What Works in Influencer Marketing in 2019by: Dustin Hawley | Wednesday August 21, 2019
Our lifestyles have evolved dramatically over the past decade, both in terms of culture and advances in technology. This evolution has also spilled over into marketing in the modern world. Advertising methods that were effective just a few years ago, like billboard or television advertising, have fallen victim to this everchanging landscape and become tactics of yesteryear. Today's most common media outlet (the internet) has quickly positioned itself as the most preferred medium for marketing. But even as digital marketing on the internet has grown more prevalent, we are still in the midst of continuous change. Nowadays, ads on websites are no longer even effective enough to hang your hat on. Hence, we are now in an age of a new form of advertising: influencer marketing.
Whether you have dipped your toes in the waters of influencer marketing or not, you've likely witnessed the rise of this tactic over the past few years, and have at least considered whether or not influencer marketing is right for your brand. But how do you know what works? What are the most effective methods and best practices to keep in mind? While there is no treasure map to the perfect influencer marketing campaign, there are a number of key elements that really work in influencer marketing, and we will break down a few of them in this article.
Having a clear objective
So how do you use influencer marketing? First and foremost, it's important to outline a clear strategy to achieve the established objectives for each campaign. Some of the most common objectives in influencer marketing campaigns are:
- Brand loyalty
Establishing a clear objective is one of the most important elements when launching your campaign. So before you begin contacting influencers or producing content, ensure you have created a strategy with specific goals.
Producing Real and authentic content
Organic content is one of the most powerful ways to influence an audience and should be kept top of mind during your social media content creation. Steering clear of 'commercial' content is paramount since 'salesy' campaigns often don’t do very well in this particular sector. Successful campaigns should look authentic and original if they hope to make an impact. This is where spokespeople like micro-influencers shine because they are able to communicate a sense of trust and security to their followers; they know how to communicate their feelings and experiences in a way that makes their content feel very genuine and authentic.
Regardless of the size or quantity of influencers, you plan to use for your campaign, creating consistently authentic content is your key to success, especially for brands looking to establish trust with their target consumer.
Establishing Influencer relationships
You may be asking yourself "How do I find influencers to work with?" While utilizing an influencer platform or partnering with an influencer marketing agency can bridge the gap between brand and influencer, at the end of the day, your relationship with your influencer will directly determine the success of every campaign. Influencers are professionals, and brands should aim to create mutually beneficial agreements with their influencers and treat them as if they were a brand themselves (because many of them actually are). If you do not establish trust and respect with an influencer, and your relationship with them is negative in any way, your campaign results will likely also be negative. Trusting your influencer and trying to make the collaboration as natural and organic as possible cannot be overstated. If the relationship feels forced or unnatural in any way, this will likely have a negative effect on the consumer as well.
Keep this in mind: the more faithful an influencer is to your brand, the better the return will be on your investment. Whether we like it or not, no amount of money can change opinions; the most effective campaigns achieve great results because of the natural way in which an influencer communicates their experience or opinion of your brand.
The saying goes "inspiration comes in many forms", and influencer marketing is not different. While there may be a litany of fads and trends that come and go on social media, one trend that likely will never go out of style is inspiration. Inspiration is something we all covet in some regard or another, and influencers are uniquely positioned to tell genuine, relatable stories on how they use your product or service. Influencers have an inherent ability to inspire their audience, and it's also a key factor in how influencers contribute to the purchase decision.
Giving Influencers Creative Freedom
As we touched on above when discussing the importance of establishing influencer relationships, the best partnerships between brand and influencer are mutually beneficial. Successful influencer partnerships are the ones where both the brand and influencer receive buzz and exposure. In the same breath, each party also receives validation and social proof as a result of the partnership. When choosing an influencer, brands should look to select someone that is a natural fit for the brand. What entails a 'natural fit' you ask? It means that an influencer's content should reflect the values of your brand prior to any partnership.
One of the biggest reasons influencers are so successful is because they are authentic and genuine. Brands shouldn't only allow influencers to retain their creativity and personal style during partnerships...they should also encourage it. Influencers have built their audiences as a result of their original content, and content that is blatantly branded diminishes the influencer’s natural appeal to their audience.
Focusing on Organic Posts and Content
Banner blindness is a very real affliction. Consumers today know when brands are marketing to them, and after decades of being inundated with traditional ads, most consumers are all but immune to them. With the rise of ad blockers, native advertising can often be far more effective than branded advertising.
Influencer marketing ads appear to be native and organic when they are well developed and executed. Instead of having influencers push a product or employ traditional product placement in their content, influencers should aim to integrate the brand’s product into their content in a way that reflects their existing values and characteristics. It can't be stated enough: successful influencer marketing lies in authenticity – if there's too much “product placement” or the content is overly branded, you diminish the very trait that makes influencer marketing so effective.
There's no denying that influencers (and influencer marketing) aren't going anywhere. However, the world of influencer marketing can change a great deal in a very short amount of time. What is effective and popular today can be just as quickly viewed as yesterday's news. What the market looks like right now, and in the next 5 weeks, months, years...will all but assuredly be rapidly changing day by day, minute by minute. Hopefully, this guide will help your brand get started with building a strategy and knowing what it is about influencer marketing that makes it so effective.
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