We love influencer marketing because it takes your campaigns where SEO, content marketing, and social media marketing can’t. Obviously, things have changed in the digital marketing sphere. What used to work no longer works as effectively. Thus, every now and then we look for novel ways to get to audiences. Brands now invariably need the help of influencers, social media authorities, and brand advocates.
Influencers are observant go-getters. They study social media trends. They know what people are talking about. They know how to attract attention. Influencers are goal-driven and competitive. The choose their content and track which ones gain more engagement. They do this consciously or unconsciously. These people work to gain reach and engagement, not because they’re attention seekers, but because they understand the profitability of such stats. Of course, a few others are just lucky.
They plow the social media better than marketers, whether we admit that or not. Social influencers do it so naturally that you barely see their footprints, let alone retrace them. This is why in most cases, it’s more efficient to just court them than to replicate their act.
ONE: Influencers know your audience. You don’t.
Your audience is their audience! This is one thing companies need to realize. Influencer marketing may seem like you’re going to take the podium from your influencer and talk to their audience instead. No! Influencers know how to talk to their audience, so let them do the talking. When you steal the spotlight from them, you leave their audience wondering. You become that alien voice their people don’t recognize. This stirs trouble both for the influencer and you, and the former won’t allow that to happen.
You stay where you are — in the backdrop. Let your influencer speak to their audience, because they’ll do it better than you. You will collaborate with them, by which time you’ll gain more understanding of their audience in general and you become more familiar with talking with them. Marketing with influencers is hardly in the form of you taking their pose. It’s in the form of you giving them the creative and strategic freedom to create content that they know resonates well with their followers.
You know what you should do? Amplify their social media content by sponsoring it. Use your marketing budget this way.
TWO: Influencer marketing is cheaper than traditional advertising.
You can’t get clever with an advertiser. At the end of the day, he will have to charge you for doing his job. You’re hiring someone who doesn’t care about your brand.
However, you can make connections with an influencer, make deals they can’t refuse, and start partnerships without spending anything. Depending on your interpersonal and rapport building skills, you can get an influencer to work with you without having to spend so much.
THREE: Influencer outreach is tricky. The challenge is real.
If an influencer marketing agency tells you it’s easy to find social media influencers, run away. These people don’t have a clue or are in some underhanded business of making you believe they’re getting influencers to work for your brand.
Influencer targeting and outreach take weeks, even months, of finding the right people in your industry, sifting through your shortlist, and connecting with them organically. Influencer marketing companies make it look so easy. In reality, it takes a while, and mistakes are inevitable.
We want a celebrity to influence our audience. But celebrities don’t work readily with brands. Consumers would also rather ask recommendations from friends and families. But hardly anyone’s friend has substantial engagement. That’s the dilemma. We have to find a sweet spot, and usually that’s a following between 10K-100K. Engagement density is highest at this range of following. There are exceptions, of course.
Influencer marketing tools can help you find the right people in your niche. In fact, we use tools to help clients find influencers. But don’t just rely on tools. You have check social channels. Look at engagement. Read comments.
FOUR: Working with an influencer takes compromise and agreement.
CEOs have to admit that they are tapping into a form of assistance that isn’t under their control. Influencer marketing is not like hiring a marketer. You don’t hire influencers. You court them so they will willingly support your brand.
Part of influencer targeting involves matching your brand campaign with the influencer’s content and style. If they don’t match, you have to look somewhere else. The mistake is go on and waste your resources trying to make it work. A comic, for instance, will make your brand look like a joke. It doesn’t matter whether he has a million followers. You can’t ask to change his tone just because you’re now working together. Doing so hurts both of you, and neither of you should make such an agreement.
Most importantly, don’t presume you have control over your influencer. Regardless of your influencer marketing platform, influencers are best trusted to craft your brand’s message on your behalf. Don’t get us wrong. You know what to say, but they know how to say it to their followers. Guide them, but never take away their voice.
FIVE: Influencer marketing can become a fiasco.
Everything can fail when you don’t do your homework. You look them up and sort them out. You talk to candidates, look into their channels, and get to know them better. All the steps are necessary so that you get the right people.
But it’s a foolproof process. An influencer can change his mind. Or your campaign may fizzle out and not budge your sales. When these things happen, you need to reevaluate your influencer marketing strategy. Poor planning and implementation can lead to failures. Choosing the wrong influencer leads to failure. Bad budget decisions can harm a project altogether.
We have heard of horror stories of new companies hiring celebrity influencers to promote events only to realize they literally exhausted funds on promotions that nothing was left for the actual events.
Try your ideas on small activities before investing in major projects.
SIX: In many cases, micro-influencers are your best friends.
It’s counterintuitive to not hunt for influencers with a million followers. They have massive reach and engagement. At face value, it does look like these people enjoy hundreds and thousands of likes, shares, and comments. But if you calculate the ratio of their following size to their engagement, you will realize people with less following have better engagement.
Another issue with mega-influencers is their relationship with their followers. The more followers you have, the less you’re able to interact with all of them. Influencer marketing statistics shows that micro-influencers have better engagement, both in terms of density and quality.
Over the years, influencer marketing with and through people with massive follower counts lead to a number of problems. It costs more to work with them. They have more heterogeneous audience. Their content has higher response rate.
It looks like you’re better off building relationships with several micro-influencers than put all your influencer marketing budget on a single partnership with a super famous figure.