How (and why) to work with influencers

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As people are losing their trust in online advertising, they are turning their attention towards influencers – self-made celebs and experts who have, in the past few years, become a powerful tool for marketers. Here’s how this new community can drive your brand into a brighter future with just one post.

How traditional online advertising lost the battle

Nowadays brands have access to more data about their audience than they could ever dream of – demographics, lifestyle choices, preferences, professional ambitions. Everything is available with just one click. Did you know that websites can even identify at what time of day we are most likely to buy?

So how come, with all this data, traditional ways of advertising aren’t working anymore? Quite simply, Google may have done an incredible job advertising a ‘jandals clearance sale’ at the exact time your previous pair fell apart, but this left millennials annoyed and older users creeped out by the specificity of what was being shown to them.

Influencers are a whole different story. They are normal people, like you and me; not a powerful omniscient machine. They have their own opinions, problems and solutions. They are authentic. And they work hard to grow their audience and will, therefore, never risk losing its trust and engagement
by promoting something they don’t genuinely believe in. In other words, influencers are reliable both from a consumer and brand perspective.

IN 2017:

78% OF BRANDS IMPLEMENTED INFLUENCER MARKETING CAMPAIGNS

1.5 MILLION POSTS WERE TAGGED WITH #AD

$1 SPENT ON INFLUENCER MARKETING BROUGHT APPROX $6.50 IN PROFIT

Pick the right influencer

To reach specific goals, an influencer marketing campaign should be properly targeted. And while it’s tempting to use the most obvious metric – the number of followers – when it comes to collaborating with opinion makers, you should be digging deeper.

Relevance. Staying within your niche is the cornerstone of a successful campaign. No matter how gorgeous the pics of a foodie influencer, promoting your new sneakers on this feed might not be the most effective idea. Whereas organic cereal, snapped by the same home cook, will most likely be sold out in a day.

Engagement. Do followers comment and like the influencer’s posts? If they are indifferent to what the influencer has to say, why would they care about your product that appears on their feed? With the Instagram algorithm changing often, it’s hard to pinpoint the exact ‘good engagement rate’, but on average the number sits between 2% and 6.5%.

Frequency. Influencers with regular updates have a higher rate of involved readers who return on a daily basis, save useful information and even make the effort to proceed to the bio and actually click the link in it – it’s a great result in the era of fast consumption and automatic scrolling!

Ways to work with influencers

There are endless ways to create effective and engaging campaigns with influencers. Here are some time-tested options:

Gifts. The most obvious way to get your brand exposed to new potential customers is to send your products (or gift voucher for services) to a local influencer, whose aesthetics complement your brand. The downside? Unlike a paid promotion, gifting doesn’t guarantee exposure – it is just an invitation and the decision to share your product with their followers remains completely with the influencer, unless of course, you’ve made a prior arrangement with them.

Sponsored posts. Arguably the best way to reach out to a new audience via influencers. Not only are you guaranteed to spot a beautiful pic of your product on Instagram feed, you’re also able to list key points about your brand that will be mentioned in the caption. But keep in mind that losing an influencer’s own authentic voice with too many instructions won’t do your brand’s image any good. This type of relationship requires an influencer to add #Sponsored or #Ad to the post.

Giveaways. A mutually beneficial collaboration – you are spreading the word about your brand while the influencer grows their audience by offering free goodies to subscribers. To succeed with this, make sure the prize is of great value – you’ll be surprised how spoiled the social media audience is nowadays! Another useful tip: do not overcomplicate the rules. Low-effort giveaways get more entries and, as a result, bigger exposure.

Experiences. The most time- and money-consuming project, which, if done right, results in you enjoying a life-long vacation while your business keeps growing and prospering (ok, maybe a little less than that, but you see the scale). Experiences get several influencers together and make them do the coolest things which they are then happy to share with their followers. Like a ‘girls only’ bootcamp, organised by an activewear brand, or a trip to the South Island where the lavender for your perfume grows, or how about testing your amazing new waterproof iPhone cases on an extreme whitewater rafting tour? With so many collaborations on offer to influencers these days, the more unusual your idea, the more chance of being featured not once, but many, many times!