Social media influencer marketing is on the rise. In fact, 70% of millennials are influenced by recommendations of their peers. The trend is social media influencer marketing is more than keeping up with the Joneses, however.

The rise of social media influencer marketing could be due to the prevalence of unethical marketing. 56% of Americans stop buying from a brand when they believe the brand is unethical. People are less likely than ever to separate products from the people that make them.

It might also be due to the fact that ads are getting more intrusive and more omnipresent. Now, 91% of consumers interviewed for a study feel that ads are more intrusive than they were a few years ago. Moreover, 87% feel that there are just more ads than there were before.

Digital marketers have got to stay with the times. We must investigate every tool and technique at our disposal. Combining powerful new technologies with time-honored marketing goals of regular, measurable, repeatable insights blends traditional business instincts with cutting-edge capabilities.

We’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to social media influencer marketing to help you make the most of this exciting trend while avoiding some of the pitfalls that newcomers can make.

A Comprehensive Guide To Social Media Influencer Marketing

Before we begin, let’s define our terminology. Let’s take a look at what defines an influencer. Then we’ll look at how to find and engage with popular social media users for your own social media influencer marketing campaigns.

What Is An Influencer?

A social media influencer is anyone with a wide following on social media networks. It could be anyone from a celebrity to a blogger to someone posting on a particular niche or industry.

Influencers are generally paid by brands with either money or product for endorsements on their social media channel. Your brand will be linked to that influencer from that point forward. That’s why finding influencers with an appropriate aesthetic and following is such an integral part of social media influencer marketing.

Studies show that 54% of companies now have some sort of budget for social media influencer marketing. This trend will continue to rise as traditional advertisements continue to decline.

What Do Social Media Influencers Do?

Social media influencer marketing isn’t that different from traditional advertising. Influencers are basically just creative contractors that you hire to spread the word about your brand.

Social media influencers create quality posts for their websites and social media networks about your brand. In some instances, companies give influencers the content to post. In others, they create their own content around your brand to share with their followers.

Influencers then post a variety of content around your brand. This could be their own creations or simply spreading the word on some marketing initiative like a contest or giveaway.

Influencers can also share their personal experience with your product or service. This taps into the power of testimonials, allowing a new audience to connect and empathize with your brand.

How To Recognize A Social Media Influencer

There are three main criteria to help you identify a viable influencer for your social media influencer marketing. Engagement, quality content, and a suitable aesthetic are important to make sure our social media influencer marketing efforts are effective.

Engagement

It’s not enough for an influencer to have a lot of followers. Followers can be bought or procured in a variety of unethical ways. Engagement is the first metric you should look for when looking for influencers for your marketing campaigns.

A high level of engagement on social media shows that an influencer is a trusted authority on a particular niche. Their users come to them for insight, trusting that they won’t lead them astray.

Engagement rate is also a more effective metric for social media influencer marketing than the number of followers as influencers with fewer followers have higher engagement rates. They’re called micro-influencers.

Now let’s take a look at what constitutes Quality Content.

Quality Content

The definition of Quality Content depends on where it’s being published. Each social media network has its own rules of engagement. Blogs and websites have their own particularities about what constitutes in-depth, masterful content.

Knowing what medium and format are best for your brand is one of the keys to successful social media influencer marketing.

There are no hard and fast rules about what constitutes Quality Content. There are some general guidelines you can follow, however.

Create Content For Users, Not Search Engines

It’s important to remember that your content is for people, not search engines. While the usual best practices for search engine marketing (SEM) should be adhered to, don’t replace usefulness for findability.

Be Honest And Authentic

No one likes to be lied to. People don’t like to feel deceived. Digital marketers used all manner of unscrupulous methods to climb the search engine ranks in the 2000s. This is the cause of the most significant updates to Google’s algorithms, where numerous websites lost their search engine rankings overnight due to unethical practices.

Avoid Gimmicks

The #1 goal of any brand should be to bring value to your customers’ lives. Creating clickbait articles and keyword stuffing adds nothing to your audience’s lives. They can tell, too.

Be Unique

Identifying your unique value proposition (UVP) should be one of the first steps of creating your business plan. Make sure your social media influencer marketing reflects that UVP and broadcasts it to the world.

Having run-of-the-mill content can do more harm than good. The point of content marketing is positioning your brand ahead of your competition. What does it say when your content and marketing is exactly the same as everybody else’s?

Spend some extra time creating quality content for your website and social media networks. Make sure that your influencers do the same to make the most of your influencer marketing efforts.

Remember, the influencers you work with are extensions of your brand. Not only must you adhere to the rules of Quality Content, you have to make sure your influencers are doing the same. Make sure to perform your due diligence.

For an ever clearer picture of what constitutes Quality Content, Google’s Webmaster Academy offers some guidelines.

Google’s Webmaster Academy Definition Of Quality Content:

  • Useful
  • Informative
  • More authoritative than other sites
  • Unique
  • Engaging

Many of these criteria are going to be specific to websites and blogs, but they’re still good to keep in mind when beginning your social media influencer marketing campaigns.

For social media influencer campaigns on visual networks like Instagram, there are some best practices to follow as well.

Quality Content For Visual Networks Like Instagram Should:

  • Be unique
  • Have a clear point of focus
  • Follow the rule-of-thirds
  • Use negative space and borders
  • Use contrast and balance

A good litmus test of Quality Content for Instagram and other visual social media networks is to ask yourself, “Would I pause if I saw this in my feed?”

If the answer is yes, the odds are good your audience will do the same. You can use this test to identify influencers to work with on your social media influencer marketing campaigns, as well. Keep an eye out for content creators that make you pause and take notice.

How To Incorporate Social Media Influencer Marketing Into Your Existing Marketing Strategy

There is no magic wand to make all of your marketing dreams come true. There is no shiny red button to automatically quadruple your web traffic overnight. Anyone who tells you otherwise is deceiving you.

Before you begin any social media influencer marketing campaign, make sure your marketing goals and content strategy are up to date. You have to know what you’re trying to do before you can achieve it masterfully.

Your marketing goals will also impact the influencers you work with and the content you create. If you’re trying to build brand awareness, viral content might be a good bet. If you’re trying to sell a product, testimonials and incentives might be a better use of your time and energy.

You can also recruit influencers to create content for your own social media channels. Consider the case of clothing company ThreadBeast, which created a series of Facebook Ads for streetwear in collaboration with influential YouTube user NightWing2303.

That video garnered a healthy 3.4 million views. It also received an additional 200,000 views on Nightwing2303’s YouTube channel. Now that’s a great example of synergy in action!

Finding The Right Influencers For Your Social Media Influencer Marketing Campaigns

There are three signs you should look for to find the influencers who will best match with your marketing goals.

Reach

Think of reach as a combination of followers and engagement. Engagement is the most important metric to identify the best influencers for your marketing campaigns. A wide audience is also important, however.

Relevance

Relevance is even more important than reach for your social media influencer marketing campaigns. Promoting sneakers or boutique clothing isn’t going to be very effective on a Gamer’s channel. You won’t sell a lot of airplane tickets if you’re broadcasting to stay-at-home parents.

Resonance

This is a kind of rarefied take on engagement. When an influencer connects with your product or service and shares it with their audience, that connection is passed on their viewers. A warmth and fondness can be cultivated with resonant influencers in a way that traditional marketing is very rarely able to achieve.

How To Find Influencers For YourInfluencer Marketing Campaigns On Social Media

The first step in identifying influencers to work is knowing which niche you’re hoping to influence. This goes back to your UVP and mission statement. It also relates to your marketing goals as this will impact which influencers are best for your particular needs.

Start by browsing through some hashtags based on the keywords you’re hoping to influence. Then you can plug some of the hashtags into websites like top-hashtags.com, to get an idea of other hashtags that are trending in your industry.

There are many tools to facilitate finding the right influencers for your influencer marketing campaigns, as well.

Tools And Resources To Find Influencers

Here are a few apps and websites to make searching for the best influencers as efficient as possible.

Traackr

Traackr is a premium influencer marketing and analytics resource. Traackr offers insights into the best influencers for your campaigns. They also offer advice on how to engage these influencers.

Traackr offers an influencer search engine and searchable profiles. They also offer tools for sentiment analysis to give deeper insights into the thoughts and feelings of the influencers you hope to work with.

Little Bird

Little Bird is designed specifically to find Twitter influencers. Twitter has been regaining relevance as a way to facilitate conversations around complex topics after a few years in decline. It’s an invaluable way to spread the word on thought leadership as well as offering incentives to entice new customers.

Little Bird was recently acquired by the customer experience management company Sprinklr. Combined, they create a dynamic duo for any marketing team. Now you can do all of your marketing outreach via a single dashboard.

Linkdex

Linkdex started out as an SEO tool. It’s one of the most powerful tools for influencer marketing analytics on social media, as a result. Linkdex crawls sites for technical insights like on-site SEO. It also analyzes the number of social shares and backlinks, similar to how Google’s algorithm works.

Influencer marketing is only going to continue to rise as conversations around authenticity and honesty on the Internet continue. Consumers need to know they can trust the brands they’re supporting.

What better way to know who to trust than a recommendation from a friend? That’s essentially what influencers are. They’re friends and colleagues with discerning taste and an honest outlook.

Ready To Find Out How Influencer Marketing Can Amplify Your Brand?

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