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Getting Started with Influencer Marketing

By Adam Turner • October 4, 2019

In the age of social media, influencer marketing has taken center stage as a way for companies to take a more personable and targeted approach to marketing. With a medium that is so new, however, it can be difficult for less experienced organizations to know how to best use it. Grubhub, a popular food delivery service in the United States, uses influencers to expand their reach into communities they may not have otherwise reached, and its then director of social and content, Mallorie Rosenbluth, talked about how to get the most out of influencer marketing at the 2019 Digital Summit New York City.

Before talking about how to work with influencers, it is vital to take a look at why an organization would market using influencers. Rosenbluth said she loves influencer marketing because it is relatable, authentic, scalable and testable.

As far as their relatability, influencers naturally connect with their followers because of similar interests, because they live in the same area or for some other reason. That relatability goes hand-in-hand with the authenticity they bring to marketing. This gives them a deeper connection with their audience, which makes the audience more inclined to listen to the influencer’s product recommendations.

Associations shouldn't forget to promote their online career center at onsite events
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Influencer marketing is also very easily scaled to fit the needs of the organization. For a company like Grubhub, it is useful to work with influencers with a large following as well as regionally popular ones to target specific areas where they want to increase their business, and it works in the same way with demographics attached to certain interests like gamers, parents or college students. And finally, as with a lot of social media marketing, working with influencers allows an organization to test different types of content without losing much when it fails because of the lower price than something like TV advertisements.

So how can an organization optimize its use of influencer marketing?

According to Rosenbluth, the very first step to building an influencer strategy is setting the goals of your organization. This is not something that the influencer team does by itself, but it should instead see how the organization as a whole wants to use influencers. She gives the example that if Grubhub wants to increase user retention, it might use influencers in the gamer sphere while if it wants to raise awareness, a mommy blog might be a better option.

Next, you’re going to want to align on a budget. Work with the other departments in your organization to make sure everyone agrees on the budget so there aren’t any road bumps down the line. Rosenbluth said that as a general rule, an organization should use 10 percent of the social media department’s budget to test out influencer marketing when it’s first getting into the game.

Then you’re going to want to create a wish list of influencers you might want to hire. There are many influencers out there and not all of them are going to serve the community you want to reach and get the kind of engagement you want from their users. Organizations thinking of using influencer marketing need to research the analytics of different influencers including how often users follow outside links, how many people see the posts, the community seeing the post and more. This is where it’s worthwhile to take a look at the organization’s goals you already set up and make sure the influencers you’re shortlisting can help you achieve them.

iPhone showing an Instagram grid of pictures of nature and cars
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Finally, it comes time to hire the influencers, and there are a few things to remember when doing so. When making the initial offer to them, make sure you’ve adequately assessed the value of their services; nothing will end a deal faster than offering to pay grossly less than they’re worth. Once you’re past the payment and are talking to them about the content, don’t forget that part of their value is that they know what their following likes. You should give them a set of guidelines and your expectations, but let them take part in the creative process too! That way their posts about your organization or products have their own flair that appeals to their audiences.

Consumers are more frequently looking for marketing that speaks to them as something that relates to them, and as that attitude continues to spread, the future of influencer marketing will keep looking brighter.

About The Author

Adam Turner is a content strategy intern with Naylor Association Solutions.