Influencer marketing has become one of the latest trends for brands looking to connect with their target audience on a more personal level. With 70% of millennial consumers are influenced by the recommendations of their peers in buying decisions, it’s not hard to see why influencer marketing has grown so quickly over the past few years.
While the numbers may speak in favor of an “influencer based” strategy, there are a number of factors that can affect whether or not a campaign is successful. After working with over 25 influencers in 11 countries, we’ve come up with our list of do’s and don’t for a successful influencer campaign.
1. Do your homework
One of the biggest misconceptions about influencer marketing is that it’s “easy”. All you have to do is get a social media “celebrity” to endorse your product and you’ve got it made. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. There is an incredible amount of research that goes into finding an influencer that fits your brand and your target audience. Keep in mind that you’re going to be investing a large amount of time and money into working with this person. The ROI will be much higher if you take your time at the beginning of a project and find the perfect person, rather than rushing to keep up with the trend.
2. Select by purpose
As with any type of marketing, storytelling is key. This is especially true when you’re choosing an influencer for your influencer campaign. Finding an influencer who’s story reflects the core values of your brand will not only help the campaign come across as more genuine, but also increase the engagement rates and levels of acceptance by your audience. Making sure that there is a “Purpose” at the heart of your influencer campaign is often the determining factor in whether or not it is successful.
3. Bigger isn’t always better
While doing your homework you may think that getting the most “bang for your buck” means working with an influencer that has the biggest following. While it is true that a large following means the influencer has a chance to get your message out to more people, it’s important to understand that influencers with larger audiences often are more difficult to work with than those who may have a smaller following. Depending on how you are planning on having the influencer “interact” with your brand or product, some might have reservations or demands that don’t match with your expectations. Influencers with smaller followings are generally far more likely to over-deliver and may actually bring a greater ROI than an influencer with a bigger audience.
4. Deadlines are a must
Another factor to consider when working with an influencer is that their major priority is maintaining and growing their audience. The amount of time that they can and will invest in promoting your brand can vary widely. With that in mind, setting clear expectations and strict deadlines for delivery from the very beginning will help you avoid bottlenecks and project delays in the future. TIP: Always leave yourself some “wiggle room” and don’t be too harsh if deadlines aren’t always hit. A happy influencer is a more productive and better influencer.
5. Contact is key
Unlike with other partnerships or campaigns, influencer marketing is generally a long-term commitment. Add to this that there is a very high likelihood that the influencer(s) you work with will not be in the same city, state or even country where your agency is located. Having at least one person in a dedicated position of maintaining contact with your influencer(s) is invaluable. This person should attempt to create a personal connection with influencer(s), as this will generally lead to quicker responses to questions/concerns as well as add a level of commitment to meeting deadlines on the part of the influencer.
6. When in doubt, less is more
It may sound counter-intuitive, but it’s true. Let’s say your influencer is supposed to produce four pieces of content a month for your campaign. Every month two are amazing, one is good and the final piece is borderline okay. You’ve paid for all four, but does it really make sense to put them out into the world. Of course not! Putting out the borderline okay piece will make your brand and the influencer both look bad. Take the loss, but remind them that you’re paying them for quality and quantity. Give constructive criticism and regular feedback so they develop a better understanding of what you expect them to produce each month.