Insider Tips: How to Be Successful with Influencer Marketing
I was recently having a meeting with an intern in another department – something we encourage all of our interns here to do in order to learn other skill sets and get a better holistic marketing idea – and was asked how I progressed through my career and moved into becoming director of influencer marketing at our office. I started as an intern here at Power Digital, so he was interested in learning about what that path looks like and how to progress. He also asked how I believe I was able to “get ahead” and forge my path within influencer marketing at an agency besides what he referred to as the “cliche tips of staying organized, being dedicated etc.”
This was an interesting question, because if an intern were to ask me how to progress in his or her career, I would say just that… be organized, work hard, always be positive, go above and beyond… But his positioning of the question made me think about other qualities other than the standard of how someone would typically respond, which got me to think about how I am outside of work that truly set me up for success when getting involved with influencer marketing.
I think it’s what I have done outside of the office that made me better at my job, which has been my key to success. I’m sharing this thing because I believe that if you take these tips into consideration it will help you grow within influencer marketing much faster and much more effectively.
To preface these tips, I don’t think that “taking your work home” is something that you need to be doing, and I believe firmly in having a great work-life balance and unplugging.
However, I think you should continue your learning about what you are doing outside of the office.
I do this simply because it’s something I’m passionate about.
The saying goes, “When you are doing what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” I don’t think that’s true, because I think when you are doing what you love, you work harder than anyone else. This is why I think that continuing your learning outside of the office, just as a doctor or a CPA will have continued education courses, is so important.
Since influencer marketing and social media is something I genuinely enjoy in my personal life, it gave me a big leg-up when getting into this space since I wasn’t starting from scratch. I already knew how to use social media like a pro, I already followed a few hundred (and growing) social media influencers, and I already engaged with them on a daily basis.
I truly believe this is the key to becoming better at any skill set or job. If you continue to learn and educate yourself about the space, meaning both in and outside of the office, you will only get better. I know a few coworkers off the top of my head who stand out as complete all-stars at our company, and I truly believe it’s because these are the same people who are constantly talking about what they recently read, or a trend they did research on, or a new product or service they heard about and dug into. It’s the people who have a thirst for learning that perform the best when they can channel this thirst into learning more about what their focus is at work.
Another thing that has helped me is that I work at a digital marketing agency, in a space that is changing every. Single. Day. Within every department at Power Digital, whether it’s PR, SEO, Content, Email, or Social Advertising, if we weren’t all keeping a VERY close pulse on updates, trends, new developments, new features etc., we would be behind other agencies in the matter of a month. Reading and staying on top of the news within your space and sharing that with the whole team has helped us evolve with digital trends, rather than being left in the dust.
Here are a few tips when it comes to influencer marketing that you should always be doing so you’re staying relevant and have the most up-to-date knowledge in this space that is changing so quickly.
# 1 – Be a Passionate & Active Social Media User
You’re not going to get very far with influencer marketing if you don’t understand or use social media every single day, and while some people use social media every day, there is a difference between being a passive social media user and an active social media user.
A passive social media user means that you’re popping on Instagram or YouTube every once in a while, or maybe even as often as daily, and skimming through your immediate friends and family. You might engage and follow a few other accounts, like @puppiesofinstagram, for example, but you’re not deeply involved and you aren’t closely following a number of brands or influencers.
On the other hand, being an active social media user means you are doing a number of things besides just engaging with friends and family. It means really getting into the weeds. This includes:
- Following and engaging with other influencers and saving their content for ideas for your influencer campaigns
- Following brands that are doing influencer marketing or have great organic social presences and saving posts that you think stood out or you noticed performed really well
- Regularly looking at the Explore page to see what top performing content looks like
- Following influencers that you are collaborating and working with
- Keeping an eye on specific hashtags that relate to your campaigns
- Engaging with influencers when they are posting about your client or brand
- Keeping tabs on a few macro-influencers to see what the big budget brands are doing and what their strategies look like
- Finding new influencers for your clients or brand through other influencers you follow and screenshotting their profiles so you can reach out when you’re back in the office
This might seem super obvious, but I’ve realized just how important being an active social media user is even more when working with YouTubers, since I feel like Instagram has been a huge emphasis of mine for a decade, while I never took as much to YouTube. I noticed that I had a steep learning curve to get past when it came to finding YouTube influencers, and it was simply because I was so focused on Instagram that I neglected YouTube.
When it comes to YouTube, you should have your own YouTube account and subscribe to YouTubers that you’re interested in and those that align with your clients niche so you can easily identify new opportunities and keep a close pulse on what is trending on YouTube. You should also be actually consuming the content and watching the videos, so you can see how these influencers are positioning their other brand partners and incorporate what you’ve watched and liked into your YouTube influencer campaigns.
# 2 – Follow the Influencers You Work With
Following influencers that you are working with also relates to being an active social media user, but to reiterate, it’s super important to follow the influencers you are working with for your clients for a few reasons. The main reason being so you have a stronger relationship and are showing the influencer that you care about their content and working collaboratively rather than simply using them for their reach.
Another huge benefit and something that has helped me personally, is that I’ve been able to secure partnerships with influencers I follow much more efficiently than reaching out to someone cold. It’s also allowed me to secure partnerships for rushed campaigns with tight deadlines where I only have a few days to line up opportunities. I’ve been able to reach out to my influencer relationships through direct message on Instagram and get a much faster response (only a few minutes) versus on email, which can sometimes take a few days and requires following up. This streamlines your outreach process and gives you a sense right away what your response rate is going to be for a campaign.
I also think that influencers you work with want to connect with you on social media because it helps to grow that working relationship further and makes the relationship more personal. Plus, you’ll know when their content goes live and what other brands they are partnering with.
Finally, by following these influencers that you are working with or might work with in the future, you can easily spot involvement in pods. You should have this on your radar so you’re not wasting influencer budgets on those who appear to be heavily involved with pods rather than everyday people.
# 3 – Keep Up on Trends and New Channel Updates
I would recommend subscribing to a few media outlets that cover influencer marketing or social media often, like socialmediatoday.com and influencermarketinghub.com (and the Power Digital Blog), and even setting Google alerts for specific keywords like “influencer marketing” or “influencer trends.”
Recent updates to take advantage of:
Instagram has had a ton of updates in 2018 alone and more are coming down the field almost weekly.
- Question text boxes: Instagram users can ask their audience questions and get responses or the audience can ask the influencer questions and can be shared anonymously on the Influencer’s story. I have seen influencers sharing these weekly and brands can incorporate into their organic social strategies to get feedback from their audience.
- IGTV: this bridged the gap between Instagram and YouTube and gave users the ability to upload 10-minute long videos to their accounts. Brands can take advantage of this with influencers if they want to focus on Instagram but are video content poor.
- Music: you can now add music to your stories.
- Sharing stories: this has been a big update to take advantage of. Now you can share any public post to your story, even your own post. This is great for brands who want to share an influencer’s post right to their story and direct more eyeballs to the post since it’s clickable and drives right to the post itself. This helps build credibility and make the most out of your influencer partnerships.
- Desktop tagged photos: previously you were not able to see anyone’s tagged photos on desktop and now you can. This makes the influencer research process easier so you don’t have to go on your phone.
All of these updates should be top of mind for you and if you get behind it can be overwhelming to play catch-up. Reading is everything when it comes to staying up-to-date, and so is being an active social media consumer, because you will see these updates regularly if you are using these social channels often.
# 4 – Demo Influencer Databases
I also think it’s important to demo and test out different influencer databases – there are dozens of these and new ones pop up every day – so you can get a sense of what other brands are looking at and what metrics matter. Some of these even have portals for influencers themselves.
For example, we all know how important engagement rates are, which are now present in any successful influencer database. The categories and variables that these databases screen for are areas for you to implement into your research process with influencers as well.
Use Your Resources
If you have access to social media, which we all do, and you have a passion for influencer marketing you can be very successful.
It comes down to pushing yourself to keep learning, rather than simply sticking to what you know.
If you’re looking for other resources on influencer marketing, check out our webinar “How to Work with Influencers for More Than Just Brand Building.” Let us know what you think!