Social media has harboured a new marketing channel for brands – Influencer Marketing. The world of bloggers and influencers is big and is expanding as we speak. Having the right arsenal in your pocket, will ensure you can strategically deploy this weapon and get real results.
If you are new to blogger marketing, consider this post to be your cheat sheet to start experimenting with an influencer marketing strategy.
If you have tried blogger marketing before and have burnt your hands (and money) doing so, we welcome you even more.
In this post, we talk about..
- Who are micro-influencers and why you should work with them
- How to find the right bloggers to work with so you do not end up wasting precious time and money
- How to assess if you have found the right blogger-brand fit
Who are Influencers?
An influencer is anyone who has a social media following irrespective of size, and operates in a specific niche. The fact that they cater to a niche affords them an expert status in that category and attract like-minded followers.
The idea behind partnering with these mini-celebrities is the premise that a smaller follower base permits them a higher engagement rate and more authentic content.
Should you be dealing with influencers at all?
Short answer: Yes
Long answer: With reduced organic reach, early success with social media is possible in two ways – pay for Ads, or pay influencers to promote your brand. We are big fans of Blogger Marketing because, if done right, it adds social proof, helps in follower growth, and the benefits do not exhaust once the duration of the campaign is over.
Celebrities and top-tier influencers can help you gain visibility. But it is difficult to get a major celebrity to promote your product.
Why you should work with Micro-influencers?
Here are some reasons why you should consider working with micro-influencers below.
- Higher engagement rate
Having a smaller audience allows the blogger to be more authentic with their posts and content as they are not trying to please everyone. Bloggers have a better handle on the pulse of their followers, their likes and dislikes and the content that resonates with them.
A study reported in Digiday states that Instagram pages with under 1,000 followers have a like rate of about 8 percent. Those with 1,000 to 10,000 have a rate around 4 percent.
As followers grow, engagement drops.
Consequently, the engagement rates that you see with micro-influencers is higher. The grounded content allows the bloggers to exercise a higher degree of influence.
Serious bloggers take the time to purge their ‘ghost followers’. Social media has high number of fake profiles and bot-led profiles. Needless to say a blogger who has high number of followers but poor engagement will not serve any real purpose for you.
- More authentic content
Because they operate in a niche, the content that micro-influencers produce is relevant to their niche and has a voice of authenticity.
These bloggers have not been identified by PR agencies, and do fewer sponsored posts for brands. And that makes them sound more connected and real to their followers.
And people are more likely to hear from people they believe to be authentic and original.
Because they only work with brands that their followers identify with, their content does not sound fake and forced.
- Easier to connect with them and them agreeing to work with you
In addition to being affordable than big influencers and celebrities, micro-influencer come with an added advantage – the missing gatekeeper.
They are easy to find and connect with. Because they are not too blinded by the limelight, micro-influencers are more receptive to hear directly from brands.
They are also looking to build relationships with relevant brands as it affords them more street-cred and provides validation.
The world of blogging works on the premise of compound effect. The more a blogger works with brands, the more visibility they will get and it will make their work easier to pitch to bigger brands later.
- It’s a relief for your budget
Working with 30-40 influencers on social media will still be cheaper than getting a single celebrity to promote your product. The price-tag attached with bloggers and influencers is without question lower compared to bigger personalities.
With micro-influencers you can even work on a barter system (wherein they agree to promote you and they get to keep your products in exchange). But this system might not work if your product is low-priced and if you want to engage with bloggers who have bigger following.
How to find the right influencers?
- Use your own followers list. Start by looking amongst your own followers. If you have been using relevant hashtags, bloggers must have found out your brand and may already be following you. As they are already aware of your brand and your content, it will require less convincing to get them to agree to work with you.
- Stalk competitor brands. If you are brand new and have next to no followers on social media, try following bloggers who are following your competitors or have worked with them in the past. You could offer these bloggers a chance to compare another brand with your products, and that goes a long way to add credibility.
- Go researching on targeted social platforms – Instead of making a universal list from google, do your research by looking for bloggers on the platforms that you want to target. Bloggers have different levels of fan following depending upon the social media platform. So if you are looking for promotions on Instagram, look for bloggers that are active and popular on Instagram. Search for hashtags and look for popular users of those hashtags.
There are a number of paid options available out there like buzzsumo, follower monk etc. But our experience says looking out on the platform itself should give you a good list to start with.
How to find the right blogger-brand fit?
- Relevant Platform – When shortlisting a blogger, look for their influence on your targeted platform. Someone who sees a lot of success on Instagram may just be getting started with Snapchat. They may be a big name, but if they do not have enough followers on the platform that you want, your campaign will be a flop-show.
- No. of followers – This is sometimes a vanity metric. But you don’t want to work with a blogger whose follower numbers are too low. The effort and time that you will devote with the blogger will never be justified if their following is too tiny.
- Frequency of posts – This is important. Social media is a numbers game. Consistency is important. An ideal number would be 2-3 posts a day, but there is no fixed rule. Monitor what works for your brand and replicate that in subsequent campaigns.
- Relevancy of posts – This one is THE most important point that you need to consider. Does the voice, content, theme of the blogger in line with your brand? Their online persona should match with your brand values and intentions. Because at the end of the day, you can only provide the blogger some ‘talking points’ about your product or your brand, but you cannot dictate how they present it.
- Engagement – The number of likes, comments, shares, reposts are important. But engagement is a two-way process. Does the blogger actively connect with their followers? Is there a good discussion happening on their social media pages? An active community is developed only if the blogger frequently responds to their followers’ comments with thoughtful, relevant replies.
- Past collaborations – Look for what other brands the blogger has worked with. How many posts were done? What kind of campaign was organised? This will also give you some negotiation material with the blogger as you will have a better insight into the kind of work they do.
However, pay heed if a blogger has been collaborating with brands left, right and center. Social media saturation will reduce the influence they have on their audience if they have been bombarding their followers with sponsored posts.
How to plan a fool-proof Influencer Marketing campaign?
- Prepare a budget – Allocate some funds for your blogger campaign. There are several expenses that you need to consider when designing a blogger outreach strategy. Some of the top expenses include:
- Direct payment to bloggers
- Product / Sample costs to be sent to bloggers and shipping
- Photography and Graphic design charges
- Advertising (optional)
- Design a campaign
Content – Instead of just asking for mentions of your brand name, design a promotional campaign. Challenges, giveaways, contests, reviews etc. – anything that gets people to perform an action. This makes it easier to measure engagement rates and measure ROI.
Duration, dates etc. – How long will you run the campaign for? Be specific about what dates you want to run the campaign. Piggyback on a festive event / news as the discoverability of hashtags is higher when pegged to a specific event / news.
No. of posts, time of day – How many posts will the blogger do for you? What time of the day? Instead of the blogger deciding this, be specific. You have more insights on what time of the day is your audience more active to ensure higher engagement.
Platform – Some kinds of products do well on Facebook, other might perform better on Instagram or Snapchat. Decide on a single platform that you want to target.
- Database and draft email
Get an intern to prepare a database of bloggers you want to target. Once you have a database, draft a simple email pitch to send to these bloggers. Be specific about what you want and ask for commercials.
So that’s that. You are all set to start your journey with blogger marketing. Let us know in the comments below your experience with bloggers!