Before reading further, please to do me a favor: Dismiss any notion you have that influencer marketing is just the latest buzz term for “celebrity endorsement.” Celebrity endorsements attach your brand to a big name (a Michael Jordan of the 1990s, if you will) in order to hit anyone and everyone.
Influencer marketing is much more of a study—a science. Rather than help you reach “population universe,” it will deliver only a small percentage of that of a celebrity-endorsement audience. Does all this have you a little scared? Maybe this will warm you up to the idea: Influencer marketing return on investment has been found to be 11 times more effective than other digital marketing tactics. Why? Because while influencer marketing may not attract the masses, it will draw the very people you want to reach, and motivate them to take the action you desire.
Influencer marketing is extremely personal—to the business, the brand and the target audience; therefore, it’s hard to get into the nitty-gritty of developing a specific strategy that will work for you, but what I can give you are five “must do’s” when pursuing influencer marketing.
1. Determine the goal.
Set a clear goal and measurement benchmarks. Are you trying to increase sales of product X by Y percent over 12 months? Maybe you need content promotion, a solid product launch or event awareness. Or maybe you’re looking for an influencer to lend support for several goals over the long term. Determining your end game enables you to choose the best-suited influencers as well as generate clear guidelines for what you ask of them.
2. Go for quality over quantity.
Effective social media influence requires an audience and advocacy, so don’t fall for the idea that a bigger audience is better. Ask yourself, is this influencer’s audience so broad that we risk reaching only a handful of people who are actually our customer base? Work toward partnerships with true brand advocates—while they may have smaller audiences, advocates won’t require large incentives, and you can provide content that is more relevant to their followers. With advocates, you’ll tap into an audience that offers you stronger potential for driving long-term business results.
3. Develop a mutual relationship.
Start relationships with influencers by engaging with content that they are already sharing, and join conversations that they are already leading. Approaching an influencer and his or her audience in a way that is sincere and meaningful will allow you to demonstrate value to the influencer. Once you have established a solid foundation, reach out about a potential partnership.
4. Make it effortless.
Make it as easy as possible for an influencer to share your messages. Provide them with hi-res images and photo opportunities for their content, as well as key messages that they can include in their posts.
5. Measure your success and make adjustments.
Take a look at your original goals and review performance. Look at how individual influencers impacted your results, to determine who you want to partner with in the future.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Stephanie plays an integral role in developing social strategies for each of her clients that meet their specific business goals, and pushes them to experiment with the ever-changing world of social media. Before joining AB&C, Stephanie worked at Red Tettemer O’Connell & Partners, spearheading social media for several international brands including William Grant & Sons, Planet Fitness, MorningStar Farms and Speck Products. Stephanie graduated from Penn State University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in international business.