While athletes, pop stars, and actors still have their role in the “endorsements” industry, social media influencers have proved that anyone with a camera and a following can move product.
In fact, there’s a real argument to be made that social media personalities are an even better use of advertising dollars than traditional mediums. The reason? Their audiences are clearly defined. Not only that, but their following tends to trend younger in terms of demographics. This means they aren’t just selling shirts, makeup, or the latest tech device – they’re creating loyal customers for today and in the future.
The relationships between brands and social media influencers vary wildly, but some basic principles should apply in all cases. In this article, I’ll dive into what brands need to know before adding social media influencer marketing to their marketing strategy.
1. Give Them Creative Control
Those hundreds-of-thousands of followers didn’t just appear randomly – social media personalities know what they’re doing. If you’re looking to build a mutually-beneficial relationship with an influencer, give them the final say when it comes to creative.
Even if the influencer you’ve chosen doesn’t necessarily know your product or brand as well as you do, they know how to connect with their audience. A level of trust has been already been established between influencers and their followers, and you shouldn’t try to get in the way of what works.
It can be hard to give up complete control of your messaging, but if you want to maintain a healthy relationship with your chosen pitch-man or woman, you need to allow them to do what they do best: connect with their followers.
2. Bigger Isn’t Always Better
It’s tempting to judge the potential effectiveness of a social media influencer by the number of followers they’ve amassed, but finding the right “fit” for your brand is just as, if not more, important to the success of your campaign.
For example, if you’re looking to increase awareness for a new restaurant, focus on finding someone who reaches the local community and the surrounding areas. This could mean a radio personality or local news anchor has more to offer your brand than a 23-year-old Instagram star that has 10 times the social media following.
Just as with any other type of marketing, you should always be looking for ways to maximize ROI. When it comes to influencers, the bigger the following, the higher the price tag. If you’re simply looking to get your products in front of the most people rather than the right people, you should rethink your strategy.
3. Make the Relationship Work for Both Sides
Social media personalities are constantly approached by brands looking to expand their reach on a local and/or national level. If you really want to get the influencer’s best effort when it comes to your company, you need to make it worth their time.
When you propose an offer to influencers in exchange for their endorsement of your brand, you should provide more than just financial compensation and a small sample of your product. Some examples of non-monetary benefits could be a spot on your website where their social media profiles can live or invitations to events where networking with other potential partners is available.
If you truly want to maximize the benefit of utilizing a social media influencer you should work to build a relationship that extends beyond one of a transactional nature.
4. Track Your Results
Because influencer marketing is a little different than standard digital advertising, you’ll need to set up your own metrics to track the results of influencer campaigns. Here are a few of the most common ways to do it:
Make a Specific Landing Page
Website traffic doesn’t equal sales, but it’s still an important top-of-the-funnel data point to track. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to set up a landing page to capture the traffic that comes directly from your influencer campaign. For example, having a link included in all posts by your influencer can help you determine if your audience is engaging with the content and taking the next step toward becoming a conversion.
One of the tried-and-true ways to measure results from an influencer is to set up a promo code which is associated with the influencer’s content. Typically, a discount is offered when the code is used so that the audience is incentivized to take action after seeing the promotional posts or videos that the social media personality posts on their channels.
Review Specific Product Sales Data
Chances are you aren’t going to be able to have your influencer promote every single product your business offers.
For example, if you’re running a clothing business, have your influencer promote a small handful of products, at least initially. If that jacket or hoodie that they wore in their latest video immediately starts selling, you’ll know that their endorsement is translating to real business results.
5. Offer Performance Incentives
If you’re working with a social media influencer, chances are you aren’t the only brand enlisting their services. If you want to them to go the extra mile for your brand, offer incentives that are directly tied to your campaign.
For example, creating a plan where they’re rewarded for sales that come from users who saw their posts is a good way to make sure you aren’t just another brand that pays them in exchange for promotion. It’s no secret that endorsement campaigns are much more effective when the promoter actually cares about the end results as they pertain to your business. Give them some ownership of their compensation by offering them a piece of the pie if they perform above and beyond your expectations.
When working with social media influencers, your goal should be to foster a relationship that is mutually-beneficial. When an influencer believes in your brand, the audience can sense the authenticity in their endorsements of your products.
Finally, remember that above all, finding the right person with the right audience is key. Take some time and do your research before investing in his or her services.