Ever since the internet entered our business, especially when it shifted from our desktops to our pockets, it became an omnipresent factor that has since shaped our thoughts, needs and activities day by day. We’re all aware of it, but brands got it first. (We’ll talk showbiz, sports and politics next time).
Brands have been using celebrities to boost their image and increase sales for many decades, but with the development of new devices and platforms, a brand-new consumer profile emerged: the empowered, self-centred individual that forms opinions and decisions based on what they see and hear from relatable sources, be they friends on social media or some blogger on a certain topic whose stories they follow, enjoy and value.
For the ﬁrst time (as measured by the trusted Edelman Trust Barometer in 2017), “a person like yourself” is as a credible source of information about a company as a technical or academic expert (all three at 60%).
The keyword here is relatable – if your objective is simply to gain exposure or create a positive brand image, a compatible celebrity will do; but if you want your audience to actually buy your products, the key question your campaign should answer is “what’s in it for the customer?”
This is where the influencers step in. They spark conversations about the topics, create the buzz and instigate action among their followers. They are also much more open than the celebrities, so people relate and identify with them on a deeper level, meaning they generate a higher level of trust towards them.
Do’s and Don’ts of Influencer Marketing
1. Do not select influencers based solely on their number of followers.
Customers make their decision based on information from relatable sources. This means you ought to choose an influencer whose content, audience and personal values fit your brand.
Targeting the big-name social celebrity is nice, but there’s a good chance you can acquire higher ROI by carefully picking one or more micro-influencers relevant to your target group.
2. Do not limit your influencers’ creativity.
Bear in mind that influencers gained popularity and trust because they create useful content – not ads. All too often, marketers try to slip their own ideas into content created by influencers, thus risking the destruction of authenticity and diminishing of trust.
Instead of giving them a script to follow, give applicable guidelines – and your trust. After all, who knows the audience better than the person who has built it up?
3. Do not strive for quick campaigns and short-term collaborations.
More and more brands are beginning to recognise the potential of influencer marketing, but many seem to fail as soon as they set up the strategy.
Influencer campaigns often come down to simply picking one or several influencers and running a challenge or giveaway, followed by instant growth in likes, followers, website visits or purchases; however, as soon as the campaign is over, so are its results. Instead, do it the smart way.
Hire five, ten or even twenty influencers relevant to your niche(s), who will spread the word about your brand gradually, in order to create the buzz – so that your target audience feels as if “everybody is talking about it”.
In addition to that, define a set of KPIs and measure the ROI both in the short- and the long-term, and use the data for future campaigns.