Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Thoughts on Influencer Marketing

I have been thinking about Influencer Marketing. Having worked in the PR biz for 8 years, I understand and have seen the power of leveraging on an influencer's credibility to tell a brand's story and at the same time, I have seen how it has less than spectacular results.

Most of the time, the kind of influencer partnerships that work are those with a natural fit.

What exactly do I mean by natural fit? Let's put it this way...

It's like a new relationship that's going strong – there should be similar interests, common traits, a shared passion for certain things and of course, love. It would be great if the influencer you're thinking of working with already loves your brand.

But for new brands, don't worry, love can grow. :)

An example?

Hey moms, can I hear a heeelll yaaaas?

Target + Chip and Joanna Gaines

As a mom, I have my guilty pleasures. Two of them are alone time at Target (because rolling that red cart and filling it up with things I don't need is a hobby) and two, binging on Fixer Upper because I dream of transforming our little nest to a rustic, shiplap-laden, succulent-filled little abode.

So, when Target announced its collaboration with the dynamic duo, I was floored and didn't hesitate to throw my hard-earned freelancing money their way (every cent was worth it).

Target hit the nail on the head with this partnership. They carefully thought about their biggest target audience (moms!) and combined it with influencers that the market absolutely love. It's a match made in influencer marketing heaven.

Now, I don't want to cite examples of bombed partnerships out of respect (and I've seen some that are just so bad), but, based on what I've experienced, here are a few things that you should keep in mind:

1. Numbers are not everything: I am not exactly a numbers person (I believe the majority of those in my industry are not as well) but, don't get into a partnership with an influencer solely by the number of their followers. For example, you're a brand that caters to mothers. If you're selecting between two influencers, one has 1M followers, however, they don't exactly have a niche (i.e. she's a  lifestyle blogger that creates content about food, fashion, motherhood, etc.) The other influencer has half the followers, 500K, but, content is focused on motherhood (tips for new moms, content on toddlers and things to do as a family), my recommendation is to go with the second influencer. Why?

Because you can bet your budget that the 500K that follows the second influencer are moms since the content that is served to them are strictly motherhood related - if you're not a mom, why would you follow her?

2. Select the right person: If people had to think twice (and hard) why your brand is partnering with a certain influencer, you need to take a step back and reevaluate. It's probably a question of the partnership being a natural fit. Although, surprising partnerships can be pretty effective too. I mean, if I owned an eyebrow salon, I would definitely partner with Bert of Sesame Street – did that take too long for you to understand why? See. Remember, aim for partnerships that make sense.

Pro tip: If you have a great social media presence, why don't you run a poll asking your followers who they'd like to see your brand partner with? This is a great gauge of interest!

3. Content: A lot of influencers dictate how the content will look and feel, especially if the nature of the partnership is to develop and share content on the influencer's own social networks (now, if you've recruited the influencer to be the star your own advertising as an endorser and  you pay for the development and distribution, then that's a different scenario.)

And, I completely understand influencers' reasons for doing this. Since they've established their credibility creating content that has been loved by their followers, they'd like to maintain the integrity of their channels – the very channels that they've built their professional careers on.

However, I am pretty sure they're open to some negotiation. A few must-dos:

  • Link to your website: Great content without call-to-action is like screamingEnglishh in a crowd that does not speak the language. Everyone will be amused, perplexed, curious but, they've no idea what to do with it. Be sure that your website is linked to the content. Fine if you partnered with the influencer solely on awareness, but, let's make the partnership harder working by actually funnelling potential customers to your website.
  • Distribution: If you have to pay a little more to distribute (and properly credit) the influencer's content on your own social channels and paid advertising, please do it. Content is king but, distribution is queen – and sometimes, queens are more powerful (Hi, Queen Elizabeth II!) Usually, influencer partnerships only require them to post a few content organically in their own network. Now, we know how social media algorithms go – 2% of followers per post, which is in fact, close to nothing even if you have 1M followers (ok, 20K is still a big deal, but you paid for the 1M followers!) So, if you can, please negotiate a bigger scope of content distribution, either on your own platforms or, on the influencer's platform and pay a good chunk of money to back it up – you already invested in the content development, might as well get it served to the right people as much as you can!

Have you had any luck with influencer marketing?

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