By partnering with established online influencers, you can build brand trust, increase customer engagement, and boost lead generation. Successful influencer marketing begins with building solid relationships with the right influencers, but if you've never initiated one of these programs before, it can be daunting. These tips below detail the main factors you need to consider – from education and discovery to negotiation and contracting – to make your influencer program successful.
Prepare with Research
Before contracting an influencer, it pays to put in plenty of research. A negotiation course online can equip your marketing team to conduct thorough preparations. Some key questions your research should answer are:
- Does the influencer's content align with your brand message?
- Does your product/service fit naturally into the influencer's lifestyle?
- Is the partnership likely to resonate with the influencer's existing audience?
- What's the size of their audience?
- Does your influencer's audience match your brand's buyer persona?
Research the influencer's online presence. Find out who the influencer has worked with before by looking at their past ad or promotional campaigns. Check the quality and frequency of their audience engagement using tools like Buffer and Hootsuite. Does the influencer enjoy repeat business from other brands? Repeat business likely means satisfied clients.
Agree on Goals
Once you identify your ideal influencer, set out the campaign's intentions. Defining and agreeing on goals early on shapes your campaign strategy. Knowing the goals to aim for also provides an idea of which metrics to use when measuring performance. Some examples of influencer marketing goals include:
- Boosting brand awareness
- Growing your audience
- Lead generation
- Increasing brand engagement
- Building brand identity
- Website link building
The most established influencers often have a media kit that outlines their fees. It’s important to ensure the services and fees align with your expectations. Compare the charges against your budget and campaign needs. Negotiation courses can support your team in assessing the value expected against the price paid. Compare the charges against your budget and campaign needs.
Different content types may attract different pricing. For instance, a week-long giveaway may cost more than a one-off sponsored post. Be clear on your needs before entering negotiations.In the absence of a media kit, you may have to call or send a message to find out rates.
Keep in mind that there are no standard rates. Many influencers set rates based on their personal opinions and experience with past clients. If the price is way beyond your budget, don’t be afraid to walk away. If the rate is closer to your budget, you can set negotiations in motion to find a favorable compromise.
Who Controls Content?
Content-control depends on which influencer you're working with. In most cases, the influencer may want to create the content and merge it with the messaging style that best suits their community.
In most cases, you can agree to pre-authorize content before it's posted. There are several ways you can work with an influencer to distribute content.
- Guest posting: Create and contribute content to post on the influencer's online profile.
- Sponsored content: Pay to feature your brand message on the influencer's social media profile or blog.
- Content co-creation: Work together with the influencer to create content. You may distribute on the influencer's profile, your profile, or a third-party profile.
- Mentions: Ask an influential personality to mention your brand or share your content with their audience.
- Influencer takeover: Allow your influencer to control or direct your social media account for an agreed period.
Agree on Performance Metrics
Getting one of the best online influencers to mention your brand can feel like a victory. Yet, the real purpose of the campaign goes beyond mere mentions. The real success is whether the partnership has achieved the agreed goals.
When negotiating a deal, agree on how to measure performance. Some of the most common metrics for influencer marketing campaigns are:
- Link-building metrics: How many links and backlinks, and the quality of links
- Engagement metrics: How many shares, likes, retweets, comments, etc.
- Brand identity metrics: How many social mentions and press coverage
- Brand awareness metrics: How many page visitors or page views, and how much time spent on site
- Lead generation metrics: Number of opt-ins and click-through rates
- Sales metrics: How many sales generated
Use a Written Contract
The best negotiation course experts stress the importance of using written contracts. Drawing up a written agreement is critical for any arrangement you agree to with an influencer. Get something in writing, even if only in an email form. A contract sets out everyone's duties and expectations.
Remember, influencers are people with goals and communities that you're trying to partner with, not simply use. Keep the relationship's longevity in mind when you're running an influencer program and you'll generate long-lasting results.