How to Develop an Influencer Marketing Strategy

Michelle Lawrence Picture

by Michelle Lawrence | Last Updated: Sep 30, 2021

Let’s travel back through time...about eight months ago to be exact. You were on hour two of scrolling through TikTok when you came across a new dinner idea. The concept wasn’t groundbreaking. It was just tomatoes, feta cheese, and pasta. 🍝  Yes, I’m talking about how one food blogger was able to influence millions of people to cook the famous TikTok pasta (there was a feta cheese shortage because of it).  Fast forward to today; we’re still seeing how powerful being an influencer can be. I mean, who isn’t talking about the TikTok salmon rice bowl this week? 🍚 Influencer marketing goes beyond convincing people to try a new dish for dinner. You’ve seen it in YouTube videos, Instagram posts, and every other digital channel you’re on. It’s completely taken over our world and is now estimated to be a $10 billion industry But use cases for influencer marketing are more than just cosmetics and fashion. Banks are now starting to implement influencer marketing campaigns.  So how can your organization build an influencer marketing strategy? Mae Karwowski, the CEO and Founder at Obviously, shared a few ideas during her episode of the Real Marketers Podcast.   Partnering with the Right Influencer A match made in heaven does not happen overnight and neither does finding the right influencer for your brand. The ideal influencer probably isn’t going to be your favorite YouTuber, as disappointing as this is to hear. You have to look at your core demographic to see what makes sense. Mae recommends asking these questions before sending over any contracts: But there’s a second part to finding the right amplifier for your brand. The content creator has to actually like your brand.  Our BS detectors have gotten pretty good at sniffing out the inauthentic posts from the real deal simply because we are bombarded with marketing messages and sponsored posts all day every day  Finding influencers who are authentically passionate about your brand isn’t as hard as one may seem. Take a listen to how one brand found its perfect match. Get Creative with Your Campaigns If your Instagram and YouTube feed is like mine, I’m sure you’ve seen your fair share of sponsored posts from athleisure companies to food subscription boxes. But influencer marketing has the potential to be lucrative for more than just B2C brands. There’s a ton of verticals welcoming influencer marketing strategies with open arms. A recent example of a B2B company with a creative influencer strategy is Terminus. If you’re a loyal listener to the Real Marketers podcast, then you might know where I’m heading with this. Earlier this year, Terminus hosted a virtual event called Break Sh*t. What I loved about Terminus’ influencer strategy is they didn’t reach out to an influencer to simply create a sponsored post about the event. Terminus put the influencer at the heart of the event by partnering with Jay Baer to host Break Sh*t. This obviously created a TON of buzz for the event. Pretty genius if you ask me. One last thing to note about getting started with an influencer campaign - an influencer doesn’t have to be just a person. It can be a podcast, website, blog, or any other entity with a decent following. So get those creative juices flowing! Be Realistic About the Deliverables Remember in school when the professor would assign a 15-page paper to be completed in two days? Yeah, not cool. Neither is handing over an unrealistic creative brief to an influencer.  So how long does it take an influencer to create a really great piece of content? Mae says it’s around 10 hours.  Piecing together a deck with specific instructions is a good idea, however, Mae advises brands compensate content creators fairly and gives influencers enough time to produce the content to match these instructions. Otherwise, other influencers may not want to work with your brand in the future or the asset you receive in the end may not be what you’re wanting. 😳 Advice for Content Creators Mae’s final piece of advice for listeners? Be choosy if you’re a content creator.  Brands weren’t the only ones who benefited from this Real Marketers episode; influencers themselves got a tip or two from Mae. If you’re just getting started in the world of content creation, your first brand deal probably isn’t going to be with your dream brand. You have to build up your portfolio of brands to get to the big partnerships. And to get to the really big deals, you’ll have to make some hard choices about which brands to work with (and not work with) when making your debut as an influencer. It all comes back to ruthless prioritization There’s a TON more to learn about the world of influencer marketing. Listen to the full Real Marketers episode to hear more secrets to what to include in your outreach to influencers, how to measure the impact of your influencer marketing campaign, how much to budget for your influencer marketing campaigns, and so much more. 

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