1. Check and study their engagement on their posts – Trick here is to focus more on comments rather than likes.
  2. Use Hashtag strategy to see who is following a particular hashtag in your niche and adding them to your list and make a connection with them.
  3. Follow your competition social media posts and see which influencers they have been using in the past. Follow them and their associated influencers.
  4. Find influencers that share your audience
  5. Understand the authority of the selected influencer – are they positioned as thought leaders in their niche or not.
  6. Develop a campaign with them and monitor its results.

Mistakes marketeers make with the influencer marketing plan

The most common mistake is that marketers or business owners forget the core premise – what brings them into the business.

How are they making a change in their customer’s lives with their products or services?

Most people forget to set clear campaign objectives and measurable metrics prior to initiating the influencer marketing plan.

Decide on your campaign objectives.

  • Is it Brand awareness campaign
  • Is it Building brand identity
  • Audience building
  • Engagement
  • Lead generation
  • Sales
  • Customer loyalty

You need to decide on the above prior to embarking on this journey.

Type of campaigns – Influencer marketing plan

Different types of influencer campaigns include:

  • Gifting: giving influencers gifts in exchange for mentions, posts, etc.
  • Guest posting: getting an influencer to allow you to write for their blog
  • Sponsored content: paying an influencer to share your content or create content that is tied to your brand.Most of the social media platforms shows this as sponsored ads to inform their followers that it is a commercial campaign which is a paid form of advertising.
  • Contests & competitions: To build audience engagement, contests are very effective.
  • Affiliates or Discount coupons or codes: sharing affiliate codes with influencers so that they earn money each time someone that came through their funnel purchases from your brand. It can help brand to sell more on their sites and also helps the influencer to make commercial sense out of the collaboration.
  • Endorsements – wherein the influencer is recruited as brand ambassador 

Tools for doing your research for the Influencers or Key opinion leaders

Today, digital marketing has become quite easy and complex at the same time.

There are several tools to do research and base your selection based on analytics and results provided by these tools.

And the following tools are also helpful for identifying social media and blogging influencers.

  • Deep Social 
  • BuzzSumo
  • BuzzStream
  • Klout
  • NinjaOutreach
  • Klear
  • Sproutsocial

Personally, I use Buzzsumo for my keywords analysis and Ninjaoutreach.

(you may try these tools and use whichever you may feel comfortable and user-friendly).

What is the correct metrics to be used to study the effectiveness of Influencer marketing Plan?

There are several metrics which one can use based on the set objectives.

  • Brand awareness – check your share of voice post your influencer campaign, has it increased or is it same as earlier.
  • Follower base metrics – did more people followed your brand post the campaign or not
  • Engagement – how many enquiries generated, comments received and how many people shared your content on to their feeds.
  • Sales metrics – was any increase observed in sales?

Personally, I prefer to keep things simple so for me the Sales generation metric is the most important, the rest of them are for vanity purposes.

I believe,

Too much analysis leads to decision paralysis.

retailritesh

Successful influencer marketing campaigns.

Check out the case study of the Pringles valentine’s day influencer campaign in India

Check out the campaign done by Heinz using the blogger programme

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Ritesh Mohan is a passionate retail professional with over 22 years in the Retail sector, handling some of the biggest brands in the beauty, fashion, and fragrances retail & FMCG sector.

He has been instrumental in the growth of some of the regional brands as well in the Middle East region.

Ritesh specializes in Retail management, Product development, and Brand Management, Retail Operations, Sales Management, and Franchising & Business Management.

He strongly believes in empowering business owners with his wisdom & experience of around two decades in the industry.

follow me on Instagram as @mohanritesh & on Youtube as @riteshmohan

How to develop your Influencer marketing plan?