How to Get Started With Influencer Marketing

What is influencer marketing and should you be leveraging it for your own brand?

Influencer Marketing 101

When you see Beats by Dre, which is owned by Apple now—why was it so popular? It’s because every single celebrity, from LeBron James to the Kardashians, appeared in TV commercials saying: “Hey, you have to wear these headphones. They're cool. We all wear them.”

Beats by Dre Influencer Marketing

That's influencer marketing. When you see celebrities and other famous people who you look up to wearing stuff or using stuff, you are much more likely to do the same as well.

The influencers who you see on social media have a few hundred thousand or over a million followers on Instagram or Snapchat or YouTube. These people have built up their earned audiences, which is why they're called influencers.

Keep in mind that building up a following is very hard. YouTube and Facebook are paying these people good money because they have these huge organic audiences.

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How to Leverage Influencer Marketing

The easiest way to leverage influencer marketing, if you’re an UnderArmor or a Nike, is to directly pay influencers for posts. Take Instagram, for example. There are so many models on there pushing their protein products or water bottles or something similar. These models are being paid per post.

You don’t even have to be a huge company for this type of marketing to be valuable. Right now, there's an Indian cosmetics company interested in influencer marketing that’s talking to us. They're willing to pay a good amount of money to agencies that will connect them with influencers.

How can you leverage influencer marketing?


Let's say you're in e-commerce and you're pushing products like this. You don’t necessarily need influencers on the level of LeBron James or Kim Kardashian. I was just talking to an influencer the other day with 500,000 followers. I asked her how much she was getting per post and she told me that she's getting paid about $800 per post. She's about 24 years old. At that age, that's a lot of money for very little work.

If your e-commerce company is paying $800 per post and your average order value is $50, you can see how the numbers add up in your favor. Let's say one of this woman's posts gets you $5,000 worth of orders. That’s a deal you’d do all day every day. In fact, you're going to be looking for even more influencers. This is something you want to double-down on.

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Which Influencers Should You Recruit?

Granted, it’s not enough to just find influencers with high follower counts—those numbers can be artificially inflated. The really important metric is follower loyalty.

When you look at people who have a million followers on Instagram, if they're only getting a thousand likes per photo, what does that tell you? Their following isn't loyal. If someone doesn't have a loyal following and they say, “Buy this product. Use this service,” what do you think's going to happen? No one will care.

How Brands Can Benefit from this New Feature

On the other hand, if someone has a loyal following, they’ll get more likes, more comments, and more engagement per post. This higher engagement ratio is almost impossible to fake, and is a clear indication that this influencer has taken the time to build up an organic, loyal following.

So when you're trying to figure out which influencers to recruit, don't just pick the ones with the biggest following or decide based on how much they charge. Base it purely off the engagement they’re getting.

Achieving Maximum ROI with influencers

When we're doing influencer marketing on Instagram, we don't look at how many followers someone has, we only look at how many likes per photo they get and how many comments they get.

We want to make sure that the ratio is above 5% for smaller audiences of 10,000-20,000 followers, and at least 3% for larger audiences. This is a good sign that we’re dealing with a loyal following.

From there, we try to buy as many posts as possible by negotiating and buying them in bulk packages. Don't do one-offs. You've got to do it consistently over time. Just like Beats by Dre.

If they pay Kim Kardashian once to wear the headphones, they won't do well. But if they pay a ton of influencers and do it over the course of six months to a year, it starts having an impact. It creates a movement.

Where to Find Influencers

There are platforms where you can find the influencers you’re looking for. Whether it's in gaming, beauty, or whatever industry you’re in, you can use a platform like FameBit. You can sort through the influencers you want to reach out to by age, number of followers, cost per engagement, cost per impressions, etc. You can see who's super popular. It's basically like bidding on ad spots or bidding on specific blocks of time.

FameBit Where to Find Influencers

Go to FameBit, find the people that you want to reach out to, and figure out what your budget is. A tool like FameBit will make your life a lot easier, especially when you're first starting out.

Think about it this way: if you're selling enterprise software, influencer marketing is probably not the right fit for you, but if you're selling a gaming product, you can push it to Twitch streamers. If you’re selling something like a water bottle, you can push it to sports influencers. If you have a cosmetic product, you would need to go to a beauty influencer. It's all about targeting at the end of the day.

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The Biggest Lesson I’ve Learned from Influencer Marketing

I've tried out influencer marketing for a while now. I've even done it for my personal brand to see if I can increase my popularity, which would help increase the overall brand awareness of Single Grain and Growth Everywhere. What I ended up learning is that when your influencers are posting sporadically, it doesn't have a big impact. But if you have a huge budget and do it consistently and frequently, you can really start a movement.

I don't have the budget that Beats by Dre had, so I did the next best thing. I tried to have influencers post once a week, every week, on a specific day. When I had all the influencers do it on a Monday or Wednesday and stuck to that schedule, I noticed a much bigger impact.

That’s because on those specific days thousands of people were seeing my name and my brand multiple times from different influencers in the same space. They’re thinking, “Wow, I’m not just seeing one or two pictures, I see five or six or seven in the same day of this company, of this product or of the service. Maybe I should check it out now.”

But when someone sees it sporadically over a week, it doesn't have as much of an impact compared to that rapid-fire frequency in a short period of time.

The last thing I want to add is that you want to track your influencer ROI with specific coupon codes. That way you can track the effectiveness of any given campaign from any given influencer.

This post was adapted from Marketing School, a 10-minute daily podcast in which Neil Patel and Eric Siu teach you real-life marketing strategies and tactics from their own experience to help you find success in any marketing capacity. Listen to the podcast version of this post below:

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