Some Ins and Outs of Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing has experienced some setbacks over the last few months. Some marketers may be tempted to shy away. They shouldn’t, because this is still a very viable and strong method where brands and businesses can promote their products and services through the use of social media and influencers that consumers trust and relate to. The secret to successful influencer marketing is knowing its true purpose, and what to keep in mind when generating the three-way connection between the brand, the influencer (or “brand ambassador”), and his or her followers and fans.
A cautionary lesson of what not to do in influencer marketing.
Two weeks ago, Megan Graham reported in CNBC on the proliferation of fake social media followers in influencer marketing, which will cost brands involved $1.3 billion. It seems that some brands have given into the temptation to appear more popular by resorting to unscrupulous practices ranging from buying fake social media followers to paying for bots to “like” and comment on posts. This situation gives influencer marketing a bad name, and everyone – from sophisticated agents who track these practices to savvy online consumers – can sooner or later distinguish between honest and dishonest practices on social media.
And then, there was this development on Instagram.
As if the discovery and disgrace of these dishonest practices were not enough to put a negative spin on influencer marketing, top social media platform Instagram recently implemented the practice of hiding the number of likes a post can receive. This has changed the rules and practices for digital advertising on social media, and influencers who rely on lots of followers and lots of likes are especially at risk. Fortunately, added resources provided by paid digital are likely to help benefit the influencer marketing portion of a campaign, regardless if the actual number of likes is hidden.
What to be mindful of in effective influencer marketing.
Regardless of the grim developments described above – don’t despair, and don’t give up on influencer marketing. With social media at the forefront of consumers’ lives, influencer marketing remains a powerful and vital method of promoting your brand’s message if carried out correctly, patiently – and above all – honestly. Here are some concrete and practical tips from Influencer Marketing Hub on what to keep in mind in creating a sensible influencer marketing campaign.
A successful influencer marketing campaign is:
- An organized strategy, with proper time and effort given to planning, budgeting, and research.
- Tended to with patience – with the concept of “person-to-person” (not “company-to-company”) as the guiding thought.
- Carefully scheduled to cater and appeal to the influencer’s preferred methods of communication and frequency to post on social media (e.g., weekly, monthly, etc.)
- Integrated with other related brand collateral such as public relations and new product releases.
Conversely, a successful influencer marketing campaign is not:
- Intended as a “get rich quick” means of selling a brand to customers. (Just reread the section above about the fake followers. The idea of “easy money” was likely the motivation behind that stunt.)
- Choosing a popular ambassador and offering them lots of money to represent a brand by virtue of the number of social media followers he or she has. The right influencer who is genuinely interested and respects a particular brand will connect with an audience far more effectively than a “talking head” for hire.
The “big three” of influencer marketing.
As a supplement to what works and what doesn’t work in devising an influencer marketing program, several basic but strong principles were recently outlined by Scott Douglas Clary in Forbes:
- Being authentic: Tying in with the point about matching and thereby connecting brand, influencer, and audience, there is no more important factor than authenticity in believing in and standing by a brand’s messaging. (Mr. Clary says this is a “non-negotiable” part of influencer marketing.)
- Being relatable: All content should clearly “speak” through the influencer to his or her audience and address their needs, wants, or pain points. Influencer marketing does not exist simply to promote brands. It is about creating connections and inclusiveness among the members of the influencer’s respective audiences.
- Being topical: The ability for an influencer to stay in touch with the times and current events helps create a sense of trust in his or her audience. The influencer displays knowledge of what’s going on in the world on social media, and the audience by extension feels more in-step with the times.
It should be remembered that fostering a genuine and personal connection with an audience is still the most powerful form of marketing. Yes, influencer marketing. For more information on how EGC can help give your brand a “personal touch” in reaching your target audience through social media, digital marketing, influencer marketing, or other services, contact us today.