How to Get Buy-In and a Budget for Influencer Marketing in Five Easy Steps
Influencer marketing is now the fastest growing online customer acquisition method. You are already on the leading edge of the curve if you’re one of the 67% of marketers who plan to increase their influencer marketing budget in the next year.
Unfortunately, some organizations are still struggling to justify allocating a substantial amount of their marketing budget to influencers.
Therefore, some social media managers and other executives may face the challenge of proving the value of influencer marketing to the decision-makers in their organization in order to gain buy-in as well as the budget needed to run an influencer program.
Here are five steps social media managers and other executives can use in order to get executive buy-in and a budget for influencer marketing.
Successfully define your marketing objectives, and sell the value of influencer marketing according to the things that your organization values as a whole.
Outline a concise strategy.
Research and estimate the expected costs.
Estimate the results that you expect to achieve from the influencer marketing campaign.
If you want to justify investing in an influencer marketing campaign, outline your pain points and how influencer marketing provides a solution to them.
1. Selling the value of influencer marketing
The following are examples of common marketing objectives and how influencer marketing can be used to accomplish them.
Sales - A recent report reveals that social media users see a 5.2x increase in purchase intent when consumers are exposed to promotional content from influencers. A positive review, or a positive mention by an influencer has the power to directly lead consumers to make a purchase.
Content Creation - Influencer-generated content on social media earns more than 8x the engagement rate of branded content. Consumers today often ignore traditional forms of marketing and advertising such as internet ads, so it is more difficult for marketers to generate sales through branded content. Instead, audiences are receptive to authentic content made by people they relate to—influencers. This is why more marketers are turning to influencer marketing to source large amounts of scalable, authentic content for both paid and owned channels.
SEO - A whopping 84% of consumers make a purchase after reading about a product on a blog. Influencer blogs are a great way generate sales and website traffic, and because they are searchable, they are great way to gain SEO traction for your brand.
Web Traffic - Like direct sales, influencer-generated content is much more effective than both banner ads and traditional forms of advertisements for leading customers to make purchasing decisions. Even if a consumer does not immediately make a purchase after visiting a website, the brand will be at the top of their list for later consideration.
Brand Awareness - Influencer marketing is a significantly less expensive way to spread brand awareness in comparison to traditional forms of marketing because it does not require brands to promote directly, saving brands thousands of dollars in expenses related to professional photoshoots. Instead, brands can reach and build trust with a targeted audience by leveraging the fact that influencers have large, dedicated audiences who trust the influencer’s recommendations when making purchase decisions.
Follower Growth - In a survey, 95% of users aged 18-34 admit to following a brand on social media. Many brands overlook the value of social media followers. However, Instagram followers are probably some of the most engaged consumers, even if they have not yet made a purchase. Because influencers are tastemakers in their respective areas, consumers are more likely to follow a brand if their favorite influencer recommends it.
2. Outlining your strategy
Each influencer marketing campaign requires different strategies. We have outlined in-depth strategies for each marketing objective in our Ultimate Guide to Influencer Marketing.
When your overall objective is to source high amounts of authentic content, working with on-brand micro-influencers (those with less than 150k followers) who create exceptionally high quality content is the most effective and inexpensive strategy. Be sure to gain usage rights in order to repurpose the content.
Influencer blogs are a great way to generate SEO traction. Unlike Instagram posts, blogs show up in Google results. Additionally, influencers have a large group of dedicated followers who read and share their blog posts, which spreads even more awareness of your brand.
When using influencer marketing as a sales channel, the best way to easily generate and track sales is through dedicated YouTube videos or paid ads on Facebook. This is because both YouTube and Facebook ads support trackable clicks.
Instagram stories and YouTube videos are a great way to drive website traffic because they have ability to provide clickable links that can lead viewers directly to a product page or website.
The most effective influencer marketing tactic is to create long-term ambassadorships. This works when influencers promote a brand over a long period of time, so their audience is more likely to become familiar with the brand, increasing their trust and awareness.
Giveaways are the best way to generate 5-10x more new followers than a normal creator post. When running a giveaway, partner with influencers to provide their audience with a high value, meaningful prize in return for following your brand’s Instagram posts.
In addition to your influencer marketing strategy, consider the following questions:
- Who will manage the day-to-day tasks?
- How much time are you able and willing to allocate to influencer marketing per week?
- Will you have to hire internally in order to support your program?
- How will you measure the success of your campaign?
For reference, we recommend that brands dedicate at least 5-10 hours per week using appropriate software (or 15-20 hours per week without software) to run an influencer marketing program with tangible returns.
3. Research the costs
The total cost of influencer marketing is the sum of the fees paid directly to influencers, fees associated with seeding product and the fees associated with any third party help, such as an agency or influencer marketing software.
On average, Revfluence has found that influencers charge $0.10 for every engagement on Instagram, meaning someone who receives 1,000 likes on instagram will charge around $100 per post. Read our full guide, “What to Pay for a Sponsored Instagram Post” for more information and other factors that go into pricing.
Influencer marketing solutions
You must also factor in the costs associated with agencies or influencer tools. Agencies typically keep between 30-50% of what you spend with them as a part of their commission structure. Influencer marketing tools can be much more reasonable, costing anywhere from $350-$10,000 per month depending on the tool’s capabilities and your needs.
4. Estimate the expected results
Keep in mind that ROI is a highly dependent on your goals, investment, strategy and other internal initiatives. Brands typically see their highest ROI after 2-3 months of testing and tailoring the strategies that work for them.
For a rough estimate of expected ROI, RhythmOne states that “advertisers that implemented an Influencer Marketing program in 2016 received $11.69 in Earned Media Value for every $1.00 of program spend, on average.”
This number is further broken down by verticals:
5. Define your pain points and find solutions
If you have already begun running an influencer program, identify your pain points and research potential solutions. If you have not had experience running an influencer campaign, predict where you will need assistance.
If your brand is running a small influencer marketing program, meaning less than five collaborations per month, or if you would like to simply test influencer marketing for the first time, you may not need to invest in any tools. However, if your brand is ready to scale up your influencer marketing program, it will be nearly impossible to do so without the proper tools.
What problems do you want to solve?
Marketers typically require assistance with:
- Finding the right influencers for their brand or product
- Managing influencer relationships
- Paying influencers
- Creating and sending contracts
- Tracking campaign performance such as impressions, sales, and engagement,
- Tracking results per influencer
- Tracking results from different strategies you are testing at the same time
- Getting accurate, up-to-the-minute information to make timely decisions
Tool feature requirements
Look for tools that will solve your problems. For example:
- Tools that help you find the right influencers
- Tools that help you to easily manage communications with all your influencers
- Tools that make it easy for you to access real-time data and statistics you need
- Tools that make it easier to develop contracts that will cover all the aspects of working with influencers, and let you track if the contract conditions are being met
- Tools that let you track shipments of products to influencers, show when the products have arrived, and when the influences should post about the products
- Tools that make it easy to send personalized messages in bulk
- Tools that do not incur commission fees
Overall, the key to getting your company’s decision-makers to buy-in to an influencer marketing campaign is to do your research. By understanding the value of influencer marketing and planning a full, detailed strategy, you will be on the right track to getting buy-in and budget in your brand.