For many businesses, gaining reach to target audiences requires more than just traditional marketing techniques, think ads, referrals, and others. Often, there’s a need for an extra boost, a marketing approach that takes core performance metrics to the roof in a fast way. In the last few years, that competitive edge or marketing octane boost if you like has been influencer marketing.
You’ve probably heard about it before, and it’s not farfetched to say that virtually all brands are engaged in one form of it or the other. If you’re however unsure of how to mount your own influencer marketing campaign, here’s all you need to know to get you up to speed.
First things first, what exactly is influencer marketing
Put very simply, influencer marketing is a form of marketing where brands employ ‘influencers’ – people who’re perceived by an audience to be experts in a particular niche – to market their product and/or service. Influencers are so-called because they influence the opinions their audiences have about brands in the online retail space.
Most episodes of influencer marketing usually play out on social media, where the influencers have an active following. And of the social media channels available today, Instagram leads the pack as the top influencer-audience location.
Start by identifying your needs
With current buzz and hype around influencer marketing, it’s not surprising to see brands dive headfirst into the mix, without deriving a detailed picture of what they plan on achieving with their influencer marketing campaign. From experience, we’ve seen that that approach is a recipe for failure or resource wastage at the very least.
Your influencer marketing campaign shouldn’t start with ‘what can we do’ but rather ‘what will we gain?’ Analyze your KPIs and objectives, identify lagging areas then proceed to determine, based on expert consultancy, if an influencer marketing campaign would yield valuable fruits. Once you’ve answered the question of what you stand to gain, the next thing is figuring out how.
Create an actionable roadmap
Influencers and the niches they specialize in vary significantly across the board. Exactly why you need to come up with a thoroughly researched influencer list identifying those specializing in areas that relate to your business. And not just that, you also need to fact check the performance indices of these influencers. It makes no sense to onboard an influencer with a high follower count but a substantially low engagement quotient.
Some tools can help you accomplish this, but on a general note three things you should always consider are:
Content promotion campaigns already effected by the influencer – how successful were they, and did they relate to your business?
Are they what they claim to be – this circles back to the earlier point of numbers that match performance. A 20k follower count with poor engagement per post should raise red flags
What’s their brand portfolio – if they’ve successfully run campaigns for other brands then the chances are high that they’d be able to bring your objectives to reality
Once you’ve succeeded in placing a spotlight on influencers that meet your benchmark for quality and relevance, the next logical step would be to engage them. Word of advice, don’t be that content marketer who makes a marketing pitch in the first instance; it’s always better to first interact and establish a working relationship with your choice influencer before making the dive.
Create the perfect impression
Being generic and dousing your audience with the typical run of the mill ‘our brand is awesome,’ ‘we provide value defining products,’ ‘better than the competition tag lines,’ will only create the ‘just another brand trying to market its goods’ impression.
Your message – delivered by the influencer – is just as important as your strategy. If your goal is to create an impression that is both long-lasting and effective at delivering to your core objectives then it must hit the sweet spot of engaging and relevant in the eyes of your audience. Creativity and attention to detail are two content creation elements you’d want to leverage to make this happen. Overall, however, ensure that your goal for the campaign is well reflected in the final message to be delivered.
Finally, assess your progress
An influencer-driven marketing campaign should deliver results fast. And these results should be easily measurable. You know what you wanted to achieve with the campaign, so naturally, this should be your first assessment point.
Have you registered an uptick in the business metrics targeted by the campaign? If you answer yes, then you’re well on the right track; conversely, poor performance even after the influencer-driven marketing campaign is well underway is a surefire indicator that something’s off.
Retrace your steps to figure out where the erring point in your strategy lies before proceeding to restrategize and then redeploy.