When it comes to marketing, staying ahead of the trends is crucial — especially in an industry as competitive as retail.
For many brands, creating an influencer strategy is a great way to boost marketing in today’s digitally-fixated world. The global influencer market was worth $6.5 billion in 2019 alone, according to a report by Statista. And that figure is only expected to rise in the coming years. Although influencer marketing isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, there are several factors that can help you determine if this marketing strategy is right for your business. Let’s begin.
Takes the guesswork out of generating content
The growth of TikTok just goes to show that today’s creators can generate content at a rapid pace. Great influencers are more than just pretty faces for advertising, they’re digital natives who can craft authentic content that speaks directly to their audience. That said, you can still give your influencers talking points that they should emphasize in their posts. This is especially helpful for companies who are looking to penetrate new markets and don’t know where to begin.
Consumers trust influencers more
Influencers wield a lot of power over consumer trust. This is in part because influencers take the time to actively engage with their audience, thereby forming social connections that are hard to beat. Research on changing consumer behavior by HP notes that Chinese companies are leveling up their digital marketing strategies through influencer livestreams and private messaging channels for VIP customers. From an operational standpoint, these digital avenues provide your company with more information on consumer behavior that you can later use to inform campaigns. Because of the strong pull these influencers have, relying on them for your marketing also increases exposure to other target groups you might not have had access to previously.
Get ready to research
As with any good marketing campaign, influencer strategies require lots of research. While you may be tempted to go for macro-influencers right out of the gate, international marketing director Rafael Schwarz points out that micro-influencers (who typically have around 10,000 to 100,000 followers) are actually your best bet for directly reaching your customers. It’s not just their following you have to consider; when picking an influencer, you need to consider their niche, the kinds of posts they create, how they interact with their followers, and the like.
Tracking the campaigns
In terms of interacting with their audience, you and your team will have to measure social media analytics to gauge how effective your influencer marketing strategy is. These tasks can be delegated within your current team, but you might find that you need to hire a new staff member or two to help keep track of these partnerships. Even if you don’t hire new staff, the likes of Buzzsumo and Awario are analytics tools your company can use to track audience engagement. In reality, successful influencer marketing relies on the use of tech tools as well as trained staff members that can crunch the numbers. If you want your campaigns to succeed, be ready to invest in these costs upfront.
It’s safe to say that the pros outweigh the cons. As with any marketing campaign, thorough preparation is key to making your company’s influencer strategy succeed.
Best practices for starting your influencer strategy
Once you’ve decided to adopt an influencer strategy, the next thing to do is implement it. Below are some best practices to adopt when planning out this new marketing campaign.
Make it personal. Even micro-influencers get requests from several companies a day asking for partnerships, so you’ll have to do a bit of legwork to stand out. This is where prior research comes in handy: when reaching out to an influencer, make sure to mention some of their content and make it clear why you’re partnering with them specifically. Stony Clover Lane started their outreach program by sending influencers personalized gift bags, which is something you can also consider once your company has enough capital to do so.
Choose influencers whose ideas align with yours. Fashion influencer Nyome Nicholas-Williams caused quite a stir when she called out Instagram’s treatment of plus-sized bodies, causing the platform to revisit their posting policies. Lots of influencers are using their platform to advocate for causes they believe in, so partnering with those whose vision aligns with your own can result in authentic messages that your audience will appreciate.
Diversify your partnerships. While you should be partnering with influencers that operate within the same niche as your company, don’t rely on just two or three. Häagen-Dazs’ recent influencer campaign tapped into audiences on both Instagram and TikTok, which ended up doubling their Amazon sales. We mentioned the benefits of partnering up with micro-influencers early on in the piece — it’s better to partner with several micro-influencers than hedge your bets on a handful of macro-influencers who might not respond to you.
Give your influencers creative license. PR Week states that the secret to a strong influencer campaign is trust. Think of influencers as brand partners. After all, it’s their ability to generate content that got you to partner with them in the first place! That’s the beauty of influencer marketing, as you’ll get to see how all of these different individuals interact with your product.
Aimee Bills is a business consultant who is passionate about bringing innovative practices to the forefront of different industries. When she’s not in a call, you’ll find her meditating in her garden that she tends to on weekends.