Influencers have been part of the marketing mix for advertisers for several years now. With a tweet, a photo, an article or a video, they’re able to reach a growing and generally highly engaged community in a natural and spontaneous manner.
Working with influencers, however, is not something you can just improvise as you go along. It’s a process that needs to be planned ahead and carefully thought out, and which relies more on creative collaboration than on a customer-supplier relationship. Creating an influencer marketing campaign, therefore, requires an appropriately adapted strategy.
If you’re tempted by the idea, here we give you all the best practices you need to make your influencer marketing campaign a success.
Know Who You’re Speaking To
Before launching, you need to know who to speak to. Who are your targets? Who are your buyer personas? What kinds of lifestyles do they have? The decision-making levers? The kinds of content they like to read and share? Their consumption habits? Knowing who to speak to is essential when it comes to orienting your influencer marketing campaign in the right direction. Once you know your customers and what motivates them, the search for influencers who match their requirements and expectations will be easier.
Understand the World of Influencing
In the small world of influencing, there are big players and little players. The first is made up of the star influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers – or indeed even several million in some cases. We are in the realm of mass influence here. Often, these are stars of the small screen or the world of sports or long-established creators with a long-standing presence on the web.
Then come the micro-influencers. Their communities are smaller but often more engaged. They concentrate on niche markets in which they’re regarded as genuine experts. You tend to find them specialising in topics relating to leisure activities, sports, new technology, gaming, the world of beauty, etc. Because they’re passionate about what they do and natural in their approach, they can easily reach a large community in a highly unpretentious and respectful manner.
And finally, there are the nano-influencers. These are even smaller but have significant growth potential. Some have just a few thousand followers. Brands, therefore, rely on their “innocence” and the authenticity of what they have to say to expand their markets in the hope of future returns.
Finding the right influencer
Contacting an influencer directly is usually a waste of effort. You need to go through formal and informal networks and submit business cases that make sense.
Though it is possible to contact micro-influencers and nano-influencers directly, the best approach is to go through agencies that do this as a profession. They will know the influencers‘ expectations and requirements as well as their availability and what it is they’re looking for. Going through intermediaries avoids you making beginners’ mistakes and saves you time in the value chain.
Not all influencers work in the same way. Some will only agree to simply mention the brand; others might be willing to carry out a demonstration of the service or product, or even agree to create native branded content. No matter what the case, before negotiating with influencers you first need to make sure you’re familiar with their world, their content and their values. It’s here, in particular, that agencies come in very useful.
Co-constructing rather than imposing
An influencer will accept a project more easily if they’re able to participate in its development. You, therefore, need to adopt an open attitude and be willing to allow a certain amount of leeway. This is, in fact, something that’s not always obvious to advertisers, who always tend to want to exert maximum control over their marketing and communications.
When putting an influencer marketing campaign in place, you should have no hesitation in using the services of multiple influencers. The aim is to generate as much exposure for the brand as possible over a defined period of time.
However, people tend to flick quickly between one thing and the next, going from a blog to Instagram then switching to YouTube in the space of just a few minutes, for example. They, therefore, need to be able to find brand content that’s in keeping with these communication channels and with the influencers’ habits and behaviours. Here, we are here getting closer to the native advertising model, but don’t forget: an influencer is not a muse to whom you simply say what you require.
Measuring the return on investment
Defining the KPIs for influencer marketing is not as straightforward and clear cut as it is for traditional types of marketing, but these KPIs do nevertheless exist. They tend to be expressed in terms of audience reach, the number of clicks, likes and comments/reviews, social media shares, promotional code use and tracked links, etc.
Earned Media Value is another useful KPI to track. This equates to the media exposure acquired when the brand is talked about via channels of communication not controlled by the company. This could be in the form of blog articles, product reviews, YouTube videos, customer reviews on digital platforms, etc. What an influencer says can thus spread onto other communication channels via a snowballing effect.
Putting in place an influencer marketing campaign is therefore not as easy as it might seem. Because it forms part of a specific strategy, it needs to have a clear objective and be executed in a perfectly controlled manner. This is why it makes sense to seek the help of agencies that do this as a profession and can advise you in making the right choices. Talk to us today!