Influencer marketing is the easiest and quickest way to grow your brand via social media. A study by Tomoson found businesses make $6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing — that’s some mind-boggling return on investment (ROI), amirite? 

But it’s not so easy. To get that kind of ROI, you need to have a solid influencer marketing strategy. 

Luckily, the team at Kynship have worked with 500+ influencers and partnered with 30+ brands to make all the influencer marketing strategy mistakes so you don’t have to.

In this article, we’ll share the top five influencer marketing strategies that cover everything you need to know to run a successful influencer marketing campaign.

  • Choose relevant influencers
  • Product seeding 
  • Cultivate a genuine relationship with influencers 
  • Maximize the value of sponsored content 
  • How to test influencer campaigns and;
  • How to set up conversion tracking for your influencer marketing campaigns

Step 1: Choose Relevant Influencers

There are plenty of influencers out there for every industry — beauty, fashion, travel, software — you name it. But not every fashion influencer will be right for every apparel brand. You want to connect with the types of influencers whose endorsements would get you the maximum ROI from your investment. 

Partnering with the wrong influencer can be expensive. It’s worth investing a good amount of time in finding the right influencers who align with your specific niche and campaign goals. 

One of the most common mistakes brands make is choosing an influencer based on follower count alone. A large following doesn’t guarantee that their target audience overlaps with yours. 

If you want to reach new audiences, the number of followers surely matters. But does a large following necessarily translate to the best influencer? Heck no. Micro-influencers — who have a following of 10,000 to 50,000 — offer a 20% higher conversion rate. Choose influencers based on the demographics of their target market — it should be consistent with your potential customers. 

By choosing relevant influencers, we helped smoothie subscription company, Blendtopia, cut their cost acquisition in half with influencer-generated content. They partnered with micro-influencers like Jackie, Rasheeda, and ketobydesign to get the most bang for their buck from their influencer marketing strategy. 

So, where do you find these relevant influencers? 

You can go the manual way and use hashtags to find potential influencers in your niche. But this way is time-consuming and might not be as effective, especially if you’re new to influencer marketing. 

The easier route might be to hire an influencer marketing agency. They usually have a large influencer database to match you with just the right social media influencer for your brand. 

Read more: How to Find the Right Social Media Influencers for Your Brand

While examining these influencers, make sure to check their video content. Why? It’s easy to take a great photo of your product and post it on social media platforms. But it’s nearly impossible to fake loving your brand on video. 

Ask: Can they capture your attention in the first three seconds? Can they communicate about the product benefits effectively?

This will not only ensure you hire an influencer who has great production capabilities but someone who’s also a genuine product adopter for your brand. 

Step 2: Seeding Your Product to Influencers

We scaled the fitness brand, Animal House Fitness, from $0-$7M in just one year. How? Through the magical powers of product seeding. 

What’s product seeding?

Simply put, it’s when you send free products to influencers, no strings attached — aka no obligation to post, no requirement for endorsement, and no payment required. 

The result? Some social media influencers — who are also genuine lovers of your product — will post about your brand for free. Not to mention you’ll save massive $$$ that would’ve otherwise been spent on a studio shoot and paying influencers. 

The best part? You also build personal relationships with influencers rather than transactional partnerships in the pay-per-post model.

How do you practice product seeding?

We have an in-depth guide covering this, but at a top-level here's how we see the process play out:

  • Reach out to 500 relevant influencers who’d love your product and ask for their address 
  • About 100 influencers would sign up to receive your product
  • According to our data, around 30 influencers would end up posting about your product 
  • Ask for distributing their content on your own brand’s social media accounts. Most would agree — and voila! You now have influencer content and unique ads for your social media platforms without spending a penny

Don’t believe the power of product seeding still? The chocolate brand, M&M's, DTC sales increased by a whopping 457% when they practiced product seeding. Not just this, they also got nominated as a finalist for the CommerceNexty award. Their influencer content outperformed traditional creative in paid social marketing A/B tests too.

But remember, if you want more and more influencers to post about your product and get wild impressions, you ought to create an unforgettable unboxing experience.

According to our internal findings, when you pair relevant influencers with an amazing unboxing experience, you get a 30% increase in user-generated content from free organic posts. 

It’s simple, really. Imagine if you were an influencer. Which is going to make you feel more valued: the product arriving in a generic cardboard box, or in attractive, bespoke packaging?

So, while shipping your product to influencers for product seeding — ensure it’s personal, give it a “wow” factor, and make it shareable.

  • Include a note
  • Give them a custom package
  • Make it look like it's for them, and only them

If you need help creating memorable unboxing experiences for influencers, we recommend Arka Packaging

Read more: How to Create The Most Memorable Unboxing Experience To Win Over Influencers

And if you're still not getting the result you want, you're targeting the wrong people.

Step 3: Cultivate a Genuine Relationship With Influencers 

Influencer marketing — whether with nano-influencers or macro-influencers, whether with TikTok influencers or Instagram influencers, whether with GenZ bloggers or millennials — is dealing with people. It’s not like purchasing ad space that you can buy and forget. 

Building genuine, authentic, and transparent relationships with influencers is the cornerstone of effective influencer marketing.

Product seeding will help you find social media influencers who genuinely love your brand. It’ll also set off the relationship on the right start — built on giving, not asking.

Once you form a partnership with an influencer, keep the following things in mind: 

Set clear goals. Key performance indicators (KPIs) help keep the influencer and you on the same page from the beginning. 

Make your outreach personal and creative. Social media influencers are inundated with reach-outs — so don’t be afraid to follow up. We recommend this five-step follow-up sequence: two emails, two DMs, and comment on a recent post. 

Pay them for their work fairly. This should be a no-brainer. Finding influencer pricing tricky? Read our Influencer Rates Guide On What To Pay Influencers in 2022.

Lastly, give influencers enough creative freedom. They are expert content creators and know what works with their audience the best. You can create a content brief, ask for revisions and approval before posting, and set general guidelines — but don’t restrict influencers’ creative license too much.

No marketing tactics can make up for genuine influencer relationships. Influencer management can make or break your influencer marketing campaign.

Forming authentic relationships with influencers is what helped silicon ring brand, QALO, build an influencer roster of 250 — along with LeBron James wearing their ring too.

Product seeding success: LeBron James wearing the QALO ring

If you’re opting to go the product seeding way (which we highly recommend), don’t forget to nurture your flag-bearers — the influencers giving you the maximum ROI. Send them customized products, pay them better, and invite them to company events.

Step 4: Maximize the Value of Sponsored Content 

Social media algorithms are limiting the reach of organic influencer posts. So, it doesn’t matter how many ‘Swipe Up’ Instagram stories, giveaways, or discount codes you share, they won’t reach the entire audience of an influencer.

Influencer sponsored posts, on the other hand, give you complete control over the distribution of paid media — meaning higher engagement rates and greater reach. 

Facebook’s ad platform gives you the ability to optimize your influencer marketing campaigns for purchase. 

Want to take it up a notch? Practice influencer whitelisting — a process where a social media influencer gives permission to a brand to access their social media accounts, including ads.

Combining product seeding with influencer sponsored posts, we helped Metabolic Meals increase their prospecting ad account performance by an astounding 125%

Step 5: Set up Conversion Tracking for Your Influencer Marketing Campaigns 

It's important to continually track metrics to determine the success of your influencer marketing campaign.

Depending on your goals with influencer marketing, the conversion tracking metrics will differ: 

  • If your goal was to build brand awareness, you may set up a social listening tool to track brand mentions, evaluate social media impressions, and check SEO analytics. 
  • If your goal was to increase sales, you might check how many purchases were made from an influencer discount code or bloggers’ trackable links.

The data will help you figure out what works and what doesn’t — which social media platforms suit your brand the most, what influencer channels maximize your ROI, what the influencer conversion rate is, what content formats generate the best results, etc. 

By measuring influencer marketing success, you can optimize future influencer marketing campaigns. 

Making an Unbeatable Influencer Marketing Strategy

Influencer marketing is here to stay. Whether you’re a brand in ecommerce or software, a startup or an enterprise, bootstrapped or funded — you can truly benefit from influencer marketing.

But you can’t just throw stuff on the wall and see what sticks. An influencer marketing strategy is crucial to running a successful influencer marketing campaign. 

With this guide in your hands, you’ll be well on your way to building an influencer marketing strategy that not only gains likes but gets sales. Or you could always book a call with us and see if you’d rather let us handle it all for you.