Consumers are bombarded by more than 10,000 brand messages in a single day leaving brands scraping and clawing to get the attention of a potential customer. Brands not only have to compete with other brands, but also with constantly evolving algorithms from Facebook and Instagram which favor posts by friends, family, and the cute dog profile that motivates you every Monday over brand posts. This content overload has added a new form of marketing to the earned, paid, owned, and shared media landscape aimed at hacking this system and getting brand messages in front of the right consumers: influencer marketing.
According to a Linqia study, 86% of marketers used influencer marketing last year and 39% of marketers plan to increase their influencer engagement budgets in 2018. In the battle for attention, it’s clear that this is a trend that’s not going away any time soon. In an earlier post, we outlined what an influencer is as well as a few examples across different industries. But what does an influencer look like for your brand and how do you engage with them? Here are the basics for building out a successful influencer marketing campaign that can be applied to your brand.
Find an influencer whose audience and messaging aligns with yours
Not all influencers are created equal. A Kardashian-lead campaign might be great for a lip gloss brand, but will they sell manufacturing equipment? Doubtful. An influencer boasting 40,000 Instagram followers who fall outside your target audience won’t produce more value than the person with only 2,000 hyper-targeted and engaged followers that are more likely to be receptive to your brand’s message. Far reach doesn’t necessarily equal favorable results, and it might actually make more sense for you to find local and niche influencers to partner with your brand.
This creates a challenge and an opportunity. The challenge is that brands will have to do much more diligence on the front end of their influencer engagement strategy to find and assess the top persona’s whose audiences and messaging align with their own. The opportunity is that these people might be under your nose in the form of customers.
Make sure they’re authentic to their own brand and yours
This leads to the second step in identifying an influencer. Are there any customers who have emailed you about how much they love your product or service or have agreed to provide a testimonial? If so, do they have a significant following on the channel you could use? Finding these diamonds in the rough can be as simple as culling through your email database and asking your sales team who their favorite customers to work with are. These are the customers whose “brands” align with yours.
Another route is to find people who are recognized as thought leaders in your space, but who aren’t yet advocates for your brand. The approach to engaging these people as brand influencers needs to be genuine. Let them know why you think their brand aligns with yours and why your product or service makes sense for their followers. This is essentially a co-branding opportunity for both your brand and theirs, so coming off as disingenuous to either audience won’t work. People need to trust the partnership too.
Test and learn
Now that you’ve found the influencer that meets your brands needs, it’s time to start working together. As influencer marketing firm Grin notes, it’s important to define what the process looks like for the influencer. This includes providing a creative brief for the campaign, laying out compensation parameters, outlining a content review process, defining a publishing schedule, then finally publishing and analyzing results. Having all of this buttoned up from the outset will make your and the influencer’s life much easier.
Influencer marketing doesn’t have to be expensive or overwhelming. Assessing the needs of your business, developing a cohesive strategy and setting achievable goals at the outset will guarantee that your brand’s next influencer marketing campaign successfully drives brand awareness and purchase consideration.
Founder & CEO
Kiley Peters is the Founder and CEO of Brainchild Studios, a boutique audience research, content strategy, and website creation agency primarily serving brands targeting Millennial Moms or business owners. She is also the Founder of the Work From Home Playbook, a series of online courses guiding aspiring entrepreneurial moms through the steps of starting a virtual business. She also launched the Brainchild Fund, a nonprofit initiative to support women and girls in business and entrepreneurship Follow her on Instagram.more posts by Kiley →