Influencer marketing has quickly become one of the most effective PR and social media strategies for marketers and individuals alike.
Why do consumers follow, listen to, and trust influencers? The rapid rise of social platforms like YouTube and Instagram gave early adopters the opportunity to build large, loyal followings. As a result, brands seek to engage influencers to help promote products, services, and messages. The partnership can act as a very powerful endorsement because so many people are under the influence.
If you want to partner with macro and micro-influencers to create successful influencer marketing campaigns, here’s what you need to know.
What every brand should know about influencer management
Most brands and marketers will need help with strategy, creative, talent selection, influencer vetting, campaign delivery, distribution and reporting, access to influencer talent and more. It can be difficult to navigate the increasingly complex influencer landscape, and deliver “authentic” campaigns at scale across online and traditional channels.
Influencer management has many aspects, but how you approach building social media influencer relationships can make or break your chances of working with them. Once you’ve identified a short-list of influencers who have the potential to become brand ambassadors, it’s time to make things official and create an influencer management plan.
Build mutually beneficial relationships
The key thing to remember is that while business transactions need to be made, they’re still people, so it needs to feel genuine and authentic – a natural fit. A relationship between an influencer and brand needs to be mutually beneficial.
Keep business objectives top of mind
When working with influencers, keep your ultimate business goals top of mind (e.g., increase social media followers, increase site traffic, etc.). To make this happen, you’ll need to ensure your social media presence and website look great before you conduct influencer outreach. So whether you need to refresh and clean up your social media presence or rebrand and find a new domain name for your site, take care of this housekeeping beforehand.
Influencers know their followers rely heavily on their recommendations and if an influencer doesn’t feel good about your brand website or offer, they’re not going to recommend you to their followers (since it would only decrease their credibility and potentially cost them business in the future). Once your brand website and social media platforms are polished and refined, you’re ready to start building relationships with influencers.
How to build relationships with social media influencers
Incorporate the following social media relationship-building techniques to build your brand and grow your business.
Get familiar with each influencer’s audience
If you’re interested in specific social media influencers to represent your brand, conduct research on the influencers themselves and their audience to determine if it’s a good fit.
As you learn about their audience on each platform, it will help you learn more about them. Use third-party analytics tools to analyze who (i.e., demographics) engages with their content. “With good use of actionable analytics, you can have the power to know how your audience is going to engage with content before you even create it,” according to Stirista.
Research provides actionable data. Use this data to craft a personalized message to each influencer on your short-list. Explain how their audience will benefit and what to expect from the partnership.
Set clear expectations on day one
As you can imagine, high-profile social media influencers are busy and in-demand. Those that have dedicated in-house managers or have signed with an influencer talent agency are approached by brands often.
If you want to build a healthy relationship with an influencer, you need to be clear, concise, and upfront. Develop a high-level scope of work overview to touch on deliverables for both you and the influencer. Discuss the type of working relationship you expect in terms of communication, metrics, optimization, reporting, etc. Once you’ve outlined the scope of work, you can discuss your campaign in further detail.
Present a compelling and creative offer
This is where influencer marketing can get difficult. As I mentioned above, social media influencers are approached regularly, so it can be a challenge to get their undivided attention.
For starters, follow and interact with them on social media first. Support their efforts by tagging them in relevant content and liking and/or sharing their content. This will familiarize them with your brand indirectly before you reach out directly with a business proposal. Depending on the nature of your budget, you can start by sending free product samples, and test paid campaigns from there.
Discuss campaign success metrics
When conducting influence outreach, be sure to communicate clear goals and objectives as it pertains to measurement.
Will the campaign go beyond vanity metrics like followers and likes to also look at KPIs like awareness, consideration and purchase intent? If so, make this clear. Outline what you want your campaign to accomplish and how you plan to measure success.
Meanwhile, don’t be afraid to address key regulatory compliance issues like follower fraud and ensure transparency when it comes to disclosing sponsored content online. For example, the FTC governs social media endorsements for US-based brands while the CMA and ASA monitor and regulate influencer marketing actives in the UK.
Mastering the art of influencer marketing
According to a Pardot ‘The State of Influencer Marketing 2017’ study, comprised of marketers from a variety of industries, 94% said influencer marketing was an effective campaign strategy. Influencer marketing is big business for brands that get it right. Utilize this tips for your next campaign to master the art of influence and win big!
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