Aug 4, 2023

The Ultimate Guide to Influencer Marketing for Canadian Brands

From campaign types to influencers, this guide covers everything you need to know about Influencer Marketing in 2023

The Ultimate Guide to Influencer Marketing for Canadian Brands

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: What is Influencer Marketing?

The High-Value, Low-Hanging Fruit

Influencer Marketing Defined

Who are Influencers and Content Creators?

Chapter 2: Why Should I Use Influencer Marketing?

Driving ROI with Constant, Cost-Effective, and Engaging Content

Leveraging Psychology to Foster Brand Rapport

Building Credibility through Targeting, Engagement, and Social Proof

Chapter 3: Step-by-Step Guide: How Can I Start with Influencer Marketing?

Step 1: Identify Your Campaign Goals & Requirements

Step 2: Build Your Customer Persona

Step 3: Build Your Influencer Persona & Invite Influencers

Step 4: Manage Influencer Content Creation

Step 5: Review & Approve Content

Chapter 4: Final Steps

Step 6: Measure Campaign Performance

Step 7: Complete Influencer Compensation

Step 8: Celebrate & Share Your Influencer Marketing Success Story

What is Influencer Marketing?

Did you know?

Influencer marketing helps over 70% of marketers get higher quality and more targeted audiences for their campaigns.

Within 4 years the global market value of influencer marketing doubled to more than $16.4 billion USD from 2019 to 2023. (IMH)

The High-Value, Low-Hanging Fruit

It’s the year 2019 in rainy Vancouver, B.C. and Joe Parenteau is facing a significant challenge for his startup dinnerware company, Fable. Parenteau and his team recognized that:

“In order for a person to buy a product or to trust a brand … they need to hear about it from three to five different times. They need to see it And ideally, someone they trust has talked about it.

The team at Fable understood the undeniable influence of social media on consumers' buying choices, a fact supported by a Forbes study which states that 81% of consumers are influenced by social media posts from their friends. With this knowledge in mind, Joe Parenteau and his team seized the opportunity and began an Instagram search for influencers whose stories aligned with Fable's brand narrative. They approached around sixty independent influencers and offered them free products with no expectations of reciprocity. The influencers loved the gifts and revealed them in unboxing videos that generated excitement for Fable’s products. From there, Fable ingeniously bootstrapped its way into the hearts of its target market and became a Canadian household name by leveraging the incredible power of influencer marketing — for free.

Influencer marketing is a low-cost marketing strategy that works. Duer is another Canadian-born apparel company that adopted influencer marketing strategies as it transformed from a  crowd-funded startup into a fan favourite. And to support its rapid growth, Duer now relies on the Embold team and platform to streamline its influencer marketing efforts and effectively manage its larger-than-life campaigns.

Many more inspiring stories highlight this high-value low-hanging fruit and this guide is here to show you exactly how to capitalize on influencer marketing for your brand today.

Influencer Marketing Simply Defined

Influencer marketing is a dynamic form of marketing that harnesses the power of social media influencers and content creators to collaborate with brands, leveraging their following, expertise, and social influence to:

  • amplify brand exposure,
  • improve brand recognition, and
  • drive tangible actions.

Through strategic partnerships and co-creation, influencers endorse brands, products, or services, serving as trusted sources of information within their respective communities. This influential content is shared across various online channels, including social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok, generating social proof and effectively influencing the purchasing behaviours and actions of the target audience.

Who Are Influencers & Content Creators?

“People influence people. Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend… A trusted referral is the holy grail of advertising.” - Mark Zuckerberg

Today, there are nearly 16 million social media users in Canada alone. But social media presence does not equal influence. And the best type of influence is built on trust. So which of these 16 million users has influence?

  1. Influencers: Individuals who have established credibility, authority, and a dedicated following within niche communities on social media platforms. They possess the power to sway the opinions, behaviors, and purchasing decisions of their audience through their authentic content and influential presence.
  2. Content Creators: Skilled individuals who produce engaging and compelling content across various digital channels. They have creative abilities and expertise in crafting visually appealing, informative, and entertaining content, including images, videos, blog posts, podcasts, and more.

Influencers and content creators are generally grouped into three categories based on their follower count:

1. Nano influencers:

  • Typically have a follower count ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand
  • Often influential within their local communities or specific interest groups
  • The small follower count allows for stronger personal connections and sense of trust
  • Best for: generating grassroots buzz and tapping into niche markets

2. Micro influencers:

  • Typically have a follower count ranging from a few thousand to around 100,000
  • Known for their niche expertise and high engagement
  • Highly targeted audience leading to personal connection with audience
  • Best for: brand advocacy, as their recommendations carry significant weight with their loyal followers

3. Macro influencers

  • Typically have a follower count often exceeding 100,000 or even millions
  • Well-known public figures, celebrities, or prominent social media personalities who are popular in their respective industries and possess a wide reach
  • Best for: reaching a broader market and gaining visibility on a larger scale

Tip: The number of followers does not always equal the influence or impact an individual has towards their audience. When choosing the right influencer for your brand, remember to look past numbers and align their size, style, and strengths with your strategy.

Why Should I Use Influencer Marketing?

“A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is - it is what consumers tell each other it is.” - Scott Cook, Co-founder, Intuit

If we listed all the hundred and one reasons you should invest in influencer marketing, this would be more of a book than a guide. This guide will take a systematic view of influencer marketing impacts and focus on a few pivotal benefits.

Driving ROI with Constant, Cost-Effective, and Engaging Content

In today’s marketing and media landscape, it’s harder than ever to grab - and hold - attention, especially that of younger audiences. Influencer marketing combats distractions by framing marketing material as regularly consumed content by people with familiar faces. It offers an agile and cost-effective alternative to traditional advertising and allows your brand to tap into real-time consumer preferences. In order to differentiate themselves and survive on social media, influencers need to be knowledgeable and aware of trends to remain on top of their craft. Their need to compete for attention teaches influencers to continuously create highly engaging content. So with minimal resources, you can outsource creating engaging content for your brand’s needs through influencers.

Using influencer expertise also assists your brand in aligning with current social and global trends in a short period of time so your brand can remain top-of-mind. For example, your brand can take inspiration from successful influencer marketing campaigns such as Microsoft’s highly effective and engaging influencer marketing campaign #MakeWhatsNext for International Women’s Day, or Hagen Dazs’ Open Container campaign that plays on the local political movement in New York at the time the campaign was launched. These timely campaigns are highly successful because they capitalize on the trends that their ideal audiences are familiar with and already engaged in.

By leveraging influencer marketing, your brand can receive a cost-effective flow of fresh content and remain engaging and consistent, especially in today’s fast-paced and dynamic marketing landscape.

Tip: Content produced by influencers and creators is often labelled “User-Generated Content” or UGC. With permission from the creator, you can repost and repurpose UGC for your brand’s accounts for free or for a small fee.

Leveraging Psychology to Foster Brand Rapport

Influencer marketing ad spending is expected to grow by 11.61% yearly, resulting in an expected market size of $47.80 billion USD by 2027 (Statista)

One of the reasons influencer marketing is growing rapidly with PR and digital agencies is how easily it capitalizes on psychological phenomena like the familiarity bias and the illusion of choice. The illusion of choice is subtly guiding customers towards predetermined choices while giving them the perception of a diverse selection of outcomes. The familiarity bias is the tendency of consumers to prefer and choose familiar brands based on a sense of comfort and trust associated with familiarity. If you want your brand to lead, you need to adopt marketing that plays on human psychology, which is exactly why influencer marketing is so successful and will continue to grow. Consider the following two examples:

  1. While browsing the internet, Customer 1 sees a stock-like photo of a stranger in a Google ad holding a mug from your brand’s new mug collection with a list of its features, your slogan, and your brand colours scattered throughout the ad.
  2. While scrolling through their Instagram feed, Customer 2 watches a story of their favourite influencer drinking their usual morning coffee from your brand’s new mug collection, mentioning their favourite mug features and why they love your brand, and then speaking about their usual niche topic while delightfully sipping their coffee.

Data shows that Customer 2 is much more likely to be engaged with the influencer’s use of the mug than Customer 1 is with the stock-like ad. In both cases, the customers know they have many mugs to choose from, but Customer 2 was discreetly nudged in the direction of a certain brand by seeing it with someone they know, while Customer 1 had an in-their-face exposure to the brand through a stranger they don’t relate to in a highly polished ad.

Influencers are real, imperfect people, and imperfection is familiar and relatable, while highly polished and edited content is not. That’s why your brand needs to leverage influencer marketing to deliver your personalized brand story in a relatable way that traditional advertising can’t compete with.

Building Credibility through Targeting, Engagement, and Social Proof

Influencer marketing creates long-reaching interactional impact for brands [compared to] the quick punch of traditional advertising.” - Lori Moreno

According to a Global Web Index study, 49% of consumers rely on influencer recommendations when making purchase decisions. When consumers see influencers they admire and trust recommending your products or services, it instills confidence in the consumers’ minds. Influencers are trusted voices, building trust and credibility for your brand by providing positive reviews and endorsements to your ideal customer. By collaborating with influencers who align with your brand values and cater to your target market, you can establish a genuine connection with your target audience.

Influencer marketing also provides a unique opportunity for direct engagement with customers. Through comments and responses on the influencer's page, you can engage with customers, address their questions, listen to their concerns, and gather valuable feedback. This level of interaction allows you to actively participate in conversations and shape your products, services, and brand image based on real-time customer input.

Influencer marketing can also help you discover new customers, niches, and customer personas you may not have considered for your brand before. For example, say you're a skincare brand targeting a specific age demographic, but through influencer collaborations, you discover that your products resonate with an entirely different audience, such as young mothers seeking skincare solutions for their babies. This insight can inspire you to tailor your marketing strategies and product offerings to better cater to this untapped market.

Influencer marketing will not only help expand your customer base and build your credibility, it will also help you uncover new opportunities for growth.

At this point in the guide, we hope that some influencer marketing campaign ideas have started flowing, and in the next chapter, we will guide you through how to implement them into an influencer marketing campaign from start to finish.

Step-by-Step Guide: How Can I Start With Influencer Marketing?

So, you decided you want to capitalize on the opportunity that influencer marketing promises, congratulations! Your brand is about to receive love like never before.

To get started on your influencer marketing campaign, follow these eight steps, then check out the additional resources at the end of this guide to help you remain organized throughout your campaign-building journey. And if you need any additional help, book a call with us at any time throughout.

Step 1: Identify Your Campaign Goals & Requirements

“The first thing to consider in any influencer marketing campaign is understanding why your organization exists, and what it is trying to achieve. Absent this, and you’ve yet to influence yourself, let alone others.” - Philip Sheldrake

Depending on your marketing needs, your campaign can have one specific goal or a number of different goals. The good news is, influencer marketing is flexible enough to meet any of your marketing objectives. However, narrowing down your goals will help you create your campaign faster.

This article can help you narrow down your goals and align your campaign strategy with your desired outcomes by showing you the different types of influencer marketing campaigns you might need and the strategies to follow for each.

After choosing your campaign focus, answer the following questions to determine your campaign requirements. Your answers to these questions will help the influencers understand your goals and recreate your desired messaging in later steps. Keep in mind that these answers should shape your communication with influencers.

  1. Which platforms do you want influencers to post content to? Determine which platforms and types of posts make the most sense for your brand image and campaign goals and pitch them in your message. Many influencers use multiple platforms.
  2. What is your required key messaging? Clearly communicate the most important messages you want the influencers to highlight in each post and any account tags or hashtags they should include.
  3. What are your required Calls to Action (CTAs)? Determine the specific actions you want the audience to take after seeing the influencer's posts, such as visiting your website, making a purchase, or subscribing to a newsletter.
  4. What is the key focus of the campaign content? Define the main theme, topic, or product that the influencers' content should revolve around so all the content is congruent with your brand image.
  5. What are some content examples and ideas? If available, provide examples of content that aligns with your campaign vision, or share any specific content ideas or suggestions that you think would work well.
  6. Could you provide any additional information? Share any other information or guidance that you believe would be helpful for the influencers when creating content, such as brand guidelines, campaign hashtags, or additional context that can enhance the content.

Including these factors in your influencer search and outreach in later steps will ensure that your influencer collaborations result in compelling, on-brand content that drives your campaign's success. Consider leveraging the features provided by Embold’s influencer marketing platform to simplify and streamline all aspects of your campaign management.

Did you know? Instagram still ranks as #1 for the most important and impactful social media marketing channel (MediaKix).

Step 2: Build Your Customer Persona

Once you’ve narrowed down your campaign goals, begin to draw out your  customer persona, which is your ideal customer. This step will inform the rest of your campaign details such as which influencers you need and what timeline is best for the campaign to go live, so it’s important to be as specific as possible. Consider the following points when creating your customer persona:

  1. Demographics: Define the age range, gender, location, and other relevant demographic information of your ideal customer. For instance, if you're targeting young adults interested in fashion, your customer persona could be a 25-year-old female residing in urban areas.
  2. Interests and Hobbies: Identify the specific interests, hobbies, and activities that resonate with your target audience. Continuing with the fashion example, your customer persona might enjoy following fashion blogs, attending music festivals, and staying updated on the latest trends.
  3. Behaviors and Habits: Understand the behaviors and habits of your ideal customer. Consider their shopping habits, preferred social media platforms, and online behaviors. In the fashion campaign, your customer persona might be active on Instagram, regularly engage with fashion-related content, and frequently make online purchases.
  4. Pain Points and Motivations: Identify the challenges, desires, and motivations that drive your ideal customer. For example, your customer persona might struggle with finding affordable yet trendy clothing options and be motivated by the desire to express their unique style.
  5. Communication Preferences: Determine how your ideal customer prefers to receive information and engage with brands. Your customer persona might respond well to visually appealing content, short and concise messages, and interactive experiences, for example.

By combining these details, you can create a blueprint for your campaign. The more specific and accurate your customer persona is, the better you can align your campaign strategy and influencer selection with your target audience.

Step 3: Build Your Influencer Persona & Invite Influencers

After you’ve built your customer persona, create an influencer persona for your ideal influencer so you can begin searching and communicating with them.

  1. Make a list of your ideal influencer’s analytics, demographics, location, engagement rate, interests, content types (videos, pictures, etc.), themes, aesthetics, and the demographics of their ideal audience.
  2. Search for your favourite influencers using an influencer search engine and filter through them to determine which align best with your brand image, brand values, and performance analytics. Consider reviewing their social media posts and past collaborations or even requesting analytics directly from them.
  3. Categorize the influencers you like into yes & maybe categories. Remember that some influencers may not choose to work with you, so having backups is valuable.
  4. Contact your shortlisted influencers through their social media pages, emails, or directly through an influencer marketing platform like Embold.
  5. Communicate the campaign requirements you determined in Step 1 to ensure the influencers can create compelling, on-brand content that drives your campaign's success. You should include your specific terms & conditions in these conversations.
  6. Discuss Compensation & Negotiate: Be open to negotiations and consider offering a combination of monetary compensation, free products or services, or other incentives like affiliate partnerships or long-term collaborations. Remember to strike a balance between fair compensation and ensuring the campaign's overall cost-effectiveness.

Did you know?

Embold provides a free search engine specifically designed for discovering Canadian creators. Embold's influencer discovery feature leverages advanced algorithms to identify influencers who perfectly match your requirements and saves you time and effort. You can easily find influencers based on demographics, preferences, values, niches, and their audiences and allows you to evaluate influencers based on their content, engagement, reach, and authenticity metrics. Additionally, the platform includes direct messaging and group chat features enabling seamless communication, negotiation, and collaboration with all of your influencers.

Step 4: Manage Influencer Content Creation

To maintain control over the content being shared and avoid any potential risks that may come with content publishing, follow these steps:

  1. Create a Posting Timeline: Establish a clear timeline with the specific dates and times you want the influencer content to be published. Consider factors such as your target audience's online activity patterns and engagement periods to ensure that the content is shared at optimal times for maximum impact.
  2. Establish a Content Submission Method: Determine a reliable and convenient way to receive influencer content before it is posted. Options include using online software, setting up direct email communication, or using a dedicated influencer management platform like Embold.
  3. Remind Influencers to Obtain Approval before Posting: Emphasize that influencers shouldn’t post any content without obtaining your approval so you can provide feedback or suggest revisions if necessary.
  4. Create a Content Tracking System: Create spreadsheets or a centralized tracking system to keep tabs on information such as the date the content was posted, the type of post (e.g., photo, video, story), the number of posts, captions and text to be included, and links to the influencers' posts.
  5. Regularly Communicate with Influencers: Check in with influencers regularly to ensure they remember to post on time and address any questions they may have.

By following these steps, you can effectively manage influencer content creation, maintain control over the content being shared, and optimize the impact of your influencer marketing campaign.

Step 5: Review & Approve Content

Once influencers have created their content, review and approve the content before it goes live to ensure brand alignment, consistency, and the fulfillment of campaign objectives. These steps will help you effectively review and approve influencer content:

  1. Check for Content Requirements: Check if the submitted content follows your requirements including the platforms and types, and number of posts you requested, the account tags and hashtags, and the content revisions you asked for.
  2. Check for Brand Alignment and Consistency: Verify that the key campaign messages that you created in Step 1 are effectively communicated in the content.                          Tip: Balancing Authenticity and Promotional Messaging: While maintaining brand guidelines, give influencers creative freedom to express their unique style and voice. The content should feel genuine and engaging to the influencer's audience while effectively promoting your brand or product.
  3. Give Timely Feedback : Provide timely feedback to the influencers if their content needs changes and ensure that the influencers understand your expectations.                          Tip: Ask Your Team for Reviews and Feedback: Involve members of your team to help identify any potential issues or areas for improvement in the content.
  4. Approve for Posting: After ensuring the content is sound and resonates with your campaign goals, notify the influencers to post according to the posting schedule you created in Step 4.

By following these steps you can efficiently review and approve influencer content and maintain the campaign’s brand consistency, quality, and effectiveness.

Final Steps

After the content is posted, there’s still some work to do to wrap up your campaign. You would likely want to measure how well your campaign did, and you would have to compensate influencers for their work.

Step 6: Measure Campaign Performance

The best way to measure the performance of your campaign depends on how and why you use influencer marketing. For example, you can measure the success of a product launch campaign by gathering quantitative data on pre-orders and website traffic, and qualitative data like positive sentiments in comment sections. To define success for your influencer marketing campaigns, ask yourself what would make the campaign a win for you and your team.

Consider these strategies to establish clear benchmarks and evaluate the campaign’s effectiveness and impact of your influencer marketing campaign:

  1. Identify Top Performers and Content: Regularly monitor which influencers and content perform well in terms of metrics such as reach, impressions, engagement rates, click-through rates (CTR), cost per engagement (CPE), and conversion rates to help guide future collaborations and content creation strategies. Also consider qualitative feedback and sentiment expressed by followers in comments and direct messages to gain a deeper understanding of audience perception.
  2. Ask Influencers to Share their Metrics: Evaluate the level of engagement generated by influencers' content by requesting that influencers send you their post metrics, like post analytics and direct messages from followers, for example.
  3. Social Listening: Use online social listening tools to monitor and analyze conversations surrounding your brand during and after the campaign. Look into audience sentiment, brand mentions, and overall engagement levels, and evaluate the impact of influencer collaborations on your brand perception.
  4. Create Trackable Links & Special Codes: Consider implementing trackable links to accurately measure the effectiveness of your campaign. Determine whether each influencer should have a unique trackable link or if the same link will be assigned to all influencers. Trackable links provide valuable insights into attribution and help measure the impact of each influencer's efforts.
  5. Consider the Long-term vs. Short-term Impact: Assess the long-term impact by identifying which influencers consistently generate higher engagement and sustain interest in your brand. Sustainable growth is more important considering the high competition in winning over social media algorithms.

For more specific performance measurement, consider these metrics categorized by type of campaign.

Steps 7 & 8: Compensate then Celebrate

“Influencer marketing at its core is about developing real relationships to ultimately champion your influencers to market with you.” - Amanda Maksymiw

Lastly, ensure that the agreed-upon compensation reaches each influencer in a timely manner no matter the campaign’s outcomes.

Tip: The details of compensation should be discussed and agreed upon directly with influencers in Step 3.

Remember that many influencers rely on influencer marketing as their largest or only source of income, and that in order to sustain influencer marketing, you have to prioritize building good relationships with influencers.

Tip: Through the Embold platform, you can pay influencers directly with no hassle.

After your payouts are complete and all the influencer marketing content goes live, engage with customers and followers on your influencer’s pages and watch as your brand reaps the benefits of this cost-effective, brilliant form of marketing. If you have doubts about the success of your influencer marketing campaign, remember this:

A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is - it is what consumers tell each other it is.” - Scott Cook, Co-founder, Intuit

If you find that your influencer marketing campaigns are too overwhelming to manage on your own, sign up with Embold so we can guide you and help you streamline all the processes involved in an influencer marketing campaign, from inception and influencer discovery to payouts and measuring success while you sit back and enjoy the show!

Start Using The CRM Platform Of The Future - Startech X Webflow Template

Get access to the all-in-one influencer marketing platform built for Canadian brands. 

Get started for free today. No credit card required.