With 67% of marketers increasing their influencer marketing budgets this year, it’s safe to say this “new” marketing strategy is reaching its heyday. Everyone knows the powerful return on investment you can get when you work with influencers to promote your brand. Influencers are only becoming easier to find thanks to marketplaces and search tools, but that doesn’t make finding the right influencers any less of a challenge. If you want your influencer marketing campaign to bring an impressive ROI (like you know it can), you need to recruit influencers with the creative skills and audience makeup that matches your brand message.

Here are 7 simple steps you can take to ensure your influencers have what it takes to help drive your marketing goals.

Step 1: Define your goals

No matter what marketing task you’re up to, goals always need to be the first step.

If you’re new to influencer marketing and not sure what you can achieve with it, Mavrck created a nice infographic of the most popular influencer marketing objectives brands use.

most popular influencer marketing objectives brands use

Your goals will help you figure out what kind of influencer content you’ll need to create, which platforms you want your influencers to publish it on, and what kind of influencers are the best for your brand.

Say your goal is to make your influential consumers more loyal (a popular brand objective). In this case, finding the right influencers is easy. Engage in social listening and track your brand mentions across the web. Identify influential people who are already talking about your business or products, and then you can recruit these influencers to do so in an official capacity.

Step 2: Pick your platform(s)

Valuable influencers exist on many platforms around the web – not just Instagram and YouTube. And many businesses are just starting to take advantage of these options.

For example, big brands like L’Oreal and Marriott started working with Snapchat influencers to help connect with the platform’s younger audience.

 working with Snapchat influencers

So before you start looking for influencers, you need to figure out which platforms your target audience engages on most:

Social media platforms Video platforms Websites
Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Snapchat, Tumblr, etc. YouTube, Periscope (also Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Tumblr) Bloggers, popular niche forum users

The platform you pick will depend on:

  • Where you want to reach your audience
  • What kind of influencer content you want to create

Say you want to make a 5-minute branded video with your influencer. You’ll want to consider all video platforms, and even think about a livestream video campaign. If you want a blogger to review your product, you might also consider having them write a blog post and share the post on their social media profiles.

Once you know what platforms you want your influencer content to appear on, you can narrow down your search for influencers immensely.

Step 3: Micro or macro?

Next you need to decide how “big” of an influencer you want to find. Say your brand sells natural skin care products. Do you want to team up with Organic Beauty Talk, one of the biggest bloggers in the niche, or find a team of a few micro-influencers all with around 5,000 followers on Instagram?

Don’t underestimate the power of working with micro-influencers in this case. Micro-influencers tend to have a highly-engaged niche audience that values the influencer’s recommendations as a peer. If you work with micro-influencers, all you’ll need to do is build a team of them in order to scale your campaign.

What kind of influencer you want to work with might depend on your brand goals. If you’re promoting a sale or a new product, micro-influencers are very valuable. If you want to boost brand identity by investing money and resources in creating a sponsored video, then it’s smart to target larger-scale influencers like popular YouTubers or Facebook Live celebrities.

Step 4: Narrow down by niche

Celebrity endorsements were a precursor to what we know as influencer marketing today. Get nearly any celebrity to say they like your products and you’re bound to see an increase in sales. Shaq endorsing a sugar substitute…