Influencer marketing has always been a topic that all have an opinion on, but what seems to be lacking is an understanding over what it actually entails and the measurable impact it can have on a business when the collaboration is a seamless brand fit. If you can’t get past what you believe to be dumb luck and good genetics that have rewarded these influencers their huge followings and successful business model, then let’s shed some light (and by that we mean a halo light ring) on why influencers are a still a critical part of the marketing mix.
Simply put, it’s just another channel for your brand
When writing the budget for the financial year ahead, you would include social media ad spend, SEO by agencies like Digital Next, graphic design spend and all the channel costs that will amplify your brand to a large, qualified audience. This is when you also add your influencer spend, based on the branding strategy you have in place. For many businesses, PR has taken on the form of influencer outreach as the reach is larger and more measurable than traditional forms of PR. sure, you won’t get the same result for just any influencer - but you should do your due diligence in selecting the right one like you would a PR agency.
In the same way that you would set up a PPC campaign for a spring strategy, you would also brief in your hand-selected influencer to promote the same message - with their own unique, yet brand-aligned flourish. If you haven’t yet seen the impact of an influencer campaign, communicate that to your chosen influencer and start with a smaller fee or a gift-based arrangement until you see the cut-through and are more comfortable proceeding with an ongoing arrangement and a bigger budget.
Influencer marketing inspires and educates
An influencer knows that some impressive latte art or a well put together outfit won’t see them cultivating and enriching a community, they know that they have to be educating and inspiring their community so that they keep coming back and ultimately interacting with their values. Businesses don’t always do this so successfully, and that can come down to the resources they have available and the small social audience they have painstakingly posted to a couple of times a week with a tactical offer. And so enters a fresh, alternative approach that is required of a brand revitalisation.
By engaging an influencer, you are putting your product or service into the hands of a creator, taking it from a one-dimensional brand into a lifestyle solution. If your business makes organic baby products, you can capture this through a photoshoot, blog or well-written copy, but an influencer who is driving change within the organic wellness community - your brand can be seen as it is intended to be used, by the audience you are trying to engage.
Leverage their creative approach
Most would rather follow a content creator than a brand as they are more authentic, showcasing products and messages in a way that is palatable and not just pushing a tactical offer. When you collaborate with an influencer, you are buying into that creative approach, so be sure to take their advice as it has brought them the acclaim they have now. They will use their own style of photography, language and engagement to profile your brand in a way that can be hard to do when it comes from your own marketing team. This allows you to send the message without pushing your brand guidelines too far. Programs like People Map can make it easy to identify who the ideal influencer is based on your brand values, and you can use this same program to measure the success of a campaign.
With enough planning and support from the influencer you are engaging with, you can really deliver a fantastic campaign collaboratively. Perhaps they have travel coming up and your product is designed to be used on the go. They may also be planning a wedding, and your brand offers a service that will make this journey a lot easier. The best campaigns are well thought out ones that aren’t shoehorned into a post by an influencer who might not be the natural fit for promoting your business.
If you still don’t believe the value of influencer marketing, it might be the time to do a small test campaign or ask the influencers you have had your eye on to give you some case studies of what you can expect in terms of reach, conversion and engagement.