Top Influencer Marketing Strategy: How to Market Your Content Like a Proby: Dustin Hawley | Friday March 8, 2019
Long before the Influencer marketing industry existed, generations before they even coined the term, consumers have looked to experts in a particular field for guidance or inspiration. Be it celebrities the likes of screen icons or online celebs like style bloggers, these individuals gain the trust of their public, and in doing so, exhibit a tangible influence over their purchasing power.
We live in an era of social media stars, and the term “influencer” encompasses such a wide variety of socially savvy individuals who have become experts in their respective niches. Particularly, influencers residing in the beauty, business and tech space, among others, possess great abilities to reach difficult demographics. Sometimes, the best way to go is to tap into a network of individuals who have the trust and the admiration of the consumers you wish to reach. This is especially true for brands struggling to connect with their target audience.
However, the waters of influencer marketing are still very murky. The intricacies of each individual platform and network have birthed an industry devoted to connecting brands with the talent they need to get the word out. We now live in a world where consumers are turning a blind eye to traditional marketing content, and more and more so with every passing day. Influencer marketing helps to break the ice, and shatter misconceptions around its effectiveness.
So how does your brand break through the noise? Here are some tips and strategies to market your content like a pro.
How to Nail Your Campaign
Successful influencer campaigns aren't just thrown together on the fly with the hopes it has the desired effect. Rushing into influencer marketing is likely a recipe for disaster. Simply put, one of the most crucial steps in influencer marketing is to decide on your campaign goals and find the right people to work with. Those decisions essentially form the foundation of your campaign and lay the groundwork for its success. Influencer discovery is by far one of the most important steps in the process, and also one of the more difficult ones. Employing the services of an influencer marketing agency can help alleviate some of that pressure off of the decision makers in your organization.
There are a number of things to consider when you’re looking for the perfect influencers to run your campaign. Researching information like the influencers niche, their audience, engagement rates, geographic location, and social media presence are just the tip of the iceberg in determining the ideal candidates.
Beyond the influencer(s) you decide to contract for a particular campaign, the actual influencer marketing strategy you eventually choose to implement is an equally important element to its success. There are many tactics that can be deployed, and each is designed to help achieve a particular marketing goal. For example, if you’re looking to boost your sales or grow your conversion rate, social proof is likely the best way to go. However, if you want to improve your social media following and engagement rate, then a campaign based around a contest or a giveaway likely makes more sense. Additional tactics like social media takeovers can also help you with fresh content creation while building a buzz around your brand.
Sophisticated Targeting = More Conversions
If you haven't caught on to the overriding theme yet, its that data drives the decision making behind influencer marketing. So laying the groundwork before executing on tactics is the most important first step to the process. It’s also the step that many marketers skip. The outreach itself may engage them, but the results are often disappointing. This is because proper research was ignored, and the wrong influencers were targeted in the first place.
So how do you find the right influencers to target? Start by focusing on the audience you want to target, rather than the influencers themselves. Some influencer marketing strategies work better for B2C brands, while others are more effective for B2B companies. All of these details should be considered before proceeding with an influencer campaign. When researching influencers, use social media analytics tools that allow you to research their audience. For example, tools like Upfluence let you look for social influencers not only on the basis of keywords, engagement levels, follower numbers, etc., but also based on their actual audience – their locations, their genders, and their ages.
The key to pulling off a successful influencer marketing campaign is maintaining a data-driven approach. There are a couple of tools like Woopra, a customer intelligence platform, that can be utilized for this approach. Woopra takes customer and visitor data from your website and gives you granular information on them. With this data, you can build a profile of the customers, users, and visitors from your website who are most engaged and use it to find more. You can use this information to map out your target influencer audiences, which makes it easier to find and target the most ideal influencers for your campaign.
But keep in mind, an approach like this requires more than just automated tools and software. Time, energy, and manual effort need to also still be invested. Use Instagram hashtags to find those who contribute to conversations around topics relevant to your brand or industry. Google Alerts and Mention can also be useful when monitoring social media and online communities. Detail work like this makes your approach all the more targeted and well thought out.
Data Pushes the Needle, But Look Beyond The Numbers
When we think of what makes someone a social influencer, we tend to think of metrics like the number of followers/fans they have on their social accounts, right? It's only natural. When you see someone who has an audience of 200K followers on Instagram, you typically just assume that that also means they are influential simply because of the sheer volume of people who are following them.
However, that is not necessarily true. In fact, not in the slightest. And even if/when it is true, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are the right option for you, nor does it guarantee that their following translates into positive marketing results for your brand. In fact, the number of followers someone has is not even one of the top 2 metrics behind assessing the effectiveness of a particular influencer.
There are a lot of other factors that are ultimately much more important than their number of followers, and even their reach. Who exactly these people are reaching with their updates is perhaps the most important element of selecting influencers. At the end of the day, to achieve great results from your campaign, you must reach the right people – people who would be genuinely interested in your products or your services and who are likely to buy from you.
Take into account the relevancy of the influencer in terms of the content they usually share on their channels. Are they talking about topics relevant to your target audience? Are their “voices” in line with your brand identity?
Tools like Buzzsumo can be utilized to research their content or use a web monitoring tool like Brand24 to look up keywords and find social influencers based on these keywords.
Surprise and Delight, the cousin of underpromising and overdelivering
Marketers have been increasingly using the term “adding value" when discussing best practices around influencer marketing and creating digital content. But the term is becoming more and more clouded and indistinct, as it is often limited to comments, tweets, and shares. While these metrics certainly have their place in your marketing ecosystem, as mentioned above, success is constructed beyond the numbers. In order to truly delight with your influencer marketing activity, you have to think outside of the box.
In many ways, effective influencer marketing boils down to two things: personal desires and professional goals.
So let's say you've been monitoring your target influencers closely. You’ve discovered a lot about them, from what they love to do with their life, to the activities they’re executing in business. This is the specific knowledge needed to give you the power to surprise and delight them in a way that demonstrates authenticity.
Consider a tactic like guest blogging. Influencers are typically either promoting their products and services or pushing out their own content. At times, they may even be executing on a product launch for a brand partnership. Regardless of what they may be doing at the moment, a mention on a reputable publication or blog will always be appreciated. We can attest to this directly. After tagging and reaching out to an influencer on Instagram, we were granted permission to interview the influencer and write an article about his rise on social media. After the publication, he tagged our company in some of his Instagram Stories that promoted the article, completely organic and unrequested.
Mentioning influencers in content helps them get their message to a wider audience and both serve them and speed up the engagement process. It also brings attention and recognition of your brand to the influencer themselves. Relationships are built one on one, face to face. Getting to the “intimacy” stage of relationship building requires going deeper, and investing an effort in developing an authentic connection.
Paying attention to your target influencers’ business goals is certainly a worthwhile endeavor, but keep in mind they’re also passionate about other things in their personal lives as well. Here's a great example: Let’s say Gary Vaynerchuk is on your list of target influencers. For those who follow him intently on social media, you’ll notice he’s a diehard Nike fanatic. You can use this knowledge to get his attention, and the possibilities of how to do so are endless. You could find out his shoe size and send a limited edition pair of Nike trainers straight to his office if you are really looking to make a statement. Perhaps even design a cool box or container to ship them in to highlight your brand's creativity. Again, the possibilities are truly endless when it comes to applying personal knowledge of an influencer's wants, needs, and personality, to your relationship-building tactics.
Selecting an approach that goes the extra mile, such as the latter example, cuts through the noise and makes a statement beyond sending a simple message in hopes that he will be interested in working with your brand. With that approach, you would be lucky to even have the influencer see the message, let alone reach back out to your brand and express interest in building a relationship with you. There’s a vast opportunity in this approach when dealing with executives.
When it comes down to it, if you’re looking for shortcuts in your influencer marketing strategy, we have bad news for you: No amount of techniques or tactics are going to help you find those shortcuts because frankly, they don't exist. The two most important elements of a successful and synergistic influencer marketing campaign come down to:
- Strategy and Tactics
- Building strong, authentic relationships
True relationships are built by showing you actually care. Make sure you’re building mutually beneficial relationships with the right people. Once you are confident with this piece of the puzzle, be super personalized both online and in real life. Contribute to your influencers career goals and personal desires. This approach, in conjunction with the appropriate micro and macro data discussed above, is a surefire method to make your influencer marketing strategy produce amazing results. So what are you waiting for?