The 3 Pillars That Should Drive Every Influencer Marketing Campaign
If you’re new to influencer marketing, then this is the article for you.
Over the past few years, more and more brands (big and small) have started allocating advertising budgets to what is now known as “influencer marketing.” You’ve probably heard the term, and if you haven’t then you’re at least familiar with the concept of people having massive followings on social media.
Ten years ago, we called these people weird for posting videos of themselves on YouTube.
Today, these people are now called “influencers.”
The more it resembles an ad, the less people will pay attention. The goal is to let the influencer seamlessly weave the brand into their everyday content as authentically as possible.
In a nutshell, influencer marketing is an advertising strategy that involves a brand essentially sponsoring an individual with a massive following on social media: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. But the key to running an effective influencer marketing campaign is to make the integration of the brand as natural as possible. The more it resembles an ad, the less people will pay attention. The goal is to let the influencer seamlessly weave the brand into their everyday content as authentically as possible.
While this might sound easy in theory, it’s actually incredibly difficult to do well. First of all, if you’re a brand that wants massive exposure through an influencer, handing over creative control and a six-figure budget to a social media-famous teenager is about as risky as it gets. Actually, this is why so many brands have been hesitant to dive into influencer marketing, because they worry about what might happen if they associate with the wrong person.
Second, when coordinating an influencer campaign with five, ten, thirty different influencers, things can take a turn for the worse when expectations aren’t properly communicated. You’re not setting up automated Facebook ads here. You’re working with individuals, each of whom has their own unique style and approach.
The brands that have made the jump into influencer marketing, though, have seen its potential, and are now moving more and more of their advertising spend into the strategy. Why? Because people don’t pay attention to ads that disrupt their feeds. But they absolutely listen when their favorite influencer represents a product or brand in a way that looks cool.
In order to run a successful influencer marketing campaign, here’s what you need to keep in mind — and what pillars should be driving your decisions:
1. Connect with the right influencers.
As I mentioned, a campaign can go very, very wrong when you align with the wrong influencers. You’re either going to end up missing the mark because the influencers you’ve chosen aren’t the right fit for the brand’s target audience, or (worst-case scenario) you’re going to end up associated with an influencer that has a controversial reputation.
For example, this past year Disney severed its relationship with massively popular YouTuber PewDiePie after discovering videos he had made featuring anti-Semitic jokes.
This sort of situation doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it takes a while to fix. So, before you start approaching influencers that have massive audiences with the hopes of exposure, do your due diligence. Really look for influencers that are going to represent the brand well, instead of chasing popularity.
2. Inspire the right kinds of content.
Where so many influencer campaigns go haywire is when brands aren’t able to let the influencers themselves be part of the creative process. They insist that an influencer post a certain type of content instead of understanding that the influencer is going to know their audience best, and that they should be trusted to create something that will resonate.
Part of this is on the brand, but it’s also the responsibility of the agency facilitating the relationship. For example, when we run campaigns at theAmplify, we work hard to set the right expectations for all parties involved, and do everything possible to inspire the influencers we work with. We want them to be very involved in the creative process, and give them the freedom to run with their own ideas. Then, before the campaign goes live, we make sure the content aligns with the brand and delivers on expectations.
3. Measure the impact.
And finally, no campaign is complete without a recap of what happened: what worked well, what didn’t, and what takeaways can be extracted for the next one.
The reason this is so important is because when it comes to marketing, you very rarely hit a home run your first try. We’ve been doing this long enough at theAmplify that we’ve found best practices we know work well, but every brand is different. Every audience has their own preferences and behaviors. Every campaign has different variables. It’s extremely important to constantly review how certain content types perform, which influencers drive the biggest impact, and what lessons can be applied to the next campaign.
If you’re a brand looking to get into influencer marketing, then it’s this third pillar I would encourage you to pay the closest attention to. Data doesn’t lie. And as you begin to test the waters of having influencers tell your brand story, you will begin to see what works well and what doesn’t work so well.
When you find an influencer that really moves the needle for your brand, stick with them. They can be a tremendous ally in your fight for consumer attention.
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Please comment below if this resonated with you, and reach out to me on Twitter or by email (justin@theAmplify.com) to tell me your thoughts.