As we head into 2020, one thing is for sure, and that is that 2019 was the year influencer marketing reached the mainstream.
So how can businesses successfully use influencer marketing to reach more customers and grow sales?
For years influencer marketing has been the topic of conversation in marketing agencies across the land. But now, thanks to new regulations and documentaries such as The American Meme and Fyre, the average consumer is fully aware of the power of influencers.
This growing awareness means that more businesses than ever are recruiting influencers to promote their products and services than ever. And like most things in life, as popularity grows, we see examples of how it should, and shouldn’t be done.
Using the learnings of our own campaigns, as well as others, over the last 12 months, here are my top dos and don’ts when it comes to influencer marketing;
#Don’ts of Influencer Marketing
Don’t do it for the sake of doing it
We hear so many of our clients saying they want to embark on an influencer marketing campaign because everyone else is. This is not a reason to do it.
An influencer marketing campaign needs clear objectives and an understanding of the impact you’re wanting to make for the brand. Without this, there’ll be no strategy, and therefore little success – not that you’ll even know what success looks like.
Don’t focus on follower numbers
It is tempting to think bigger is better, but when it comes to influencer marketing this isn’t the case. Although we are seeing more guidelines emerging for this marketing function, it is still unregulated in some areas – such as buying followers.
When identifying followers to work with it is essential that you look at engagement and audience profiles. Even if the influencer only has 4,000 followers, it could be 4,000 people you are wanting to get your brand in front of. Meaning it will be a more impactful, and probably cost effective, approach to influencer marketing.
Don’t be scared to ask the influencers advice
Influencers are now businesses in their own right. They know how their audience behave, they know what posts have performed well and the type of content that has impact.
When working with an influencer ask their advice and trust their guidance – they want the partnership to be successful just as much as you do. Having an open and honest dialogue about your brand objectives will mean the influencer can guide you on how to achieve this.
Don’t forget to measure success
Or lack of. Especially if this is your first time entering into the world of influencer marketing then you have to take everything as a learning.
By having clear objectives in place from the start you will be able to measure against these to see how successful the activity has been, and what needs to change in the future.
Low level micro-influencers, who are typically most cost effective, are idea if you are taking a test and learn approach.
Don’t always be product focused
Your brand is based on more than just the product you sell. Think about how you want your audience to think and feel about your brand and use this to guide some of your influencer marketing content, otherwise you could just end up with smiling selfies with your product in-shot.
Influencers share their lives with their followers, so think about how your product can fit into this, which will help to communicate the brand’s key messages, which will always be more memorable than a stylised product shot.
#Dos of Influencer Marketing
Do think long term
One of posts can have some impact and can help to raise awareness of your brand. But as we know, awareness doesn’t always equals sales.
In this current landscape, where consumers are bombarded with more advertising messages than ever before, simply knowing a brand exists isn’t going to drive them to part with their cash.
Long term partnerships with influencers allows brands to build relationships with an audience and communicate the USPs effectively over a long period of time. If an influencer perfectly fits with your brand consider working with them long term, to create a true brand advocate.
Do use data
Influencer marketing isn’t a dark art, it is a data driven specialism. Using data that is available to you, whether that is Google Trends, or the influencers own analytics, you can effectively tailor the campaign for maximum impact.
An in-depth understanding of how your audience behaves online means you can mirror this, for example, if you are targeting new mums, have you considered requesting your influencer partner posts in the middle of the night, when they’ll no doubt be awake with the baby.
Do consider it from the start
One of the biggest errors brands can make is simply tagging influencer marketing activity at the end of a campaign.
With the way that consumers are now behaving online, it is essential that influencer marketing activity is considered at the start of any campaign planning.
For example, Simply Be’s New Icon campaign, had plus-size fashion influencers post on their channels, on the day the print advertising went live – meaning that their audience were reached with the campaign messaging at various touch points – giving it more impact.
Do follow your competitors
It’s not just your own social posts and influencer marketing that you can learn from. Keep a close eye on what your competitors are doing, who they’re working with and what is working for them.
We’re not suggesting you copy their approach, but we are recommending you take vital learnings from their successes, and failures.
Do consider your channels
Wanting to target 16-24 year olds, then step away from Facebook and head to Tik Tok. Wanting to target busy mums, then Facebook or Instagram is your channel of choice.
Before starting any influencer activity it is essential you have a really clear view of what audience you are wanting to target, and therefore the social media channels they live on.
Influencer marketing is not one size fits all, as the way people behave, and the information they’re seeking varies from channel-to-channel.
More on promoting your business
ByteStart is packed with help and advice on promoting your small business and reaching more customers. Try these for starters;
- How Start-Ups Can Get the Most from Digital Marketing
- Turn Your E-Commerce Website Into a Deadly Selling Tool With These 5 Steps
- How to Harness the Power of Google for Your Business
- How Storytelling Can Help You Build Your Business?
- 5 Ways You Can Use Emotion to Connect With Customers & Get More from Your marketing
- PR Tips for StartUps