Marketing is an industry full of buzzwords, and one of today’s most popular is influencer marketing. If you’ve been living under a rock, influencer marketing is the act of promoting or selling products through people called influencers. Word of mouth has always been one of the most impactful marketing strategies, and influencer marketing takes it to the next level. Rather than targeting a large group of people and hoping a few take an interest in your brand, influencers are able to create a more individualized and authentic approach.
Socialtyze CEO John Bohan says most brands are approaching influencer marketing incorrectly. Many brands approach influencer marketing as either paid or earned marketing. However, this isn’t a cutting-edge idea anymore, so why not try something new?
Instead, make your influencer marketing strategy a long-term plan. Treat it like owned media.
Owned Media & Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is used by many companies as a part of their marketing strategy, and for a good reason: it produces results. According to a recent study by Tomoson, influencer marketing generates $6.50 in revenue for each $1 spend on average. Additionally, influencer outreach was named as the fastest-growing online customer acquisition channel; out-performing organic search, paid search, and email marketing.
However, most times companies see this strategy as either earned or paid, but to make a true impact, it’s time to reconsider that.
Rather than the come-and-go mindset, stay for a while. Instead of selecting influencers by their number of followers, take a more delicate approach to find the right long-term partners.
So how exactly do you transition from an earned or paid mindset to the more long-term owned strategy? These strategies can guide you in the right direction.
Find the Right Influencers and Set Your Purpose
Big name influencers include celebrities, athletes, and other public figures. But how much do they actually know about the brands, products, and services they represent?
Instead of looking for faces, look for hearts.
While celebrities can help bring in revenue, the real influence is going to come from people who already know and love your brand. Their voice will have a much more authentic message than those who are being paid to be a user. Often, these individuals are willing to do promotion for free in exchange for products. So not only can the right influencers bring authenticity to your promotions, but they tend to be easier on the bank account as well.
When you are looking for people to represent your brand, it is critical to establish a set of standards. Create a selection process based on influencer content fit, reach, and engagement. This will make it easier to filter influencers, and to find the strongest fit for your brand.
Build Strong Relationships
As with most relationships in life, influencer outreach should not be a one-way relationship. Too often, marketers get wrapped up in monitoring likes, engagement, and traffic, at the expense of taking care of the most important things: relationships.
You shouldn’t pay or ask an influencer to promote your product, wait for results, and then stop. People are more likely to help people who help them. So ask yourself, what can I bring to this relationship?
Influencers bring traffic and new consumers to your site, so take time to respond to the comments on their posts, reply to their tweets and repost their content. Fanmail, a mystery box companies for lady geeks, responds to every comment on an influencer post. To keep things long term, consider offering your chosen influencer a sponsorship, or make them a true brand ambassador.
If you do it right, the people you work with can become much more than influencers. They can be valuable players in creating a true sense of brand loyalty. In fact, 71% of marketers believe that ongoing ambassadorships are the most effective form of influencer marketing.
Create Your Outreach Strategy
With influencer outreach, strategy is key. Influencers are busy, and you shouldn’t expect them to focus all their time on you. They get partnerships offers every week (or every day!), so reach out to them to co-create a promotional calendar.
Personalization is critical in all aspects of marketing, and with influencers this is especially true. Nobody appreciates a message that is obviously a copy and paste, so make sure to personalize all messaging to influencers.
Lastly, don’t make any demands. When pitching for something, it is essential to always be polite. Instead of making a demand, present it as a request. A friendly tone is the foundation to fostering a lasting relationship.
Owned Influencer Outreach
Nowadays, brands are bombarding the marketplace with content, and to stand out, you need to be different. So step back from the traditional paid and earned media, and utilize these tips to break through and create long-lasting and influential relationships with those who have the power and authenticity to make a difference.
If you’re looking for help with influencer marketing tactics, get in touch with Chicago digital agency Mabbly.