If you want to put your products in front of a larger audience, that audience is likely hiding behind an influencer.
It’s becoming harder and harder to engage today’s social consumers with branded content. Shoppers are developing “brand blindness,” where even a hint of bias can shut them off and deter them from engaging with you. This is why influencer-generated content (your influencers create content around your products) has become so popular. According to data from OfferPop via Adweek, 85% of users think user-generated content is more influential than branded content. The reason is that it comes across as more authentic, inspired, and genuine.
If you want to access the skeptical hard-to-reach consumers, build on the trust influencers have already created and steer your campaigns toward giving them more creative control over your influencer marketing content.
How Do You Set Up Your Campaigns for Success?
Social consumers don’t want to be sold to; they want to connect with like-minded people, follow and engage with those they emulate (influencers), and look to them for recommendations and unbiased advice. And they form tight-knit communities that make it difficult for brands to get in and join the conversation.
The best way to get these followers to engage with your brand is to place the influencers at the helm of the content creation process. Let the influencers speak; their audience will recognize their voice.
To set up your campaigns for success from the beginning, take the following points into consideration.
An influencer’s reach is important, but a large following is useless if the influencer is not aligned with your brand. Brand alignment is crucial and integral to a successful influencer marketing campaign.
How does brand alignment look?
- Relevance – Is your influencers’ audience similar to your target market? How closely aligned are they? If you sell cosmetics and your influencer loves makeup, it’s not necessarily enough to warrant brand alignment. Dig further and look for alignment with other factors such as style, demographics, interests, and other defining characteristics of their data profiles.
- Resonance – Does your influencer use your products? It’s not necessary for your influencers to use and love your products to launch a successful influencer marketing campaign. But finding people who do, will tip the scales in your favor. If your influencer does not love your products, it will come across in their content and messaging. If possible, find influencers who already use your products and love them. For one, your content will be authentic, and second, the influencer will be happy to work with you. These types of partnerships can be profitable for brands.
When using influencer-generated content, your influencer will take some creative control of the content. But ultimately, it’s your job to provide guidance and direction regarding your products and services, and then approve the content before it is published. You may also have feedback and need the influencer to make some edits. For this reason, it’s important to choose an influencer who is willing to engage with your brand, collaborate with you and be receptive to your guidance.
While experience is often the best teacher, prior performance is one metric to research that will help you determine whether or not influencers would be a good collaborative fit. But, you will need to consult vetted information to research this properly. At the end of this article, we will discuss a tool you can use to find this information easily.
Tip: In the last section, we discussed the importance of relevance and brand alignment. The more closely aligned influencers are with your brand, the more willing they will be to collaborate.
When searching for influencers, avoid those who are a one-hit wonder and bounce from brand to brand. While some one-time awareness can be beneficial for your brand, also look for those influencers who will offer long-term benefits to your brand and grow with you as your brand grows. It may not be possible to determine an influencers’ full loyalty early on, but as you are working with them, consider the ones who could potentially fit that role in the future and work with them to develop an ongoing partnership.
In addition to influencer loyalty, look for influencers who breed audiences of loyal followers. The more close-knit and loyal the followers, the more willing they will be to act on recommendations.
When collaborating with influencers, avoid micromanaging the process and let it live and breathe on its own. It’s not uncommon for brands to get concerned, especially with their first influencer marketing campaign, and want to take complete control over the content development process. This, however, leads to a few problems:
Lack of respect – Influencers may feel you do not respect them nor their voice and this will affect their content creation and also your professional relationship.
Low performance – As stated earlier, you can tell when content is not authentic, especially when it is directed towards hundreds and thousands of loyal followers. If influencers do not feel respected, it will eventually show and it could affect the performance of your influencer marketing campaigns.
Stops creativity – If you micromanage the process, your influencers may feel creatively stuck and not be able to produce the type of content that will resonate with their audience. Part of this process involves trusting your influencers. If trust is not there, it will show, and your influencers may not be authentic and produce the type of content they need to bring ROI.
Instead of micromanaging your influencer content campaigns, respect your influencers’ voices and let them take the lead a little. Their voice is valuable not only to their audience but also to your brand.
If your influencers were able to build their current loyal followings, they have proven that they can develop compelling content. Oversee the process and approve the content before it gets posted, but respect your influencers enough to let them take the creative lead.
Respect and trust go hand in hand. But, when working with new influencers, it can be hard to trust that they will present your brand in a positive light with their content.
However, trust is vital to an ROI-driven influencer marketing campaign, and this should be top of mind as you are selecting influencers. If you select the right influencer and follow the steps we outline in this article, you have already done most of the work, and you should feel confident that you can trust your influencers.
Past performance and reviews will ease your concerns here as well as you proceed through your influencer selection process. If the influencers have any vetted positive feedback, it will help you trust more.
Even if you notice positive results after running a campaign, which influencer was responsible for the most engagement? Are influencers promoting different promotions? Different website pages? Which one is directly affecting your sales?
You must know the answers to questions like these if you want to stay in control of what works and what doesn’t. You will waste your budget if you keep throwing money at your influencer marketing campaigns without knowing how to adjust as needed.
Here are three ways to track the success of your influencer campaigns:
- Google UTM parameters – Create tracking links with Google UTM parameters and add specific tags to differentiate your campaigns. When people click these links, the information is added to your Google Analytics account where you can review it.
- Coupon codes – Create separate coupon codes for each influencer to track the efficacy of each product-focused campaign. (Ex: BETH25OFF)
- Cost Per Engagement (CPE) – This metric is trickier to figure out since engagement is not a number brands can easily calculate. The best way to manually calculate this metric is to compare the money spent on a particular campaign to the number of engagements you receive for it (likes, comments) on all associated posts. Note: These metrics are best determined with automated software that can easily calculate total engagement so you can track your ROI properly.
These six items encompass the most important elements of an influencer-generated content campaign. Pay attention to each as you search for the best influencers with whom to work. Note that searching for influencers who fit your brand and culture can be a time-consuming process to execute successfully, but don’t leave out a step. The extra attention and detail you give to the search will pay off in the long term.
If you are looking for a solution to speed up this process and find the right influencers you can trust from day one, let us introduce you to our TapInfluence platform. We make the influencer search easy and efficient and connect you with the exact influencers who perfectly align with your brand.
But, we don’t do it with pure luck. We have 35+ criteria we use to match you up with an influencer and even calculate the CPE so you can determine whether or not the influencers will generate an ROI for you—even before you start working with them. Get a glimpse into influencers’ history and review vetted feedback on their past campaigns.
Our end-to-end software solution takes the laborious searching and guesswork out of influencer marketing campaigns and also helps you manage every aspect of your campaign from search to legal to automated tracking and everything in between. We would love to show you how our software can streamline your influencer marketing campaigns and help you generate an ROI. Request a demo, and we will get back to you right away!