Everything you need to know about referral marketing on social media.
Many campaigns have failed precisely because of the assumption that the hard part is over once the right influencers are found and the campaign is set up. In reality, however, managing your influencers does require some knowledge, skill, and time, especially if you’re managing a large team of micro-influencers.
Now, let’s answer the «how to manage influencers and micro-influencers» question and give you some effective tips so you can successfully manage your influencers and make the most of your campaign.
What Is Influencer Management Exactly?
Influencer management is primarily about relationship building.
Influencer relationship management (IRM) can be easily compared to customer relationship management (CRM) if you replace customers with influencers and micro-influencers. This way you’ll have control over your marketing campaign and effectively use their social influence to reach your target audience (s) and turn potential buyers into returning customers.
A successful IRM entails nurturing the relationship between you and your influencers as much as you nurture the relationship between you and your customers. The goal is to increase brand awareness, build customer trust, and of course, acquire more sales and high return on investment.
That being said, an effective influencer management is more than IRM. You should also track your macro or micro influencers' posts and engagement, make sure they meet your expectations, promote them on your brand’s social media platforms, and of course, compensate them fairly so they’re motivated to endorse your brand.
Different Ways to Manage Influencers
There are three ways in which you can manage your macro and micro-influencers.
Direct. If you’re managing a handful of micro-influencers, we recommend that as the business owner or the marketing campaign manager you are in direct communication with your influencers.
Agency. Influencer marketing agencies not only help you find the ideal influencers for your brand, but also create, optimize, and manage your influencer marketing campaign.
Tools/Software. There are plenty of influencer management tools that can help you manage influencers and measure results. While some tools only help in influencer management, others help you find the right ones, asses their performance, monitor your campaign, and more.
More Tips to Successfully Manage Influencers and Micro-Influencers
Don’t Treat Your Influencers as Your Employees
Even though the influencers you work with are paid to promote your brand, they don’t want to be treated as employees, and this especially goes for micro-influencers. Instead, you should treat them as clients.
Obviously, influencers promote your brand for monetary or other type of compensation, but they also choose to collaborate with you for other reasons.
After all, if they don’t like the products or services your company offers or the way in which they’re treated, they probably wouldn’t join your team in the first place. Of course, unless you offer an insane amount of monetary compensation that will make them rethink their decision — but that shouldn’t be the goal. Audiences can tell when their favorite social media personas are endorsing something they genuinely like and the goal here is to actually nurture and capitalize on that trust.
Influencers are trusted by their followers and building a community of people who like and trust you is not easy. What’s easy is losing their trust, so they’ll promote only the companies they trust and enjoy working with if their owner (s) and/or manager (s) treat them with respect.
Have an On-boarding Process and Define Expectations
Having a step by step on-boarding process is useful for getting higher engagement from your team of influencers. That’s why you need to start your on-boarding process by setting direct and coherent expectations.
Be sure to set expectations that would be acceptable and realistic, but also comprehensible for everyone. If you’ve made a deal with them and they’ve joined your team, don’t forget to give your influencers assignments and be clear about what you want from the start. When you give them tasks in the beginning, they are more likely to stay motivated to work with you and promote your business.
Ask Your Influencers What They Want
A great relationship between you and the influencers you work with and a successful, long-term collaboration can be only achieved if both parties are happy. You can achieve this if you directly ask the influencers what their expectations are from this collaboration and if there’s anything they specifically want from you.
For example, some micro-influencers prefer exposure rather than monetary compensation. If your brand’s social media platforms have a large amount of followers, you can make those influencers happier if you share some of their posts where they talk about your products or services instead of paying them.
Other influencers that are interested in what your company has to offer might want discounts of your products or services, while some might prefer samples they can offer their followers.
You’ll only know if you ask, so do this in the beginning before your collaboration even starts.
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Give Them Creative Control
While being clear about what you expect from your influencers is important, don’t try to have a full control of the process since this is a mistake most businesses make — and it can have negative consequences on the marketing campaign.
Yes, you’re paying influencers to promote your brand and help you make sales, but you don’t understand their audience as they do. As a matter of fact, they publish content their audience loves every single day, so who knows their followers better than them? Wanting to be in control, setting strict schedules, and creating graphics that the influencer must share can be very damaging for your relationship and consequently for the overall campaign.
Instead, try to give them creative control. Their audience trusts them, so if they sound artificial when promoting your business, it can be very bad — both for them and the success of your influencer marketing campaign. Give them ideas and premade promotional materials, but be totally okay if they say no to some things.
Most influencers can’t stand and won’t accept being told exactly what to write, photograph, and share. Since their followers know and trust them, they will know when they honestly like and believe in the things they are promoting.
So, make your influencers happy as if they were your clients. We don’t recommend that you give them strict schedules or force them to endorse your product while not allowing them to mention any of its possible flaws — give them the freedom to express their opinion to keep them motivated. That way the influencers you work with will be more engaged and more willing to promote your brand to their trusted followers — and their honesty and genuine support will in turn resonate even more with their audience.
Track Their Posts and Engagement
In order to see what works and what doesn’t, you need to track your influencers' content that has to do with your campaign. You or someone else from the company can do this daily or weekly, but what’s important is to have a tracking system and write down the results of how each post has performed.
You can use an influencer management tool or software to help you with this, a custom analytics system, or do everything manually. The choice is entirely yours, but beware — the more influencers you collaborate with, the more you’ll need a tool to help you out.
Want to know more about analytics and tools? Check out our SMM guide on analytics and reporting.
After a couple of weeks/months of tracking, you’ll know what kind of posts benefit your brand and you can locate the ones that don’t. You can then inform your influencers of the results and ask them to reinforce the specific type of content that brings most engagement and generates the most CTR and conversions.
If, for example, you collaborate with 10 micro-influencers and decide to cut that number in half for whatever reason, you’ll have a clear idea of who to let go and who to keep. After all, you want to spend your budget efficiently and do what’s best for your business, right?
Motivate Your Influencers With Rewards and Offer Fair Compensation
When managing your team of influencers, it’s very important to motivate every single one of them. This can be done in various ways, but don’t forget that without motivation, you won’t get their best work.
Your influencer marketing campaign can go from not that bad to very successful. As every business wants to get the highest benefit for the investment they’ve made, motivating influencers, especially micro-influencers, can be a crucial part of this whole process.
Creating a secret group on Facebook with every influencer you manage can be quite beneficial. You can talk and share tips directly to the whole team, set a reward structure, and keep track of who is the most effective and hard-working.
If you work with smaller micro-influencers, you can even exclude the monetary reward if you have some other lucrative and creative way to ‘pay' them. This is important because if you reward them exclusively with money, they could lose the intrinsic motivation they had and look at this collaboration as just another job.
This is the Motivation Crowding Theory that some businesses are aware of and use to their benefit. If you think about implementing it to your team of influencers, seriously think of the ways in which you can reward them and keep them satisfied, like offering your products, services, more exposure on your social media platforms, and so on.
Nurture Caring Relationships of Mutual Trust
Remember, the most important thing when it comes to managing influencers is building and maintaining strong relationships. This isn’t always easy since you have to deal with real people and different personalities, but if you’re honest, direct, and treat them with respect — you’ll have a loyal team of influencers and you’ll rock your marketing campaign.