Influencer marketing has been around forever. Before the internet exploded, we saw it in the form of celebrities endorsing products on TV, like Jessica Simpson doing a TV ad with Jenny Craig.

Now, anybody can build a following on social media and leverage that clout to sell products. And this isn’t just a niche marketing strategy anymore. Corporate giants like Red Bull, Audible, and Old Navy are all using influencers to increase sales.

Want to run influencer campaigns like the big dogs? Here’s how.

What’s so great about influencer marketing?

Social media-driven influencer marketing is a relatively new form of marketing, but if the results are anything to go by, it’s here to stay. Studies show that influencer marketing is so effective that it delivers over 11x the ROI of other forms of digital media.

But, what makes influencer marketing so great?

Higher engagement rates

One of the things that make influencer marketing so effective is the intimacy of it. By giving their followers an inside look at their lives, influencers are able to connect with them in a way that other marketing strategies struggle to replicate.

Think about it—if a random company tells you about how great a product is, you’ll probably just write them off. But if your mom told you about it? Well, that’s a different story.

The numbers reflect this. Over 90% of consumers trust word of mouth recommendations, while only 33% of them trust other marketing platforms like banner ads.

New customers

Ask any marketer and they’ll tell you—there’s no such thing as too many customers. This is exactly what makes influencers so valuable.

Twitter has 321 million users a month. Instagram has 1 billion. Facebook? 2.1 billion.

People like to spend their time on social media, making it the perfect place to market to your target audience. And with numbers like these, the odds of running out of new customers is low.

Growth

More and more people are spending their time on social media and they’re not showing signs of slowing down. Instagram alone is growing at a whopping 5% rate per quarter!

This is good news for businesses interested in turning their target audience into sales. As more people flock to social media, influencers gain more influence over their followers which translates into more influence for your business.

Turning your audience into sales

Alright, so influencer marketing is the best thing since instant mac n cheese. But how do you use it to turn your audience into sales?

Well, let’s take a look.

1. Identify where your target audience spends time

So, you know that your target audience is on social media, but there’s billions of people on social media. You’re going to have to get more specific than that.

In order to find your target audience, you need to know what they look like. If you haven’t already, identify key characteristics like:

  • How old are they?
  • What do they like?
  • Are they single or married?
  • Are they male or female?
  • What are their spending habits?

From here, you can begin to narrow down exactly where your audience is.

For example, let’s say that you want to sell fitness products on Instagram. Well, as beautiful as the #friedchicken feed is, you’re probably not going to find your audience there. But since you know that they like to work out, you know you can probably find them on feeds like #fitlife or #healthyeating.

At the time of writing, the hashtag #healthyeating has over 31 million posts. That’s over 31 million people who are interested in getting fit that you can market to.

2. Choosing the right influencer

Once you know what your customers are interested in, you can begin to look at influencers within those niches. Influencers are as varied as skittle flavors at a gas station, but a good influencer will have these three qualities:

Good content

One of the most obvious ways to tell if an influencer is the real deal is by looking at their content. If they don’t have high-quality images and posts, you probably don’t want to be working with them.

Real followers

An influencer’s follower count directly impacts their pricing—as a general rule of thumb, many influencers value their services at one cent per follower. Unfortunately, this gives influencers the incentive to buy fake followers who won’t interact with your brand at all.

A good way to tell if an influencer has real followers is by checking out the comments. Real followers develop a connection with the influencer and the comments should reflect that. If they’re generic or basic, they’re probably fake.

Past activity

When vetting influencers, look at their past activity. A good influencer platform like Social Media Famous will collect past data and present it in an easy-to-read format. That way you can look for any suspicious jumps in follower count or engagement, which could point to paid followers.

Creating an influencer campaign

Once you’ve narrowed down your target audience and chosen an influencer, it’s time to create your influencer campaign.

In order to execute a successful campaign, you’ll need to settle on the specifics. This includes:

  • How often will content be posted?
  • Where will content be posted?
  • Who has the rights to content?
  • What kind of content is being posted?

Once you’ve decided on the specifics, send them over to your influencer and get their feedback. Often, a good influencer will know how best to market to their followers and they can help you optimize your campaign to get the most out of it.

In conclusion: key takeaways

Influencer marketing can produce an ROI that surpasses your usual digital media. When creating an influencer campaign, remember these key takeaways:

  • Don’t skimp on your market research. Before you can run a campaign, you need to know who your target audience is and where they hang out.
  • The wrong influencer can ruin your campaign. An influencer platform like Social Media Famous can help you separate the real from the fake.
  • Keep an open dialogue with your influencer when creating a campaign. They know their followers and can give you a deeper perspective into what makes them tick.

Ready to start turning your audience into sales? Sign up for a free account to get access to over 2,000 real influencers with real followers.