The rise of influencer marketing as a more effective form of advertising has started a wave of change in the business world. More and more businesses are opting to engage in it, particularly because half of all their potential customers rely on influencers’ recommendations in their purchase decisions.
It’s unlike any traditional advertising we know. Instead of mainstream celebrities, it’s social media influencers who are taking center stage in the ad, and often without the participation of brands (besides product placement).
For some, it’s a big leap to take and that’s frequently the reason why they turn away from influencer marketing. Others have seen the lack of direct control as nothing but an essential evil that they need to deal with.
In truth, this is the nature of influencer marketing. It’s a collaboration between a brand and an industry influencer, with the influencer leading the creative side.
Should you jump on the bandwagon? We hope this article will answer the questions you have, and assist you in deciding if influencer marketing is right for you.
Image credit: LinkiLike
The reason influencer marketing works so well is because it’s authentic. The moment influencers sound more like they’re selling to their audience, they lose their authenticity and possibly their audience.
The viewers will scatter away and find an outlet for their entertainment/shopping needs where they aren’t being shamelessly sold to. Nobody wants to watch a sell-out, and it’s no secret.
Image credit: Time Money
You can monitor the progress to avoid endorsement disasters like the Fyre Festival, or spell out campaign objectives, but how the influencers are going to communicate your brand message should be mostly if not totally up to the influencer.
A number of marketers, in fact, recommend you give free rein to creators and let them use their own voice in packaging your product and presenting it to their audience. This, apparently, has resulted in more successful influencer campaigns.
However, there are also marketing experts who advise caution in giving creative freedom. The key, clearly, is to find the right balance between strict control and complete creative freedom, while still coming across as authentic. Authenticity, after all, is where the beauty of influencer marketing lies.
On the internet, nothing else has the trendsetting possibilities of Instagram. This is why more and more brands are using Instagram and why 24% of US influencers think Instagram is the best platform for influencer marketing.
Image credit: Kayla Boyer via Instagram
If you’re going to give influencer marketing a try, Instagram is a good place to start. It’s a place where people generate $6.50 for every $1 they invest in an influencer campaign, on average, while also gaining the benefit of a shared audience.
If growing your Instagram audience is the goal of your campaign, you can also pair it off with a social proof strategy. Did you know that you can buy Instagram Followers to build social proof for your brand faster and more efficiently? This social proof will attract real and organic Followers when they see how popular you look. Bought Followers have worked for others so there’s no reason why they won’t for you.
Ready to get started? Below are some pointers that’ll help you run a successful influencer campaign.
Get the most out of your influencer marketing campaigns by understanding the following points.
Creative freedom and authenticity go hand in hand. Leave the creative process to your influencers. They don't want to lose the trust of their audience either, and in marketing, consumer trust is very important.
If you aren’t comfortable giving up total control, then you may want to outline guidelines for the content and how you want it to run. Controlling every word that your influencer will say, though, will be impossible.
The more you work with an influencer, the more trust you establish with them, and the more familiar they’ll become with your brand. However, over time, their Followers will become more familiar with your company, and you may want to seek new influencers to further expand your reach.
Image credit: Chiara Ferragni via Instagram
Your influencer partner may be promoting your product, but in a reciprocal way your product also helps promote your influencer. If a popular Instagrammer is seen promoting a prestigious product, she benefits from the prestige and her popularity level instantly goes up.
The same goes for your product if the influencer is popular in her niche. Learn to appreciate this mutually beneficial relationship and your partnership will run smoothly.
Choose your influencer carefully. Take time to ensure that your brand’s general beliefs and views are shared by the influencer, to whatever extent you require.
It’s best when you can make some kind of natural connection, rather than displaying a contrived meeting of your product or services and the influencer. Make sure it’s as authentic as it possibly can be because we guarantee that your audiences can smell an ad a mile away.
You should also take into account your influencer’s demographics and who you are trying to target in your campaign. Obviously, your influencer marketing efforts will only succeed if your target market and your influencer’s viewers are the same.
Define a clear purpose for your campaign. Influencers are naturally less sensitive to your brand message, because they aren’t a part of your company. So, make your campaign message clear to your influencer. Encourage questions to make sure you’re on the same page.
Influencers are also brands themselves who have a reputation to protect, so you can be sure that they will typically work hard to make your campaign a success.
Start your campaign with the results in mind. So, don’t forget to measure the effectiveness of your influencer and the campaign itself.
Did the campaign result in sales? How did your influencer respond to your product? Did you gain more Followers, and how many? These are just some of the questions you should have answers to at the end of the campaign.
The following are some of the brands who gave free rein to their influencers and reaped the benefits of influencer marketing.
Clothing retailer Zara worked with several Instagram influencers, and Teesh Rosa was one of those they tapped in their #iamdenim campaign to reach new audiences.
Image credit: ZARA via Instagram
Their campaign message was simple. Their brand works with real people to make clothing for real people. They gained 4.6 million new Followers in just eight months and one of the secrets to their campaign was handing over complete control of the creative process to responsible influencers.
Paper Mart partnered with Ashley Thurman of Cherished Bliss, a DIY enthusiast, to promote their product. Because Paper Mart did not dictate exactly how they wanted their product to be advertised, Thurman was able to promote it naturally in her blog.
Image credit: Cherished Bliss
The post did not appear promotional at all because she simply used the product in her DIY tutorial post. She worked it into the natural flow of content on her blog, and it looked good.
Idaho Spuds did something similar when they collaborated with Pamela Reed of Brooklyn Farm Girl. Idaho Spuds merely supplied their product and Reed used it to create a new recipe that she shared with her audience.
The post looked more like a recipe cooking instruction than a sponsored post, and it was a great way to provide value to her Followers while also promoting the product.
Image credit: Brooklyn Farm Girl
Swedish watch brand Daniel Wellington also leveraged influencer marketing in promoting their brand. They tapped Instagram influencers from around the world to spread the word about their product, and these influencers promoted the brand using their own images and the branded hashtag #danielwellington.
Image credit: Napassanan Sirindasuphasiri via Instagram
Famous Thai Instagrammer Napassanan Sirindasuphasiri was one of those influencers who helped #danielwellington get nearly 1.4 million posts on Instagram (at the time of writing). Check out all those post likes!
On Instagram, aside from influencer marketing, brands can also kickstart their popularity by buying Instagram Followers. When you have thousands of Followers, even if they are bought, you will be seen as an authority and you’ll gain attention – and likely real Followers – because of it.
Of course, you just have to make sure that your Followers don’t look fake, so you get all the benefits of this marketing strategy. Read our reviews of the top providers that offer high-quality Instagram Followers to help you decide exactly how to boost your social proof on Instagram.
You can safeguard your brand’s reputation while running an influencer marketing campaign. However, in order for your campaign to be successful, you have to give your influencers some level of creative control.
Recognize that these influencers know their Followers better than you do. So, if they think talking about your products 90% of the time won't work, then you have to believe that that's true.
Always aim for your promotional campaigns to look as natural as possible, so it will look like your influencer really just happened to choose your product. There’s nothing wrong with advertising, of course, but many influencers find success by being themselves and truly being enthusiastic about the products they promote. At the end of the day, that’s how you’re going to both benefit from the collaboration.
Date: August 9, 2017 / Categories: Marketing, Tips, / Author: Chell