3 Steps Towards a Better Influencer Marketing Campaign

Influencer marketing continues to gain weight in the digital advertising landscape. Forbes was the first to proclaim its explosive growth last year and today we witness more and more brands choosing to invest into personas, rather than ads.  Advertising has always been geared towards the customers’, however these days it’s more about buying the audience of influencers, who bring prospective leads and dictate the purchasing decisions for many others.

Peer-to-peer advice and word-of-mouth marketing are the two most powerful techniques, especially when it comes to millennials and Gen Z.  In fact, influencer marketing, which leverages both of these strategies, brings the average ROI of $6.50 for $1 spent is $6.50 according to this study.

Ready to leverage your marketing game this year? Here 3 best practices to launch better influencer marketing campaigns.

Use the Right Metrics to Scale Influencers

It’s not always about the vanity numbers and followers count.  Buying social media followers goes as easy as one-two-three these days.  So, whic do you prefer: getting your company was mentioned on a Facebook page with 100.000 fan, who hardly care about the influencer’s content or the one with modest 5K super-engaged fans, who regularly comment, like and share the influencer’s content?  The answer is obvious.

“We encourage our clients to look beyond the follower number and pay more attention to engagement rates. Background checks are also essential. Detecting fake followers and fake engagement is rather simple. You should review the influencer’s follower growth curve for a start. If there were some sudden growth spikes, most likely that stands for non-organic follower count inflation.  Spotting fake/purchased accounts is rather simple too – they usually don’t have profile pictures, post a lot of spammy/nonsense content and have a significantly higher following count then followers themselves,” – says Jesse Leimgruber from NeoReach.

Further on, he advises to review the previous branded campaigns the selected influencer did and whether there were any returning clients.  If such were present, consider you have found your best deal! If not, ask the blogger to provide the stats from the campaign or contact the brand, which worked with them and ask for their feedback. A lot of the companies don’t mind sharing an honest feedback on their campaigns.

Be Flexible

Do you know what’s the core difference between an advertorial and a branded/sponsored blog post? The latter does not push a sale so bluntly, however turns better results.

After identifying the right influencers for your project, reach out to them with your ideas, not demands. Influencers want to be treated as partners in a campaign and in terms of their creative input.  In fact, 77% of influencers admit that creative freedom makes a big impact on their decision to work with a certain brand.

Sure, you already have some vision of your campaign, but don’t push the influencer to follow your rules.  They know their audience better than you do and can predict which type of content will resonate better or worse. Share your ideas, provide all the information they’ll need about your brand and some additional guidelines and allow them to have 100% creative autonomy on the final product. The results are likely to surpass your boldest expectations.

The Influencer Is Not Your Target

Most companies approach influencer marketing the following way. They draw the ideal buyer persona profile e.g. 20-25 females from US, who make X amount of money per year. The problem is – things don’t quite work this way.

Here’s a quick example to illustrate the point.  Michelle Phan is stardom YouTuber with over 8 million followers. She gained her popularity with beauty/makeup tutorials; though she occasionally throws in other type of video content e.g. personal stories, travel videos and so on. She also says she loves traveling, drawing and playing video games a lot. However, it is her makeup tutorials easily gain over 1 million views in less than a week after publishing, whereas other type of content typically performs slightly worse. If I were a travel company, I would not choose to work with her even though her audience does fits into the “20-25 females from US, who make X money”.

Bottom line: the influencer’s main audience isn’t always the demographic they belong to themselves.  If you want to reach a certain audience segment, it’s best to work from the opposite – identify which type of content they prefer to consume and afterwards figure out the best influencer bet.

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Written by:
Dianna is a former ESL teacher and World Teach volunteer, currently living in France. She's slightly addicted to apps and viral media trends and helps different companies with product localization and content strategies. You can tweet her at @dilabrien
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