May 4th, 2017
Online marketing is a perpetually evolving phenomenon, but one area of internet user experience seems to be heading steadily in one direction – more and more people are growing tired of intrusive ads. Online pop-ups, mobile phone ads and video ads that appear at the start of online videos rank as some of the most annoying forms of advertisement. With a rapidly increasing number of AdBlock users – a 30% growth in 2016, to a total of 615 million devices now using ad blocking software – it is essential for companies to reach their customers in a less intrusive way.
This is where influencer marketing comes in. It allows companies to obtain organic, engaging content that resonates well with their audiences, without subjecting them to overly aggressive advertising techniques. This combats the phenomenon of users actively avoiding brands that have gotten under their skin online because of ads that prevented them from actually seeing the content they entered the website for. Cooperating with influencers has the invaluable benefit of using the credibility the influencer has already built with his or her audience. If the influencer trusts your company, their followers will also be more likely to trust your brand.
When it comes to actually cooperating with influencers, companies still have a lot to learn. Most rules you would consider for any business scenario also apply here, but influencer marketing has its own unique spin. One of the key things to remember is that influencers are the creative owners of their outlets, be it social media pages, blogs or websites. Based on that notion, let’s take a look at some tips that can facilitate cooperation and lead to win-win situations.
A for always be honest
The first step for a solid brand – influencer cooperation is being upfront about your mutual expectations. Even if at first you might seem to have the right fit, a frank conversation may clearly indicate otherwise. If you feel the spark, it might be a good idea to also talk about the potential scope of cooperation. There are a number of ways the influencer can benefit your brand, including things like writing reviews of your products, sharing sponsored media posts, organizing contests and giveaways, doing videos, or even hosting community events.
B for build relationships
Developing a good rapport is a crucial step for successful cooperation. Ideally, you want to have an engaged influencer, or even better, an actual advocate of your brand. This is a gradual process which takes time, but an honest brand advocate can be an invaluable asset to the company. It’s great if the influencer knows and feels positive about your brand from the get-go, but even if they are initially unaware of your operations, the cooperation can flourish if you put some effort into it. Taking a personal interest in what the influencer is doing, following them on social media, and asking them what you can do to support them are just a few of the things you can do to win them over.
C for commend creative content
This is the most important concept behind the idea of influencer marketing. Creative content which promotes your brand and sits well with the influencer’s audience is exactly what you are looking for – the valuable and unique addition to your marketing efforts. This, combined with the influencer’s reach, is what drives your ROI rates and makes the whole process worthwhile. It also creates an opportunity for the influencer, who is able to create interesting materials and engage their audience.
D for don’t bark orders
Remember that annoying ads are something you are actually trying to stray away from. As internet history has shown time and time again, it is most often a bad idea to just give out orders and provide ready-made materials for the influencers. Like that time Scott Disick, a reality TV celebrity, accidentally copied-and-pasted ad instructions along with an Instagram photo. It might be a good idea to provide influencers with ideas and context, but ultimately, you need to trust their judgment, as they are the experts in their own spheres of influence.
E for establish goals
Influencer marketing is especially valuable when it comes to the possibility of setting specific goals and measuring them. Virtually anything that happens online is measurable, so setting actionable KPIs with your influencers should be child’s play, especially with the use of software specifically designed to aid you in the process, such as Assembly. Your influencer’s impact can be measured in a number of ways, including the number of shares on social media networks, brand mentions, referred traffic, and much more.
F for follow through on your arrangements
It is important to remember that your company’s actions are under constant scrutiny on the internet. Online presence and marketing forces companies to remain honest and transparent, and a single misstep might result in a serious backlash and a PR nightmare for the brand. This is why it’s vital to have a clear arrangement with your influencers, who have the power not only to promote a brand but also to voice their concerns online. Make sure that the rules of your cooperation, including the scope of work, payment, and other possible benefits, are clear for both you and your influencers, as any misunderstanding might turn into a breeding ground for internet gossip.
As you can see, influencer marketing can be a tricky business. However, with the right planning, tools, and execution, it’s an excellent way to organically reach your consumers and increase your sales and brand awareness. In the age of ad blocking software and the steadily growing importance of content marketing, successful cooperation with influencers might just be the solution your brand needs.