Blogger and online influencer marketing has skyrocketed in the last decade or so, fueled by a growing digital community. Brands have flocked to influencers to leverage their ‘influence’ and grow their brand through them.

We’ve compiled a list of things that every entrepreneur should do before starting an influencer marketing campaign.

  • Research the space and each target influencer that you’re considering working with.
  • Copy, create or make up a good process to cover the start to the end of the journey including everything from influencer selection and deal negotiation to publishing and payment arrangements.
  • Influencers should have the freedom to create genuine content – don’t let your brand dominate too heavily, else you’ve created a badly made advertisement.

Read our story about Evangeline Leong, who’s disrupting the micro-influencer industry with technology.

Our editor then told us to expand on it and stop being lazy, so here’s the expanded list.

Do your research

BIt’s important to research and define what qualities you want your core influencers to possess. Know which influencers your target consumer follows on social media and which voices resonate the most strongly.

When you’ve selected your influencers, do a deep dive into their accounts and assess their real ‘influence’. Look out for fake likes and follows that can be bought for a few cents, but make it seem like an influencer has 100,000 followers, but almost no influence. Eg. If all your influencer’s instagram followers have the default egg avatar, it might be a case of a lot of fake profiles.

Next check for suitability beyond their main focus. Have they promoted competitors before, are they affliated to groups or associations that can damage your brand, do they actually hit your target audience. These are all essential questions.

Start slow and then grow

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves and spend US$25,000 dollars on a single influencer post right off the bat. Test your content and the effect it has on traffic and then start scaling up once you’re happy that everything is working as it should.

No matter who you’re working with, from micro-influencers to the top dogs – treat them well and measure their influence. Who knows, you may actually find yourself creating great relationships and real ambassadors for your brand.

Authenticity sells

Influencer marketing is built on the idea that these individuals have been successful in engaging a certain audience online through great content. Therefore, it’s essential that the influencer guides you in terms of what content their followers will respond to.

Time and time again, brands have controlled the content from start to finish and created terrible advertisements that no one likes. They blame the influencers, but the problem often lies in their need to control.

Try to expand your target audience

To gain the reach that you’re after, consider a group of relatively diverse influencers, rather than putting your budget into one mega-influencer. Maybe consider a blend of influential individuals who have chemistry with your brand and use them to introduce your brand to a new audience.

Read what digital marketer David Bobis had to share about influencer marketing here.

Be sure to have processes & KPIs

Be clear from the outset on the number of posts you expect, key messages of posts and the expected brand voice of the post. We’re not contradicting our previous point about authenticity, but it is important to have guidelines and protect your brand image.

Track everything.

In conclusion

Influencer marketing can have a huge impact on your brand while being cost-effective and a genuine way of reaching your target consumers. It’s a tool that will continue to grow and build, so take advantage of it is critical.

For more great articles like this, visit the Tech for Business section and the Tried and Tested section.