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Influencer marketing is all the rage in today’s day and age. As the name suggests, this is nothing more than relying on key players in your industry to push your message to a larger market. Make no mistake about this is a growing industry, if you will and more and more brands are seeing the value of shifting their marketing budgets into the hands of influencers.
Yes, it sounds simple. And yes, anyone can get involved. However, if you truly want to achieve success, you need to form a solid foundation. Here’s how you can do just that:
1. Identify Top Influencers
This is where it all begins. While sounding obvious perhaps, you must identify the top influencers in your space, as these are the people who can help share your message with their audience. “It’s all about being relevant,” says Gorkem Celebioglu Partner at Celebioglu&Co whose client portfolio consists of brands from the Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE) 100 – some of which utilize influencer marketing. “A given influencer won’t be very influential if they’re not relevant in your particular space.”
2. Reach Out
It doesn’t matter if you’re interested in driving revenue in the travel niche or expanding your footprint in the digital marketing space, nothing changes the fact that you need the right influencers on your side. Once you know who these people are, it’s time to reach out. You can do so in many ways, including:
• Directly on social media (such as tweeting at a person)
• Through direct messages on social media
• Via email
• Via telephone (if you have the time and the guts)
Your goal is simple: to engage the person in a conversation. Once you do this, you can explain your goals, share your product/service, and negotiate (hopefully) a mutually beneficial agreement.
3. Track Contacts And Conversations
Let’s face it: most influencers don’t have the time to respond to each and every message. For this reason, you should not expect a 100% “reply rate.” Set realistic goals when it comes to response.
It’s imperative to track your conversations, as well as the methods of contact that are generating the best results.
For instance, you may find that LinkedIn is converting at a high rate, with Twitter and Facebook lagging further behind.
The more data you collect the easier it becomes to take the right approach in the future. It’s all about tweaking your strategy.
4. Set A Budget
In a perfect world, you would find influencers who are willing to share your message free of cost.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the way things work in today’s world. In fact, top influencers are often paid in excess of $100,000 for a single mention. That’s a big number, no matter who you are.
Once you have a budget in place, it’s time to implement a system for tracking your return on investment (ROI). There’s nothing wrong with paying $100,000 for an influencer to mention your product, as long as you’re making more than this in return.
5. Track The Results
This is often the difference between success and failure. The best influencer marketing campaigns are backed up by a detailed tracking system.
How do you know which influencers generated the most buzz and revenue for your business? How do you know which influencers fell short in regards to your expectations?
You need to track every last detail, as this is the only way for you to better adjust your strategy in the future.
Bonus tip: The influencers with the largest audience aren’t always the ones that generate the best results. It all comes down to how much influence these people have in their industry.
For example, a person with 50k Instagram followers may generate more buzz and revenue than somebody with 500k followers. This is why it’s essential to carefully choose who you work with, and to track every last detail.
At the end of the day of course, there is no guarantee of success with influencer marketing, but following these five steps will put you on the right path to generating results you can be proud of.
This article originally appeared on Forbes.