Influencer marketing is more than just a buzzword. It can be an effective way to reach target audiences and turn them into loyal customers. At a time when it’s increasingly difficult to get people to notice your brand, influencers can help businesses break through the noise.
Most companies automatically associate influencers with celebrities or mega media personalities. But any social media content creator with a respectable following can influence audiences and influence their buying behavior. Business leaders looking to incorporate working with content creators into their marketing strategies will find there’s a lot to choose from.
That said, it is essential to think carefully about the process. You want to partner with people who speak to similar target markets and can help you achieve your marketing goals. Here’s what you need to know before partnering with an influencer.
Understand your goals
As with any marketing strategy, you should start with an overview of your goals. Determine what your business is aiming for, whether that’s building brand awareness, building trust, or driving sales.
Most brands struggle with launch visibility, but you may have a problem with your audience’s associations with your brand. People know who you are, but it could be for reasons that don’t fit your desired image. Influencers will not solve that problem overnight or on their own. However, their content can become part of an impactful digital PR campaign or strategy. If your goal is to rename your business, you can make progress by collaborating with others who represent the image you want to convey.
You also need to understand the role influencers will play in achieving your goals. If you want to increase your audience reach, what does that look like? For some companies, this means greater exposure and conversations with specific demographics. Other companies will want to expand their reach within the core target markets. Knowing your key and supporting goals can help you avoid mismatched expectations and misaligned partnerships.
Consider the big picture
Of course, you could be attracted to influencers with more followers if your goal is to increase reach. Your intuition tells you that someone with a bigger audience will give yours a boost. While the size of an influencer’s following is one thing to consider, it shouldn’t be the only factor determining fit.
Considerations such as where your target customers live and who they are can influence the effectiveness of influencer marketing. For example, influencer content is not as powerful in Japan as it is in India or Brazil. Surveys show that less than 10% of Japanese consumers buy something on the recommendation of an influencer. In Brazil, that percentage rises to about 45%. The US markets are somewhat in the middle of the road, hovering around just under 20%.
In addition to potential reach and market effectiveness, you also want to evaluate relevance and engagement. Look at what kind of content influencers post to your shortlist. Does it match the values of your brand and the qualities you want to be associated with? Also, research and observe if influencers’ followers are interacting with their content. If someone isn’t posting often enough or inspiring their followers’ engagement, they may not be the right match.
Give influencers creative control
Yes, you want your brand voice to be consistent. That’s why you’ve shortlisted content creators you think fit that voice. But effective influencers typically know what content resonates with and moves their followers. While your company may provide brand and content guidelines, you should not exercise any control.
Most content creators will not see efforts to manage every detail of what they produce or post in a positive light. They can decline a collaboration request or end a partnership if that’s what it’s like to work with you. Instead, get out of the influencer’s way and let them do what they do best. More than likely, they have a list of ideas to promote your brand’s mission or list a product.
It’s better to work with those ideas and track the influencer’s campaign results than micromanage them. Your guidelines should contain essential information about your target markets and brand values. You may have specific logos, color schemes, or established hashtags that influencers would like to use. But for the most part, take a step back and let influencers run with creative instructions or guides.
Collect the right statistics
An influencer’s content that mentions your business or what you offer can get a ton of likes and shares. While high engagement is a positive indicator, measuring metrics that align with campaign goals is more important. Otherwise, you could be evaluating an influencer’s effectiveness based on the wrong parameters.
Suppose your end game is to boost online sales. You want to determine the impact of an influencer’s content on website purchases. Likes, shares and comments can increase the visibility of the brand or product, but that’s not what you’re looking for. It’s a better way to measure ROI if an influencer includes a unique link or discount code in their content. In this case, effectiveness is about driving sales and acquiring new customers.
As you map out the goals of your influencer campaign, align it with the metrics you need to verify its success. Measuring results can be a little trickier for campaigns that aim to change people’s minds. In the short term, it’s not necessarily about increasing sales. You may need to research or partner with agencies that research market perceptions.
Working with influencers
Influencers can help companies achieve their marketing goals when other forms of promotion and advertising fall short. However, leaders need to think strategically about who they work with and what impact collaborations will have. Outlining goals and metrics for success can steer campaigns and partnerships on the right track.
It’s also important to be realistic about your company’s ambitions and the level of control you will have. As with any marketing tactic or technique, you need to monitor the effects of influencer marketing and give it time to work. The great thing is that influencers are highly motivated to achieve results. After all, it is more than the success of your brand that is at stake. It’s theirs too.
Janice has been with businesskinda for 5 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider businesskinda team, Janice seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.