Written by Arbela Capas

Starting your efforts in using influencer marketing can look a little different for everyone. It heavily depends on what your brand is trying to accomplish your overall goal, but there are a couple general steps you can take in starting out.

Find your target audience

With the start of any marketing campaign or digital advertising strategy, it’s important to be mindful when setting your core demographic. Who are the people who follow your brand that are devoted to it and are loyal customers? Before you find the right influencers to use for your brand, it’s important to establish who your ideal customer is and what kind of messaging you want to send to them. What is your ideal customer interested? What are their values and needs?

Create a plan and establish goals

Next it’s important to create a goal for what you want to get out of this influencer collaboration. Essentially: What are you promoting? Is it your full brand, a specific product launch, an event? The answers to these questions will determine how you will set up your campaign and how you will move forward. It’s important to establish your brand’s core KPIs and figure out where your status of brand awareness, sales, website and traffic are at right now and where you want them to be after using influencer marketing.

It’s important to be as prepared as possible before reaching out to influencers that you’d like to work with. Typically brands will find a specific product they want to promote, a discount or sale they’re having or just general visibility of a certain collection. Once you find the thing you want to focus on, create a campaign around it that you’d want the influencers to launch through their respective channels. This could be as simple as creating a plan for what the medium of the campaign will be: will it be through Instagram, Facebook or a similar social platform? Will it be promoted through video, photo or both?

At this point you should also decide what kind of influencer campaign you want to do based on what your brand needs. There are various types of campaigns you can have including reviews, competitions, giveaways, sponsored content, and of course, long term ambassadors.

Find the right match

With any relationship, it’s important you find a good fit. Using influencer marketing doesn’t just mean finding just any creators to represent your brand. It’s important to find the influencers that will represent your brand in an intentional, authentic and effective way.

When searching for good ambassadors, it’s important to look at a couple of factors. The first factor is how close the creator’s content aligns with your brand’s message and goal. For example, a beauty brand should pay close attention to creators that have a blog that highlights different skin care trends, beauty trends, etc.

Sprint’s partnership with Lele Pons was a good match between an influencer and a brand. She’s a video creator, thus the video garnered a lot of views and helped visually talk about Sprint and why it’s a good choice for those looking for a new cell service provider.

Next, it’s important to see which creators have a good follower count and engagement. These two factors reflect the people following the influencer’s content, which in turn will reflect the kind of customer base that the influencer will be pulling in.

Be clear about your expectations

It’s important when reaching out to an influencer to be clear about your intent, purpose and end goal that you’re looking for with the collaboration. The creator should know exactly what they will be agreeing to in collaborating with your brand.

In addition, through this connection you should also make sure you’re establishing a level of trust with the influencer. A recent article in Forbes reports, “Unlike most marketing strategies, influencer marketing requires a high level of trust between a brand and a third party. Although influencers are often required to sign lawful contracts, the care of the brand’s reputation is essentially in their keeping. A brand must be sure the influencer’s content aligns with their overall image.”

This first part of the planning process should also include laying out the rules that the influencer should comply with. What is the deadline for the post? Is there a theme? This plan will serve as a prompt for when you eventually reach out to the influencers of your choice.

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