But it’s worth remembering there have always been influencers – the only thing that has changed is the platform they’re operating on.
This is not a one size fits all solution, so step one is to sense check your overall strategy and consider how influencer marketing can enhance it.
Reasons to work with an influencer or content creator might include:
- Tap into an audience that you’re not reaching via owned channels
- Harness the power of peer-to-peer recommendations and the increased trust consumers place in these
- ‘Borrow’ credibility related to desired values or areas of expertise
- Boost campaign reach
- Drive conversions
- Secure high quality, authentic, multi-platform content
You can then go on to develop an influencer marketing strategy that will complement your existing marketing activity.
Selecting influencer partners
Choosing your influencer partners isn’t always easy. It’s a fast-moving space with a constant stream of rising talent and it’s easy to be blinded by a big following or rush into a flashy collaboration you later regret.
Any brand partnership should be considered very carefully and influencers are no exception. Shared values should be the foundation of a relationship. Begin by looking for influencers that have a genuine affinity with your brand and an engaged and loyal following. Although relevance of following trumps size of following, it’s likely you’ll need to consider follower numbers here to ensure you’re being realistic with your budget.
Then look back at your objectives, and ask yourself:
- What do you want your finished content to look like? Do you need a great writer, or a talented photographer, or someone skilled at video story telling?
- What brand values and messaging do you want to communicate?
- Who does your target audience trust and engage with?
- Who can speak with authority in your sector?
Once you’ve established a shortlist, vet their profiles thoroughly, considering their ratio of ads to organic content, looking at other brands they’ve worked with and getting a sense of how they interact with their following.
Much has been said about the power of a nano- or micro-influencer vs a megastar; ultimately you’re looking for a relevant following above all else.
Finally, sense check your list to ensure unconscious bias hasn’t affected the search process. Your planned campaign should reflect the diverse and multi-faceted society that you operate in.
Influencers are in high demand and have extremely busy inboxes, so when reaching out, ensure you’re clear about why you’re getting in touch. It’s important to highlight that you’re contacting them about a paid opportunity and explain why you think the influencer is a great fit.
Any influencer relationship needs to be collaborative. Remember your influencer knows their audience better than anyone else, and has a proven track record of creating content that they like and engage with.
A common pitfall we see all too often is an influencer ad that’s clearly been micro-managed by the brand, packed with an onslaught of key messages that just don’t resonate with the consumer.
While you need to be crystal clear on elements like content deliverables, usage rights and timelines, being overly prescriptive when it comes to the creative is counter-productive – you may as well go for an advertising buy if you’re not willing to let the influencer put their own stamp on it.
Measuring influencer results
Measuring the success of an influencer campaign can be relatively straightforward. If your objective was simply to get eyes on a campaign, impressions or engagements, influencers will do the job for you.
But as platforms become more shoppable, we’re increasingly looking to mid and lower funnel metrics such as site traffic and sales to evaluate influencer ROI.
Whether you look at follower increase, link clicks, comment quality, conversions or shares, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to success metrics. Just make sure you’ve got your eye on the ones that matter.