Influencer marketing involves businesses gaining more exposure for their brand through social media stars. This marketing strategy became very trendy in 2017 and the word 'influencer' became a buzzword all over search engines after many businesses saw good ROI thanks to it.
The marketing strategy proves effective because, as shown by a statistic published on The Leverage Way, 74% of people trust social media to guide them to make the right purchase decisions - this includes friends, family, and influencers - while 49% of people rely wholly on recommendations from influencers.
However, like every other marketing strategy, influencer marketing can prove fruitless or even hurt your brand if pursued the wrong way.
As more businesses are looking to get their business before the audience through these influencers, some influencers are looking to reap businesses off with little to no regard to their ROI. Hence, businesses need to pay attention to certain factors and incorporate certain strategies as the ones below to reap more business benefits from influencer marketing.
1. Disclose partnership with influencers
In the earlier days of influencer marketing, social media stars easily endorsed brands’ products without stating any partnership with the brand. It worked quite well then. With time, however, influencers started getting criticized for not clarifying posts that are sponsored. The influencer, Kendall Jenner, happened to be one of such targets.
Not stating partnerships with brands understandably appears deceitful to the audience, and put the genuine nature of the influencer’s remarks in doubt and easily destroy the authenticity of the of the product endorsed. Therefore, it’s important for every business to ensure the influencer they are working with clearly disclosed partnership notes in the post.
Alongside the damage that failure to do this can induce on a brand, legal issues can also be provoked by a US regulatory body, The Federal Trade Commission has warned 90 social media stars about not disclosing what posts are paid for, and also issued a public notice that influencers and brands need to clearly notify the audience of partnership, if any.
According to FTC, this disclosure can be done by influencers by simply adding a #ad or #sponsored hashtag, or XPartner hashtag (where X would be the brand’s name -- #TwitterPartner for example.)
2. Work solely with influencers in your field
There are influencers in every niche -- athletes in the sports niche, artists and actors for the entertainment niche, models and public figures for the fashion niche and so on. As a result, simply trying to gain exposure for your brand through any social media star is not enough; it’ll hardly translate to a good ROI for your brand.
Influencer marketing is similar to every other marketing. The exposure is not your only aim -- you aim to have your business in front of the right audience that’ll eventually turn to customers for your brand, not just an audience that will 'like' the post and scroll past. Therefore, there is a need for every business to carefully study and identify which influencers are right for their brand.
For a brand that provides fashionable clothing and accessories, working with artists and models will prove effective. For a brand dealing with sportswear and accessories, however, working with athletes will definitely yield better results for the business.
That’s not all there is to review; businesses must also review the influencer's value, authenticity, and authority, amongst other factors - other than just the influencer reach.
A lot of businesses persons that have derived big results from influencer marketing cited this factor as one of the keys to their success. A good example is the case of Nicholas Dutko, founder of Car Shipping Carriers, who said “for a car shipping company, we had a pretty tough time integrating influencer marketing to our marketing strategy. Upon finding a good influencer in the automobile field, however, the whole process became a walkthrough and yielded a massive ROI for our brand.”
Businesses that ignore this tip may end up with a wide audience but with very few converts compared with businesses that adhere to it.
3. Work with influencers that have displayed an interest in your brand
There's no better influencer to work with than an influencer who has personally shown genuine interest in your brand. These influencers will put more feeling into promoting your products. Also, these influencers will easily treat you as a business partner, rather than endorse you, get paid and end the relationship (see point 5 below.)
There are a couple of ways to see which influencers have interest in your brand, some of which include:
- Influencers who have referred to your product/service in the past without being paid for it.
- Influencers who regularly rock your products.
- Influencers who regularly like/comment on your products or products similar to yours.
Influencers who have displayed the above acts or similar acts of promoting your products while not getting paid to do so will definitely put more emphasis on the promotion after getting paid.
4. Have clear goals and aims
To drive result, brands must be specific about what goals they want to pursue as this will influence the call-to-action to be used by the Influencer. For brands who want more of a social media following, influencers can post a picture from the brand’s page and direct their audience to the page for similar posts.
Brands who want to make more sales, on the other hand, can have their influencer use their product, give good feedback about it on their page and direct their audience to purchase the product.
Both are good and very effective if done properly. However, it's important a brand review their business to see which is more important to them between social media following and conversions/sales, and guide their influencer accordingly.
5. Treat Influencers as partners
Rather than treating influencers as a one-time medium to gain exposure, brands stand a lot to gain when they network with influencers, work with them, and still treat them as partners even after the deal is done.
This way, influencers will be more likely to occasionally promote the brand and put more emphasis on it, even without getting paid for it.
Building one-time, 'post, get paid and go' type of relationship with influencers often makes the Influencer’s endorsement weak and shallow. This is easily noticed by the audience through the post and it often results in the audience questioning how genuine the influencer’s endorsement actually is, rather than follow through with the call-to-action.