Love them or hate them, influencers are a driving force in the world of marketing. It’s estimated that around 17% of companies actually spend half their marketing budgets on influencer marketing because, well, it brings results. Overwhelmingly, marketers say influencers drive some of the best ROI results available today.
So, it really does pay to not only create an influencer program but to integrate it into a wider marketing effort to ensure it remains robust and resilient for the long term. If you build your program with care and an eye to the long-term, your program will be resilient. But how do you go about doing this?
Here are seven tips to help you ensure your influencer program is set up to be resilient:
1: Establish clear goals and align them with larger marketing initiatives
Like with any other marketing strategy, you should establish a set of clear and measurable goals right from the get-go. This will help you shape a long-term strategy and allow you to track its results. It will also help you to measure the effectiveness of individual campaigns efforts pay off in the end.
Also, align the influencer program with those of the overall organisation. Working in tandem PR, content and social media ensure your program is contributing to the overall objectives of the organisation. Also, it means the influencer program can be measured in comparison to other marketing initiatives to judge its effectiveness.
Some common goals that work nicely with other marketing initiatives include:
- Reaching a new audience
- Increasing engagement
- Building brand awareness
- Increasing sales
- Lead nurturing
- Improving brand loyalty
- Improving upsell or cross-sale stats
2: Choose influencers carefully
Influencers are potent because they have an established following that works virtually the same as a brand’s audience: They are connected by a common interest. However, the influencer is more potent because they connect with their audience on a human, a personal level. It’s also why people follow them.
A single influencer with a large following is typically not enough for the influencer program to get the results you are striving for so you will have to build a cadre of them.
Choose carefully when selecting influencers for your program by focusing on some key qualities:
- Influencers who fit with your brand (similar audiences, interests, values). Make sure they are relevant to your brand.
- People with engaged followings (high number of comments, shares, and other interactions). Be sure to check their engagement carefully because, like many other things on social media, even this can be bought.
- Look for influencers who can bring something to your brand that is hard to find otherwise. It might be a certain attitude, type of content or connection with their audience.
Think of your collaboration with an influencer as any other form of business relationship. What’s the most professional way to reach them and talk terms?
A private message on social media can be quick, but apart from not being professional, you risk the message being ignored in a sea of fan DMs as well. Instead, the classic email or a phone call is the best way to make that first move.
Also, once you enrol influencers into your program touch base with them occasionally to keep the channel of communication open, even if they are not currently involved in a campaign.
This personal touch goes a long way to building a relationship with them and creating an atmosphere where they wish to work with you.
4: Share and collaborate
Influencers are very particular about what content they share with their audiences, and not just in terms of the message – the presentation also matters a lot. You’ll need to talk with your influencers about these specifics and ensure your brand’s content fits naturally into their feed.
Many brands adopt the wrong attitude in working with influencers by believing they can dictate, down to the tiniest details, about the content they publish because they are paying them.
Instead of being overbearing, adopt a more collaborative attitude and seek to work together to co-create content. The influencers will appreciate it and they will likely offer up ideas about what ideas will resonate well with their audiences. The result is that your audiences benefit, and you’ll cultivate influencers who want to work with you over and over again.
5: Ensure message sensitivity in the new normal
Keep in mind that times are hard for many people around the world because of the Covid pandemic and a slumping economy. They are out of work, working reduced hours, juggling the schooling their kids from home and more. Therefore, asking influencers to publish content about a high-end $1500 handbag can seem grossly insensitive, and rightly so.
At this point, consumers are looking beyond simply shopping for products. They are seeking out brands that can help them reduce the stress in their lives and benefit the community at large.
This presents an opportunity to apply influencers to show your audience that your brand provides not only a great product, but also an opportunity to lead a better quality of life and to help those in need.
6: Promote and show gratitude
Once the influencer starts posting your content, there are some additional things you can do to really make an impact:
- Share their content on your brand social channels to give it an additional boost and show solidarity.
- Also, ask them if they have any ideas about creating other content together (such as doing an interview, a co-authored blog post, research, etc.)
- Assuming the influencer published great content, let them know by sending them a handwritten thank you note to express your gratitude. Believe me, this goes a long way.
7: Measure, analyse, and try again
It’s essential to keep a close eye on all these efforts and see what sort of results they brought in terms of your goals. Did they:
- Bring extra sales?
- Improve visibility or engagement?
- Get you more leads?
Once you have these stats, you can review what worked (and should stay), and what didn’t (and should be changed).
Take these seven strategies to heart and you’ll ensure you have an influencer program that is strong and resilient going forward. You will also get even better results the next time.