Influencer Marketing is the buzzword in the marketing business right now. More and more companies use influencers to reach their target audience and even extend their scope to new markets. But how do brands and influencers work together efficiently, what does a perfect cooperation look like? We have compiled ten steps that will help you gain the maximum benefit from working with influencers.

1. Define your target audience and compare it to influencers and their fan base

Find out about who follows an influencer and make sure that these people fit your own fan base. This might require a critical analysis of one’s own customers – make sure to compare, for example, age and region of influencer and audience. How does your product fit into the social media presence of the influencer, does it appear natural or out of line with his other posts? Only after this first analysis, you will know whether a cooperation might be feasible.

2. Influencer marketing as a fixed position of your marketing budget

Influencer marketing has become a part of the marketing budget, as product spendings aren’t enough to pay influencers. The market has developed, and both influencers and companies realize that the effects an influencer can have on promoting a product is well worth the payment.

3. Define campaign goals and predetermine results

Specific goals are a must when it comes to evaluating influencer campaigns. In order for both parties to be satisfied with the cooperation, results should be defined and discussed in detail.

4. Checking synergies between influencers and your own brand

Only if the influencer can identify with your product and message, he or she will perform well and authentic. This ensures that the campaign itself appears natural to target audiences and not forced. Your own brand and the profile of the influencer should match each other as closely as possible.

5. Reach isn’t everything

While reach is one of those stats that is easy to understand and certainly has its place, it is not the only proof of the efficiency of an influencer. How does an influencer interact with his audience, how is his engagement rate? Does he make an effort to have meaningful interactions with his followers? If he does that and also matches with your brand and the specific campaign, the transition between your content and his becomes almost seamless.

6. Content is king

The times when influencers could just show a product and that would be the end of their task are long gone. Storytelling over days and weeks is key, because followers will only be interested in a product when they see their idol actually sticking to it and interacting with it long-term. People realize when an influencer identifies with a brand and its products.

7. Expectations and costs must match

Ahead of launching a campaign, a company should always do a cost-benefit analysis and communicate the results with the influencer. Both parties should agree on what services the influencer offers for the payment. Finally, both have to ask themselves, does the price fit my expectations?

8. Keep an eye on the integrity of the influencer and yourself

In order for the target audience to believe and be convinced, not only the influencer should stay true to himself, but also the brand itself has to make sure to harmonize its content. While an influencer shouldn’t promote different products every week, the brand has responsibilities too in that its other marketing outlets have to stay in line with the influencer.

9. Being open about the cooperation

It’s 2017 and people are used to cooperations between influencer and brands. There is no need to operate in a legally dangerous zone and hide the relationship. Influencer posts should be tagged with #ad or #sponsored, either in the text or as part of the hashtags at the end. Honesty is appreciated and rewarded by customers.

10. Evaluation and monitoring of performance

All marketing campaigns end the same way, with an evaluation; have the goals been met and did the budget suffice? Have KPIs like reach, interaction rate, and sales numbers gone up? Less tangible but just as important – how was the cooperation with the influencer received? Did followers engage with the new content, has it made a long-lasting impression on them? Ideally, the results are positive and contact with the influencer is maintained, so he or she is likely to cooperate again in the future.

Finally, influencer marketing is making its way to overtake classic marketing. This means that marketing professionals have to rethink how they’ve done things so far and realize the importance of initiating and maintaining good influencer relations. If they really want to reach audiences, they need to adapt and realize that unique content, promoted by somebody who stands behind the product, is so much more valuable than TV ads or testimonials. In future, the deciding question will be which companies successfully find and cooperate in an equal relationship with their influencers.