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Building an Influencer Marketing Strategy

October 2023

Building an Influencer Marketing Strategy

4 Steps to Build an Influencer Marketing Strategy

I recently had the pleasure of sharing a few best practices in influencer relations at three different Digital Summit events in Atlanta, Dallas and Los Angeles. In addition to making some great new connections and seeing my colleagues from our other offices, I loved getting to present some of the work we’ve done to build impactful influencer marketing strategies for our clients.  

After experiencing massive growth during the pandemic as people were spending more time on social media than ever, the influencer marketing industry reached $16.4 billion in 2022 – and it’s showing no signs of slowing, with more than 1 billion people expected to call themselves content creators in the next five years.  

Brands are investing in influencers more than ever as an effective, scalable way to reach new audiences. Here are some of the key insights we discussed to consider when building an influencer program.  

Building Influencer Marketing 

1. Lean into Relationships to Turn Fans into brand Champions

Like any relationship, building strong partnerships with influencers is a two-way street. You won’t make a lot of friends by talking about yourself all the time, so why would you only connect with your influencer partners when you have some big news to share? Make a regular habit of keeping up with them and celebrating the important moments in their lives as well.

Thoughtful, tailored surprise and delight moments have earned us high-value social posts from macro-influencers and celebrities on behalf of our clients Mendocino Farms, Orkin Pest Control and others (free of charge!) and opened the door to meaningful relationship building opportunities.


Is it the hormones talking or is this really really cute ??

♬ Sweet Creature – Harry Styles

2. Negotiate Effectively to Maximize ROI  

There are no hard and fast rules for how influencer rates are calculated – a common pain point for both brands and creators. Ultimately, we’re looking to find the sweet spot between low cost and high value for our clients, but there are a few key influencing factors when it comes to price, including:  

  • Performance: Follower count and engagement rate are standard key metrics to consider, but keep in mind that pricing can vary by market and category as well. 
  • Deliverables: The more time and effort required to create content, the higher the price tag. For example, YouTube and TikTok are commanding the highest prices given the amount of work that goes into shooting and editing video content.  
  • Alignment & Desirability: Just as brands are looking for influencer partners that align with their brand values and target customers, influencers favor partnerships with brands that feel like a natural fit for their carefully curated online persona.  
  • Usage Rights: To get the most bang for your buck, consider negotiating commercial usage rights into your contracts. Spending a little extra for the rights to use influencer content in your marketing efforts can go a long way.  
  • Exclusivity: It’s natural to want to ask an influencer to avoid working with any competitors on the heels of your partnership, but exclusivity may ultimately cost them revenue, so be prepared to compensate them accordingly.  

3. Think Beyond the Single Post 

Consider giving influencer-generated content a greater lifespan by leveraging content across channels, making it work even harder for your brand. If you’re able to negotiate usage rights into your contracts, you can use influencer photos in your paid social and other advertising efforts.

The more informal aesthetic often performs better than staged brand photos. Don’t forget about using influencer content to bolster your organic social, email marketing, website, in-store signage and internal communications efforts as well – just remember to always credit the influencer when using their content.  

4. Manage Expectations Internally 

Success is in the eye of the beholder. Influencers can do a lot for your brand, but not everything. Think of them as an ingredient versus the whole meal. You can manage expectations appropriately by highlighting a few realities:  

  • Set Realistic KPIs: This is primarily an upper funnel, awareness driving tactic. While giveaway redemptions and referral code sales can be tracked, focusing on conversions should be secondary.  
  • Allow Creative Freedom: While posts may come with the #ad disclosure, it’s different than taking out a paid advertisement where you dictate exactly what it says and looks like. Creators know what will resonate with their audiences, so loosen the reigns and allow them to do their thing.  
  • Recognize Reputational Risk: There’s often debate about whether influencer marketing should live within the Public Relations or Digital Marketing discipline – in reality, it’s both. While the content is shared on digital channels, a key tenet of PR is building and protecting a brand’s reputation, and influencers can certainly impact that. Engage your PR team in carefully vetting partners before linking them to your brand – and be sure to have a plan in place in the event of a reputational crisis.  
  • Be Ready when Opportunity Knocks: While it’s important to have a plan and general idea of how you will activate influencers around key brand moments, you never know when the perfect opportunity will arise to insert your brand into a hot trend or pop culture moment – so be ready to move quickly when needed.   

Influencer Marketing Agency in Atlanta, Dallas, LA 

Jackson Spalding offers comprehensive influencer marketing services including research, strategy, outreach and execution. If you need help brainstorming ideas or executing a plan to tap into this fast-growing industry, our team is ready to talk.