Within the ever-changing world of social media, brands are embracing influencer marketing as the latest and greatest tactic to build brand awareness and promote social media engagement. Influencer marketing is a form of digital PR that allows brands and influencers to form partnerships that promote the brand on social media while compensating the influencer. Today, influencer marketing has proven to be an extremely viable marketing and advertising strategy for many brands. However, as with any marketing tactic, there are some Dos and Don’ts you should consider before you jump headfirst into influencer marketing.
Don’t: Only consider macro-influencers when trying to promote your brand.
Although big-name celebrities and influencers may seem like the best way to promote a product, the engagement that comes with larger influencers is often much lower in comparison to their micro-influencer counterparts. It is also important to consider the fact that prices are much higher when working with macro-influencers making it far more difficult to benefit from a partnership. While in some case working with a macro Influencer can be effective, they are often more difficult to obtain and far more costly producing a low ROI,
Do: Look for micro-influencers that have an audience that already aligns with your consumer.
A popular alternative to the macro-influencers that so many companies covet are micro-influencers. These influencers have fewer followers than macro-influencers however they tend to have higher engagement than their counterparts leading to better returns. One key strategy when working with micro-influencers is to conduct research on their audience to ensure that it aligns with the mission of the brand you are trying to promote. Not to mention micro-influencers also come with a smaller price tag giving marketers more flexibility to try different marketing strategies with multiple micro-influencers.
Don’t: Focus only on the numbers
While the size of the following and rates of engagement among the influencer’s audience is important; looking past the numbers and finding influencers that produce high-quality content and fit your brand is what will lead to more success. Before deciding to work with an influencer, it is key to make sure that their content is authentic. Ways to ensure authenticity include checking to see what brands they have worked with in the past and making sure their social media presence is broader than paid partnerships.
Do: Look at the overall brand and style of the influencer
One of the best ways to look at the overall style of the influencer is to research their followers and what they have promoted in the past. For example, if the influencer you are considering working with has promoted a competing brand in the past you may not want to work with them due to the lack of authenticity that this would cause for viewers.
Don’t: Allow influencers to be unclear about getting paid for a post
In the past, many influencers did not disclose to their followers that they were being paid to share a post on a product; the guidelines have since changed. This may seem simple but in order to avoid any legal troubles, it is imperative to follow FTC guidelines to maintain authenticity and avoid fines or penalties. It is equally important that any influencer you are working with follows these rules when promoting your brand.
Do: Follow all guidelines set by the FTC when it comes to influencer marketing
By following the guidelines set by the FTC, marketers and influencers can be transparent with their audience about their partnership. A few sure ways to follow these guidelines is to put the #ad or #sponsored at the end of each post that you pay the influencer for. However, if these hashtags seem inauthentic to some audiences brands also use the hashtag #brandpartner to keep their audience engaged.
Don’t: Work with influencers just for brand awareness
With the rising cost of influencer marketing, it is important that influencers work to promote your brand or product in a specific way. In the past and still today some brands simply use influencers for general brand awareness. While doing this can be helpful it is also difficult to track and can lead to costly influencer marketing campaigns with low ROI.
Do: Track the results of influencers
When beginning to work with influencers it is important to have parameters to check their progress. Before beginning a campaign be clear about the results you would like to see from paid posts based on their following and past work of the influencer. Some parameters that can make it easier to track the effectiveness of the influencer are giving them promo codes or looking at the number of likes or comments on your sponsored posts.
Don’t: Lose contact with influencers after their campaign or post has been completed
After a campaign, you may be tempted to thank the influencer and move on. However, this may cost you future partnerships with that influencer. This may seem simple, but it is critical to treat the influencer like a valued partner as opposed to a single post or campaign.
Do: Cultivate a partnership with the influencer
When you cultivate a partnership with the influencer, you will gain better and more authentic posts regarding your product. The influencer will also be more willing to work with you on multiple campaigns allowing for a longstanding relationship with their audience.
Don’t: Only use Instagram when working with influencers
While Instagram is the leading platform for influencers today, trends and preferences are constantly changing. That is why many marketers find it helpful to use many different social media platforms to promote their brand. Finding influencers that use different media platforms is often more effective because they can reach their audience with different mediums.
Do: Consider using many different social media platforms for the best results
To be clear, Instagram is still a very helpful option when promoting your brand. However, when combined with other mediums this can lead to greater ROI for your brand. An example of another platform that can be used is YouTube. Many people tend to trust YouTube personalities more than celebrities and influencers because they are more relatable. According to a study conducted by Think with Google, 70% of teenage YouTube subscribers say they relate more to Youtube creators versus traditional celebrities. With this trust comes higher engagement and better results for your brand.
Don’t: Be extremely specific about the style of the post or campaign
When it comes to influencer marketing, it is important to give the influencer some degree of creativity when they are promoting your brand. Although it is important to give the influencer some guidance about the number of posts and general style ideas, the more freedom the influencer is given the more likely it is that the influencer will promote your brand with enthusiasm and authenticity.
Do: Allow influencers freedom and creativity when it comes to promoting your product or brand
As marketers, it may be difficult to give influencers more freedom when it comes to marketing your brand, but this is something that cannot be overlooked. Without some creative freedom, the post may not fit with the brand and style of the influencer which may make the post less effective.
Don’t: Expect influencers to work with you without monetary compensation
In the early days of influencer marketing, many influencers would post in exchange for free merchandise or discounts but this can no longer be expected for most influencers. Many influencers spend large amounts of time curating their social media platforms because this compensation is expected in exchange for a post from a prominent influencer.
Do: Offer fair compensation and negotiate
Although compensation is expected, you should feel free to negotiate a fair price in exchange for a post. Most influencers will be more likely to negotiate when they are passionate about your product or brand. That is why finding influencers whose audience aligns with your key demographic is key in influencer marketing.
Don’t: Create posts that look generic
It can be tempting to scroll through Instagram and look at other paid posts for ideas regarding paid content. However, if you copy this model most audiences will see through this facade and will not engage with the post. Brands using templatized posts do themselves an injustice. You should aim for yours to break the mold.
Do: Allow the influencer to create helpful, authentic content
Once you’ve found an influencer that fits your brand, work with them to create content that promotes your brand as well as their personal brand. By combining both of your interests, you can ensure that the content will be more authentic and engaging.
Don’t: Rush influencers to create content and expect quick payouts
Like most marketing platforms, converting audiences from viewers to customers can take time and this holds true with influencer marketing as well. By forcing influencers to create quick content and holding them to difficult posting schedules you will not only strain your relationship with that influencer but will lead to low quality and less effective content.
Do: Take time to ensure that the influencer understands your vision and is passionate about your product.
With anything in marketing, it is important to have patience. Influencer marketing is a strategy that is proven to work, however, it is essential to understand that one post may not suffice. Finding the right influencer that is willing to work with your brand for an extended period of time and is passionate about your brand is often the key to successful Influencer marketing.
Lilly is a former Digital Engagement Intern at RDW. When she’s not busy learning about digital marketing and PR you’ll find her shopping or at one of Rhode Island’s wonderful beaches or restaurants.