Unsurprisingly, more and more brands are turning to influencer marketing to boost their online visibility and attract new customers. That’s because an influencer’s endorsement can make a huge impact, especially with younger generations. In fact, it’s been reported that 70% of teenagers trust influencers more than celebrities when it comes to advertising.
The most interesting aspect of influencer marketing is that influencers already have a very close and authentic relationship with their followers. They are considered valuable sources of information, so when they recommend a product their audience sits up and listens carefully. Collaboration with an influencer gives a brand direct access to this already engaged audience.
With that in mind, there are many ways that influencer marketing strategies can be used to accelerate your company’s growth. However, it’s important that you use this resource thoughtfully if you want to maximize results. While developing your influencer marketing strategy, you should consider the following:
Where can I reach my audience?
Before you even consider collaborating with an influencer, you have to know which platform is used by your target audience. You could have an influencer post the most creative and exciting content imaginable for your brand on Facebook and it’d still make no difference if your potential customers hang out on TikTok. It’s worth doing some market research to confirm their platform of choice.
Remember, each platform has its own style and its own rules, both written and unwritten. They also focus on different mediums. Influencers tend to specialize in specific platforms too: some are huge on Instagram but never use Twitter, so this is important information to have when it comes to choosing the best influencer for your brand.
Who is the right influencer for my audience?
It’s crucial that you get this right. Any collaboration between a brand and an influencer has to feel organic to be effective. Otherwise, your brand will fail to see results and the influencer may end up alienating their following. Look for someone who has a sincere love for your brand or someone whose interests align with your specific products and services.
Analyze their audience to confirm that their following closely overlaps with your target demographic. This is how you ensure that your message will reach the right people. Do your research by investigating prominent voices in your industry and seeing whose content resonates most with the tone of your brand.
There’s no point working with an influencer if their engagement rates are low. Compare different influencers to see who is consistently activating their audience. One way to measure this is to divide the average number of interactions on a post by the total number of followers. Remember, a high follower count doesn’t mean anything if their posts are largely being ignored.
Is a micro-influencer suitable?
It’s understandable to assume that bigger is better when it comes to follower counts. After all, you want to convert as many people as possible into customers. However, you should be realistic about the scope of your audience and bear that in mind as you seek collaborations. If you’re a smaller brand, a micro-influencer is a good option for you.
A micro-influencer has between 1000 and 100,000 followers, which doesn’t sound like much. Their following may be small, but it is often mighty. Underestimate the usefulness of a micro-influencer at your peril! Although fewer people will see their endorsement, their strong connection to their audience means more people may actually act on it.
Could I turn my customers into influencers?
If you already have great relationships with loyal customers, why not leverage that by making them brand ambassadors? This is a less expensive way to promote your products by capitalizing on the audience you already have. You can do this by sending them new products to review on social media or by sharing content on your feed that they’ve uploaded voluntarily.
Besides the financial advantage, another benefit of using customers as brand ambassadors instead of influencers is that their opinions are seen as inherently more trustworthy. This is because their endorsement is provided without a monetary incentive.
When should I approach an influencer?
Usually, brands involve an influencer when they have a new product to launch. This gives an opportunity for the influencer to try it in advance and endorse it on their platforms, thereby raising visibility and awareness before it goes on sale. You might consider building a relationship with an influencer a little earlier than that, though. The longer your relationship has lasted, the more genuine it appears to customers. Remember, authenticity is crucial in this kind of marketing.
If your influencer partner has been posting about your brand for a while, their sincere enthusiasm regarding the launch of a new product will be more convincing to potential customers. Often a customer requires multiple points of contact with a brand before they commit to a purchase. That means a single mention by an influencer may not be enough to activate them. Aim for multiple, meaningful mentions instead.
What should I include in my brief?
Brands are used to handling their own marketing content, but when it comes to influencer marketing the approach should be slightly different and much more hands-off. The reason you’ve approached this influencer is that their content is appealing and effective. For the same reason, you should trust them to endorse your brand using their own unique style.
In your brief, you should outline the features they need to emphasize and the quantity of content that you’ve agreed upon. However, you shouldn’t provide a script or force them to perform anything that feels unnatural to the influencer. If you micro-manage an influencer’s content, it could feel false to their following. Remember, this is an interaction between two brands: yours and theirs. For you to benefit from the collaboration, they need to do what they do best.
How can I work with an influencer on a long-term basis?
Although it may feel tempting to collaborate with multiple influencers to extend your reach as much as possible, there’s value in cultivating a deeper relationship with each influencer’s following. To work with an influencer long-term, make sure the relationship is mutually beneficial. Offer enjoyable opportunities to create content that the influencer will also appreciate.
As with any marketing strategy, influencer marketing should only be pursued on a long-term basis if it is generating proven results. Monitor each campaign closely to track the success of the influencers you work with and take action as required. If an influencer is performing especially well for your brand, it’s a good idea to reward them and maintain a close relationship.
Traditional advertising strategies are being increasingly overlooked in favor of influencer marketing. It’s true that influencer marketing can be an amazing tool; however brands definitely have to think very carefully about who they work with and how in order to really see positive results.