Despite being labelled ‘a fad’, ‘bull’ and ‘a bubble that’s about the burst’, influencer marketing isn’t a new idea. After all, brands have been partnering with influential individuals for years to promote their products and services.
It’s just that, up until recently, it was known as ‘celebrity endorsement’. But there’s no denying that the concept has been taken to another level, as the explosion of social media has transformed what we read, watch and who we look up to. Today, anybody with a smartphone and an idea can build up their own social media following, becoming an authority and influencer - even a celebrity. And that has presented marketers with a multitude of new possibilities.
Influencer marketing is so attractive because it enables brands to reach their audiences via individuals who they trust and admire. A study by Business Insider found that only 33% of consumers trust traditional advertising, whereas 90% trust peer reviews. Having your messages delivered by influencers is effectively like word of mouth, but on a much larger scale. Plus, with so many influencers to choose from, you can be extremely targeted in your approach.
Thinking of giving it a try? Here are some tips on making it work for your brand:
What are you trying to achieve?
Be clear what you’re hoping to get out of influencer marketing before embarking on a campaign. For example, do you want to drive sales, web traffic, or increase brand awareness? Then develop an approach and choose the right influencers with that in mind. So, for example, if you want to drive sales, consider including a money off code as part of any sponsored posts, to encourage consumers to buy. If you’re looking more for engagement and brand awareness, you can include a sharing element in your campaign.
Find the right fit:
Spend time choosing the right influencers for your campaign, based on who you’re targeting and the product or service you’re promoting. It might be tempting to blow all your budget on a big name with lots of followers, but you may find that a selection of smaller ‘micro-influencers’ are more trusted amongst your demographic – and more affordable. Before making a decision, look at the personal brand, audience demographics, engagement and look and feel of an influencer’s content. Also watch out for any ‘fakes’, who may have bought followers and likes. Tools like Buzzsumo and Scrunch are helpful for identifying top influencers in your industry.
Tailored and thoughtful content:
Work with your influencers to develop an approach that fits with their style and sparks their creativity. You’ll have greater success with content that feels spontaneous and natural, than with anything that feels forced. Many brands work by giving the influencer an outline and letting them run with it. Your brand has to feel authentic and natural alongside their other content. If it doesn’t, the audience is likely to tune out - or worse, unfollow.
Make it mutually beneficial:
The cost of a sponsored post can range from £50 to £500,000 depending on the profile of your influencer. But remember, it doesn’t always have to be a monetary arrangement, and some influencers aren’t looking for one. Instead, consider offering free products, invitations to exclusive events, or exciting trips abroad. This can give you more potential for engaging storytelling while helping you to build a longer-term relationship.
Nurture your existing advocates:
In addition to cherry-picking influencers who fit with your brand, another strategy is to identify your most loyal customers and encourage them to post about you. That could mean giving them a first look at your new product, inviting them to an exclusive party, or offering a discount for every post with a certain hashtag. It says thank you for being a great customer, while also helping raise your profile.
Stay out of hot water:
Influencer marketing can be a bit like the Wild West, with many sponsored posts and endorsements going undisclosed, which could mean consumers are being misled. Regulators are starting to crack down on these tactics, with the Committee of Advertising Practice (CPA) releasing new guidelines earlier this year about how content should be labelled. So, make sure you and your influencers stick to the rules.
Need help with your influencer marketing strategy but don’t have the budget for an agency? Then one of our fantastic freelancers can help. Give us a call on 0207 632 8809 or dropping us a line here to find out more.