Although the practice is rather popular, there are still ways to improve your social media influencer marketing efforts.
Influencer marketing. You keep hearing about it. Maybe you’ve tried it. Maybe you’re not sure whether it’s for you. Wherever you are in your influencer marketing journey, here are some tips that will help you get the most out of your social media influencer marketing efforts.
1. Loosen the Reins
Brands need to stop trying to control the message and the influencers. You want the content to be genuine and organic and when you try to control the message, the influencer, and/or the agency, you will end up with something that is not natural and therefore doesn’t get the results you’re looking for.
Successful content is authentic and relevant to an influencer’s audience. If brands try to exert control over what the influencer says, the organic and authentic nature of the content is lost. Influencers need the freedom to work the product into their stories/content in a way that is best for their audience. Influencers know their own audiences and know what they respond to. That’s why we work with them.
Aside from FTC regulations that require sponsored content to be disclosed, it’s really important that when an influencer states that the content contains their opinion, this is true. It can’t be a blend of the brand’s controlled message and the influencer’s opinion because that is actually an FTC violation – it really must be their own opinion.
It’s also imperative that you give a certain level of control to your influencer management agency. For them to ensure that your IM campaign is as successful as possible, they need the freedom to design the campaign based on their experience of the best platforms, influencers and hashtags. They also need the ability to optimize the content which often requires real-time decision-making.
2. Use specialists
In order to get the best results from influencer marketing, you need to think outside of the box. Brands often get stuck doing what they know. That’s why you need a partner who can give you a fresh perspective. Often brands are so focused on their brand voice that it’s hard to know what your organic brand voice should look and sound like.
Choose a group of people who know their influencers and know the influencer audiences – not a lot of influencer networks really know the influencers on a detailed level. If you have a detailed set of objectives for your campaign, you need more than just an influencer network. You need a partner who specializes in influencer marketing and who lives and breathes the often fast-paced nature of these campaigns. You need a partner who can watch what’s happing in real-time and optimize on the fly.
3. Align your Team
This means that you need to make sure you are aligned with your influencer managers and you trust them to make the best decisions for your brand. Make sure you’re on the same page regarding influencer selection, achievable campaign goals and the best strategies to use. You want to go to market as a unified team and don’t want to second-guess recommendations. Your influencer managers can be a valuable strategic partner – they should be able to come up with strategies that achieve your goals while working together with you to the same end.
As specialists, your influencer managers know which influencers are right for your brand. They know how to select a broad range of influencers so that the resulting content has the best chance of delivering the results you want.
4. Recognize the value of good content
Don’t get blinded by the numbers. Understand that often influencer management companies will recommend an influencer who doesn’t have the largest follower count. Follower counts are not the most important thing … High-quality content is. The main goal of your campaign is to develop sharable content – this is what brands need to focus on.
It’s important to remember that with follower counts, we don’t always know that followers are even real people and we certainly don’t know whether they’re engaged followers. It has been shown that as the number of followers increases, engagement drops off significantly. If an influencer can produce beautiful content, then working with them will give you assets that you can extrapolate – often for weeks, months and years to come.
Some of the beautiful content images produced for Canadian Lentils in a Carusele influencer campaign
An influencer with 3 million followers on Instagram might initially look useful but when you dig deeper and discover that their content is unattractive and inauthentic, you should quickly realize that they are not a good choice over an influencer with 100,000 followers who has beautiful photography and a great voice for your brand.
It’s important not to limit your campaign to mediocre content. Initial engagement during the organic stage of the campaign might be less than you want but that’s OK because, as long as the content is high-quality, it’s easy to increase engagement and impressions by syndicating the best stuff. The results you get from syndicating high-quality content are exponentially greater than those you’ll get with inferior content.
Influencer managers will often recommend working with a broad range of influencers because it’s hard to predict which content will perform the best. With a range of content comes the ability to optimize the best performing on the fly to drive outsized results.
As a brand, it’s important to recognize the importance of being flexible. To get the best results, your IM firm will probably need to optimize in real time. If you’ve got too many layers of approvals that hold up the process, your content might miss the boat. Again, trust your influencer managers to know how best to get the results you want.
One of the reasons IM is so valuable as a means of communicating with your audience is that it’s relatively quick to get the message out and to respond in real-time to developments as they happen. So make sure you’re set up to grant approvals quickly and be responsive to your influencer managers so your campaign is as effective and timely as possible.
6. Have one person responsible
Often your influencer managers are themselves managing 5-15 people (influencers, creatives, production team staff, etc.) and that’s just for ONE campaign! If you have too many people communicating with your management company, you’ll end up with too many different perspectives and misconceptions that cloud the direction you’re trying to take. Instead, make sure that one person within your organization has responsibility for working with your contact person at the management company.
Whether this person sits within your public relations team, your marcom team or your social media team, they should be well-versed with the other marketing messages your brand is communicating. For example, if you are running a sampling event, then you need to have all the details ready (and correct!) for your influencer marketing point person to communicate to your management company who in turn gets the right details to the influencers. It can be a case of too many cooks in the kitchen if your messages get watered down by different marketers within your brand team.
Social media influencer marketing campaigns have the potential to be hugely successful … if you go about them the right way.
Learn more about Influencer Marketing Tips for Food Brands.
Learn more about Influencer Marketing Tips for Retailers.