How To Successfully Collaborate With Social Media Influencers
One of the fastest and most powerful methods for businesses to reach their target audiences is through influencer marketing. It can literally take years of advertising through traditional means, to build up the kind of credibility that is almost instantly provided by an influencer, assuming that person has a significant following in the desired market.
Because influencers wield such enormous power among their personal followers, those followers are willing to instantly buy into a product or service promoted by the influencer, and in most cases, are even willing to pay a higher price for it. Since influencer marketing is a relatively new approach to advertising in general, the following tips and recommendations are provided, so that businesses everywhere can take advantage of working with influencers to quickly meet their marketing objectives.
Create a two-way relationship
The ideal way to maximize value provided by an influencer is to establish a relationship that is mutually beneficial for both parties. Obviously your business benefits by gaining instant recognition for your brand, which might otherwise take years to accomplish, but there should be a significant benefit to the influencer as well, beyond the mere fact of compensation. You can help to augment the influencer’s personal following and credibility by arranging for events which feature your star, and further enhance their public persona. You might even create a related marketing campaign which aims at increasing the reputation of your marketing influencer.
Allow creative control to your influencer
Avoid the potential mistake of scripting your influencer’s engagement opportunities with his/her audience. After all, they became popular in the first place because they know what their audience appreciates, and have managed to provide it to them in a major way. By allowing your influencer to have creative control over your marketing initiatives, you will be allowing that person to reach out to his following in a way that he knows will be effective. This doesn’t mean you have to completely stay out of the process – you should certainly suggest certain features or highlights that you would like to get across to the audience, but allow your influencer freedom to do it as he sees best.
Choose an influencer who likes your company
Most influencers prefer to front for products or services which they genuinely appreciate, and would actually use themselves. If you engage the services of a representative who is not particularly fond of your company or its offerings, you run the risk of a half-hearted and unconvincing effort on their part. It is far better to choose an influencer whose own preferences align with your brand’s core values, and who has pre-established credibility within your desired market. Ideally, your chosen influencer should be someone who loves your product and your branding, because that kind of genuine expression will show up in appeals to their following.
Choose dedicated audience over numbers
It’s not always best to engage the services of an influencer is the biggest star, or who has the most impressive numbers in terms of their following. While that does mean you automatically have a wider audience, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will translate into sales. Take the time to do a little marketing research, and find an influencer who has a really dedicated audience in the market that you’re trying to reach. Those followers will be much more likely to transfer over as followers of your brand, and to become loyal customers who purchase your products in the future.
Respect their judgment
In the same way that it was advisable to allow your influencer to have creative control over the message delivered to his following, it’s also best to respect their judgment and provide them with whatever tools or aids they need to accomplish the job. Influencers are generally business people as well as celebrities, and they have an understanding of how best to reach their own followers.
Network with influencers
The tremendous effectiveness of influencer marketing has made a huge impact on how businesses tailor their marketing campaigns, and as a result, fierce competition for influencers within desired markets has built up. Once you begin contacting influencers, you’re more than likely to find that they have obligations with other companies, and that you’re competing for their time. This makes it important for you to start networking with as many influencers as you can, so that you will have at least several possibilities to choose from when the time comes. Some of the ways you can go about this are to make contact through emails and phone calls, attend conferences where they are in attendance, and try to engage with them on whatever platforms they personally make use of.
Use influencers as announcers
When you have a new product to launch, one of the best ways of getting the word out quickly is by using your chosen influencer in a variety of media channels to get the message across. Through photos, videos, and social media, you can have your influencer extol the virtues of your new product, so that it can gain the same kind of credibility and popularity that your influencer has. Even if the target audience is aware that your influencer is being compensated for his efforts, they are also mostly aware that your influencer would not represent a product or brand which he didn’t believe in. This is the basic premise in influencer marketing – the audience will believe in the influencer far more readily than they will traditional advertising efforts.
Identify campaign goals
As mentioned above, it will be most beneficial for your marketing campaign if you allow your influencer to retain creative control and to trust their judgment on how best to reach their own following. However, that doesn’t mean that you should just have a free-form campaign with no actionable goals or objectives. You still need to measure your return in some way, so that you’ll know how effective the campaign was. One of the best ways to measure audience engagement is to run a contest with your influencer as the ringleader of the initiative. The number of responses you get will make it easy for you to determine the level of interest and involvement from the people you’re trying to reach.