If you have spent time reading about social media marketing in the last few years, words like ‘social media influencer’ and ‘influencer marketing’ may sound familiar. As new social media platforms become popular and individual users start amassing such a large presence, these users become a key player to advertising your brand. An individual could have hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram and they are posting about your brand’s industry – it would be silly not to build a relationship with that user. Which is exactly why, recent research has found that 86% of marketers used influencer marketing in 2016, and nearly half plan to increase their budgets over the next year.
You may be thinking to yourself, “That sounds great! So how do I get started?” One of the biggest challenges is identifying what influencers make the most sense for your brand. For most marketers, that means finding an Instagram user with the most followers. They then work with them to create a sponsored post in exchange for a fee. After all, they have a large fan base and will reach the most people the quickest, right? Immediately, starts checking off the ‘Influencer’ box on your to-do list. Not so fast!
For us, a successful influencer is determined based on how far the conversation about your product goes. You might have an influencer that has a smaller following but has higher engagement rates with his/her followers. The influencer has fans who leave comments with product questions, your influencer jumps in to offer recommendations, and a potential customer is now a customer! Tracking the conversations users have with their fan base is crucial to determining a good partner for your brand.
Just like your brand’s social media presence grows month-over-month so do influencers. Target people that have a high engagement rate, but also keep in mind that a small follower count today, could be huge tomorrow. Find people that are on the cusp of blowing up on social media. Establishing a strong relationship with them now can do wonders on your brand down the line.
If you have difficulty producing social media content, working with influencers who produce beautiful photography is a great way to not only increase awareness but generate a surplus of user generated content. Start by asking yourself, what type of content is most difficult for your company to produce? Then target influencers who can help you fill this void.
Let’s say your product is meant for children, but you don’t exactly have a 5-year old employee to step in to model your product. Identify influential parents on Instagram who may be interested in your product. This tactic will not only raise awareness about the product within the influencer’s community but provide high-quality images you can share across your own social media channels. Don’t be afraid to start small either. Influencers with smaller followings are more likely to be flexible with their fees and the types of photos they post. As with any marketing tactic, decide what is most valuable for your brand and only make decisions that will help you reach those goals.
Remember, building a relationship isn’t one sided. Like any good influencer, you need to stay engaged with them like they do with their followers. Identify opportunities that are mutually beneficial for your brand and your influencers. Whether it’s providing the product as a prize for a giveaway, sponsoring an event, offering them a unique discount code or cross-promoting their content on your page – always look for opportunities to help them grow as they have done for you. Influencer marketing is time-consuming, but it is important to maintain the relationships you form along the way. Periodical check-ins do wonders when growing your influencer outreach into a fully-fledged brand ambassador program.
What influencer marketing tactics have you found to be effective? Please share in the comments below!
If you are interested in getting assistance with your own social media marketing needs, contact us here. We are always happy to help brands get more involved in the influencer marketing world.