In today’s digital age, influencer marketing has emerged as a powerful strategy for brands to connect with their target audiences in an authentic and relatable way. One of traditional media’s biggest mistakes is its failure to see the difference between celebrities and online influencers. Knowing how to work with influencers and leverage the power of individuals with a strong online presence has the potential to drive engagement, increase brand awareness, and ultimately boost your sales.
The secret of how to work influencers to market your brand is targeting someone who has the inherent power to affect the purchasing decisions of others because of their authority, knowledge, position or relationship with their audience. However, like any marketing approach, it comes with its own set of rules and nuances. In this article, we will explore the dos and don’ts of how to work with influencers so you can avoid the pitfalls and reap the rewards.
Influencer marketing is now a mainstream form of social media marketing. It is essentially a blend of new and old marketing techniques, using the idea of celebrity influence and converting it into a content-driven marketing campaign. But influencer marketing doesn’t necessarily require celebrities. Instead, it takes its marketing power from 'everyday' people who've become well-known online, the majority of whom would never consider themselves 'famous' in an offline setting.
This marketing technique involves the collaboration of brands and businesses with content creators who have the power to affect the purchasing decisions of users because of their authority and influence in their chosen market, whether it be fashion, sport, technology,etc.
GymShark's use of influencer marketing to create a billion-dollar empire is a prime illustration of this. GymShark first offered workout gear for sale before quickly moving on to offer gym supplies and accessories. The core of their entire marketing strategy is bringing together as many genuine athletes as they can to share GymShark's message with the world. These athletes have a large following of people who trust their opinion and follow their content.
GymShark set the bar for how to work with influencers: they used this marketing technique in an astute way, providing fitness bloggers and Instagram celebrities with free items. In exchange, these influencers would post pictures on social media while wearing GymShark clothing. As a result, the brand received a lot of attention and people became eager to purchase their goods.
When choosing a product, 49% of consumers rely on influencer recommendations, and 87% of social media users reportedly take specific action after seeing influencer content on Instagram. This is largely because today, a piece of content's success is solely determined by how well audiences connect with it.
Current marketing efforts and social media platforms demand more relevancy and specificity that interacts with the target market, unlike advertisements that might be generically intended for mass consumption. This combination of connection and trust works best when it is genuine, and it is effective because it is much more authentic than other marketing and advertising.
Before diving into your influencer partnerships, clearly outline your objectives. Whether it is to increase brand invisibility, generate leads, or boost sales, having well-defined goals will guide your strategy for how you intend to work with your chosen influencers.
Not all influencers are suitable for your brand. Conduct thorough research to identify influencers whose values align with your brand’s ethos and whose audiences match your target demographic. If you are aiming to market sportswear, target athletes and sports content creators to showcase your products; if it is an app or a game you want to promote, then YouTuber’s and TikTok creators are a great choice as they will likely have a high following of users who belong in that demographic.
Authenticity is the cornerstone of influencer marketing. Encourage influencers to create content that resonates with their followers naturally. Overly scripted or inauthentic content can alienate audiences.
Provide influencers with clear guidelines about your brand message, product/service details, and any specific requirements for the content. However, allow them creative freedom to incorporate their personal touch.
Ensure that influencer-brand partnerships are transparently disclosed to the audience. Transparency builds trust and credibility with consumers.
Treat influencer partnerships as long-term relationships rather than one-off transactions. Building strong relationships can lead to ongoing collaborations and increased loyalty.
Use tracking tools and analytics to measure the impact of influencer campaigns. Assess metrics such as engagement rates, website traffic, and sales to determine the success of your efforts.
Verify the authenticity of influencers before partnering with them. Fake followers and engagement can harm your brand’s reputation and prove ineffective for engaging with your target demographic.
Select influencers whose niches align with your industry. For example, an influencer with a strong following in fashion will not be effective in marketing a tech product.
How you choose to work with your influencers is entirely up to you, but while guidelines are important for the marketing of your brand, it is best to avoid micromanaging an influencer’s content creation. Their creative freedom is one of the best assets in the marketing of your product/service, so let their creativity roam free to maintain authenticity.
A large following doesn’t always translate to effective engagement. Focus on influencers with engaged, loyal followers who are likely to resonate with your brand.
Clearly outline the terms of how you want to work with your influencers and any expectations you have in a contract. Cover things such as content ownership, payment details, and timelines to avoid misunderstandings.
While influencer marketing can be impactful, it shouldn’t be your sole marketing strategy. Integrate it with other strategies for a well rounded approach. Targeted advertising also allows you to reach your target demographic in a different way, using social media just like influencer marketing, with techniques like carousel ads, Facebook ads, and Instagram's boosted post features.
Legendary Portuguese footballer, Cristiano Ronaldo continues to sit at the top of the list of highest-paid influencers, with the highest-ever potential earning, making an average of £2.6million per social media post.
Logan Paul, widely regarded as one of the most contentious figures in the realm of social media influencers, initially rose to prominence through 'Vine', where he established himself as a humorous and engaging content creator. He has gained an impressive following of more than 55 million across his various social media platforms. However, in the past few years, he was involved in a very controversial scandal which has compelled him to produce a string of apology videos in an effort to safeguard his personal brand. The scandal took place in 2017, where he posted a video on his YouTube channel, which had more than 15 million subscribers. The video was filmed in Japan's 'suicide forest' which featured the body of a dead man who had committed suicide. The video has since been deleted, but the after effects are still wearing on Logan, who is still trying to move past the incident to this day.
The concept of giving influence to others has deep historical roots, but when we focus on the contemporary idea of an influencer, it is likely that the online bloggers who rose to fame in the early 2000s were the pioneers of the word 'influencer'. Some of the early influencers online were Justin Hall, who is an American journalist, entrepreneur, but best known as a pioneer blogger, and Heather Armstrong, who is an American blogger and internet personality, best known for her website dooce.com, which peaked at nearly 8.5million monthly readers in 2004.
Influencer marketing presents a world of opportunities for your brand to connect with your target audiences in an authentic and engaging manner. By following the do’s and avoiding the don’ts of how to work with influencers, you can navigate the world of influencer marketing successfully. Remember, the key lies in building meaningful relationships with influencers and their audiences, all while staying true to your brand’s values and goals. When executed thoughtfully, influencer marketing can be a valuable addition to your overall marketing strategy, driving tangible results and fostering lasting connections.
Need help building an influencer marketing strategy? Contact the team at Formation Media today