The growing impact of influencer marketing is undeniable. However, it’s not exactly boomtown for every brand that leverages it. Influencer marketing is only as impactful as you make it. Without a creative idea and strategic framework in place, it doesn’t work.
Intentional word-of-mouth marketing generally drives real results. According to a McKinsey study, “recommendations from trusted and knowledgeable influencers have 4x the impact on a consumer’s purchasing decision than a regular recommendation.”
It’s time to rethink your influencer marketing approach
If you’re considering how to leverage it, or need to improve your campaigns, here are four ways you could think differently about your influencer marketing approach.
1. Swipe up with suitable Instagram Stories ambassadors
Working with an influencer who will consistently drop in relevant and timely product swipe-up features could increase awareness and ROI for your business. However, choosing the right Instagram influencer will be crucial for this approach. Choose an influencer who:
- has values that are aligned with your brand values, so the collaboration is truly authentic
- has over 10,000 Instagram followers as the Instagram Stories swipe-up feature is not available otherwise
- reaches a specific (i.e., niche) audience that is a perfect match for your brand (backed by actual data and research from sources including Instagram analytics, and third-party site analytic tools (e.g., Quantcast))
This could prove to be a cost-effective Instagram marketing strategy and deliver long-term profits if you do it in the right way. Also, ensure to designate a key point of contact either agency or brand side for quality control.
2. Optimize message frequency per influencer
Reach and frequency, are conventional media metrics that are optimized across most advertising buys. As a rule of thumb when we talk about paid social media (e.g., Facebook or YouTube) campaigns, we always talk about frequency.
For instance, the optimal frequency for a paid Facebook ad campaign is 1-2 per week in order to drive ad recall and brand familiarity. However many brands don’t consider frequency a key factor when planning influencer marketing campaigns. However, I would argue it’s just as important.
It’s proven that burst campaigns are not effective at driving advocacy. Consumers just don’t have the brain capacity to remember a brand when they are only served the brand message once. When working with influencers, we need to think more strategically about how a message is going to land. More importantly, how many times we want to serve a message to consumers to drive optimal results.
Time and again I’ve seen marketers throw money at new platforms, like influencer marketing, without very much thought and then fail to see positive results.
We need to be more strategic about how we plan influencer marketing campaigns. It’s really important to align your marketing objectives with influencer marketing outcomes. As a result, you’ll be much happier at the end of the campaign.
3. Take a 360 approach to influencer marketing
I regularly see most influencer campaigns planned separately from other marketing activities. This is a big mistake. Influencer marketing can make a huge impact when it is planned in combination with other marketing campaigns such as outdoor, digital, social media, etc. This is why influencer marketing should be planned early and not randomly.
For instance, if you’re running an influencer campaign with paid Instagram collaborations, then you should definitely make sure you’ve optimized content on your official Instagram profile and website.
Even if you’re running a brand campaign with an objective to reach a small percentage of people and drive conversions to your brand social media profiles, you still want to make a good impression. Every person that lands on your website or social media profile is important because they could one day turn into a loyal customer.
4. Leverage private groups online
This approach works well if you have developed a long-term relationship with an influencer who genuinely supports your brand and goals. For example, an influencer could share a long-form piece of branded content within their Facebook communities, Slack, or LinkedIn groups.
Keep in mind, influencers will not want to include #AD and a caption in this environment, so it needs to feel authentic (and still meet market regulations and guidelines, like these from the FTC) or else it will bomb.
The benefit of a private community is trust, they are in that group because the community trusts they will provide valuable information and participate in a respectable way.
Co-create brand messages that resonate
Influencer marketing is growing and largely untapped due to the intricacies of messaging and lack of standardized metrics. However, there are ways around this. Measure what you can using third-party analytics tools, and review qualitative data (e.g., ask influencers to screenshot posts within a specific number of days to show likes and comments).
Meanwhile, work with influencers on a long-term basis through an ambassador program, so sharing feels authentic.
There are so many different ways you can be more strategic and creative with your influencer marketing campaigns. However, the key is to do your research, understand your audience’s needs and the influencer’s audience. Ultimately, co-create a unique brand message that deeply resonates.
Meagan Bickerstaff, CEO of INKWAVE, is a leading expert in influencer and digital marketing with over a decade of experience in the advertising industry. She has worked with high profile brands such as Sky, Mercedes, Mastercard, COTY (Marc Jacobs, Rimmel, Calvin Klein, etc.) and many others in the US and the UK.