It seems like it wasn’t too long ago when influencer marketing was all the rage.

In the last decade, we have seen a significant rise in how content is shared and posted on social media, a change in how buyers and consumers interact with brands and how they make purchase decisions, and also how brands interact and connect with their audiences.

Because audiences are more apt to work with or purchase only from brands they trust, many businesses have leveraged influencers to help them to increase brand awareness, promote content, and build trust among audiences.

And for a brief time, this strategy was successful. However, like any marketing strategy, influencer marketing isn’t without its challenges. Although building and leveraging a network of influencers is still effective, there is still a great deal of uncertainty around how to create an effective strategy.

Breaking down influencer marketing challenges.

Influencer marketing challenges

Of course, many businesses and marketers have experienced their own unique challenges when working with influencers within their niche.

However, here are some of the most common challenges associated with influencer marketing strategies:

  • Difficulty measuring influencer performance
  • How to use existing performance measurements
  • How does the temporary social lift lead to a more permanent one?

How to make influencer marketing work.

5 steps to making influencer marketing work for you

Let’s set one thing straight: Even though influencer marketing has proven to be a challenge and has somewhat decreased in popularity, it is far from dead…

First and foremost, influencer marketing is an investment. Like any marketing strategy, it requires time and money to get it right. In fact, a successful influencer marketing strategy can generate up to eight times the ROI.

Here are some tips on how to craft the best influencer marketing strategy:

1. Determine campaign goals.

You can’t craft any strategy without first mapping out goals. Think about what you are trying to achieve with influencers. Is it more brand awareness or brand loyalty? More leads and sales?

You can use the tried and true SMART goals formula to help you determine goals. Then, you will want to communicate those to the rest of your marketing team and your network of influencers once you reach that step.

2. Find influencers.

The next step is to find the right influencers to promote your product, service or brand. You can do this by searching Google, social media, and/or blogs you may already read or follow.

Remember, influencers within your niche who have successful blogs are likely already ranking for your target keywords and phrases. Therefore, you will want to search for influencers who fit the same profile as your target audience. Using industry-related search terms to find influencers is a great place to start.

How to make influencer marketing work: set a budget.

3. Set a budget.

There are different types of influencers, ranging from “micro-influencers” to Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs).

Micro-influencers are typically successful bloggers or YouTubers with a modest following on their blogs and/or social media, reaching up to tens of thousands of fans and followers. Most micro-influencers are paid between $80 and up to $500 per piece of content created and shared within their networks.

KOLs are often high-level experts on a particular topic or nice. KOLs can include highly-successful thought leaders, political figures, authors, and celebrities. Most KOLs are often paid between $500 and $5,000 per content created and shared.

Of course, there are other types of mid-level influencers, and pricing can often be negotiated with them. Some businesses pay influencers based on performance. For example, the higher the engagement, the higher the incentive.

All in all, when crafting your influencer marketing strategy, be sure to determine a budget for content creation and also include what and how you will compensate influencers for their content and promotion.

4. Finalize your strategy.

Once you have determined goals, your budget, and your network of influencers is ready to go, it’s time to finalize your strategy. Be sure to clearly communicate campaign goals, brand guidelines, and expectations with your influencers. In our experience, this step is often overlooked, and it is often where an influencer strategy fails.

Whether your network is made up of three influencers or 30, taking the time to clearly communicate goals, objectives, guidelines, and expectations will set everyone up for success.

5. Measure performance.

Before you can effectively and accurately measure the performance of your influencers and your campaign as a whole, you need to ensure that you have the proper access to the right metrics and be able to answer questions regarding performance at any point during the campaign.

After all, influencer marketing is a strategic, data-driven technique that requires capturing and analyzing data to make more informed decisions about current and future campaigns.

How to make influencer marketing work: leverage your data.

How to leverage data in your influencer marketing strategy

This is another area where many marketers throw caution to the wind, which often results in failure. By crafting a strategy that involves reviewing and analyzing influencer performance data, this not only helps businesses and marketers make more informed decisions about influencer performance and the overall outcomes of their campaigns, but it also removes subjectivity from making those decisions.

All in all, using data to support decision-making at every step in your campaign will not only help you get a clear, big-picture view of how your campaign is performing and what is working and what isn’t, but it can also help with planning future campaigns.

Here are some other key areas where leveraging data and reporting can help:

1. Understand your market.

Not only is it important to understand your target audience and your ideal customer profile, but this information can also help you to determine which influencers are in your network and which types of influencers would be the best fit for your campaign and budget.

Using analytics tools can help you to understand your audience’s key characteristics and demographics, which can then help you to search for influencers.

2. Monitor the competition.

If you are new to influencer marketing, then monitoring your competition can also help you to determine which influencers would be the best fit for your campaign.

By reporting on what your competitors are doing, how they are interacting with influencers, what their influencers are sharing, how they are engaging with audiences, and what is working and what isn’t can provide you with a lot of insight into what your strategy should look like and also how you can optimize your existing campaign.

3. Select influencers.

A solid influencer marketing strategy requires consistency in the selection process. Leveraging data in the selection process can help you to make better decisions in terms of the influencers you should or shouldn’t add to your network.

For example, you can use data to determine an influencer’s authenticity, fanbase and following, the impact of their voice and content, the depth of their social presence, and their overall reach.

Once you have determined what performance criteria should be used during the selection process, you can then craft a workflow that sets fellow marketers and team members up for success every time.

An influencer marketing strategy built on data.

An influencer marketing strategy built on data

All in all, despite popular belief, influencer marketing is still an effective strategy today. Yes, it requires time, money, and effort to build a solid strategy, but crafting a strategy that is centered around data will lead to better decision-making and structure.

By leveraging data, you automatically remove the guesswork around what a best-fit influencer looks like.