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Every day, people are glued to their phones or tablets, clicking and scrolling through social media platforms as a form of entertainment, a way to read the news, check-in with friends, and more. Within the last decade, traditional marketing has evolved to meet audiences where they spend the most time. Enter influencer marketing. Influencer marketing has become one of the most effective ways for brands to become household names.

Below is Elmore’s tried and tested guide to working with influencers.

Know your audience
If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times: you must know your target audience. Who are you trying to reach? What are their interests? There are influencer that specialize in every interest category imaginable (e.g., lifestyle, travel, hyperlocal, a particular hobby, parenthood, hacks, etc.), and knowing the general profile of your own audience will determine the type of influencers to partner with.

Research your prospective partners
For many, being an influencer is a full-time job. As such, there are analytics and metrics influencers can provide to illustrate their value. These are data points in addition to their number of followers including average engagement rate, average audience reach, subject focus, location, and more.

Once you have an idea of your target audience, begin researching influencers within your specified areas of interest and compile a list or spreadsheet of the potential influencers you’re interested in reaching out to.

Consider your budget
It is important to mention that most influencers expect to be paid. They have worked hard to build their following and earn the trust of their audience, and again, for many it is their full-time job. Thus, you should expect to pay some amount of money for your partnership. In some cases, influencers may accept a trade (an exchange of products for posted content, without money involved). Provide them with an estimated value of the items that you’re proposing to trade.

Establish your partnerships and develop an agreement
At least a month or so before your event or launch, reach out to your prospective influencers via their website or direct message (DM) to them on their most popular platform. Personalize your message and articulate why you are interested in working with them to promote your initiative or product.

If/once you’ve come to an agreement to work together, develop a contract. Include in the contract details like the number and type of posts required, the date or timeline of the posts, and any specific language or tags to include. Outline what you’re giving in return (the agreed-upon fee or value of trade) and the deadline by which you deliver your payment. This document will keep all parties on accountable.

Create an influencer toolkit
A toolkit will help the influencers best understand your intended message and visuals. Provide your influencers with photos pre-cropped to the dimensions of an Instagram story, Facebook Story or in-feed post along with talking points and hashtags to use as they’re promoting your content.

Check in and provide support
As your event or launch draws nearer, check in with your confirmed influencers to ensure they have the content they need, and if they have any questions. Be sure to keep track of their posts, screenshotting stories which disappear after 24 hours, repost any tagged posts on the organizations social platform, etc.

Evaluate the success
Once the campaign is complete, evaluate its success. Ensure your influencer fulfilled all elements of the agreement. These analytics include story views and engagements, likes on a static post, number of comments, and more. A best practice is to use a unique link or promotional code for the influencer to use when linking out to your website, so you can review the number of clicks or ticket sales generated from that influencer. These KPIs will help you determine the value of the partnership.

If you deem an influencer campaign successful, keep engaged with that person! If there is proven interest in your campaign from their audience, you’ll want to build and maintain that relationship as you consider working with them again in the future.

Influencer marketing can be a useful communications channel to have in your toolkit. Working with an agency who specializes in building these partnerships may help ensure that you understand the ROI of an influencer marketing campaign as a dynamic approach to drive awareness, engage audiences, and create lasting connections. Contact Elmore to learn how we can help you evaluate if influencer marketing is right for your organization.