Stand Out From The Crowd with Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is hardly a new phenomenon, but it is a constantly changing one. The goalposts seem to be changing for both the influencers and the audiences – think of Kylie Jenner losing 2.5 million followers when the Instagram algorithm changed to exclude bots and fake accounts, and influencers having to hashtag #ad or #sponsored to any paid post in a rule that encourages transparency. Some countries have even brought in regulations where influencers must officially register their accounts and pay tax or fees if they are making money from sponsored posts and collaborations. Then the threat of extinction for Instagram “likes” thanks to Facebook looking to change its output. – Who even simply “likes” and image anymore – I know we tend to either LOVE it or not. Many of us use Facebook for messenger and fulfilling family sharing obligations while Instagram has its issues of mindless scrolling and many account holders thinking they need to create a scroll-worthy-feed is old news.
If can be difficult to grasp the ever-changing social media landscape, but can how your brand benefit from it? What if we could break it all down so you know the ins and outs of where to start and how to choose the right influencer?
Let’s first understand the role of the influencer in its current day form. Typically speaking, an influencer has built a following based on their lifestyle, interests or hobbies. They’ve gathered a loyal audience that views them as an expert or an authority on whatever the subject or aesthetic might be. A relationship exists between the influencer and the audience – one that goes beyond likes and views, there is dialogue via videos and engagement via comments. The influencer is liked, trusted and as these increase, more…influential.
The key to successfully capturing an audience’s attention and the integrity of your brand is through organic and meaningful partnerships. We’ve all seen cringe-worthy posts where the influencer is clearly advertising anything and everything that comes their way, or when it just doesn’t fit with their personality or style of content. We’re all quick to pick up on these kinds of advertisements, and even quicker to lose interest or unfollow. It brings to mind the old PR trick of blasting out a media release to a list of thousands, hoping someone somewhere would give it a run, or similar to shrapnel: fire it out and you’re bound to hit something.
On the other hand, the pros of using social media and relationships with influencers to promote your brand are many – there’s the opportunity for it to be more organic, to have more meaning, to tap into a captive audience directly and generally speaking, it can be cheaper and easier to organise than traditional PR or advertising. Here’s how to go about it…
Find your influencer
The first step to successful social media management is finding an influencer who reflects your brand values and has a captive audience that they frequently engage with. Researching hashtags that relate to your brand will help you find these people quickly and easily, and the way to verify if their following is genuine is to simply check the frequency of their posts and the interaction with their audience.
There are different types of influencers out there: ones with huge reach (think Kylie Jenner), industry experts (a fashion editor), niche influencers and micro-influencers. Think about what suits your brand and budget. Read more about clever ways to collaborate with these 5 ideas that you can use today.
Thousands of likes on a picture just isn’t enough anymore. Comments and reposts on multiple pictures are what truly counts – they’re more effective and it usually shows genuine engagement and an audience that is truly following and supporting this influencer in their every move. Check which companies or brands they are already working with – do these fit with your values and branding? Do they offer more than social media posts? Do they review products they love?
Get some snacks, tunes and get ready to burn the midnight oil (or if you have the budget, engage a freelance researcher to do the hard yards for you) It’s time to dig out those influencers who maybe don’t have millions of followers, but they are on-brand and have a solid and dedicated following. Check each influencer for associated accounts to see if they have more outlets you can potentially tap into or link with.
Micro-influencers can be hugely influential because they have built a captive audience and are deeply engaged with them. Once you have a solid list of potential accounts to work with, you can approach them with offers that aren’t necessarily monetary. Scratching each other’s backs in terms of exposure, product sampling and promotions is a great way to get exposure without running up a big bill.
We love to work with Jess Ewings from But What To Wear because of her keen eye and concept building with her up to the minute commentary. She’s hot on twitter and in tune with society from mental health , royal watch anecdotes to relevant political comment.
We also love: @glotaylorr because she’s real and raw with her opinions, views and talents. She embodies the entrepreneurial spirit of a creative entrepreneur – so it was a no-brainer for us! We traveled to LA to work with Glo for an international photoshoot where we were able to customise her look while staying on brand. – you can read more about it here.
Give your influencers creative license
The whole point of working with influencers is to end up with organic, natural content that doesn’t seem scripted or forced. Make sure you give your influencers the opportunity to be creative with how they promote your product or brand – they can put their own spin on it which will sit well with their existing audience.
Of course, you can give guidelines or suggestions and even ask to approve the content, captions and images before they are released but try not to control the outcome too much. It’ll play out to your benefit in the end.
Social media is changing all the time – what’s hot one day might be obsolete the next. Don’t pigeon-hole yourself to one particular channel or you risk missing out on other opportunities. A YouTube channel, Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter are a good solid start. Consistent content across the different mediums will capture a more diverse audience but all of those things have different or cross over applications. Since Instagram is moving away from static images with the introduction of IGTV and stories – it seems like audiences want something un-photoshopable.
If you’re not particularly confident with using the different channels, ask around for advice or take on the services of a freelancer who can help brainstorm content and assist with timely uploads and building a following. Don’t forget to cross-promote your different channels – promote your Twitter in your Insta-stories, your Instagram via your YouTube channel and so on.
Add your social media accounts and preferred hashtags to your email signatures, so that each and every communication that goes out shows the recipient where they can find you. It’s easy to embed the different social icons into newsletters to make it even easier for people to click through your email and follow you, building your audience even more.
It’s no longer about the cover of a magazine for exposure. So look to your influencers for a long term relationship and negotiate on-going services head over to The Right.Fit and Tribes. If you’re looking for more in-depth help to execute your marketing plan, or if you don’t know where to start – check out our Marketing Ebook here: