Influencer Marketing
BUSINESS Uncategorized

How to do Influencer Marketing to Grow Your Business

In 1984, Nike collaborated with Michael Jordan to create an exclusive line of sneakers: The Air Jordans. And it was a hit. In just 12 months, the first generation of Air Jordans racked up more than $100 million in sales. Michael Jordan brought Nike into the world of professional basketball and helped transform the brand into the household name we know today.

This is influencer marketing. But influencer marketing doesn’t have to be as expensive as hiring world class athletes or a-list celebrities. There are influencers in pretty much every niche that can promote your products to their audience for a fraction of the cost. And in this video, you’ll learn how to do influencer marketing by finding, vetting, and partnering with the right influencers to grow your business.

Stay tuned. [music] Now, before we begin, it’s important that we establish the fundamentals of influencer marketing like what it is, why it’s important, and the different types of influencers. Understanding these things will save you time and money, and increase your chances of running a successful campaign.

So first, what is influencer marketing? Simply put, influencer marketing is the practice of working with influencers to promote your brand’s message, products or services. And influencers are just people who have an active and ideally sizeable audience who they’re actually able to influence.

And influencer marketing happens most on social media networks like Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, and so on. Now, influencer marketing isn’t just limited to big brands with big budgets. Small and mid sized companies like ChartMogul, Skillshare, and even this small company selling brow lamination kits are all doing it.

Why? Because it works. And the main reason it works so well as a marketing strategy is because you’re borrowing trust from a person who already has influence over your target audience. For example, in this Instagram post, former US gymnastics gold medalist, Shawn Johnson, says: “Andrew and I couldn’t find any dairy-free yogurt alternatives that we both loved, until we tried Harmlessharvest dairy-free yogurt alternative.

It just hits different (and Drew loves it!).” And if we scroll through the comments, you’ll see that her post actually influenced people enough to want to try it and even tag friends and family who might want to try it too. Now, the amount you pay to an influencer will vary on a case by case basis.

And this largely depends on the level of influence this person has and the niche they’re in. For example, it’ll likely cost a lot more to get a paid sponsorship for a gambling site than for yogurt. And this simply follows the law of supply and demand. Now, there are generally five types of influencers which are categorized based on the size of their following.

First, you have your A-list celebrities, who have over a million followers. Then you have mega-influencers that have 500,000 to a million followers. Next are your macro influencers with 100 to 500 thousand followers. Then the micro influencers who have 10 to 100,000 followers. And finally are your nano influencers, who have 1,000 to 10,000 followers.

Now, I don’t want you to pay too much attention to the number of followers, because that’s not how you should choose the people you work with. You need to vet influencers before you even approach them and we’ll dig deep into this in a bit. But the reason why I’m grouping them by number of followers is because generally speaking, influencers that have large followings will charge more than those that don’t.

So this is important to take note of when it comes to budgeting. Alright, now the actual process of influencer marketing looks something like this: You need to define the primary objective of your campaign, find potential influencers you might want to work with, vet the influencer’s level of influence, reach out to them, and then you might work on a campaign together.

So let’s start with the first step which is to define the primary objective of your campaign. Generally speaking, there are two main primary objectives. The first is to increase brand awareness. And the goal is to introduce your brand and/or products to your target audience. Now, the yogurt post that I showed you before is a great example of raising brand awareness.

They have the influencer share a personal story, introduce the sponsor’s product, and then a loose recommendation to try out their product. Also, the post has a unique hashtag. And if we click that link, you’ll see a bunch of sponsored posts from other influencers, which I’m sure helped amplify their brand.

The second objective is to create interest and desire. And this goal is all about teaching potential customers more about their problems and how your product or service can solve them. For example, if Ahrefs ran a campaign with interest and desire as the primary objective, we might promote our completely free SEO course for beginners where we teach people how to do SEO and how our tools can help them get more organic traffic.

And the third objective is to entice the purchase or to get people to sign up. So that might be by offering exclusive discounts like in this video, where Thomas Frank says: “…if you’re committed to learning, then one resource you may want to check out is Brilliant.” He goes on to explain the features of the tool and then tells his audience about a 20% discount for the first 200 people who sign up through his link.

Now, it’s important to note that this stage is about defining your primary objective. Because naturally, people will become aware of your brand whether you try to promote education or ask them to buy something. But by solidifying a primary objective, you’ll be able to keep your messaging consistent with what you hope to achieve.

Alright, it’s time to actually search for influencers. Now, there are tons of ways to find influencers in your niche. And it’s important to note that at this stage, you’re just brainstorming a big list of people to potentially work with. So to get started, create a simple spreadsheet with column names like their name, a link to their social media channel, and the size of their following.

And if you plan to run promotions on multiple platforms, then just add more columns to your spreadsheets. Once you have that in place, it’s time to start searching for influencers. The first way is to use Google. Just search for something like “top [and then your niche] influencers” and you should see a bunch of list posts.

Visit some of the pages, and click through to some of the influencers that are mentioned. If they seem like a potential fit for your brand, then record their information in your spreadsheet. Don’t give too much thought at this point. The second method is to search on specific social platforms. For example, if I had an eyebrow makeup kit to promote, I might want to find YouTubers who create makeup tutorials, specifically for the brows.

So I might go to YouTube and search for “eyebrow tutorial.” Now again, jot down the information you need in your spreadsheet and then let’s move on to the third method, which is to reverse-engineer your competitors’ influencer marketing campaigns. And this will largely boil down to the marketing medium you want to promote your brand on.

For example, brands will often ask Instagram influencers to use a common hashtag on their sponsored posts. So when you see one of these posts, click that link and then look through some of the other posts. And you’ll usually be able to tell that it’s sponsored because it should say “paid partnership with” the name of the brand.

Now, for YouTube sponsorships, you’d want to start with a competitor who you know is doing a good number of promotions on YouTube. Think or NordVPN. And when these companies do sponsorships, they often have the goal of enticing purchases. As a result, the influencers will almost always include a link to the sponsor in the description because of the terms of their agreement.

So to get started, find a sponsored video from one of your competitors. In this case, I’m looking at one that was sponsored by Brilliant. And as you can see, they’ve given Thomas a unique URL that lives on their main domain. Now, if I hover over that link, you’ll see that it actually points to a redirect URL on YouTube.

Meaning, it’s an internal link. So to reverse engineer these links, we need to find internal redirected URLs on YouTube with anchor text that includes So to get started, go to Ahrefs’ Site Explorer and search for and run the search. Next, head on over to the Internal backlinks report.

Now, all we need to do is type in the search box and narrow the search down to just anchor texts. And right away, you’ll see a nice list of videos with links to, many, if not all, that are sponsorships. Now, if you want to see all backlinks, then just click that tab here.

Alright, so at this point, you should have a nice list of influencers in your spreadsheet to potentially work with. And that brings us to arguably the most important part of the process and that’s to actually vet the influencers. Now, the number of followers or subscribers is almost never a good metric to look at alone.

And that’s why our spreadsheet at this point just has a list of potential people we want to work with. And this part is super-important because choosing the wrong influencer can lead to no engagement or even worse, you can hurt your brand. Now, there are two main parts to vetting. #1. You want to make sure that the influencer will be a good representative of your brand.

And #2. You want to get an understanding of the engagement metrics you can expect. And this should help you come up with ways to create projections for your campaign. Let’s talk about finding good brand representatives first. Now, most influencers usually generate their following around a tightly knit audience.

And these people usually have a common interest. And while the common interest may draw the person to the influencer, it’s not necessarily what causes them to follow and be influenced. This is often the result of how the influencer carries themselves and the core values they share with their audience.

And these online personas or behaviors help to understand who that audience is likely made up of. With that said, if you’re promoting resume writing services, you probably don’t want to hire influencers who frequently talk about getting rich quickly and spending their days on a yacht. Because the audience would probably be interested in quick wins rather than putting in hard work and consistent hours at a job.

Or if you’re promoting your budget-friendly jewelry brand, it probably wouldn’t make much sense to have someone who only promotes luxury products. Also, if your brand has a core message, you’ll want to find people who hold the same belief because they’ll be better representatives of your brand in the short and long haul.

Now, as for vetting engagement metrics, this is where you really need to understand how people game social media networks. And that’s because fake subscribers and engagement can be bought for as low as half a penny. Meaning, almost anyone can appear to be an influencer. Now, the way you vet influencers will vary depending on the social network you’re working with.

But the good news is that you can use some tools paired with common sense to make sure you don’t fall victim to fake influencers. Beyond the fakers, you’ll want to get an idea if your potential promotions would actually get real engagement. So to cut through the noise, there are four things you can look at.

The first is engagement rate. And the way this is calculated usually depends on the social network. For example, on Instagram, people often take total engagements which include likes and comments, and divide it by total followers. And you can see this metric using a tool called Social Blade, where you can get in-depth statistics on pretty much anyone on Instagram.

Now, you might be wondering, “what’s a good engagement rate”? And I hate saying this… but it depends, because there are tons of factors to consider like: the size of their audience, how tight the niche is and so on and so forth. But very generally speaking, you’ll see that decent engagement rates fall between 2-7%.

Now, if you’re looking to promote your brand on other networks, then it’s worth noting that Social Blade also has data on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok to name a few. Now, for creators on YouTube, people will typically look at a percentage of engagements to views. And you can get these details using VidIQ’s Chrome extension.

Just visit a video and hover over the engagement rate section. Again, there’ll be a lot of factors that come into play like the age of the video, the number of total views, the size of the following, etc. But from my experience, any video that has a significant number of views, is older than 2 months and has an engagement rate of above 5%, is pretty good.

And anything under 2% is under average. So if you plan to work with a YouTuber, you’ll want to look at the average engagement rates for similar videos on their channel that you’d want to sponsor. The second thing you’ll want to look at is engagement quality. And there’s no better tool for this than common sense.

This is where you should look through the comments in their content and see if people are truly interested in what this person has posted. For example, most of the comments on this post lack substance. They’re literally just random emojis. Now, it doesn’t mean that this person has bought comments, but it tells us that the quality of engagements is pretty low.

But again, you’d have to analyze numerous posts by this person to see if it’s consistently like this. And third, you’ll want to look for consistent subscriber or follower growth. Ideally, you want to work with people who have been and are still growing in an upward trend to get maximum results.

Otherwise, you could end up wasting money despite the fact engagement metrics look clean. For example, SocialBlade shows that our YouTube channel’s views and subscribers are consistent month over month. And if we look at our channel’s monthly growth over time, you’ll see that our efforts are continuously compounding.

We’re in a clear upward trend. Whereas a channel like this shows a different picture. There’s a clear downward trend in views and monthly gained subscribers. And if we look at a long-term view of the channel, you’ll see that the channel is starting to flatline, meaning new videos that are being published aren’t gaining the traction that they once did.

Or it could mean that the creator is publishing content less frequently, not at all, or put a completely different topic down. When it comes to influencer marketing, it’s ideal if you promote your brand with influencers who are moving in an upward direction. Because by the time their traction starts to flatline, that’s when you’ll usually get subpar results.

Alright, so by now, you should have a list of vetted influencers that you may want to work with. So it’s time to move on to the next step which is to actually reach out for brand sponsorships. Now, one thing that often gets overlooked at this stage is that people think that influencers will work with them because they have money in hand.

But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Just as you’ve gone through a detailed process to vet potential influencers, they will likely do the same for you. After all, these influencers have built their own personal brand. And the last thing they’ll want to look like is a sellout to their audience.

So at this stage, you’ll need to find contact details, which is pretty easy. They’ll usually be on about pages on YouTube and Facebook, and within profiles on social networks like Instagram and Twitter. Now, as for the pitch, you’ll want to introduce yourself and your brand, explain why you think you’d be a good fit for them and ask if they’re open to doing a sponsored post or video.

Now, the price you pay will vary. And it can be anything from giving free products to tens of millions of dollars for long term contracts. So the best thing you can do at this stage is just ask if they’re interested in a collaboration. Now, all that’s left is to start working with the influencers.

And the keyword here is with. Just because you have money in hand and your brand is a good match with their brand, it doesn’t mean that everyone will do what you say. Influencer campaigns tend to work best when it’s done in collaboration because you know your product best and they know their audience best.

For example, Ahrefs has done a ton of podcast sponsorships. And some of the best people we’ve worked with are those that actually knew about our product and used it. Now, in terms of format, that’s something you can decide with the person you’re working with. And that could be a giveaway, a referral program, exclusive deals for the influencer’s audience, creating collaborative content, or inviting them to special events.

See what works best for both parties and as you run your campaigns, see if your campaign objectives are being fulfilled. Now, the great thing about influencer marketing is that there are no set rules, other than the fact that you need to disclose that the sponsorship has been paid for. So get creative, find people who would be great brand evangelists and give it a shot because you won’t know how well it works until you actually try.

Now, I’d love to hear from your experiences with influencer marketing whether you’re the influencer or the company paying influencers. Let me know in the comments, and if you enjoyed this video, make sure to like, share, and subscribe for more actionable marketing tips and tutorials. I’ll see you in the next one.

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