When it comes to trying out a new product or service, we tend to trust recommendations from people we know more than any other form of advertising.
But in today’s digital world, and due to the significant growth of social media platforms like Instagram and YouTube, social content creators with dedicated followings now have the power to influence what we wear, buy and do. According to a recent survey, 75% of consumers trust recommendations they see on social media, including from both influencers and their social circles.
With these influencers having such control over our actions, influencer marketing can be a very powerful tool. However, it’s not that easy. And without careful planning and consideration, you can get influencer marketing very, very wrong. It can even do your brand harm if not done correctly.
Here’s what you need to do to make it work for you…
As with any marketing strategy, influencer marketing must begin with setting clear goals. The primary goal for organisations using influencer marketing tends to be to reach a new target audience, rather than directly driving sales. This type of strategy works particularly well for niche audiences, so you’ll need to segment your audience and find an influencer that fits each niche - rather than trying to find one influencer that fits your entire audience.
Before setting your goals, you’ll want to ensure you understand your audience, what you’re trying to say and what you want your audience to do as a result. You should ask yourself the following questions:
It may seem too obvious to spell this one out, but this is where many organisations fall down. According to Marketo, as many as 50% of influencers reported that the majority of failed partnership opportunities were a result of an irrelevant pitch. So, it’s clear that many organisations still continue to get this wrong.
Only choosing to work with influencers who clearly align with your brand and target audience is crucial. And working with the wrong influencer won’t necessarily add any value for either party. For this reason, most influencers tend to be ruthless about who they choose to work with as they don’t want to risk alienating their audience. However, don’t solely rely on the influencer to recognise if the partnership doesn’t fit - remember that for many this is their main source of income! So, it’s your responsibility to make sure it’s the right fit.
Before reaching out to an influencer, take the time to familiarize yourself with their work and their audience. And only reach out to those who match your brand and objectives.
It’s important to be realistic with what you can achieve with your budget. Whilst we’d all love to work with celebrity level influencers with blue ticks and millions of followers, the reality is that unless you’re a nationally recognised brand yourself with seriously deep pockets, you likely won’t have anything to offer that these top-level influencers would want or need in a partnership.
There’s a ‘sweet spot’ when it comes to finding the right influencers to partner with. And it’s all about finding people that are respected in their sector and have an engaged and dedicated following, but also have the time and desire to work with smaller organisations. These are often the ones who are likely to charge much more affordable rates.
Many organisations purely focus on the number of followers an influencer has as a benchmark of how ‘influential’ they are. But this isn’t the only (or most important) metric you should be considering.
Engagement is the metric you should be looking at. This is because it’s very easy to build a ‘fake’ following by purchasing followers. It’s also fairly easy to build a large following by simply following lots of accounts yourself. Therefore, engagement metrics such as likes, comments and shares will give you a much more accurate picture of how ‘influential’ that influencer is, as well as giving you an idea of how your content is likely to be received.
It’s very important to allow the influencer to take creative control. Whilst you can feel free to share your ideas and suggestions, you should ultimately let them do their job. Remember that the influencer understands what their audience will enjoy better than you. And if you’re worried they won’t create the right content for your audience, then you likely haven’t done your research properly or chosen the right partnership in the first place.
Due to the very nature of an influencer campaign, don’t expect to see results too quickly. Influencer marketing can be a bit like SEO - a slow burning process that takes time to bear fruit.
The best way to get it right is to build an ongoing partnership with an influencer, rather than just a ‘one off’ promoted post. This adds to the feeling that what the influencer is sharing is genuine.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to making an influencer marketing strategy work, but with the right planning and research, organisations can make it work to their advantage. If you’re looking to implement an influencer marketing campaign and would like some support with choosing the right partnerships for your organisation, get in touch with us as we’d love to help.