Influencer marketing may seem like a new trend.
But it has actually been around since at least 1760 when Robert Wedgwood of Wedgewood China boosted pottery sales with endorsements from the Royal Family.
The purpose of influencer marketing (boosting sales) hasn’t changed since then. But how we go about using it has changed drastically.
You don’t need to collaborate with the royal family to increase conversions.
More people have more influence than ever before due to the rise of social media. We can now automate our outreach efforts and measure their impact with a number of tools.
By turning influencers into brand advocates, you can improve your brand’s image and create a sense of trust with your target audience.
Here’s how to connect with influencers to increase your conversions.
The value of influencer marketing
It has been estimated that brands will spend more than $1 billion on influencer marketing in 2018.
In 2017, 86% of marketers said that they used influencer marketing, and 39% of them intend to increase their budget for it in 2018.
Influencer marketing is clearly on the rise. But what exactly is an influencer?
Influencers are usually industry leaders or celebrities with a large following. And they have a heavy “influence” on their following.
Their followers trust and value their opinions, statements, and recommendations.
With the rise of social media, many regular people have become social media stars with a large, engaged following. Because of this, anyone can become an influencer.
Popular social media influencers like the Kardashians make as much as $500,000 per sponsored Instagram post.
And DJ Khaled makes more than $21,000 per post. But the opportunities don’t stop there. Khaled recently took over Poshmark, a fashion marketplace, to create a pop-up shop for charity.
Poshmark ran an entire campaign for the event and even held a Snapchat giveaway. This is a classic example of influencer marketing gone right.
In case you’re not already convinced, take a look at the average earnings for influencer posts on the top social media platforms:
Even if you work with an influencer with under 100,000 followers, you can still make thousands of dollars off of each of their posts.
Why is influencer marketing so effective?
Len Markidan, CMO of Podia had this to say:
“The reason influencer marketing is so useful comes down to simple math. It’s a lot harder to build relationships with 100,000 people, one by one, than it is to build relationships with 50 people, who will each want to tell 2,000 others about you.”
Now, you might be wondering, “How can I find influencers to reach out to?” A few tools can come in handy, and we’ll talk about those later.
But first, you need to know what influencers can help you accomplish.
What can influencers help you do?
There’s truly no limit to the roles that an influencer can play in your marketing campaigns.
They can share their products or services with their audiences and followers in a way that matches your brand’s goals.
Content promotion is the most common use case for influencer engagement, according to the State of Influencer Engagement.
An influencer can also add some of your links to their blog posts or website. These links can direct users to your products or services.
This can be anything from an image link to a contextual content link.
Influencers can also promote your product or service by speaking about your company during a segment or by wearing your brand’s clothing during an event.
Brad Paisley has done this in the past with Corvette apparel.
You can even ask an influencer to write a review about your product or service. This can be an independent review or a comparison post of your brand to a competitor.
Be sure to send them a free package of your products that they can review.
The most common form of digital influencer marketing is through social media posts about services or products.
This usually includes a caption and an image or two explaining why they love your brand/why their followers should try out your products or services.
These posts usually look something like this:
The cost per post usually depends on the number of followers that an influencer has.
These posts are also “sponsored posts.” They drive up engagement and make your brand look even more authentic.
They also allow influencers to share detailed descriptions with followers beyond a short social media caption, which boosts interest and traffic.
Just look at the Twitter video this influencer posted for Mastercard:
Or the YouTube video that this creator made for Puls.com:
They can also showcase your services or products by selling them in their marketplace. BigCommerce does this in their Theme Store:
Another way that influencers can help you out is by collaborating with you on a project, such as a blog post.
They can write a guest post on your blog or work with you to create something valuable like an eBook.
Then, they’ll be more likely to share the content with their audience. You probably won’t have to ask (or pay) for them to share it at all.
From there, you can repurpose or recycle it into another format like an infographic, webinar, or email.
As you begin to onboard more influencers, you can use a sales CRM tool like Salesmate to help organize your influencer onboarding process.
If you still aren’t convinced, here’s the real proof of why collaborating with influencers boosts conversions.
Why collaborating with influencers boosts social proof (and thus, conversions)
Influencers filter and curate the trends in the world’s industries. By sharing the content that they find relevant, they pave the way for what becomes popular.
And their followers trust them. A lot. In fact, influencers are found to be more trustworthy than traditional advertisements.
According to Nielsen, 84% of consumers across the world are more likely to take action because of reviews or recommendations from trusted sources above other forms of advertising.
At least 72% of B2B buyers use social media to research purchases. According to a McKinsey & Company study, word-of-mouth leads to 20% to 50% of all purchasing decisions.
As if those statistics aren’t convincing enough, a study by Nielsen Catalina Solutions and TapInfluence recently found that the ROI of influencer marketing is:
- 16x higher than the average digital marketing campaign
- 11x higher than traditional banner ad campaigns
The study found that for every 1,000 viewers, the influencer campaign generated $285 in sales.
And the ROI and conversions don’t stop on the day that an influencer mentions you. The content lives on.
Tweets and Instagram posts can be viewed and shared at any time. So can blog posts and YouTube videos. Eric Enge refers to this as the “Influencer Trust Factor.”
The concept explains that influencers organically amplify the message of your brand in much less time than it would take you on your own.
Seven influencer marketing tools to try
Brands that perform their own influencer outreach like WallsNeedLove tend to find more success with their influencer marketing campaigns than those that don’t.
But how do you go about finding the right influencers to partner with?
Len of Podia suggests uncovering the right influencers by directly asking your customers. He recommends asking questions like, who do you learn from? What blogs or podcasts do you look forward to most? This will let you know who your customers already find influential.
Alternatively, you can use tools to source potential influencers. For everything from finding influencers to partner with them and tracking all of your outreach efforts and campaigns, here are seven influencer marketing tools to help you from start to finish.
First, to find a few potential influencers, use a tool like Buzzsumo.
Buzzsumo can help you find influencers in your industry to promote your content. To get started, search for an industry-related topic.
Then, click on the “Influencers” tab. You can search bios or content shared to find influencers to work with.
Buzzsumo will even give you statistics for each influencer like their retweet and reply ratios.
Followerwork is a similar tool for finding relevant influencers.
This free Moz tool helps you find influential Twitter users by location and topic. Create a Twitter list to reference the ones you want to partner with or compare later.
Hootsuite is a free tool that you can use to monitor industry conversations.
Use Hootsuite to find out who your target audience is engaging with, what content they’re sharing, and more.
Then, reach out to those brands and influencers.
Demographics Pro for Twitter doesn’t cost a thing, and you can use it to analyze an influencer’s audience.
4. Demographics Pro for Twitter
If you’re unsure whether an influencer’s audience is a good fit for your brand or not, then run their account through this tool.
You can find out the average age, location, income, interests, profession, and more of a user’s following.
TrendSpottr is a tool for Instagram that you can use to find trending hashtags.
5. TrendSpottr for Instagram
Use TrendSpotter to find videos, photos, and influencers for any topic or tag. Select from a list of several popular tags, share trending posts, and use your findings to engage with key influencers.
Insightpool optimizes your @mention streams.
If you have crowded, busy @mention streams, it can be hard to engage with key influencers through all the noise. You might even miss their tweets if you don’t look hard enough.
Insightpool’s single-click response feature makes it simple to connect with influential users without having to search for their replies.
Gmass helps you send outreach emails to influencers once you’ve selected the ones you want to work with.
In order to start working with influencers, you first need to learn how to streamline the process.
Tools like GMass can help you send outreach emails in bulk and save time by automating follow-up emails directly from your Gmail interface.
If you don’t receive a reply, you can schedule a follow-up email to go out automatically within a certain number of days after your initial email.
Also, GMass has one of my favorite features, which allows you to track what part of the inbox your email landed.
Influencer marketing has been around for hundreds of years. But in the digital age, the sky is the limit.
With social media, anyone can connect with influencers to amplify their brand, gain trust, and increase conversions.
In 2018, brands will spend $1 billion on influencer marketing. The spending is all for a good reason: the ROI of influencer marketing is 16x higher than the average ad campaign.
Influencers can share links back to your brand, create product reviews, share posts on social media recommending your company, collaborate with you on projects, and more.
By sharing all of this with their followers, they help you build trust with target audiences and boost social proof. This means that your conversions will skyrocket.
You can identify influencers with a tool like Buzzsumo or Followerwonk. Use Hootsuite to monitor industry conversations and Demographics Pro for Twitter to analyze an influencer’s audience.
Try out TrendSpottr for Instagram to monitor trending hashtags and topics.
Insightpool lets you track mentions on Twitter without missing any replies, while GMass is perfect for automating your influencer outreach emails.
The longer you wait to collaborate with influencers, the more conversions you’re missing out on. Reach out to an influencer today.
Guest Author: David Zheng is the Founder of Growth Wit and Wisemerchant and the Head of Growth at BuildFire. He specializes in growth and content strategies to help influencers, ecommerce brands, venture-backed startups, and Fortune 500 companies grow their traffic and revenue online.