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According to research, around 95% of the marketers who use influencer strategies in their current campaigns consider those strategies to be effective.

In other words, if you're looking for a simple and effective way to boost awareness, engagement, and retention for your brand in the social world, then there are few things better than the power of an influencer. Because influencers already have a pre-existing relationship with the customers that you want to attract, they can help you to create engaging content, and connect with your audience on a deeper level, without the need for any obvious marketing efforts.

As we move into 2018, the chances are that influencer marketing will continue to be just as important as ever. So, the question is: "How can you make sure that you're getting the most out of your influencer marketing campaigns?"

1. Do Your Due Diligence

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The first step in crafting an effective influencer marketing campaign is making sure that you're hiring the right influencer. In other words, you need to be convinced that you're interacting with someone who can effectively represent your brand.

Begin by looking at your potential influencer's profile for any red flags that might suggest they're not the right professional for you. Remember, any black marks on an influencer's personality will instantly reflect poorly on your company. You can't afford to cut any corners when it comes to due diligence.

2. Look Beyond Follower Numbers

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It's easy to get distracted by impressive follower numbers when you're choosing your social media influencers, but the truth is that those counts don't mean much in the grand scheme of things. Instead of getting mesmerized by the figures, look at the engagement rates for your potential influencer, and think about what kind of engagement they're getting from their followers.

Ultimately, your business needs your influencer to generate active leads for your company. If people are barely glancing at an influencer's messages, this won't do much for the future of your brand.

3. Make Sure Their Posts are Natural

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Influencer campaigns are effective because they appeal to customers who are sick of traditional forms of advertising. That means that influencers connect with people who aren't looking to be sold to, and sell them things through organic, and natural content.

In other words, you shouldn't be asking your influencer to create a commercial for the item you're trying to sell. Give them creative freedom to ensure that the content feels as simple and subtle as possible when it comes to advertising your brand.

4. Try Going Micro

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Many companies assume that the only way to take advantage of influencer marketing is to connect with big-name celebrities on Instagram and Facebook. However, the truth is that micro-influencers can be just as effective at speaking to your audience - and far less expensive too.

Micro-influencers are more "everyday" people that have gathered a larger following on social media than most. They generally have a couple of thousand followers, rather than a few million, but this can mean that you get a much more targeted selection of potential customers sent to your brand. Don't overlook the power of micro-influencers.

5. Keep Tracking and Measuring your Campaign

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Finally, just like with any other form of digital marketing, you should be completely aware of which parts of your influencer campaign are working, and which parts need to be re-assessed. There's no one-size-fits-all formula for success here. Instead, you'll need to work with your influencer and keep developing your strategy as you move forward.

If possible, tap into your Google analytics referral traffic to see whether you can see a large increase from the social networks that you've been running influencer campaigns with. If you have goals established for your campaign - ask yourself whether you're any closer to achieving them. For instance, do you have more engagement, more followers, or more evidence of awareness?

It's Time to Improve Your Influence

Ultimately, influencer marketing strategies can be a powerful way to boost the impact of the rest of your advertising efforts. By piggybacking on the success of someone else in your industry, you can overcome many of the obstacles that come with trying to improve the awareness of a lesser-known brand.

Using the tips above, you can create an influencer campaign that drives more attention towards your blog, your website, and your brand.

Topics: Audience Targeting, Engagement, Influencer Marketing

Tim Nichols

Written by Tim Nichols

Tim Nichols is a founding partner at ExactDrive, a digital media buying agency with white label, reseller and managed service options available. ExactDrive plans, manages, and optimizes online advertising campaigns with the objective of delivering measurable value and empowering clients to find precisely targeted audiences. ExactDrive has offices in Minneapolis, MN, Milwaukee, WI and SouthWest Florida.

Tim Nichols is also a contributing author on Forbes.com.

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