But whatever you do, don’t confuse celebrity spokespeople with influencer marketing.
What is Influencer Marketing?
An influencer is someone who has the power to change the perception of their followers. As far as marketing goes, influencers can help their followers buy your product or service.
But this is different than a celebrity spokesperson.
Influencers are self-built stars that find fame through their social channels, and are credible sources in their niche (best running shoes, best books, best makeup tips, fitness tips, cooking tips, you name it).
Celebrity spokespeople are already famous for something other than their social brand (like being an actor, singer, model, being a prince, having a rich family, etc), and use their fame to bring exposure to a brand.
Why is Influencer Marketing so Popular?
Whether you love it or hate it, influencer marketing is here to stay (at least, for now). And jumping on the influencer bandwagon can do big things for promoting your brand in 2018.
According to a Twitter study, Tweeters now trust influencers as much as their own friends.
Adweek reports that around 40% of respondents to a poll said they purchased something online after seeing an influencer use it on Instagram, Twitter, Vine or YouTube.
Studies show about 85% of marketers around the globe plan on launching an influencer campaign in the next 12 months. And Activate by Bloglovin’s found that 67% of marketers report that influencer marketing campaigns helped them reach more targeted audiences and see stronger results.
So how can you run a successful influencer marketer campaign? The first step is understanding the difference between celebrity spokespeople and influencers
From knowing your audience to identifying your goals to complying with FTC regulations, here are 7 steps to make the most of influencer marketing.
Identify Your Goals
The first step in any digital marketing strategy — including influencer marketing — is knowing what you’re trying to accomplish.
Are you looking to drive more qualified traffic to your site or to build brand awareness? What about building your email list? Whatever you’re looking to achieve, pick one measurable goal to focus the campaign on.
Know Your Audience
Before you pick an influencer, you need to know your audience from front to back.
Who’s your target audience? How old are they, how does their gender skew, and what are their interests? What content do they read and share? What social platforms do they use the most?
Knowing the answers to these questions is the foundation to any effective influencer marketing strategy.
Do Your Research
Don’t skip straight to emailing your cousin’s best friend’s famous boyfriend to see if he’ll endorse your company’s paint on his Twitter.
You should choose an influencer who has a strong social following and a wide reach. But they also need to be respected and admired by your ideal audience.
An endorsement for your brand by world-famous author J.K. Rowling won’t mean anything to your target audience if they’re all race car fans, and your company sells tires.
If you’re new to researching a social media influencer, don’t go it alone. Hire an experienced digital marketing agency to help do the research for you.
At BKMedia, we’ll help you identify and understand your target audience, and find the types of influencers who will speak the most effectively to your target audience.
Get to Know Your Influencer
Once you’ve identified a potential influencer, spend some time nurturing a relationship.
Find out who they are and what motivates them. Authenticity and cohesion between your brand and theirs can matter more to an influencer than just getting paid.
Marco Hansell, CEO of influencer enterprise SPEAKR notes, "Influencers are people too! You're not buying a radio spot, you're interfacing with a human being and you need to understand that all influencers aren't made the same."
Good press matters to influencers, too. No one want to associate with a faulty product, bad service or HR scandals.
Although these yardsticks of quality obviously matter for more than just influencer marketing, it’s important to understand how your brand’s image will look to potential influencers.
Define Your KPIs
Before you launch your influencer marketing campaign, you’ve got to know how to measure the success of the campaign.
Understanding how to read the KPIs (key performance indicators) of any digital marketing strategy is key to seeing how and why your efforts are either sailing or sinking.
You can measure the reach of your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter ads through the platforms themselves. You can see the amount of reads, site entrances and the bounce rate of your influencer blogs through Google Analytics.
Make sure there are UTM parameters attached to any links your influencer shares so you can track the source.
Figure out a Content Strategy
Decide whether you or the influencer will be developing the content for the social posts, blogs, seasonal gift guides, parasailing videos with your brand’s drink in hand, etc. You can either:
- Agree that your team (or the experts at your digital marketing agency) will create the content that the influencer will promote
- Create an outline with the main points or message you want your influencer to get across video, blog or posts and let them fill in the rest in their own style (with some requirements like adding specific links or hashtags)
Whichever route you choose, be flexible and cooperative. If your influencer enjoys working with your company, chances are they’ll be a repeat customer. But if you’re too controlling of the process, they’re not likely to return your follow-up emails (and are likely to put you on blast to their friends and followers).
Follow FTC Compliance Rules
This is a big one, folks. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been playing catch up with social influencers and creating legal guidelines for posts that feature brand endorsements.
The bottom line is, influencer ads need to be “honest and not misleading” about their relationship with your brand and the fact that they’re receiving some form of compensation.
Additionally, the endorsement needs to reflect the honest opinion of the endorser, and can’t be used to make a claim that your company couldn’t legally make. In other words, your influencer can’t claim your spa’s manicure service will help them lose 10 pounds, or that your restaurant’s pizza will help them read their dog’s mind.
For short-form or “ephemeral” platforms (like Instagram and Snapchat), adding the hashtag #ad is an effective way for influencers to legally identify a brand endorsement.
For YouTube videos, influencers have to state that they’re working with your brand or received compensation or complimentary products.
Will this level of transparency hurt the effectiveness of your campaign? According to Marc Hansell, "As long as the product they are endorsing fits with their brand, the audience won't care. They actually want to see the products that they like and use."
Influencer marketing is a powerful tool in your digital marketing toolbox. But if you don’t have an operation manual for your tool (or the manual appears to be written in Dutch), you’re in luck.
The expert team at BKMedia Group can help steer your influencer marketing strategy toward the horizon rather than into a jetty.
From helping you identify your audience personas to creating a content strategy to managing your social posts, let BKMedia take care of your influencer campaign so you can focus on whatever it is you do best.