Influencer marketing is quickly becoming the go-to tool for many brands today, even for small businesses. For those unaware, this is a new marketing practice where brands pay influencers to pitch their products to millions of millennial followers.

It makes total sense. For marketers who are not digital natives, there are a lot of content marketing strategies to learn and publishing platforms to get familiar with. There simply isn’t enough time for them to master these things. And so paying someone who already knows them pretty well is a logical thing to do.

Another advantage of influencer marketing is that, unlike high-profile celebrities, the going rate of influencers is comparably small while their ability to drive sales for the brand is enormous.

Done well, influencer marketing can be an extremely powerful tool for generating leads, increasing brand awareness and getting more conversions. However, there are some things brands still don’t get about this strategy that may actually sabotage their efforts.

  1. The celebrity has to be a match

Branding success relies heavily on consistency. Similarly, influencer marketing success can be achieved by tapping the right star whose persona aligns with your brand’s identity and values.

You shouldn’t just choose someone to endorse your product because you like them, rather pick someone whose followers are similar to your target audiences and whose voice matches your message. Finding the right star is key to delivering the right content.

  1. Marketers should set goals and KPIs

Influencer marketing should be treated like a traditional media buy, with realistic goals to measure the campaign’s performance. Whether your brand is trying to generate awareness, drive mobile app installs or convert leads, you need to set KPIs at the start of the campaign in order to track their content’s reach and engagement.

  1. A huge following does not guarantee engagement

You know why? It’s because there’s a difference between a highly engaged fan and a follower who likes just about every post of a celebrity.

When a follower is hitting the like button for the sake of being on trend just like everybody else, you can’t really count them as a potential lead. But when a follower likes an influencer’s post because they liked and enjoyed their content, that’s when they become a valid lead.

What does this imply? You can’t measure an influencer’s influence based on the number of their Facebook likes or Twitter followers alone. You have to look further into how their followers interact with their posts and the influencers themselves. A person who has relatively modest follower count but have highly engaged fans would be a better choice than someone who has an insane follower count but whose posts don’t generate real engagement.

  1. Influencers are primarily driven by passion, not by money

The reason why influencers are popular and attract such a huge following is because they are passionate and excited about what they do. Passion is their primary motivation – money is only secondary. There are of course exceptions to this.

The point is to offer a potential influencer something that they value, other than a financial reward. Do a bit of research about a prospective influencer to find out what resonates most with that individual. It may be that they are fond of receiving gift cards or trying out new stuff. If that’s the case, you can offer store credit or freebies to persuade them to endorse your brand. If they have the passion for the industry you’re in or for your cause, you won’t likely have a hard time convincing them to be a brand champion.

Conclusion

Whether you are new to influencer marketing or you’ve been doing it for some time now, be smart about it by researching your industry before starting a campaign. Find the right influencer and figure out how best you can leverage their social influence. This way you won’t deliver empty impression-based result that don’t improve your brand’s business – rather you’ll create the brand halo effect you are looking for and achieve your marketing goals.