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Influencer strategy: Create successful influencer marketing

Francesco Pastorelli
Marketing Growth Lead at Make Influence, I have a background in growing early stage startups through digital...

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As influencer marketing continues to grow, more and more companies are learning the many advantages of letting influencers help with marketing on social media. Today, most platforms are filled with influencer marketing strategies in action without people even noticing it. With the help of a dedicated influencer marketing plan, you will make it possible for the right target group to pay attention to and find an interest in your brand, product or service. As a result, this will build brand awareness, increase purchase consideration, and attract new customers.   

Continue reading to learn more about building a successful influencer strategy. Check out our influencer strategy template, where we will guide you in five easy steps. 


What is influencer marketing? 

Influencer marketing is marketing on social media based on a partnership between brands and influencers. The influencer has built a highly engaged social media community that trusts their opinion. The influencer will market products or services on their platform, and people will follow their recommendations. 

Brands sponsor and compensate influencers via payments or perks like free products or discounts. In return, they share official endorsements on their social media pages. 


What is an influencer marketing strategy? 

An influencer marketing strategy is a deliberate and outspoken plan on how to use influencers to reach specific business and marketing objectives. An influencer marketing strategy should include the following:

  1. Objectives and goals
  2. KPIs
  3. Buyer personas and target audience research
  4. A definition of the type of influencer you are going to use
  5. What kind of platforms and content types are you focusing on 
  6. Repurposing content 
  7. Compensation strategy 
  8. Integration strategy with other channels 

If you create a successful strategy, you can use influencers to promote your brand, products or services through engaging content. 

There is a lot to gain from building an excellent influencer strategy. 

First, the strategy will help you approach influencer marketing in a structured and organized way, resulting in better results at a lower cost. It will also help you establish your brand as a serious and trustworthy partner within the influencer community, making it easier and more convenient to create advantageous collaborations. Ultimately, it will help you create trust in this very effective channel. 

An influencer marketing strategy is then broken down into one or more influencer campaigns, each supporting the overarching strategy goals differently. For example, suppose your strategy objective is to solely generate sales with influencer marketing without caring for brand awareness and trust. In that case, you will likely create different campaigns for different products you want to sell and choose your influencers accordingly. 

Why collaborate with influencers?

A lot of content (and marketing) is published on social media daily. This makes it more challenging for brands to capture consumers' attention, build brand awareness, and gain new customers. According to a study published by Oracle, 80% of the participants claim to have purchased products in response to relevant social media content. Furthermore, 37% of these consumers said they trust social media influencers over brands. 

These numbers tell us that many consumers trust the tips and advice they get from influencers they follow on social media. They view these influencers as trustworthy. Six out of ten people trust advice from their favourite creators on what to buy rather than a recommendation from celebrities. 

On top of this, influencer marketing is highly effective, with demonstrated positive effects on metrics for brand awareness, as well as higher quality traffic, higher purchase intent, conversion rates and ultimately, ROI compared to other channels.

Illustration showing people's relationship to influencer marketing.

How to create an influencer marketing strategy in 5 steps

If you want to work with influencer marketing, developing a strategy is the first step. The strategy aims to maximize exposure, optimize campaign performance, and track progress.

At Make Influence, we use a proprietary methodology, called Make Influence Methodology to help you succeed with influencer marketing. The most important part of the Make Influence Methodology is what we call the Influencer Flywheel, which breaks down the process of working with influencers in 3 basic steps: recruit influencers, manage collaborations and expand on what works.

the make influence methodology to influencer marketing strategy

To this, we add one preliminary step which includes uncovering what your goals for your influencer marketing program are and what budget you can allocate to it. 

Now, let’s look at how to create an influencer marketing strategy in five easy steps following the influencer flywheel.

1. What are your marketing goals and budget?

Begin defining your goals and set up a budget to ensure your strategy remains consistent throughout all your influencer marketing campaigns. Here are some examples of goals that you want to achieve with your strategy:

  • Increase the number of shares, comments, and likes on your social media. 
  • Grow brand awareness and brand identity.
  • Increase conversion rates and webshop sales.
  • Improve your SEO tactics with backlinks. 
  • Gain more social media followers.

How much does influencer marketing cost?

There are several costs associated with influencer marketing, and they can be divided in: 

1. Influencer Compensation: 

How much you pay the influencer should be the most substantial item in your channel costs breakdown. The value of collaboration can vary drastically, depending on different factors, such as the size of the community, engagement rate, number of impressions, number and nature of deliverables from the influencers, whether the influencers work with an agency or not and more. In general, you can expect to pay from as little as 100€ for an Instagram post and story from a micro-influencer to over 1 million USD for an endorsement from a big celebrity.

To make compensation more transparent and fair, at Make Influence we recommend primarily working with nano to mid-tier influencers (1k- 100k followers) and always tie your compensation to performance. For example, you can pay influencers a small upfront, fixed sum, and agree on a commission for results they generate for you, for example, 10% of each sale generated.

Make Influence allows you to pay commission based. We track impressions, reach, clicks and sales so that you can measure what you get out of your influencer collaborations and automatically pay them based on these results without moving a finger. 

Try Make Influencer today

2. Employee salary

Influencer marketing is not a channel that runs by itself, so you must allocate working hours to manage your collaborations. Ideally, you will dedicate at least 10 hours a week to influencer marketing, so keep the salary costs for this in mind when thinking about starting an influencer program. 

3. Cost of Free Goods & Shipping

It goes without saying, in many cases, you will want to send influencers free products for them to promote, so this should also be budgeted for. 

4. Tools & Agency fees

There are several tools on the market, such as make influence, that can elevate the impact of your influencer program or simplify your life. This should not be seen as a cost but as an investment that can save you working hours and help you get more ROI out of your program, but it still should be budgeted for.

At the same time, if you work with influencers that are represented by agencies, which is often the case for established influencers with over 100k followers, keep in mind that you will also be billed for agency fees, which can be up to 25% of the influencer compensation value. 

Do you need help figuring out how much starting an influencer marketing program could cost your brand? Book a meeting with us, we are happy to help!

Piechart showing how much brands spend on influencer marketing.

This pie chart will help you get a vision of how much money companies spent on influencer marketing in general in 2022. 37% spent less than $10K annually, 30% between $10K and $50K, and 4% spent more than $500K.

Recruit influencers

After you have done the background work of deciding on your objectives and budget, you should look into how to discover, negotiate with and recruit the right influencers for your campaigns. To do this, you first need to create a campaign brief. 

Download our campaign brief template


2. Create a campaign brief: Choose your type of campaign and key messaging

Who is your target audience, and what type of buyers are you trying to reach out to? What influencers are right for you? What kind of content should you create, and on what platform? What key messaging should you spread? These are all questions you should ask yourself before you start recruiting influencers. Ideally, you would make sure to codify this information into a document that you can share with the influencers, so that they can easily understand if and how it makes sense to enter a collaboration with you.

We call this type of document an “influencer campaign brief”. 

You need to base your campaign on the audience you want to reach. Your influencer campaign should inspire people to learn more or engage with your content. It should also be enticing enough to make the influencer want to work with you. 

It’s up to you what the campaign should include. This could, for example, be guest posting, sponsored content, discount codes or takeovers. 

Spread a compelling and authentic message, and make sure that the collaborating influencers post content that aligns with your brand tone of voice and values. It’s up to you if you give the influencer creative freedom or have a sit-down where you work together to develop landing pages, post graphics, and more.

However, be mindful that you are working with creative people, which means you must give them some degree of flexibility in how they will present your brand. After all, they have built the relationship with their audiences with a lot of work, so they sure know best what works for their audiences. Consider using often-used target keywords and terminology to attract your audience and engage people in your brand.


3. Find the perfect influencers and begin the outreach process 

Hundreds, or even thousands, of influencers, specialise in different areas and market different types of content, so having an outspoken campaign brief can help you segment the ones that are most appealing to your brand before reaching out to them. What industry does your brand belong to – beauty, technology, fashion or gaming? 

If you want to work with influencer marketing on Tiktok or Instagram, consider using an influencer marketing tool or an agency that helps you find potential partners. 

Finding the right influencers passes through what we call qualification, or a vetting process, where you go through a set of criteria to decide if the influencer is worth collaborating with. Some part of this qualification can be done before contacting the influencer. Some other parts can only be done after you contact them by getting access to their audience and performance insight. 

When qualifying influencers, this is what you should have in mind:

  • Is the content that the influencer produces relevant to your industry or brand?
  • Does the influencer reach the demographic you are interested in? 
  • Does the influencer audience look legit? 
  • Does the influencer have a credible engagement rate?
  • Has the influencer worked with similar brands in the past?
  • Do the influencer’s style, and personality fit your brand guidelines? 

The next step is to get in touch with the influencers. Reach out to them by direct messages on social media or email. More established influencers are reached mainly by email or on their website. When the collaboration has started, define the campaign requirements with the influencer, as well as content deliverables and reporting activities. To do this right, having an in

Make Influence is an influencer marketplace that connects brands and creators, allowing them to manage performance-based collaboration. It's free to create an account and get started with Make Influence. Discover hundreds of verified influencers (no need to verify their audience is legit), access their channel data, such as audience and performance insight, before reaching out to them, create your first campaign and manage your first 3 collaborations. The best part,

Sign up for our platform - it is free to get started


4. Manage influencer collaborations

One of the essential parts of an influencer strategy is managing the campaign once you start collaborating with influencers. In other words, now it’s about implementing your campaign plan, which is also the fun part. Remember that the influencer is not your employee – they are a brand ambassador that will help you build a loyal group of potential customers. 

When managing your influencer relationships, it's essential to:

  • Develop a smooth onboarding process and provide guidelines upfront to ensure that the collaborating influencers know your expectations. 
  • Find out what previous experiences the influencers have with brand collaborations and whether that includes monetary compensation, discounts or free products. 
  • It's always beneficial to give the influencers as much creative control as possible. This is how they create authentic content. 


5. Track your results and make improvements

Monitoring campaign performance is a crucial part of your influencer campaign. This is how you evaluate whether it's worth working with a specific influencer or changing your influencer marketing strategy on Instagram or another platform.

To work with a performance-based compensation model, you must ensure that you accurately track the results. This is going to pay influencers, and the influencer can trust you are tracking them correctly. 

These KPIs will help you measure success: 

  • Engagement – Likes, comments, and shares
  • Brand awareness – Website traffic, social media mentions and quality of links
  • Audience building – Number of followers 
  • Sales – Leads, ROI, and new sales 

Track the data from each campaign to find out what worked and didn't. This will help you optimize future campaigns. For example, what generated the most engagement, and what was the conversion rate on different landing pages?

Ultimately, this will help you choose which campaigns and specific collaborations generate the most value for your brand so you can double down on them. 

Tracking the performance of several collaborations takes a lot of work. Make Influence helps you do this automatically and painlessly. We developed a tracking system that allows you to see in real-time how many impressions, clicks and sales every one of your influencers and generating, deep down to the individual piece of content which performs best.

This allows you to pay influencers based on their performance without raising a finger.


6. Expand on what works

This is something most brands forget about: if you have successfully tracked performance for each collaboration, you will want to make sure you expand on and re-iterate collaborations that gave good results, while dropping not promising ones. 

This is important because it is more efficient and effective to keep working (At Make Influence we call this expand) with influencers that have demonstrated to be a good match with your brand than constantly trying out new ones.

We suggest you use your first campaigns to test as many influencers as possible. Then you expand the most promising collaborations to an ongoing, long-term ambassadorship campaign. This will save you time and money in the discovery, negotiation and recruiting of new influencers, as well as probably give you more advantageous campaign terms in the long run.


Influencer marketing is the way to a successful business

Influencer marketing can really become a key ingredient to your marketing mix. However, as every marketing channel, there is no fixed formula or magic trick that works for every business. 

At the end of the day, you can take the indications provided in this blog post as a guideline, but it is important that you contextualise them to your unique business case.

On top of this, testing is crucial in order to create an effective influencer marketing strategy.

In this business case, we look at how a small multibrand ecommerce shop of health and fitness products developed a 8x ROI influencer marketing program using the flywheel methodology and a consistent “test and expand” approach to recruiting of influencers. 

Want to discover if an influencer marketing strategy could work for your brand? Book a meeting with Make Influence today, we’re here to help!

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