Influencer Marketing are all the rage when it comes to marketing, but are they a passing fad, a dodgy deal or a goose that can help lay the golden egg? With all the media hype over the trend, it can be easy to rush in unprepared and fluff the deal or deliver the wrong type of content. Consider these key points and mistakes to avoid before trying to influence new customers.
It’s not all about the influencer, have a plan first!
While influencer marketing can require snap judgment calls and rapid on-the-go decision making, don’t do anything without a clear plan or get carried away by the hype of opportunity. Everyone involved, especially if someone from outside the core marketing team is roping in an influencer, should be aware of the core reasons behind the marketing and what the key goals are.
If someone jumps up in a meeting going “hey, influencer x wants to use our product for $50,000” or some other outlandish claim, there needs to be a solid business case for spending the money and some measurable metric in place to measure the return. This is no different to any other kind of marketing plan, so should be easy to set up in short order. But if the numbers don’t add up, (i.e., your influencer only has 2,500 followers on Instagram and a 2% hit rate would only generate $50 each) then turn down the offer, or make a counter-offer.
Don’t assume your influencer is a good one
With the plan in place, draw up a list of likely influencers that have some ways in your marketplace or the area or specific type of customers you wish to target. If influencers marketing are knocking on the door, check out their track record and dig deep into response rates and feedback from their previous efforts.
A good influencer marketing does more than just make the initial post and is about more than just their number of followers. They will be prepared to talk about a product and engage with their audience. Also, explore the influencer’s past posts and look for any sign of negative comments, abusive tone or anything else that could bring an influencer post crashing down.
While getting an influencer on-board isn’t the same as hiring via a typical job interview, attempt to get some insight into how they work and some feedback on how they plan to use your product or service. If you can get a contract in writing, do so covering what your company expects from the influencer.
Do they and the platforms they use a crossover with your audience?
Depending on the product you may prefer that the influencer uses one social media platform over another, use research to find out which will be most suitable. This can be based on your previous social media efforts. Instagram might be the most popular platform, but others may be more suitable, especially for business or niche products.
Don’t rely on their influencer post as the total marketing effort. Tease the upcoming posts where possible to build up some interest, and share the influencer posts widely. Whatever the initial outcome, you should attempt to contract with them for a series of posts across a range of media to maximize the exposure your business gets, and if it works well are in a position to work with them into the future.
You don’t own the influencer
Your influencer might be compliant throughout the marketing process, and follow the terms of a contract. But if it proves a success, there is nothing to stop your rivals using them or for the influencer to see your market as easy money and make themselves available to others.
Ensure via contract that this doesn’t happen until a reasonable time has passed, but be prepared to make the most of the influencer while you have them, but don’t expect them to be shy about picking up other opportunities.
Don’t blow your budget on one influencer when a micro- or nano-influencer will do
It can be tempting to rush out and grab the first celebrity or relevant influencer that comes to mind or fits your bill. However, with a little digging, your marketing team can often find one or a few micro-influencers (those with only a few thousand or less followers) but who make an outsized impact in a particular niche.
Do you blindly believe the follower numbers?
Social media sites have gone a long way to culling bot and fake accounts that were used to inflate influencer account numbers – and the fees they charged. However, manipulation can still be done on a small scale. Check out influencer growth histories and look for unexplained jumps or suspicious activity in the run-up to your work with them.
Don’t abandon traditional marketing
Those marketers who live and breathe in the online bubble might be taken in by the influencer hype and the banter that no one clicks on adverts or believes in brands anymore. Your own data should tell you this isn’t true, and the influencer effort needs to fit in alongside these efforts, and not run like a stampede over them.
Don’t break the advertising rules
Depending on your market, there are both regular advertising rules to follow and possibly other laws to consider when adopting influencer marketing. Medical, legal and banking all have their own issues with influencer marketing. The days of free-for-all influencing are already over, so ensure your campaign has some basis in reality and honesty.
This recent dental reaction piece to influencers shows how careful particular brands have to be. Ensure that clarity and transparency are a key part of the influencer effort, have legal or outside parties check any material follows the rules and that the tone of any influencer posting doesn’t stray too far into marketing fantasy.