Influencer marketing has been the “go-to” strategy in digital marketing for a couple of years now. Ever since marketers discover the power of big and small influencers, we’ve seen a growing number of cooperations between brands and Internet celebrities. And rightly so!
Customers tend to rely on recommendations of people they trust. 38% of respondents who engage with influencers trust what an influencer says about the brand more than what the brand says itself.
67% of marketers intend to increase their influencer marketing budget for the next year. The numbers will rise in the future, as many experts anticipate that the influencer market will be worth about $5 – 10 billion by 2020.
There are, however, companies who still don’t have a firm grasp on the whole influencer thing. It’s a shame because influencer marketing campaigns can benefit your company enormously. You can drive traffic to your website, generate leads, raise brand awareness and much more.
To makes things a bit easier for you we gather seven best practices for working with influencers!
Create Viral Content
Jonah Berger and Katherine Milkman analysed over 7 000 articles from the New York Times. They wanted to know what makes the audience share the stories.
It turns out the key to creating viral content is to induce positive emotions. Focus on how your product or service can make the lives of your customers more comfortable. Showing the added value can tip the clients to your side.
Speak to your potential customers in terms of benefits. Show how exactly your product or service is helping in everyday situations. No one wants to hear some technical mumbo-jumbo any more. Instead, concentrate on practical applications.
I can give you a real-life example. I was recently looking for new hiking shoes. There were a few features I needed – they have to be waterproof, but also breathable. The problem was that the manufacturers talk about the membranes and technology. I don’t have time to check what different abbreviations mean.
An excellent idea for an influencer marketing campaign would be giving away a pair of shoes and letting the influencer describe their experience. I would be inclined to buy shoes if I knew that Meindl Flex System means my feet won’t get wet while hiking!
Choose Right Influencers
I cannot stress it enough. Choosing the right influencers is the key to success. Probably all of the marketing managers dream of cooperating with celebrities who have vast numbers of followers. Surprisingly, that might not be the best strategy.
Look for micro-influencers – people who have a smaller number of followers, usually up to 100 000 people. Their posts, however, generate much higher engagement rates than posts by macro-influencers. Your customers relate much more to micro-influencers as they are much more trustworthy than people with more massive followings.
That all might seem obvious, but I still see so many campaigns where influencer is not a good fit. When a blogger usually posts about high-end hi-fi, and suddenly starts writing about fashion, then there’s something not right.
The question remains – how do you choose the right fit for your campaign?
An Internet monitoring tool, like Brand24, is an answer. You will find the right influencer in just a few easy steps.
First, you have to set up a project. All you have to do is choose the right keywords, and the tool will start collecting mentions from all the Internet.
Your keywords can be:
- The name of your company;
- Hashtag you use on Instagram or Twitter
- Anything specific to your industry
The last one is a bit tricky. You need to monitor what’s going on in your industry, but if your keywords are too broad, you will get a lot of notification you can’t use.
Imagine you run a restaurant or a wedding salon. Keywords like “restaurant” or “wedding salon” are too general to provide useful results. You will receive all the mentions containing these terms.
The filters come to the rescue!
If you want to monitor mentions from a specific country, you should try the Locations filter. You will see only results from one particular state. Combine it with a particular keyword from your industry, and you will have a general idea on how the wind blows.
Another option for narrowing down your results is to implement a Boolean search. To keep things short – you can combine your formulas with operators like “and”; “not”; “or”. Your search results will be tailored to your needs.
The most popular authors
When you have your project all set up, it’s time to find out who is talking about your industry.
First, determine the period which you want to analyse. You can set up your parameters, and I choose the last 30 days.
Then go to the analysis tab. Choose “The most popular authors”. Those are the users who already know your product and spread the word around about it. Your best influencers are probably already in your network.
On the right side of the screen, you see a “Filter mentions” tab. You can select the social media channel you’re most interested in. Marketing strategy for Facebook will be different than the plan developed for Instagram, but with Brand24 you can identify the right influencers for every platform.
Cultivate Relationships with Influencers
Everyone likes to feel unique and appreciated. That’s why you should reward influencers with whom you already work.
It’s easier than it sounds! Think about sneak peek of your newest product or service, exclusive content developed especially for influencers to share, a free demo of your product or service or personalised gift.
That will not only make feel appreciated and aware of your newest merchandise. Moreover, you can ask them for feedback. That way, before you release a new product, you will be able to make it even better.
Be Part of Conversation
There are two types of marketing metrics that are super important – paid and organic traffic. You can cooperate with influencers on a business level, but you can also become one of the interlocutors.
The point is to develop a reputation in your industry. Produce valuable content for your blog or execute an Instagram campaign that will get the industry talking. Share your opinion on topics trending in your industry.
Develop a personality for your brand. Wendy’s is well known for its unconventional approach to the customer experience on Twitter. That’s a very risky strategy, so I won’t recommend it. But a well thought out brand personality will definitely help you get some organic traction with influencers.
Moreover, monitor the conversations around the influencer marketing campaigns and jump in whenever you see fit. Your potential customers may have some additional questions influencer can’t answer. That’s your spot to shine.
Depending on the premises of the campaign, you might get a lot of user-generated content to share on other social media platforms. That’s basically a self-running marketing campaign!
You have to remember about the cons of influencer marketing campaign. You’re giving away some of the power over your brand. The worst thing that could happen is getting involved is a mess up made by influencers. That’s why you need to stay on the top of things all the time.
What you can find useful is Slack integration and Storm Alerts.
Storm Alerts are emails you will get when there’s an unusual increase in the number of mentions. You will stay in the loop and be able to react in time to prevent a quickly escalating crisis.
This one is my pet peeve. There are times when suddenly many bloggers recommend the same book or watch or suncream. And you can’t find a single mention about sponsored content anywhere.
There’s nothing wrong with paid ads, whether its native Facebook or Instagram campaign or an influencer one. Just be honest about it. Your audience will appreciate it. The content should defend itself, no matter whether there are financial strings attached or not.
A great example of honesty is micro – influencer Father of Daughters. He has four daughters and describes his daily challenges of being outnumbered on his Instagram account. Besides funny stories, Simon sometimes posts a sponsored content. All of it is clearly marked as an ad.
When things are delivered to our house, the girls are usually more interested in claiming rights to the box in order to a make-shift den & couldn’t care less about the contents, however I have a feeling that this particular box maybe be the exception to that rule. With 4 kids in tow, it’s unlikely I’ll be allowed to leave the house any time soon to soak up the summer of sport, so I’m chuffed that @SamsungUK have given me the chance to test drive their New QLED TV. I love my children dearly, and I know you’re not supposed to have favourites, but this newest member of the family can be controlled by remote, blends in to the background when in ambient mode & leaves hardly any mess behind itself as it only has one almost invisible wire for everything, so this may well be one that tops the list. The question is, will I be given the time to immerse myself in a big screen summer of sport or will it be commandeered by small people to watch 4k Cartoons? Only Time will tell……… #fatherofdaughters #ad #dadlife #summerofsport #instadad #dadlife #fod #boxforthekidsTVforme #SeeNothingElse #SamsungUK
This point also proves how important it is to choose the right influencer to work with. Some people cooperated with so many brands that they are completely untrustworthy in the eyes of customers.
Remember about the Metrics
Just like with any other marketing activity you need to measure the results of your campaigns. Set the goals before the campaign starts, so you know whether it was worth the effort.
Don’t get caught up in vanity metrics like the number of impressions or registered users. You can count the social media reach in hundreds of thousands, but that doesn’t mean the campaign was successful.
What is the ultimate goal of your campaign? Raise awareness of your brand? Change how people see your company? Or drive sales? Identify the metrics that are key to your business and check if the campaign brought desirable results.
Relevant read: How to Measure Brand Awareness and Why Do You Need It
There are many different tools that can help you measure the effects of a campaign, like BuzzSumo. But before you invest in a SaaS tool, take a look at Google Analytics. With GA you can check the demographics to determine whether your campaign is reaching the right audience or identify the influencers and social media channels that are generating the most leads.
If your goal is to drive sales, then providing UTM parameters is one of the simplest solutions. Google Analytics will collect the information and present them in a report.
Think Outside the Box
Get creative when choosing the right people to work with. The easy way to promote your product is to cooperate with people who have expertise in the same niche.
But what if you think outside the box and get in touch with someone who is not clearly associated with your business. A food blogger can advertise jewellery, someone who is popularising science can post about cosmetics, and interior designer probably has something to say about photography.
The point is to look for overlaps. This will allow you to reach a new audience and successfully promote your product or service on many different platforms.
Influencer marketing can give your company a massive boost when it comes to many different KPI. If executed well, it will increase your brand awareness, generate leads and, ultimately, provide new clients. In a couple of years, your brand will be lost without sound influencer marketing strategy.
Have you tried influencer marketing? What would you add to the list? I’d love to hear your thoughts!