Whether you are new to the game of influencer marketing or new to the self-directed method of Muses, the following series is quick overview of goals commonly achieved by way of social media influencers, your best method of pursuit, and how to measure your success.  

But first a few definitions:

(Social) Post Exchanges are simply a reciprocal swap: free products for a discount code shared out by an influencer to their audience, or services in exchange for reviews, or any other trade as you see fit.

In-Person Collaborations result in the creation of authentic and shareable social content like behind-the-scenes photos, or live videos, or shout-outs and reviews. The collaboration could be as simple as a restaurant hosting a brunch for a group of food bloggers in which the food is comped in exchange for social posts.

Features are a singular write-up, or shout-out, or social post which highlights an individual, product, or service—either by way of a post exchange or paid promotion.

Note: the FTC requires full disclosure of paid promotions and sponsorships. If you pay an influencer to post an image of his or herself at your spa, they’re required by law to designate #sponsored within that feature post.

Giveaways are a popular type of social media contest, which are always amplified through the help of a co-sponsor. For instance, when you pool audiences and resources, you can entice more people with a bigger prize.

Guest Bloggers are an effective way to cross-pollinate your web traffic by adding your own byline to a partner’s website or vice versa.

Engagement Groups are a method of support among brands and individuals looking to build awareness and increase engagement. Within a group, members share social and blog posts or site content and reciprocate likes, shares, and comments.

Okay! That said:

One of the most common goals among businesses looking leverage influencers is brand awareness.

The Goal: Brand Awareness

The first step toward brand awareness is to get eyeballs on your brand: its name, its personality, and the product or service it offers.  Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for Business all provide their own set of analytics which track both impressions and reach. That’s your gauge for visibility.  

What to Measure: Impressions, Reach, and Page Views

Which platform is best?

Your platform of choice is nothing more than an audience filter. If your industry's audience is largely active on Facebook, go there. Find an influencer on Facebook (that’s your second filter) to help you gain access to that audience. Better yet, activate 500 influencers. Don’t cast a wide, unfiltered net. Target specific eyeballs.  

How to Go-about: Features

In order for your content to achieve maximum brand awareness and catch-on through social media, it needs to be highly relevant to your audience.  

Take the fashion industry, famously prolific in its embrace of influencer marketing:

XYZ brand discovers an Instagram user who has shouted-out her favorite carry bag. They make a feature of her on their business Instagram account and in return, ask her to feature their newest design. She gains exposure to the large XYZ following (interested in fashion and looking for examples of what a design looks like either worn, out-in-the-world, to scale, or paired with an outfit) while XYZ reaches her following (looking to her for style recommendations, ready to make a purchase).

In addition to exposure, cross-features often result in an increase in followers, which is a mark of social proof or credibility in the digital world.

That said, when you’re in the market for collaborations, find social accounts with a similar follower count. Follower count is a mark of reach and reach is a quantifiable/charge-able asset. If you’re working with little-to-no budget, a comparable follower count is an acceptable pro-bono swap.

Here's another pro tip: 

Features are not only great for gaining impressions and exposure. If your aim is web traffic and/or conversions: a purchase or newsletter signup, perhaps specify that you’d like your partner to include a Call-to-Action within the featured post to activate their audience.

Digital features will vary: a shoutout on Twitter, an interview shared through Facebook Notes, a portrait on Instagram. No matter how you choose to execute your feature, the end game is the natural cross-pollination of audiences.  

There you have it. Get creative. Try it out on Muses free for your first five days and be on the look out for Part 2 of our series: "Driving Web Traffic and Active Engagement."

Colleen Patterson is the content marketing manager for Muses, the only digital growth app focused on building long­-term relationships. She’d love you to get involved.