Raise your hand if you’ve seen influencer content on a social media platform this week. I’ll wait while you raise and lower your hand.
We all see influencer content every day, whether we realize it or not. 2017 has been dubbed “The Year of the Influencer” by multiple agencies and outlets, and it’s easy to see why. As engagement with brand content declines and the prevalence of ad blockers grows, brands are shifting dollars to influencer marketing at an alarming pace. This year, 63 percent of marketers report putting more money in their influencer marketing budgets versus last year according to BlogLovin.
The message is simple: If you’ve got something to sell or a story to tell, it’s time to get in the influencer marketing game. But before you do, here are a few tips to prevent a campaign from falling flat with your audience.
- Don’t start with the “who.” If your first inclination is to ask yourself “Who can we hire to become an influencer and undoubtedly catapult our brand into unimaginable success?” you’re not alone. You’re also doing it wrong. Some things to consider before locking in your influencer include:
- What action do I want people to take when they see my content?
- What social platforms are the most robust for my brand/category?
- What’s the story I want to tell, and why does my audience care?
- Are there key markets – geographic or otherwise – where I need to win?
If you lead with your end goals and your audience in mind, the right influencer will emerge. Your brand may not be launched into super-stardom, but your personality and content will come across as authentic and, therefore, influential to your core audience.
- Don’t mistake reach for influence. Influencer marketing isn’t a one-size-fits-all game. For some iconic brands, iconic celebrity influencers with millions of followers make sense. For the majority of marketers, this probably isn’t the case. For most, micro-influencers who lead in a specific niche are a lot more effective. They’re up to four times more likely to generate engagement on a post than a celebrity. And micro-influencers could be our friends, neighbors, our kids’ soccer coaches – you name it – who share our passions. It’s no surprise studies have shown that 82 percent of consumers are more likely to purchase a product based on a micro-influencer reference (Experticity).
- Do ask for opinions. One of the beautiful things about influencer marketing is how agile it can be. Gone are the days of long-lead print campaigns for many of us, and here are the days we can shift our content’s focus on a dime. Before locking in your campaign concept, float the idea by some of the influencers you’re considering engaging. It’s a great way to test your idea for relevance and uncover other trends you may be able to tap into. The best campaigns are co-created with your talent – give them some guidance, but allow creative freedom to run with your ideas and make them their own because no matter what you think, they know their audience a lot better than you do. This will come across as better content, reach more of their followers and help you convert your talent from just another influencer to a brand advocate and partner.
Influencer marketing has become a billion-dollar industry in 2017 (CNBC). With so many marketers eager to jump on the bandwagon, it’s easy to get ahead of yourself and forget about the basics of working with influencers. If you start with the “what,” find the right influencer and build an engaging campaign, you’ll drive results for your brand through irresistible content and brand advocacy.
Bonus points for working kittens, puppies or babies into your campaign.
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