Whether you love it or hate it, influencer marketing really works. Some people say that for 2019, influencer marketing is set to fall flat and become yesterday’s news. What do you think?
Hopefully, after reading this post you’ll have an understanding of the do’s and don’ts that will inspire you (and others) to keep influencer marketing around as a viable, strong online marketing go-to.
To no surprise, people tend to trust other people — not companies — when they want to know something about a product. People don’t want to be talked at by a brand these days — they want to talk with their peers through blogs, demonstration videos, product reviews, comments, and social media shares.
In fact, consumer trust toward brands is at an all-time low, down to 48% in 2018 — which is 10% lower than it was in 2017!
Brands need to build that consumer confidence they once had back up again. Working with influencers is one way to do it. In the United States, 82% of consumers trust the recommendations of people they know — and many of them feel like they know the influencers they follow. Influencer marketing is also highly targeted. Influencers reach consumers who already have an interest in something you have to offer (even if they don’t know it yet). In an increasingly diverse society, targeted marketing succeeds because it focuses in on the right people. Every dollar your brand put into influencer marketing has an estimated return on investment of $7.65 — which is about 11 times greater than what you can expect from traditional advertising.
But you have to get it right. There are dos and don’t when it comes to influencer marketing. Let’s talk about those for a bit, shall we?
What Not To Do In Influencer Marketing
1. Hang Your Hopes On Macro Influencers
Gone are the days when you need — or want — a major celebrity or big influencer to promote your product. While that’s the best way to gain broad exposure, it isn’t necessarily the best way to reach your target consumer.
Micro influencers are coveted because they tend to have a niche audience of “true believers” that are highly-engaged and focused around their shared interests. Instead of looking for a big name among influencers (with a correspondingly-big fee), look for an influencer who has an active, engaged following that’s a good match for your target audience. Don’t ask, “How many followers does this influencer have?” Instead, ask, “Do this influencer’s followers match the persona of my buyer?”
2. Take Total Control Of The Content
Yes, it’s scary to loosen the controls on your content, but today’s viewers demand it. They crave authenticity! If an influencer delivers what basically amounts to a company-created advertisement, they aren’t going to be influencing anyone very long.
The solution to your content woes is to make sure that you choose your influencers carefully. Pick influencers that you can genuinely see speaking for your brand. Make sure that you approve of their style and are comfortable with letting them handle the majority of the creative decisions.
3. Keep Your Audience In The Dark
Yes, influencer marketing is a cross between social entertainment and advertising, but you cannot allow an influencer to be vague about the fact that they are being paid for a post. Nondisclosure cheapens the message an influencer sends, and will likely damage your credibility with consumers once the information gets out (and it will get out).
Plus, the FTC has guidelines you have to follow when you use influencers. Make every post transparent. Acknowledge the fact that your influencer is a brand partner or the post is sponsored.
How To Do Influencer Marketing Right
1. Pay Your Influencers Fairly
You expect compensation for your labors, right? You can’t expect influencers to work for free, either. Many influencers start blogging because they’re genuinely passionate about a subject. Making a living is a side benefit of their passion — but it is something they have to do.
That being said, there’s often a lot of room for negotiation with micro-influencers. (Just remember that you generally get what you pay for!)
2. Nurture Your Relationship With Your Influencers
A good relationship with a talented influencer is an awful thing to waste. Treat your influencer as a collaborator or a member of your extended marketing family — not a one-off deal.
Involve your brand in your influencer’s posts, clearly, communicate your goals, and offer any help that your influencer needs. If a campaign isn’t working for you, let your influencer know. By the same token, don’t forget to share your excitement when a post is having a positive effect on your business! The more you work on building a long-term relationship, the better and more authentic the content you’ll see.
3. Track The Return On Your Investment
You can’t guess about whether or not an influencer’s reach is actually working for you. You have to know that an influencer campaign is getting results in order to move forward with your goals.
There are numerous ways to go about checking the return on your investment. One way you can do it is by assigning your influencers unique promo codes for their posts. That’s an easy way of seeing what sort of reach an influencer really has with your market.
Make Influencer Marketing Work For You In 2019
You can’t just ask someone with a lot of followers to post something nice about your brand and expect it to work. You need to look for influencers that really know how to create good content and engage their viewers, then nurture that relationship carefully and track your success. There are no guarantees in marketing — but you can tilt the playing field in your favor by avoiding common pitfalls and staying on top of the trends.
2019 is already shaping up to be a whirlwind of changes, so if you aren’t already using influencers to your advantage, it’s time to start!