Nowadays, it’s almost impossible to imagine a time when influencer marketing didn’t exist. Cleverly dubbed the “new media,” influencers can do everything from making you feel like you need that new trendy red lipstick to inspiring you to book a vacation to St. Tropez. Building strong influencer marketing campaigns is almost as strategic as preparing for battle against the White Walkers. From identifying existing brand-loyal influencers, to determining whether or not their voice is representative of your brand, executing a successful campaign is not a light task to undertake.
There are a plethora of influencers out there. Some leading the masses and others just dipping their feet in the pool, but a large number of followers isn’t necessarily the most important factor in choosing the right “face” for your brand. There are the larger scale influencers such as Aimee Song (@songofstyle) and Danielle Bernstein (@weworewhat) who are both major players in the game, and can sell out a shoe line faster than you can say “SALE!!”. Then there are the micro-influencers, whose authentic passion for the industry has helped them amass a genuine following that also shares their beliefs and trusts in their insight. From fitness gurus and mamas-to-be, to budding street style stars and #foodstagram champions. It’s important to know that most influencers are experts in their field, and many play key roles in a variety of creative fields.
A great influencer marketing campaign aims at converting people perusing their social feed into paying customers and knowing how the power of your audience—and rally the influencers—is key to turning creative content to traffic for your site and sales. As a brand that’s looking to grow its reach and start building sales through social, you wouldn’t want to miss on a few important factors to take into consideration when approaching the “new media.”
1. Know their worth!
Ensure that proper research is done into your influencers’ editorial and writing style and confirm that their voice matches your brand. Are they playful? Creative? Traditional? Do they think outside the box or are they straight pitchers? Do you trust them to solely carry on the message or are you prepared to roll out the Do’s and Don’ts?
Once you’ve established a connection, focus on your outreach communication. A customized email to fit the specific partnership you seek out of an individual influencer is often more powerful than a mass email announcing the launch of a new product. Influencers want to hear you say you’ve studied their digital style and are likely to jump on an opportunity quicker, if you let them know you recognize their worth.
Take Lauren McPhillips from @thisrenegadelove, for example. The woman is a true pro at being authentic through a thoughtfully curated feed. There is a lot of added value through her ability to create engaging content, while staying true to her beliefs and views on brands. She is passionate, straight-forward and isn’t afraid to say it like it is. Both brands and her audience love and relate to her transparency. Find yourself a Lauren!
2. Continue the conversation!
Once you’ve connected with an influencer and agreed on the direction of your collaborations, ensure that you continue to stay plugged into their campaign. Now that they have mentioned your product/service on their social media channels, you will want to quickly acknowledge their contribution and extend the conversation over to your platforms. Comment and thank them for the post and follow up to see how their audience has engaged in a conversation. Once you’ve joined the conversation, both the influencer and their followers are more likely to as well.
3. Return the favour!
Nowadays, influencers don’t just take your product and post a simple photo of it; it’s become a lot more creative than that. Creating a campaign has added a new meaning to the concept of writing and visual art where each post is handcrafted out of passion for the brand itself, guaranteeing that you get authentic results. So, get involved!
Repost original content to your channels to show your those you’re collaborating with that you care about their voice and let your own audience know that you align your beliefs with those of your influencer roster. Show support by commenting on their original post, engaging with their audience, and following up on requests and feedback from consumers. Visual content spreads faster than gossip, so you’d want to ensure that it’s visible throughout all of your channels. Instagram is king, but sharing is caring (if only for your own brand!)
4. Boost it up!
With both Facebook and Instagram’s constantly changing algorithms, it is key to learn the ins and outs of “boosting” in order to make sure you’re seen by the entirety of your audience. Even with a small budget, an allocation for amplification can ensure visibility to a larger group of you target audience. Once you’ve nailed the right audience, get to boosting, and remember to continue to join the conversation and engage—it’s a key that opens the door to supporting your content and reaching a larger demographic.
5. Stay authentic!
Just as expected from your influencers, you have the responsibility to stay authentic to your own brand. This requires partnering with the right people, monitoring your campaigns and engaging in an authentic conversation that doesn’t feel forced. There is no bigger turn off than the notion of a pushy “salesman”—your followers are not naive and they most certainly know when you stop caring and simply start to sell.
“Research is the Mother of Knowledge” is something, a journalism professor said to me awhile back. Staying consistent and engaged is key to optimizing on influencer marketing; making your brand heard is the one thing I’ve learned through trial and error.
Raya is a Bulgarian-born, internationally-bred lifestyle blogger who has immense love for good music and tacos. She is an aspiring writer with an affinity for hip hop [auto]biographies, who is always on a search for the next graffiti wall and can be found on Instagram under @stylecontroversy. Raya is a member of #ThePaidCrew editorial team.