So you want to build an influencer marketing strategy.
Influencer marketing is changing the way brands interact with their audiences and customers, that’s just a fact.
Last year alone, 93% of marketers said they used influencer marketing to promote their business.
Now, just because 93% of marketers said they used influencer marketing, doesn't mean all of them found success.
Luckily, we’ve been in the influencer marketing game for quite some time and have seen brands crush influencer marketing strategy so well, it takes the brand to new heights. We’ve also seen brands come into the space and flop harder than a summer camp belly-flop contest.
So with that in mind, we thought we’d share the 6 most successful influencer marketing strategies that we see brands using today.
Are you ready to take some notes? Let’s talk influencer marketing strategy…
What you need to do before you dive into your influencer marketing strategy…
What’s the goal of this influencer marketing campaign?
Every great influencer marketing campaign starts with a goal. This goal is your north star for your entire campaign and will guide your team as you begin your search for influencers.
Most influencer marketing campaigns have one of three goals—brand awareness, sales, or direct response. It doesn’t matter which one you choose as long as you stay consistent and pick one. This ensures that you can direct your effort in one place and also measure your success accurately.
Each one of these influencer marketing goals achieves different outcomes and as such, the strategies that you develop based on these goals must be tailored to them.
If you want to read more about setting influencer marketing campaign goals, check out this article we wrote right here.
Now let’s talk about KPI…
Understand your Key Performance Indicators (KPI)
Another critical component to a successful influencer marketing campaign is knowing your KPIs and tracking them.
KPI is every marketing manager's best friend and determines how you are going to measure the success of the campaign you’re about to embark upon.
Depending on the social media platform you are going to use, your KPIs may differ.
For instance, if you are running a kick-ass influencer marketing campaign on TikTok, you’re putting a heavier focus on views and engagement than that of Instagram which prides itself on likes and saves.
The critical item to note here is knowing what KPIs are the most important on the platform that you want to use.
Let’s talk budgets…
Set a realistic budget.
Everyone hates setting budgets except that one department head we all know who loves harassing people to get their expenses in on time.
Nonetheless, setting a budget for your influencer marketing campaign is the third and final step before you can start developing strategic plans. This budget determines how much flexibility you have, how many influencers you can work with, and what financial parameters are at play for this marketing campaign.
Again, depending on the platform that you are running this influencer marketing campaign on, your budget is going to vary, especially if you want to work with bigger influencers.
We suggest setting aside just as much money as you would for any other marketing campaign like a paid advertising effort. Influencer marketing is worth every penny because influencers know their audience better than social media ad platforms or algorithms, and they ask top dollar for it.
Be willing to pay creators their due and the results will show themselves!
Once you’ve got an understanding of the platform you are going to be working on and the general running rates for influencers on that platform, you can begin to craft a budget for this campaign.
Now, are you ready to start talking strategy?
6 Influencer Marketing Strategies Every Brand Should Try
1. Sponsored Content
Sponsored content is simple. You (the brand) collaborate with an influencer to create content (posts, videos, pictures, etc) that is shared on their (the influencer) channel.
Unlike posting content from the brand side, sponsored content allows you to directly reach a new group of potential fans, whose interests align with yours, without coming off as insincere, out-of-place, or forced.
Influencers have earned the respect, trust, and rapport of their communities. When they talk people listen, and when they act people respond.
Thus, when an influencer delivers promotional content recommending your brand and products, their people are going to respond because someone they trust speaks highly of it.
Matter of fact, data shows that marketers who worked with a trusted publisher (ie influencer) see a 50% higher brand lift than marketers who produce their own content.
While there are plenty of brands who use this influencer marketing strategy, here’s a great example of sponsored content from Fenty Beauty x ULTA x Victoria Bachlet.
2. Giveaways & Contests
We’re done with the mediocre giveaways and corny contests that leave you empty-handed and your email inbox stuffed with annoying promotional messages.
Influencers have taken what’s become an oversaturated and often poorly-executed marketing tactic and given it new life.
Influencers have a deep personal relationship with their audience. They’ve put time and energy into growing their reach organically and the result of that is a level of personalization that cannot be matched by a giveaway from a celebrity or a contest with a big brand.
Sure, people might fork over their email information in exchange to meet Hollywood superstar Leonardo DeCaprio, but chances are they’re not going to buy his newest movie on Amazon—which was a 7/10 at best (sorry Leo).
On the other hand, if your favorite TikTok videographer is giving away the newest Sony camera and a free editing workshop, there’s a solid chance people are not only going to hand over their info for an opportunity to win both product and experience but there’s also a higher chance of them making a purchase down the road.
Just look at how Marques Brownlee partnered with smartphone case company dbrand to create this epic giveaway of 50 brand-new smartphones.
3. Affiliate Programs
Affiliate programs are built for those influencers who are creating content that constantly drives business back to your brand. At its core, affiliate programs give influencers a stake in the money you make off the content they provide.
For instance, let’s say you’re an athleisure brand promoting your new line of fall clothes. To bolster this promotion you might give 5 Instagram fitness coaches, who wear your gear, an affiliate code that provides their audience with a 10% off purchase discount.
What happens next is great—the user gets 1o% off their purchase, and the influencer makes a percentage from that purchase.
From there, you are able to track how many times that influencer’s specific code is used and see who is driving the most sales. This information can inform future campaigns while also further solidifying your relationship with the influencer who is directly benefiting from their content.
Check out how Vuori Clothing uses influencer affiliates with fitness coaches to promote a new outfit colorways and product launches.
4. Brand Ambassador Programs & Discount Codes
Brand ambassador programs and discount codes are very similar to affiliate programs, the only difference is that the influencer doesn’t take a cut of the sales that come from their content.
In these campaigns, an influencer has an ongoing partnership with a brand that is paid upfront with cash or often a combination of cash and free product. They are then given a case-specific discount code to share with their audience.
From there, that code is promoted in an influencer’s content, on whatever social media platforms you’ve established for the campaign. Followers can then take that code and apply it to a purchase or redeem it for a product.
This influencer marketing strategy is usually used when a brand wants to promote a specific product or is looking to make a major push on a product that needs to sell more.
Here’s an example of how Ghost Supplements uses a robust brand ambassador program to explore different avenues for their product outside the fitness market.
5. Product Gifting
Product Gifting is a great influencer marketing strategy for brands that have a limited budget and want to stretch their green as far as possible.
Instead of handing over cold, hard cash in exchange for content, product gifting helps brands connect with an influencer and add value to their lives in exchange for mentions on their channels.
This is especially effective for brands that work with nano-influencers because they are usually new to the influencer marketing space and have more flexibility when it comes to their price. Oftentimes, they will be excited to get a free product and don’t need that additional cash to start talking about your products on their social media channels.
Here is a great example of an awesome product gifting strategy courtesy of the folks over at Simulate.
6. Social Media Takeover
This influencer marketing strategy is exactly what it sounds like–you let an influencer take over your social media account for a day, week, month, whatever you see fit.
This could be multiple posts on your Instagram or Snapchat stories, or maybe it’s a behind-the-scenes of a week in the life of an influencer. It’s entirely up to your team and the influencers you partner with.
This proves to be an effective strategy for two reasons. First, it encourages an influencer’s followers to check out your page and content. Second, it increases the chances of gaining a follower on the spot as the user is already on your page instead of the influencers.
Here’s an example of a strong social media take-over campaign from Red Bull Photography.
Here's where you get the stuff we don't put on the blog. Learn how to craft an entire TikTok marketing strategy from scratch, plus get access to our proprietary data on the top 100 creators and brands on TikTok by industry— and a lot more.
Which influencer marketing strategy are you going to try first?
Now you have 6 different influencer marketing strategies that you can test out on your audience.
Remember, this influencer marketing game takes time so it might require a few test campaigns to find out what performs best with your fans and followers.
And if you’re feeling like influencer marketing is the right move for your brand but not sure where to start, we’d love to help.