STOP! Steps to Take Before You Start Using Influencer Marketing
So you’ve decided to pursue influencer marketing, great! You have big ideas about who you want to work with and all of the great content you will create with them that will bring in droves of new fans and thrill your current fans. But before you start building your editorial calendar, make sure your influencer strategy factors in the keys to creating a successful campaign. Follow these rules to reap the benefits of influencer marketing without the headaches.
1. Influencers must match your brand – To be effective, the influencer you choose must have a brand and message that echoes or complements your own. If you are representing a family brand, a blogger who uses inappropriate language in their posts probably isn’t the best fit. Similarly, picking an influencer that has a large following but has no relationship with your brand or industry is ineffective. The benefits of influencer marketing stem from authenticity. If the influencer and their audience would never engage with your product outside a paid setting, the message loses validity and impact. That is not to say that you can’t have surprising partnerships. A fashion blogger could have an affinity for racecars that she has shared with her followers and has become part of her story. Race sponsors may want her to come out to the race to give a closer look to her audience and spread the sport. When forming partnerships it is important to make sure the influencer is an appropriate face for your brand and any content you add to their channel adds as much value to their audience as an organic post.
2. Don’t be drawn in by followers alone – A large number of followers is an attractive draw when looking for influencers. Many marketers see those numbers and see expansive reach. However, large follower counts can be deceiving, more important than sheer number of followers is an engaged audience. A Twitter account with 200,000 followers but minimal retweets and replies is often less valuable than an account with 10,000 followers who regularly contribute to the conversation.
3. Work with the influencer to develop content that promotes your product but fits their brand – Better yet, provide the influencer with key points to run with or the creative freedom to create a post that reflects their brand and yours. You chose to work with the influencer because you were drawn to their brand, let them do what they do best and incorporate your brand in a way that does not disrupt the authenticity of the post. With this approach you are likely to see higher quality content with a genuine appreciation for the brand reflected rather than a post that feels pressured by sponsorship. You may also request approval rights before the post goes live so there are no surprises.
4. Don’t go overboard with sponsored posts – This best practice is as much for influencers themselves as for brands. Influencers build their audience based on quality content and delivering value to their fans. If the balance of sponsored and organic content shifts drastically it can draw negative feedback and often leads to a decrease in the influencer’s reach and impact. From the perspective of the brand, not going overboard applies to not only over posting with one influencer, but overdoing it across all influencer relationships. Influencers that function in the same or similar geographic or interest areas will likely have audience overlap. If you are overtaking the content of multiple blogs it appears as though you are paying for influence instead of earning it on merit. The 80/20 rule of organic to sponsored content is generally a good guideline. If you are running a time sensitive campaign that requires promotion from influencers, such as a contest or sweepstakes, posting more often may be acceptable but it should not be employed as a regular practice.
5. If you are unsure how to find or work with influencers, call in the experts – With all of the hype surrounding digital marketing and influencer marketing in particular, managing your strategy can be overwhelming. Not to worry, the team at Branch Creative Network is equipped with the expertise and tools to help you determine the influencers that fit your needs and the types of content that will generate the most beneficial results.
With these tips in mind you are ready to start your influencer search. Want to start today? Email, Call, Tweet, or Tag us to get started on your greatest campaign yet.