These days, the vast majority of brands are utilizing influencer partnerships as a vital part of their marketing campaign. What was once a fledgling marketing tactic five years ago burgeoned into a multibillion-dollar industry standard. Now that it’s a marketing hallmark as opposed to a niche tactic, the efficacy of influencer marketing is somewhat diminished. And it’s easy to see why— audiences have become inured to the noise, and brand influencers are in higher demand than ever, driving up their price and making them harder to recruit and collaborate with.
With such challenges in mind, if you want to get a solid ROI on your influencer campaign, your influencer recruiters need to be savvy about who they choose to work with, how they go about pitching your brand to influencers, and then have a dynamic, exciting campaign in mind. In order to engage potential customers, success lies in brand awareness through brand influencer marketing. Curious how you’d go about this? Read on to find out!
How to Enhance your Influencer Strategy?
Set Clear Goals
Every marketing campaign begins with a clear charting of goals and expectations. The same goes for any influencer campaign. Before you start brainstorming influencers, you need to figure out what you wish to accomplish by enlisting them. Common goals might include:
- Audience Growth – The goal: To have more people follow and subscribe to your social media profiles.
- Build brand Authority – The goal: To establish your brand as a trustworthy authority in its space. In such cases, influencers act as the brand’s mouthpiece.
- Build Brand Identity – The goal: To expand your brand’s social reach by establishing its values, personality, and voice.
- Customer Loyalty – The goal: To create an engaging product or content that keeps people returning for more, whether that be sales or simply connecting with other followers.
- Engagement – The goal: To increase the activity and response in social media channels, including more comments, shares, and likes.
- Increase brand awareness – The goal: For more people to recognize your brand and associate it with its product.
- Lead Generation – The goal: For more people to sign up for offers and to drive business down the funnel.
- Link building – The goal: To drive traffic back to your website.
- Sales – The goal: To have more people purchase your product or service.
Doing this from the outset will allow you to forge a clear and unwavering campaign strategy, and it will inform you about the metrics that will require tracking. If you set clear goals ahead of time, you will have a much easier time figuring how to build an influencer marketing strategy that works.
Collaborate with Influencers that Share Your Audience
The role of the influencer has changed dramatically in such a short span of time. Thanks much in part to oversaturation, customers have grown more discerning. Now, influencers are no longer simple bludgeons to be wielded haphazardly; not if you want to hit your mark, that is.
Instead, to be used effectively, you need to treat them like an arrow—they need to be carefully directed and then released towards their target.
To do so, you need to know your audience, and so does the influencer. At least the right one does. The optimal influencer will already have their audience’s attention and trust. They will have the buyer personas so synced. They’ll also have the ability to connect to your target demographic on a much deeper level than you ever could. But, if you’re trying to sell a product to 13-year-old girls and you engage an influencer who is mostly followed by teenage boys, your message will likely fall on deaf ears.
Any time you begin the hunt in finding influencers for your brand, start by mapping out the influencer landscape to leverage your time and money effectively. By asking questions about your target customer and product niche, you can gain a better understanding of what influencer might be the messenger with most success. Questions to consider include:
- Which influencers have my competitors used? And were they effective spokesmen in creating brand awareness?
- Where do most online dialogues about your business’ niche occur?
- What entices people within your space to push relevant content?
- Are there particular social media channels, blogs, sites, or editorials where activity is concentrated?
- Who are the thought leaders in this space creating a dialogue about the subject?
The more questions you consider, the more robust your brand influencer marketing landscape will be.
Narrow Down Your Ideal Influencer
Once you’ve curated a list of influencers who reach your target consumers, you’ll need to begin whittling down the names to find your perfect brand representative. As you weigh the pros and cons of each influencer, consider the following qualities:
- Engagement and reach – The ideal candidate will have an engaged, built-in audience who can utilize either one social channel or several in order to speak to their fans. Remember, it’s not simply about having a lot of followers. A small engaged audience that not only consumes content but also responds with comments, likes, and shares is infinitely more valuable than a larger, less enthusiastic audience
- Authority – An effective influencer will be well respected in their field of expertise and be considered an authoritative voice. You want someone who has already talked extensively on the subject and whose audience you know will be listening attentively to what they have to say on the matter.
- Selling – At their core, influencers are online peddlers who sell one product—themselves. The vast majority of influencers had to work hard to build up an organic audience over time, which requires a fair bit of salesmanship. Still, some are better entrepreneurs than others. So, if your goal is to drive sales, seek the services of a closer capable of making the pitch effectively.
Give Them Time
One of the biggest mistakes brands continually make in their influencer building strategy is that they do not take the time to properly engage the talent. Instead of charting out their plans for the campaign months in advance and then work with the influencer to craft and share the most effective message, many make the foolish decision to reach out weeks if not days before promotions are expected to go live. Such a plug and play mindset is a detraction in that:
- Gives the influencer little time to make a decision.
- Increases the likelihood that they will already be booked.
- Fails to include the influencer in the process.
Ideally, you want a generous window of time so that if they do decide to work with you, they’ll have ample opportunity to understand your brand, the product they’re meant to sell, and then formulate the best way to pitch it to their audience. So, be sure to reach out months prior to your intended marketing campaign launch.
Don’t Do Generic Cold Outreach
When you do query the influencer, try and avoid using the generic cold outreach email. Although that might do for a one-off partnership, your goal is to create something lasting. Therefore, your initial contact with them should be person-to-person, not brand to influencer. Doing so will help you build a relationship that makes them feel more connected to the brand.
Your goal should always be to make them fall in love with the people behind the brand rather than the brand itself. The ideal influencer will be someone who already uses and posts organically about your good or service. According to Activate’s 2018 State of Influencer Marketing Study:
For one thing, it’s clear that influencers want to protect their audiences from the oversaturation of sponsored content. Before engaging in a partnership, influencers want to ensure that there is a natural narrative between them and the brand. This can even go so far as to impact pricing… an influencer may accept less money for collaboration if they truly love and believe in your brand
Knowing this, if they’re not already a fan of your brand, it’s your task to convert them into one. To do so, your query should be brief but engaging and include the following information:
- A brief description of your brand, product, and brand identity.
- Why you think working with them would be a good partnership.
- Ideas for the campaign with clear room for their input.
- What makes your brand and its values unique.
- How you think you’d be able to improve the lives of their audience.
After reaching out, give them time to respond. Generally, you should wait at least a week before sending a follow-up.
Build Lasting Relationships with Influencers
When done properly, influencer marketing is about creating a network of relationships that will bear fruit over time. In most cases, one-shot campaigns fail to create an optimal ROI. That tends to occur when real and lasting bonds are forged between the brand and the influencer.
Therefore, take the time to understand who they are and what they believe in. Ask for their creative input and give them space and flexibility. Trust their judgment when it comes to selecting the best way to reach their audience.
Enhancing Your Influencer Building Strategy
Influencer marketing can be a potent weapon in your arsenal, especially if you take the steps discussed above in order to enhance your user building strategy. By taking the time to understand your target customer, you can find the perfect influencer to become your brand ambassador and ensure the success of your marketing campaign.
Activate. Activate 2018 State of Influencer Marketing Study. (2018). https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5a9ffc57fcf7fd301e0e9928/t/5adf328c575d1fb25a2dc4c5/1524576915938/2018+State+of+Influencer+Marketing+Study+Report.pdf
Barker, S. How Brands Can Build Strong Relationships with Influencers. (2018). https://shanebarker.com/blog/build-strong-influencer-relationships/
Schaefer, M. Business Grow. Six transformative trends in influencer marketing (is it really marketing?). https://businessesgrow.com/2017/06/22/influencer-marketing-2/