Influencer Marketing Strategy: Guidance, Best Practices and more!

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Influencer Marketing Strategy: Guidance, Best Practices and more!

Read complete guide to your influencer marketing strategy to learn more about this area of marketing as well as best practices for building an effective strategy, common mistakes to avoid, examples and we answer common questions about influencer marketing strategy.

What is an influencer marketing strategy?

An influencer marketing strategy is a dynamic approach employed by brands to leverage the reach and authority of influential individuals within specific niches to promote their products or services. It involves identifying and collaborating with these influencers, who possess a dedicated and engaged audience on social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, or blogs. Through strategic partnerships, brands aim to tap into the influencers’ credibility and rapport with their followers, thus gaining access to a targeted audience that aligns with their brand values and objectives. This form of marketing capitalizes on the influencers’ ability to authentically endorse products, generating buzz, credibility, and ultimately driving consumer behavior, whether it’s raising awareness, fostering brand loyalty, or boosting sales. A successful influencer marketing strategy hinges on careful planning, authentic partnerships, and continuous evaluation to ensure alignment with brand goals and audience interests.

What are the types of influencers?

There are many different types of influencers out there, these influencers can be broken down into four main types, here are the definitions for each type:

  1. Mega influencers: Mega influencers are individuals who have an extensive reach on social media platforms, typically with millions of followers. They often include celebrities, industry leaders, or well-known public figures. Due to their massive audience, they have significant influence and can impact large-scale brand awareness campaigns.
  2. Macro influencers: Macro influencers have substantial but not as extensive a following as megainfluencers, typically ranging from hundreds of thousands to millions of followers. They may include bloggers, social media personalities, or experts in specific fields. Macro influencers offer a balance between reach and engagement, making them suitable for broad audience targeting.
  3. Micro influencers: Micro influencers have a more modest following compared to macro and mega influencers, typically ranging from a few thousand to a hundred thousand followers. They are often experts or enthusiasts within niche communities, offering highly engaged audiences. Microinfluencers are valued for their authenticity, niche expertise, and ability to drive targeted engagement and conversions.
  4. Nano influencers: Nano influencers have the smallest following among influencer categories, typically ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand followers. They are everyday consumers who are passionate about specific topics or products. Nano influencers are valued for their authenticity, high engagement rates, and close relationships with their followers, making them ideal for hyper-targeted campaigns and grassroots marketing efforts.

Influencers vs User Generated Content Creators

User Generated Content creators and influencers both wield significant influence in today’s digital landscape, yet they differ in their origins and approaches. UGC creators, thought of by some as micro-influencers, are everyday individuals who generate content organically, often driven by their passion or interest in a particular topic or niche. They may not have a massive following initially, but their authenticity and relatability resonate deeply with their audience. On the other hand, influencers actively cultivate their online presence to build a dedicated following, often partnering with brands to promote products or services in exchange for compensation. While influencers typically have a larger reach and more curated content, UGC creators offer a grassroots authenticity that can foster stronger connections with their audience. Both play essential roles in shaping consumer perceptions and driving engagement in today’s digital landscape.

So you’re thinking of working with influencers? Keep this in mind:

The influencer doesn’t want to lose their individual tone or uniqueness. To aid the process, the most important thing is to have a very clear idea of what you want for your brand out of this campaign, then plan to make it happen. That way, you will be able to make concise proposals to the influencer when discussing the type of content that will be produced.

This is important because their content will inspire your followership it post similar content with your products – something that will establish a User Generated Content strategy for your brand. For example, Unisa, an international shoe brand, demonstrates the direct benefits a brand receives when they reward their online community with recognition through their 16.03% increase of conversion rate.

But a lot of it starts with your influencers and how well you communicate with them.

One of the most relevant results from influencer studies is that the majority of influencers consider it very valuable to have brand collaboration when it comes to creating a message. Thus, it is important to give them clear guidelines about the type of communication you’re looking to achieve.

Provide them with useful details, which they wouldn’t find from other sources – such as brand trivia and product history, as well as professional resources like product photos or even the chance to call on a team of production staff. By no means, however, does this mean that the influencer should simply post a message that has been created by the brand. The message needs to be the fruit of a collaborative process.

Working as a team involves taking the best that each contributor has to offer in order to end up with a solid end product. The influencer knows their public (which is also your public) and knows how to approach them; you know your brand, your product and the benefits that it offers. Make the most of this knowledge pairing.

In a 2018 study by Launchmetrics, 63% of influencers listed “valuable content for my brand” as their number one motivation for working with a brand. As you can see, influencers value the support that comes with content collaboration.

Content creation is a stressful practice these days, and everyone wants new things to post. This is where you have a leg-up as a brand. You’re offering them something new, and, if you’re creative, you can offer them something irresistible – for you both. The collaboration, then, is above all a matter of developing a win-win situation where both you and the influencer will benefit on a professional level.

How to source influencers

A lot of brands want to know how to find influencers. This can be done in a number of different ways. Influencers can be found across various social media platforms, including Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and Twitter, where they engage with their followers through content creation and interaction. Brands often utilize influencer marketing platforms and agencies to identify and collaborate with influencers who align with their target audience and brand values. Additionally, industry events, networking functions, and online communities dedicated to influencer marketing are valuable resources for discovering potential collaborators. By leveraging these channels, brands can connect with influencers who possess the reach, authenticity, and resonance necessary to effectively amplify their marketing efforts and connect with their desired audience.

The adoption of a User Generated Content platform can help you to highlight some influencers who already like and are posting about your product. From there you can contact them to further a working relationship.

Why are influencers a crucial aspect of marketing today?

Influencers have become a crucial aspect of marketing today due to their unparalleled ability to connect with and influence audiences in a highly personalized and authentic manner. Unlike traditional advertising methods, influencers offer a more relatable and genuine approach to promoting products or services, which resonates strongly with modern consumers who increasingly value authenticity and peer recommendations. Their social media presence allows brands to tap into niche communities and target specific demographics with precision.

Influencers often have a loyal and engaged following, granting brands access to a pre-existing audience that trusts and respects the influencer’s opinions and recommendations. This direct line of communication fosters deeper connections between brands and consumers, leading to increased brand awareness, higher engagement levels, and ultimately, improved conversion rates. In an era dominated by digital and social media, influencers play a pivotal role in shaping consumer preferences, driving purchasing decisions, and ultimately, driving business success.

So how do you go about planning an influencer marketing strategy ?

influencer marketing strategy

1. Setting objectives

As with any other strategy, the first issue for your influencer marketing strategy is to clearly understand what you want to achieve. Your aim might range from something small such as getting a certain number of likes on a photo to something much bigger like reaching a specified number of daily sales. Other examples of campaign objectives could be: garner loyalty in new customers, generate buzz around your brand, achieve sales conversion rates, establish a relationship with the public, improve B2B ties, increase the number of installations of your app, get a certain number of users posting on your hashtag, to name but a few.

This first step will define the whole influencer marketing strategy, meaning that it’s crucial to get things as clear as possible before the planning stage. Try to set out realistic, quantitative aims that will be measurable over time – that way you can take that information and analyze it in the future. (Meaning your campaigns just keep getting better!)

2. Designing the campaign

As outlined in the previous section, the entire strategy will unfold from the central campaign objective. Once you’ve clarified what you wish to achieve, the rest of the strategy will develop from it.

One of the most important factors to take into account is the budget for your campaign. First and foremost, you’ll need to determine how much you’re going to invest before calculating how much the return will be. Remember that the costs can include diverse expenses such as research, product samples, special promotions for the public and the cost of the strategy-planning itself. 60% of professionals in the same study by Launchmetrics on influencers have confirmed that their influencer marketing budgets will grow in the next year.

What about yours? Is your budget growing? Does your campaign have many messages or just one? Does it need one big-name influencer or lots of smaller-scale ones at the same time? Do you have ample time to plan the campaign content or do you need to act right now?

In the world of influencer marketing, many brands simply opt to send a product sample to the influencer and wait for the related post to appear. In the short run, this practice can lead to disappointing results like an inadequate message. However on some occasions it can result in an instant hit, especially when timing and spontaneity are taken advantage of.

A different, generally more effective way of doing things is to plan a campaign that will be sustainable over time. A perfect example of this can be seen in many fashion campaigns. In this sphere, what tends to give better results is to outline a campaign many months before launch, including all seasons and collections for the upcoming year, anticipating its focus.

But what kind of content are you going to request from your influencers? Event hosting? Promotion on social media? Affiliate links? Sponsored posts?

85% of influencers have reported sponsored content as the most requested influencer service. But this ultimately comes down to what you’re looking to achieve. Don’t just do it because you hear it works – how does it work and for what purpose? This will get you actual results rather than just the right to say that you executed an influencer marketing strategy.

influencer marketing strategy

3. Co-creating content

Once you’ve determined your influencer marketing strategy – its duration and its spread (the number of posts daily, weekly, or monthly) – co-creating is the next logical step.

Here you decide what each post says and how the content will evolve during the campaign. This will put to test the ability of the brand and the influencer to work as a team, creating effective messages which fit the brand’s objectives and are also natural as part of the influencer’s feed. This is the stumbling block which needs to be emphasized the most when collaborating with influencers, though there are also other details to consider.

While the consumer has learned to ignore messages in traditional media or experience banner blindness online, influencer marketing strategy is an area that is not overloaded with offers and logos. This means that a message in this sphere does not necessarily have to be the most creative or eye-catching. Rather, it needs to be suitable with the influencer’s profile, to provide something that users will want to talk about and share.

4. Executing

To reach this stage, everything else needs to have been set out and decided. So what now?

Don’t even think about sitting back and leaving things up to the influencer while you just wait to see the results. According to Neoreach.com, the brand needs to do a detailed tracking of the campaign’s evolution in order to get figures that will later help you with measurement and assessment.

You’ll need to prepare spreadsheets where you can enter all of the tracking data. You could also use specialized programs for this purpose (click here for a list of the Top Five according to Techradar). Or if you are unable to dedicate the necessary attention to the tracking process, the best thing may be to hire a professional team who will perform the task for you.

You’ll also need to track the actions of the campaign and user reactions, taking screenshots of everything. (Trust me, you’ll want these later!)

5. Measuring effectiveness

Influencer Marketing strategy

This is an essential step for any campaign. It is the phase that will show if all the effort has paid off and what aspects could be improved upon. Doing a campaign without a precise measurement of results is like throwing away half the work involved. The Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) advises that there are two stages of measurement:

  • The potential to influence (before)
  • The influence observed (during and after)

For Launch and Hustle, the five key factors to consider are:

  • Total investment: In the strategy section, we spoke about deciding the budget for the campaign. Now that the campaign has run, it’s time to go back to this point and calculate if that figure truly was the total investment or if extra costs were encountered along the way. With all the details on the table, you can now analyze if the return has met your expectations and how much of a gain the brand has made from the campaign.
  • Reach and ratio: Reach refers to the number of people we are seeking to approach – in this case it will depend on the number of followers the influencer has. Ratio is the gain for the brand compared to the investment made, calculated by looking at the number of page impressions, the increase in engagement and sales conversion rates.

Once you have all the final figures, you’ll need to work out the ratio obtained. This will be based on the initial reach that you determined and your original objectives, that way you can determine whether the chosen influencer was the most effective for both your brand and for the starting aims of the campaign. Remember to always pay attention to the reactions that your campaign generated. An example of a tool which can help with this is Traackr.

  • Feelings towards the brand: Although the ultimate goal of the campaign is sales conversion, there are many ways through which this can be achieved. Monitoring the image your brand is giving and how people react to this is vital in order to attract a larger public and (consequently) higher sales conversion. It is also a chance to identify the weak points in your brand’s communication while at the same time exploring the areas that are working for you. A couple of tools that can help measure feelings towards your brand are Meltwater and People Browsr.
  • The effect of the message on the brand: To evaluate the effect that the message has had on your brand, you should consider variables such as generation of online traffic, number of mentions for your brand or product, number of subscribers or number of followers on social networks.
  • New sales: This is clearly the most important factor for most brands. Just remember that sales derived from an influencer marketing strategy campaign are not always immediate, meaning that it’s important to keep an eye on data even after the end of the original campaign.

6. Repeating it all over again

Practice makes the master!

The future of Influencer Marketing Strategy

Influencer Marketing strategy

In an article from Inverted Marketing, there is an outline of three ways in which Influencer Marketing will change in the future.

  • The emergence of influential profiles at a lower-scale level: The main aspiration for brands will no longer be major influencers accounts with huge amounts of followers. Rather, they will seek to pinpoint their message to the target audience, even though this will mean a lower level of exposure. (46% of professionals claim they gain more effective results when they work with Micro influencers!)
  • The return to the organic message: The brand communication of the future is less prepared and less posed, making the consumer trust it more. Influencers who are smaller-scale and more familiar will communicate messages in a reliable, simple way.
  • The relinquishing of brand control: Influencers will take the reigns as designers and deliverers of authentic messages.

But that’s not all, as Inverted Marketing says, once brands realize the impact that small-scale influencers can have on the way our message reaches the public, we will learn to appreciate the true worth of natural interactions. We will see the value that everyday people can add to a brand when they choose to make it a part of their daily lives. Once that moment arrives, influencer marketing will have become an automatic system, which regularly rewards individuals for online sharing of their favorite brands, regardless of the size of their audience.

Using Influencer Marketing to Scale

eCommerce brands leverage influencers to scale their operations by tapping into the influencers’ established networks and credibility within specific niches. These partnerships enable eCommerce brands to access highly targeted audiences that align with their target market, thereby increasing the likelihood of conversions and sales. Influencers act as trusted intermediaries who introduce their followers to new products or services, fostering a sense of authenticity and trust that traditional advertising often lacks.

Influencers can provide valuable UGC and testimonials, which further bolster the brand’s credibility and appeal to potential customers. By strategically collaborating with influencers, eCommerce brands can effectively expand their reach, drive traffic to their online stores, and ultimately accelerate their growth trajectory.


Avoiding Common Pitfalls in Influencer Marketing

With the information at your disposal, you’re nearly ready to embark on your influencer marketing campaign. However, before diving in, it’s crucial to be mindful of prevalent mistakes in influencer marketing and take proactive steps to steer clear of them.

Overemphasizing Follower Count

Relying solely on follower counts can be misleading as they can be artificially inflated through purchased followers, leading to influencer fraud. Simply gauging influencers by their follower numbers may not yield the desired outcomes. Additionally, even authentic influencers might not necessarily align with your brand’s target audience or engagement objectives.

To mitigate this risk, leverage influencer fraud detection tools and scrutinize influencers using fake follower checkers. Implement an additional screening process focusing on factors like content quality and follower demographics to ensure compatibility with your brand.

Restricting Creative Freedom

One common pitfall is brands imposing excessive restrictions on influencers, undermining the essence of influencer marketing, which thrives on authenticity. Overly prescriptive directives can result in content that feels forced or overly promotional, alienating the influencer’s audience.

To circumvent this issue, prioritize respecting the creative autonomy of content creators. Provide them with general guidelines and prompts while entrusting them with the creative process. This approach fosters authentic content creation that resonates with the influencer’s audience while aligning with your brand’s objectives.

Selecting an Inappropriate Payment Model

The payment structure for influencers significantly impacts campaign profitability. While various payment models exist, it’s essential to choose one that suits both your budget and campaign goals. For instance, product seeding campaigns may entail gifting products to micro and nano-influencers without monetary compensation.

Lack of Clear Objectives

Without clearly defined goals and objectives, it’s easy for influencer marketing campaigns to lose direction and effectiveness. Brands should establish specific, measurable objectives to guide their influencer partnerships and measure success accurately.

Ignoring Audience Relevance

Failing to consider the relevance of an influencer’s audience to your brand can result in ineffective collaborations. It’s essential to align with influencers whose followers match your target demographics and interests to maximize engagement and impact.

Neglecting Relationship Building

Building strong relationships with influencers is key to long-term success in influencer marketing. Neglecting to nurture these relationships can lead to disengagement, missed opportunities, and ultimately, ineffective campaigns.

Looking for more Instagram tips? Head to our complete guide to Instagram Marketing, where you’ll find everything you need to know about promoting your products on this crucial platform.

Influence Marketing Example

An Influencer strategy combined with a User Generated Content strategy can be a winning combination, exemplified by the success of Hunkemöllers campaigns. To capitalise on the power of both influencer marketing and UGC Hunkemöller’s website boasts a very clever idea: A shop by ambassador page.

Hunkemöller’s “Shop by Ambassador” feature, enabling users to tailor their eCommerce shopping journey according to their individual preferences. This empowers customers to browse products through the lens of their preferred influencers, accessing dedicated ambassador-specific pages showcasing them adorned in Hunkemöller’s lingerie. The brand works with influencers like Romy van den Bergh for example, shoppers can check out the looks she has styled on her ambassador page directly and get inspired by for example someone with the same body type as them.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I ensure influencers don’t misrepresent my brand?

To ensure influencers don’t misrepresent your brand, establish clear brand guidelines, provide comprehensive briefs, vet influencers thoroughly, monitor their content regularly, offer feedback when necessary, and include clauses in contracts outlining brand representation expectations and consequences for violations.

Which social media platforms are important for influencer marketing?

Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube are the most popular social media platforms for influencer marketing due to their large user bases, visual content focus, and influencer-friendly features such as Stories, Reels, and collaborations.

Should I only target influencers with massive follower bases?

Target influencers based on relevance to your brand and audience rather than just their follower count. Micro-influencers with smaller but engaged audiences often yield higher conversion rates and offer a more cost-effective option for niche targeting. Focus on alignment with your brand values and audience demographics.

What are some influencer marketing strategies?

Influencer marketing strategies include collaborating with influencers for sponsored content, hosting influencer takeovers, organizing influencer events, implementing affiliate marketing programs, engaging in influencer partnerships, leveraging user-generated content, and integrating influencers into your overall marketing campaigns. Tailor strategies to suit your brand objectives and target audience.

Which is the most effective form of influencer marketing?

Determining the most effective form of influencer marketing depends on various factors such as your target audience, campaign goals, and budget. Generally, however, authentic and genuine collaborations that resonate with the influencer’s audience tend to be the most effective, regardless of the specific format, whether it’s sponsored content, product reviews, or influencer-hosted events.

What’s an Influencer Marketing Strategist?

An Influencer Marketing Strategist is a professional responsible for planning, developing, and executing influencer marketing campaigns. They typically analyze market trends, identify suitable influencers, negotiate partnerships, create campaign strategies, oversee campaign implementation, and measure performance to achieve the brand’s marketing goals effectively.

How can I optimise my influencer marketing strategy?

To optimize your influencer strategy, start by clearly defining your campaign objectives and target audience. Research and vet influencers meticulously, prioritizing relevance, authenticity, and engagement over follower count alone. Develop detailed briefs and establish clear expectations and guidelines for content creation. Foster genuine relationships with influencers, providing them with creative freedom while ensuring alignment with your brand values. Track and analyze campaign performance metrics to iterate and refine your approach continually. Additionally, consider diversifying your influencer partnerships across different tiers and platforms to maximize reach and engagement.