What was once limited to mainstream celebrity endorsements, influencer marketing campaigns are now ubiquitous at every niche and level of influence. They are known to have high return on investment compared to other forms of advertising for all kinds of businesses—some sources even say eleven times the ROI of banner ads! But they are not foolproof. What do you need to do to make sure that your influencer marketing campaign does what your business needs?
In an influencer marketing campaign, DO:
Know your demographic to choose your platform
The type of people who frequent Snapchat are different, as a group, from those on Facebook. Is your market made of teens, millennials, or boomers? Are you looking to appeal to fashionistas or outdoorsy types? You need to know who you are targeting and what their preferred form of social media is. This changes from year to year, so stay up to date. This will also change how you engage on any given platform, as words and images that appeal to some could be boring or offensive to others. Just like any advertising you do, you want to aim it to appeal to your target market.
Vet your influencer
It can be highly embarrassing for a company to find that an influencer representing their brand is involved in something problematic. Often, pulling sponsorship is too little, too late. When influencers alienate your customer, they are hurting your brand. So make sure that the influencers you choose are people who represent the same values as your company, because your potential customers will be watching.
Also, your advertising dollars won’t be well spent if the influencers you choose don’t have followers who are interested in what you provide. A fitness blogger might not be the best choice for a steakhouse, and a parenting blogger might not have a great fit for futuristic tech gear. Or perhaps their followers are interested in your type of offering, but they already have loyalty to a competing brand advertised by your influencer, creating a conflict of interest. Even if they have many followers, you want their existing content to be relevant and beneficial to your brand and image.
Track your metrics
Although tracking the success of an influencer marketing campaign is quite difficult to do, there are tools to make it easier. To get the most out of the campaign, consider creating a unique hashtag or trackable link in order to track which customers were referred from the influencers you hired. Of course, Google Analytics can come in much more handy than an ephemeral concept like “brand awareness”. Just tracking engagement (such as likes and comments) doesn’t tell you how much profit each advertising dollar brought in. For more sophisticated campaigns, consider outsourcing the metrics tracking.
And whatever you do, DON’T:
Assume last year’s strategies will work this year
Platforms change in demographics each year, influencers change from year to year, and even the styles of the most effective campaigns are constantly evolving. Think about what you’ve seen in your feed lately, and what would need to appear there in order to make new content stand out. What looked new last year is old and tired this year. So continue to update your research on what strategies will be effective in a campaign happening right now.
Rely solely on friends and family
Small business owners often fall into the trap of trying to market for free by using their family member with a few thousand friends, but a true influencer’s reach will go way beyond his or her initial views as people interact with the feed and spread the content. So don’t assume that your friends and family will do the job for you, unless you happen to have very well-connected friends and family. Even then, vet your influencers and make sure they are the representation you want for your brand, or your reputation could ultimately suffer. Accept that your influence is limited and seek to go outside your circle to buy access to new customers.
Although the personality behind each campaign is important, the content is what gives the marketing its meaning. So don’t forget to have professional content writers give words to your message. Without this, the campaign will merely be some throwaway pictures of a semi-famous person with your product—completely forgettable. There can be more room for human error with influencers, who may forget to send your message exactly as you intended, so it is vital to know what message your influencer is giving. Check in with the campaign constantly and make sure that the content you chose is going out as you designated.
When you execute your influencer marketing campaign carefully, it can be a great boon to your company. Stick with these do’s and don’ts, and your product can stand out from the crowd.