Five steps to working with an influencer

Influencers are quickly becoming recognised as one of the most effective forms of marketing for brands. Why? Simply because influencers have the reach to get your message heard to a wider audience, often in an authentic way that people trust. This is a big deal because trust isn’t something advertisers or brands can buy. According to a study by Twitter, 49% of consumers seek purchase guidance from social media influencers. That’s a pretty huge amount.

At Wilderness we have recently worked with YouTube sensation Dan TDM. Dan The Diamond Minecart (to those in the know) is a huge online gaming phenomenon, with over 13 million YouTube subscribers, and an average of 400 million views a month. We worked with Dan and Orion Books to help promote Dan’s book: Trayaurus and the Enchanted Crystal. Given Dan’s huge online audience we wanted to engage his fans with a gaming concept that could immerse fans in the world Dan created. We created The Crystal Hunter, a card based game, which allowed fans to play and challenge characters created in Dan TDM’s world.

In the opening weekend, the game became an online smash with over 1.1 million plays in just 48 hours. This was achieved without any traditional or digital ad spend but was simply promoted using Dan’s existing YouTube channel.

So the question stands: how can you work better with influencers to promote your brand or product?

Read on to find our top five tips on how you can integrate and work better with influencers.

Step 1

Identify and engage influencers that are relevant to your product, brand or audience (celebs don’t always make the best influencers!)

When you’re thinking about promoting your brand, it’s important to identify a relevant ‘influencer’ be it a celebrity, expert or analyst, social influencer, blogger or journalist. For a long time celebrities were the go-to ‘influencers’ given they have historically endorsed and promoted products and brands. But as social media has developed over the last decade and the trend for social influencers on different platforms has emerged alongside the decline in traditional media the balance of power has shifted. Social Influencers have taken on a new importance, given their ability to relate to a younger audience in a likeable and authentic way.

When we were briefed by Orion Books to help promote Dan TDM’s book, we knew that a traditional approach wouldn’t work. So, taking our Curated Storytelling approach, we looked to create an engaging activation that allowed fans to drive the narrative of our campaign. We knew that Dan’s fan-base of Minecraft players would value a game and this would allow us to educate non-fans on the characters and world Dan has created.

Step 2

Create something of value to the influencer’s audience, as well as your own.

When working with an influencer it’s vital to consider not only your brands audience but that of the influencer as well. Thinking about this dual audience throughout the process will ensure you create content that resonates with your audience and create more lasting value for your product or brand.

In our recent case study with Dan TDM we knew that a game would resonate with Dan’s online audience but wanted to create something that would educate new fans and provide more lasting value to Orion Books for any potential future book launches.

Step 3

Engage fans in the format and on the channels they expect

It’s one thing creating content that might appeal to both your audience and that of your chosen influencer — but if you haven’t thought about the most suitable channel in which to engage people then you may not reach both audiences.

Using traditional media to engage digital audiences can prove ineffective and according to We Are Social’s annual report, half of the world’s web traffic comes from mobile. The younger audiences behaviors are changing with dwell times reducing and greater reliance on short-form video.

According to BrandWatch, in 2015, 18–49 year-olds spent 4% less time watching TV while time on YouTube went up 74%. Which really taps into the effectiveness of why we chose video to promote Dan’s book through our game.

Step 4

Understand and track the success of your influencer activity

Each campaign you work on is different, and therefore each platform you choose to use varies depending on the brand, message and content you want to convey.

Instagram for instance is key if you want to target brand awareness, with an average of 400 million Monthly Active Users. Twitter uses hashtags and links to convey a brand message with 77% of Twitter users feeling more positive about a brand when their Tweet has been replied to or re-tweeted. Each of these forms of messaging rely on a punchy line or image to really make the content fly.

Video on the other hand has become a means to cut through a lot of traditional marketing noise, as people are known to engage more when messages are visually displayed to them. There are 3.25 billion hours of video watched each month with more than half of YouTube views coming from mobile, which speaks volumes. We knew that our metrics for Dan TDM depended on both entries on the scoreboard and clicks to purchase through Amazon retail links and here at Wilderness, we have numerous ways to track the metrics for this.

Step 5

Build lasting partnerships with influencers — turning the influencer and their audience into advocates

Using influencers to market your brand is one thing, but creating lasting and meaningful relationships between your influencer and their fan base is essential. Influencers are passionate about the work they do and they are selective on what they are willing to promote to their audience. One wrong step could lose them followers and ultimately influence.

Always define your brand goals and think clearly about how your chosen influencer can interpret your message, whilst given them the creative freedom to produce content that appeals and resonates with their audience. Rather than thinking about your relationship with the influencer as a one-time thing, consider how they might help you create or re-intrept your brand story story with content throughout a longer period. As well as having influencers create content, provide them opportunities to deepen their links with your brand and audience, through promotional events, exclusive access or first-view of a product.