Influencer marketing has been the talk of the town for the past couple of years and has also caused very controversial debates on the effectiveness of it.

Some marketers swear by the power of key opinion leaders’ influence (KOLs) on decision making, while others may go as far as to call it an overpriced marketing effort with barely any measurable results.

But what is the truth? And if you want to leverage on influencer marketing – how can you do it successfully?

Today, we have Bryan from Sherlock Lab – a digital marketing agency that has helped various e-commerce and startups grow their businesses; to share with us his advice on how to fully make the best out of influencer marketing, regardless of the size of your budget.

Prior to running his own agency, Bryan held the role of a senior digital marketing executive at 123RF, one of the biggest stock photo agency in the world.

123RF – One of the biggest stock photo sites in the world.

What is One Rule For Successful Influencer Marketing Campaigns?

Bryan’s number one advice on influencer marketing is to always do A/B testing and test different influencers.

When looking into engaging influencers to market your products and services, it is always advisable for you to test out with different categories of influencers.

Be it a healthy mix of high-tired influencers (high following) and micro-influencers (smaller following), or a variation of influencers with different content angles like travel, lifestyle, beauty, humor etc; it is always helpful to explore a combination as compared to pouring all your budget in one key influencer.

This way, you are able to compare and determine which category of influencer is able to attract their target audience towards your brand, which influencer creates the highest conversion etc, and you can slowly narrow down your selection as you get more familiar with the market. 

How Can Small Businesses Explore Influencer Marketing?

If you have sufficient budget, influencer marketing is definitely advisable for new businesses to explore as a form of creating brand awareness.

Bryan further emphasizes the importance of experimenting with different influencers in the beginning, so brands are able to see what kind of influencers and their content would bring out the best results.

Another good way to get more bang for the buck is by exploring opportunities in which you can repurpose these engaged influencers content on your own platforms like your website, social media pages etc, this way, their content is not only consumed by their audience, but by yours as well.

How to Embrace Influencer Marketing as an Effective Marketing Tool?

You should always view influencers as storytellers, and not your salesperson.

When you decide to work with influencers, you need to work on a more collaborative manner in which you allow them space and creativity to highlight your brand, products or services in a way that is in line with their usual content.

As influencers, they would understand their own audience better than anyone else. They would have a better idea on how to position the brand in a way that would strongly resonate with them, and thus creating the influencing power that brands are looking for.

Another tip would be to select influencers with genuine influence, and this would mean spending some time researching on their content before engaging them.

For example, profiles with way too many sponsored posts, or influencers with a high following but very low engagement rate on their postings may be a sign that they are less likely to bring value to your brand. 

How do we track the performance of influencer marketing?

According to Bryan, there are two ways in which we can track the performance of influencer marketing.

1. Using promo codes

The influencer will receive a designated promo code with a specific discount or promotion, just for their followers to use when they decide to purchase.

Pros: This method is straightforward. You track sales made with the influencer’s promo code and is able to directly track the percentage of sales coming from their end, determining if you’ve successfully hit your return-on-investment (ROI).

Cons: Lowering down the prices may be deemed unfeasible by many business owners as they are reluctant to devalue their own products or services.

If this is your main concern, you can take the opportunity to explore a different approach of influencer marketing, for example having an influencer-driven on-ground event, and targeting your brand awareness efforts towards the event.

2. Measuring using your bottom-funnel.

The other way is to use backend tools for tracking purposes, such as gathering data of people who reacted to the influencer’s post and retargeting them with ads to see how they respond to it.

The idea here is to see the number of conversions you get at the bottom of your sales funnel. Promotions done by influencers are usually top of funnel efforts, so measuring your bottom-funnel would give you an idea if your influencer marketing effort is working or not.

Pros: You will not have to run any discounts or promotions on your products and services, and the influencer’s content will look less hard sell to their audience.

Cons: It will definitely require more time and energy in tracking the performance, and the causal linkage between the influencer postings and results might be blurry. 

How To Start with Influencer Marketing?

Ultimately, influencer marketing would work if businesses are able to strategize correctly.

From the right selection of influencers to the style of content that highlights the products and services in a way that resonates, every step of the way requires experimentation to find the most suited fit.

Like to learn more about influencer marketing? Join Bryan in his live session on D/M Summit, where he’s giving a workshop on How to Use Micro-Influencer Marketing to Build E-Commerce Businesses From Ground”. 

You’ll learn step by step as to how to scale your business with influencer marketing, together with strategizing your marketing, whether to leverage on micro or macro influencers – bringing the highest ROI for your business.