Influencer marketing is all the rage in today’s day and age. Yet, it's no guarantee: You may have every intention of generating high-level results, but getting a return on investment (ROI), much less a solid one, using influencer marketing, is easier said than done.
Here’s the problem: Many people assume that getting an influencer to mention their product or service is the difficult part. They assume that once this happens, sales will follow. And this isn’t always the case.
Instead, to get a solid ROI using influencer marketing, you need a plan. Here are 12 things that plan absolutely needs to include:
1. Keep your budget in check.
Just as with any marketing strategy, "more money" doesn’t mean better results.
Instead, set a budget and work within it, to give you the groundwork necessary to achieve all your goals. For example, sponsored Instagram posts have an average cost of $300. How many of these can you afford each month? Is it a good idea to push your budget to the limit?
2. Track everything.
This goes back to what was mentioned above: You can’t assume that a mention is all it takes for the money to start flowing.
You need to track everything from the actual influencer, to the time of the day, to the content. By doing this, you’ll gain a better understanding of what is and isn’t working.
3. Know your target market.
Who’s your target market? Answering this one question will give you a better idea of the type of influencers you need to connect with.
Get this: 70 percent of teenage YouTube subscribers trust influencers more than traditional celebrities.
4. Give creative control.
It goes without saying that you want some control over how your message is conveyed. However, don’t be so “hands on” that the influencer finds it a challenge to communicate in his or her unique voice.
5. Consider every available platform.
Don’t get so caught up on Instagram (the king of influencer marketing) that you overlook other platforms that can also have a positive impact.
For example, more than 50 percent of marketers believe that video content produces the highest return on investment. Could this lead you to turn your attention to YouTube?
Related: How to Create a Successful Influencer Marketing Campaign
6. Research the influencer.
It’s easy to focus on nothing more than audience size when you're choosing influencers to partner with. While this is important, there are other data points, such as engagement, which are essential to your success.
Before you team up with any influencer, take the time to learn as much as possible about that person.
7. Negotiate the price.
Positive return on investment often comes down to one thing: the ability to negotiate a reasonable price up-front.
While some influencers stick to their price, others are more than willing to negotiate, especially if you guarantee more business in the future. Don’t be afraid to ask for a lower price. You never know what will happen.
8. Micro-influencers may be the snswer.
Rather than turn your attention to the “big guns” in your industry, identify micro-influencers with a strong and loyal following.
Loyalty is more important than follower count. A micro-influencer with a loyal audience may be able to do more for your brand than a top influencer with a broad audience whose members don't take what he or she says to heart.
9. Keep up with other narketing nethods,
It doesn’t matter if you’re part of a publicly traded company spending 10 percent or more of your profit on marketing, or a small business owner: You never want to put all your eggs in one basket.
Your overall marketing ROI can take a big hit if one tactic falls flat. This is why you should always devote resources necessary to all facets of your strategy.
10. Know your industry.
For example, 57 percent of companies in the fashion and beauty sector currently use influencers to reach their audience, with another 21 percent looking to add this strategy in 2017.
Does it make sense for your company to get involved with influencer marketing? If it doesn’t, you ROI may be doomed from the start.
11. Track your competition.
You can learn a lot about influencer marketing by tracking your competition. This way, you can see what’s working, what’s not and how you might take a better approach.
The fewer mistakes you make, the easier it is to achieve a high ROI. Let your competition do some of the legwork for you, as this will allow you to save time and money in the future.
12. Remain consistent.
You shouldn’t expect to achieve success overnight. It takes time to align yourself with the right influencers and find out the best way to leverage their network.
With 49 percent of people relying on recommendations from influencers to make a buying decision, you don’t want to abandon this strategy before you give yourself a chance to succeed.