In my last post, I talked about what is influencer marketing and how it works. So now we will look at how to find influencers, the type of relationship to forge with them, the dos and don’ts and the risks of influencer marketing.
One of the easiest and fastest ways to find your influencers is to do a hash tag search with your brand or key words that are highly pertinent to your customer segments. Find the people who use those tags the most often, then find the ones that have the largest following. Look through the most active of their followers and find potential influencers by running the same search again. You can also use various applications (such as Hashtagify) to see what words are most associated with your brand. Find high traffic blogs that pertain to subjects close to your product. Another easy way is to do a quick survey of your customers asking them who they know that would make a good spokesperson for your brand.
Once you identify such potential influencers you need to connect with them. You can start by doing it publicly, by responding to their social media content that pertains to your product, or by approaching them privately.
The best influencer relationships are not commercial but emotional
You need to get to know the influencer and build a relationship with him/her. Once the relationship is on its way you can use a more traditional approach of signing an agreement that specifies what you want them to say, how often, on which social media platform and what they can expect in return. The better results however are not obtained by being directive. Giving your influencer the freedom to express themselves naturally and learn together what works best is a riskier but higher yield approach. Getting to know your influencer first will help reduce this risk. The desired outcome is one where your potential customers will truly believe that your influencer is convinced by what he or she posts and not motivated by a payout. You can also enlist the help of your influencer to start discussions on your products on social media. You can take part in these discussions if appropriate. This tactic will help convey the image of a brand that is in touch with what its customers concerns and needs are.
Dos and don’ts of influencer marketing
- Do measure the results your influencer brings.
- Do take the time to understand your influencers’ community and their values.
- Do make sure your influencer’s overall personal brand fits with your product’s positioning.
- Do use influencer marketing to increase reach, credibility and engagement for your brand.
- Do make certain that your relationship with your influencer is transparent to his/her followers. Not doing so can be detrimental to your influencer’s personal brand and yours by ricochet.
- Do listen to what he/she says as well as the feedback his/her comments generate.
- Do try and help your influencers achieve their own goals.
- Don’t confuse popularity and influence
- Don’t use an influencer to try and fix a negative brand image.
- Don’t contradict your influencers on social media. Manage any disputes behind the scene (and do it quickly).
- Don’t engage influencers that are known rivals simultaneously.
- Don’t prevent your influencer from associating with other (even competing) brands. If done in moderation, it will give him/her more credibility. In real life, very few of us only use one brand of any one product forever. It can also help to differentiate your product from your competitors. Your influencer may explain he/she uses your product for A and B reasons and your competitors’ for X and Y reasons.
Risks and responsibilities associated with influencer marketing
Influencer marketing can be a powerful and lucrative tool in your arsenal. It does have a higher risk factor than advertising and requires constant supervision.
It is important to understand that influencer marketing is a form of co-branding. If the brand of your influencer goes south, so will yours for a while.
Your influencers are most likely not marketers or professional communicators. They will inadvertently goof up once in a while. It comes with the package. Hence you need to monitor closely all that they will say about your brand and manage any issues that may arise quickly. You also need to monitor how your influencers’ brands evolve to ensure a continuous fit with yours.
Influencer marketing is taking away some of the advertising revenues social media platforms live on. If the cut goes too deep, Twitter, Facebook and company may very well find creative ways to put a damper on this practice.
Influencer marketing is a flexible multi-purpose tool
You don’t need to be a large known brand to use influencer marketing. If you are just starting up, you can associate your brand with local celebrities that will most likely be more than happy with a product payout.
Influencer marketing is not only useful to build your brand, it can also be used to open new distribution channels, identify new customer segments and for crowd funding campaigns.
What other uses can you think of for influencer marketing?