The rise of influencer marketing has been swift and wide reaching. Brands of all sizes are aligning with bloggers and social media users to pitch their products and services through a new channel.
Look through your social media feeds and you’ll see the photos, links, and contests that people are sharing, that sell you on a brand, but aren’t from a brand. They may not look like ads in a traditional sense, but they are. And when done well, they can be quite effective.
At Blade, we have worked with influencers to help grow the brand communities of our clients, raise awareness of the brand’s products, and to increase sales. We have found success in choosing influencers that match our needs, and the brand.
To help your brand better understand influencer marketing, and how you can do it well, we’ve broken down three of the most important factors to keep in mind when getting ready to launch your campaign.
1. Set Goals and Make a Plan
Before you ever reach out to an influencer, you should know what you want to accomplish through your campaign. If you’re looking to build general awareness, you can worry less about the small details, and focus more on the larger picture.
If your goal is to push traffic to your website, or to advertise a specific promotion, you need to keep that in mind when building out your pitch to the influencer, and what you want and need from their content.
Once you know what goals your brand wants to achieve from this partnership and campaign, you can move ahead with the rest of your process, from choosing an influencer, deciding what you’re going to ask them to do, and how you are going to support their content with your own efforts and posts.
2. Pick the Right Influencer
Some brands pick influencers solely based on the face numbers seen by the public. If they see enough Likes or Followers and they deem a social media personality worthy of their brand. However, there are many holes in that philosophy, and smart influencer campaigns look past those surface statistics when choosing their influencer marketing partners.
At Blade, we have a set of 3 metrics that are far more important than Likes and Followers when choosing your brand’s influencers.
A) Interactions – Do this blogger drive conversation, does their community interact with them, and do they interact back with their brand community?
An influencer that creates conversation, as well as receiving likes and shares on their content is far more valuable than someone who merely posts to a wide audience. This point has become especially relevant in the last few years as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have moved to algorythm based timelines, which do not show every post to every follower.
And frankly, if all your influencer provides for you is a post that gets no interaction, you can do that yourself with targeted ads on social media platforms.
B) Fit – More important than looks or mainstream popularity is fit with your brand. Your influencer should be believable as someone who uses and likes your brand’s products and services. Your influencer’s posts won’t hold credibility if viewers don’t believe that they’d actually use your brand’s products.
We always recommend looking inside your own brand community before looking elsewhere. If you can find someone that is already part of your brand community, that likes your product, and is ready to truly advocate on your behalf, you can more assuredly call them a good fit.
An influencer that believes in you, and has a relationship with your brand will be more believable, genuine, and trustworthy to the wider audience.
C) Trust – It’s true that you want your influencer to create content in their voice, to lend the credibility that they have with their brand community to your message. But you also want to make sure that you can keep them on message, that they are going to work with you towards your goals, and not go rogue with your brand name and reputation.
Having that trust in the person you’re working with comes with risks, but with research, conversation before the campaign starts, and internal reviews, you can make a decision that puts your brand and your campaign in a position to succeed.
3. Play by the Rules
As we’ve said before, the Wild West days of influencer marketing are over, and it’s time to play by the rules as we move forward.
It is important that both your brand and your influencer not only play by the rules as outlined by the Federal Trade Commission (USA) and the Advertising Standards Canada, and operate in good faith with both of your brand communities. Ensure that your influencer is upfront with their community about your relationship, and that they use hashtags like #ad and #sponsoredcontent clearly in their social media posts. It doesn’t hurt your brand to show that you’re working with these influencers, but it can hurt you if you try to pretend your campaign is organic, and the truth comes out that you’ve been lying to your brand community, and the FTC.
If your brand believes that working with influencers can help to grow your brand community, increase awareness, and push sales, we support your efforts. And we recommend you start with our three steps to put you on the right track.