Influencer Marketing Best Practices to Succeed in 2021
Have you ever wondered what could be the value of the influencer marketing industry?
According to a survey conducted by Influencer Marketing Hub, the influencer marketing industry is currently worth a whopping $13.8 billion.
Image Source – Influencer Marketing Hub
That shouldn’t come as a surprise because nearly 4 billion people worldwide use social media regularly. More widespread the use of social media, the more significant the impact of influencer marketing.
What’s more, 90% of the respondents in the same survey agreed that influencer marketing is one of the most effective forms of digital marketing.
When millions of social media users trust influencers, why shouldn’t businesses leverage their influence to their advantage?
As remarkable as these numbers are, influencer marketing is quite tricky and complicated. That’s where influence marketing best practices come in handy.
As you read on, you will learn how to design successful influencer campaigns in 2021 and beyond. But first, let’s understand influencer marketing and how it works, in more detail.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is gaining popularity at an exponential rate. But who are these influencers, and what is influencer marketing all about?
Most influencers are ordinary people who communicate with large audiences, influencing their opinions, perspectives, and choices. They are strong voices on social media platforms like Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Tik Tok, etc.
These influencers have the power to influence the thought process and purchasing decisions of their followers.
Influencer marketing fundamentally is a form of social media marketing where businesses can get influencers to endorse their products or services. Here the influencers act as a means of advertisement, appealing to the masses but in their unique style.
Social media influencers are not born overnight. Instead, they work their way up the ladder the hard way. In the general sense, you will find three types of influencers:
- Micro-influencers (less than 10K followers)
- Macro-influencers (10K-1M followers)
- Mega influencers (more than 1M followers)
Influencers have a dedicated social following, and that’s the market businesses want to capture through influencer marketing. You can collaborate with influencers to promote your product in exchange for gifts or payment.
Getting associated with the best influencers works in favor of brands to garner social proof. Their thousands of followers are ready to listen when the influencers recommend something. It is that trust businesses want to capitalize upon through an influencer marketing program.
Why Does Influencer Marketing Work?
To give you a perspective, the Mediakix study reported that 60% of the marketers reported that influencer content performed better when set against their content. That’s how incredible influencer marketing strategies are.
Stat Source – Mediakix
But what makes influencer marketing work?
There are several reasons why influencer marketing’s reach is so vast and deep. Some solid reasons are:
- Influencers create authentic and quality content. They understand their audience and create content that resonates with them.
- The general users trust influencers because they are real people like us. The influencer’s unbiased opinion is more valuable than an advertisement.
- Influencer marketing is highly responsive. Influencers are innately innovators. They know how to repackage content to fit the occasion or situation.
- Influencer marketing gets you into the minds of your consumers to know their likes and needs. You can then appealingly present your offering.
- Ads can be blocked, but influencer content always reaches the target audience.
- There are plenty of advanced tools available for you to automate an influencer campaign and get spectacular results.
The benefits of influencer marketing are as versatile as social networks and their unique features. Overall, this type of marketing has the potential to expand your brand’s online visibility and reputation beyond your expectation.
Why Should Businesses Care About Influencer Marketing Best Practices?
Standing in the second half of 2021, we can boldly say that influencer marketing will only get more predominant as time goes by.
Mediakix stats make it clear that influencer marketing yields much better ROI than digital marketing when done correctly.
Stat Source – Mediakix
No wonder more than 65% of the marketers are already considering increasing their influencer marketing budget to reap its benefits, according to the Mediakix report.
And that’s where influencer marketing best practices have a role to play.
To leverage the benefits of influencer marketing for your business, it is important to follow influencer marketing best practices.
Influencer marketing is one of the most effective tools for you as a brand to make inroads into the diverse social media landscape and users.
Having said that, you should remember, influencer marketing is about making the right and timely choices. Getting associated with the wrong influencers or driving a campaign in the wrong direction may have adverse effects on your branding and your sales.
Following the influencer marketing best practices will make your decision-making a lot easier and effective.
Top Influencer Marketing Best Practices to Follow
Now that you know how powerful influencer marketing is, it’s time to incorporate influencer marketing best practices into your marketing strategy.
Wondering how to do that effectively?
If you want to be successful at influencer marketing, it is imperative that you follow influencer marketing best practices.
We have done the hard work for you and listed down the top influencer marketing best practices that you should follow.
Let’s get started.
1. Identify Your Campaign Goal
How does the success of your campaign become measurable?
By the goals you set, of course.
One of the most important influencer marketing best practices is to set clearly-defined goals. You can use the SMART goals framework for that.
Whether your goal is to increase sales, drive brand awareness, or anything else, follow this framework to set clear, measurable goals.
Once you have done that, you also need to identify KPIs that you can use to measure your campaign’s performance on these goals. After all, how else will you assess whether you achieved your goals or not?
2. Pin Your Focus on Authenticity
Users follow social media influencers because they are authentic content creators. Even while endorsing your brand or product, the influencer should use their style to tell a story.
When you invest in influencer marketing, one of the influencer marketing best practices would be to choose authentic influencers who can subtly promote your products. Users will easily catch a promotional post and avoid it.
Let your campaigns be authentic, like the way Fiona Wylde endorses Hydroflask on her Instagram page.
Image Source – Instagram
When influencers showcase the value of your product by showing how they use it personally, users trust them.
3. Collaborate with Expert Influencers in Your Niche
One of the basic influencer marketing best practices is to choose relevant influencers whose personal brand aligns with your brand values.
Think about it, what is the benefit of collaborating with an influencer, however huge their list of followers, if they are not relevant to your brand or niche.
Always work with influencers who have a similar target audience as yours and who talk about topics in your niche.
According to the previously-cited Mediakix survey, 71% of marketers find relevant influencers on social media. It is one of the influencer marketing best practices to collaborate with experts in your field who have tons of followers who might be interested in what you have to offer.
4. Listen to Your Audience
We can never emphasize enough the value of listening to your audience on social media.
Influencer marketing best practices would be to follow the conversations that users already have in your industry. The questions they are asking, the information they are seeking, or the choices they are making can provide valuable information for your next influencer marketing campaign.
When influencers participate in those conversations to advocate your brand, you position yourself as a solution for users’ needs.
5. Conceptualize Your Campaign
Conceptualizing an influencer marketing campaign is one of the fundamental influencer marketing best practices. You need careful planning and strategizing before you start any campaign.
Do you want your campaign to be centered around a product launch? Are you gearing up for a season or festival? Or are you building awareness for a social cause that your brand supports?
That brings us to the next influencer marketing best practices – Keep your end objective in mind and design your campaign accordingly.
Take SeaFolly Australia for example. They collaborated with influencer Liv Phyland to welcome the summer season and showcase their latest collection of swim and beachwear.
Image Source – Instagram
Base your influencer marketing strategy on a specific concept and hire an influencer who can drive the campaign accordingly.
Without a strategic plan, your entire marketing exercise becomes loosely knit, unable to achieve the goals you have in mind.
Clear conceptualization also gives influencers the direction in which they should think, channelize, and execute their influence.
6. Personalize Your Influencer Outreach Emails
How would you like to reach out to the potential influencers?
One of the influencer marketing best practices is to approach them through a personalized email. After all, a majority of the influencers will ignore a copy-paste email pitch.
Of the thousands of emails they receive every day with feedback, appreciation, and criticism, how will your ‘pitching mail’ stand out?
The key lies in writing a customized, gripping email that will compel them to respond.
As one of the influencer marketing best practices, identify the perfect influencers and tell them why they would be an excellent fit for your marketing campaign. Be genuine in explaining how this association can be mutually beneficial.
In most cases, the influencer will come back to you with a positive response.
7. Put the Value on Engagement
One of the most common mistakes businesses make in influencer marketing is hiring an influencer who has a big fan following blindly.
The number of followers is a vanity metric that means nothing without engagement.
The accurate measure of a successful influencer post is when it gets people talking. The number of likes, comments, shares, reposts, and mentions determines its success.
One of the most important influencer marketing best practices that you should follow is to choose influencers who drive real engagement.
An active bunch of 10,000 followers is more profitable for you than a million dormant users!
8. Customize Your Campaigns For Each Platform
Influencer marketing is highly effective on all the top social media platforms.
But remember, each platform is unique and so should be your influencer marketing campaigns and tactics.
One of the influencer marketing best practices is to customize your campaigns based on the structure and performance of each social media channel you choose.
While influencers post frequently on Instagram or Snapchat, they prefer limiting the number of posts on Facebook.
LinkedIn may be a preferred channel for sharing blog posts whereas Instagram and Pinterest are all about sharing personal experiences via visual media. Facebook on the other hand is more suitable for raising donations and driving social initiatives.
What’s the catch?
It is influencer marketing best practices that your campaign needs to be tweaked to suit each platform and yield great ROI for you.
9. Don’t Underestimate the Reach of Micro-influencers
Micro-influencers have silently created a space for themselves in a social media world dominated by celebrities and superstars.
In this day and age, everyday people with the right skills and passion can start an influencer business with a small budget.
Micro-influencers generally garner more engagement than the big stars in any industry, all because they have a close-knit, highly active community.
As users identify more with smaller influencers rather than a Kardashian or a Beckham, one of the influencer marketing best practices would be to collaborate with micro-influencers.
Micro-influencers have a higher weekly conversation rate as the content they produce is considered more reliable. Furthermore, users are more likely to follow when they say ‘buy this or ‘try this.
Best of all, you can hire micro-influencers for a much lesser cost compared to celebrities.
10. Give Your Influencers Some Creative Control
Here is an influencer marketing best practice you should never forget—stop micromanaging the influencers while planning a campaign. While designing the entire campaign in-house might be a good idea for other marketing tactics, it doesn’t work for influencer marketing.
Influencers are the best judge of what works with their audience, and you should allow them creative control on how they want to shape a campaign.
The influencer marketing best practice would be to clearly communicate your brand values, campaign goals, and marketing guidelines. You can share some scenarios or samples with them and allow the influencers to personalize the entire campaign.
11. Ensure That Influencers Disclose the Partnership
Influencers are under the obligation to disclose sponsored posts. It is one of the essential influencer marketing best practices too.
Any post where social media influencers are endorsing a brand, product, or service against compensation of some kind has to be disclosed with a written caption.
Life Happens chose to market their life insurance products using the influencer Kelly Rowland. The superstar makes it clear on top of her post that it’s a ‘paid partnership’.
Image Source – Facebook
FTC specifies that phrases like #ad, #sponsored, paid ad for (brand), and paid promotion have to be explicitly placed on all the sponsored influencer posts.
In the case of videos or live streams, influencers must audibly and visually confirm that this is a sponsored video piece.
Remember, an open “Thank You” to a (brand) will not be considered as a disclosure of endorsement.
12. Monitor Your Return on Investment
Once your influencer marketing campaign is over, it’s time to measure its ROI. That’s one of the influencer marketing best practices you can not ignore.
Tracking this success has become a lot easier thanks to several advanced influencer marketing software that can offer valuable data. Moreover, most social media platforms also provide basic analytics on individual posts’ performance.
Analyzing this data will give a clear perspective of how successful your campaign was.
Some of the parameters to measure the ROI are impressions, reach, engagement, conversions, organic traffic, and sales generated.
Based on the goals you have set at the beginning of the campaign, you can track the success of your campaign definitively.
13. Compensate Your Influencers Fairly
What you and your influencers share is a business relationship; it does not work for free.
In return for all the hard work they do for you, you need to compensate them fairly. This is one of the most vital influencer marketing best practices.
You can get into an agreement with the influencer on how they want to be compensated. Some prefer to be paid after the campaign is completed, whereas others prefer a 50/50 payment.
Slacking them off their fair share may prove to be extremely expensive for your brand reputation.
The compensation may not always be monetary.
You can offer gift cards, giveaways, referrals, and shoutouts on your social media pages when they do an excellent job for you.
Q1. Is influencer marketing effective in 2021?
A. A couple of years ago, marketers realized that they felt influencer marketing had reached a saturation point. But the fact of the matter is that influencer marketing is more alive and thriving than ever. Pandemic has completely changed the way we consume content online.
More and more users are putting their trust in influencer-generated content to influence their thoughts and decision-making.
Since 2019, the net worth of the influencer marketing industry has doubled in 2021, and it is showing no signs of slowing down.
So yes, influencer marketing is effective in 2021 and beyond.
Q2. How to find the right social media influencers for your business?
A. Every business owner wants to know the answer to this question. To tell you the fact, there is no secret formula for finding the right social media influencer for your brand.
Here is what you can look for, though:
- It is one of the fundamental influencer marketing best practices to select influencers who are from the same niche or industry as yours.
- They should have decent performance metrics—number of followers, domain authority, retweet ratio, and so on.
- Micro-influencers with high engagement rates are especially useful.
- They should fit your budget.
Q3. Is influencer marketing suitable for small businesses?
A. Influencer marketing is suitable for all kinds of businesses, irrespective of their size. Especially for small and mid-sized businesses, influencer marketing can prove to be an effective brand-building weapon.
It can be targeted towards audiences in a specific niche and location.
When compared to traditional marketing, influencer marketing is more budget-friendly and yields much better ROI.
Q4. Does influencer marketing have an impact on SEO?
A. Influencer marketing increases your brand value.
It is a viable marketing weapon to build brand reputation and reach within a short period. These positive efforts will indeed have an impact on your business’s SEO.
Following influencer marketing best practices will help you plan a campaign so that ROI is not only in the form of shares and likes but also generate more organic traffic for your website.
The best part is that an influencer marketing strategy can complement your SEO strategy and thus achieve holistic growth for your business.
Q5. What are some of the red flags of influencer marketing?
A. Frauds are everywhere, even in the influencer marketing arena. Once you select a few influencers to get your campaign going, one of the vital influencer marketing best practices is to keep an eye for some red flags that warn you immediately.
- Fake followers – An influencer may claim to have 10k followers but if only a handful of them are active on the feed, something is certainly fishy.
- Posting frequency – How many times in a day do they interact with their followers? If it’s just once in a while, it may not be a genuine influencer profile.
- Authenticity and quality of content – If you spot unprofessional, irrelevant content, it’s certainly a red flag.
Influencer marketing is extremely rewarding, no doubt about it.
But you should always focus on influencer marketing best practices from day one of campaign planning till its execution.
Remember to choose influencers who understand your niche and can contribute positively. Their expertise and passion will fuel your campaign.
Now that you understand influencer marketing best practices so well, it’s time to implement them for your business’s success.