Influencer marketing budgets keep growing. In 2019, the influencer marketing spend on Instagram alone is expected to hit $2.38 billion mark, a nearly two-times increase from estimated $1.6 billion in 2018.
This doubled-up spending on advertising signifies another trend – the rising consumers’ fatigue from repetitive advertising pitches on their feed and inauthentic ad shots. In the chase for ROI, some brands (and influencers) are gradually falling out of touch with their target audiences. That’s a mistake you want to avoid.
If you want to remain effective with influencer marketing, you need to develop strategic partnerships with influencers, rather than receive one or few “plugs” on their social feed. Ninety percent of industry experts agree that to succeed in the long-term brands will need to take authenticity and value of the content they’re receiving more seriously.
“Part of the value can come from influencers who create dynamic content that brands can repurpose beyond a single post,” said Chase Dobbie, cofounder of func.media. “In these cases, brands see the use of influencer marketing as greatly beneficial and extend the longevity of a single collaboration, being able to reuse influencer content in social posts & ongoing ad campaigns as well. In a December, 2018 survey by Glossy.co research group, 38% of executives with health/wellness brands and 41% of those with fashion brands state that collaborations with influencers could be their greatest marketing opportunity in 2019. Influencer marketing is not isolated to any specific industry - any brand can reap the benefits if they develop and implement a value-driven strategy.”
Here are the key tips to help you develop better and more meaningful relationships with influencers this year.
1. Don’t start your relationships with a “cold call”
A recent study conducted by Crowdtap showed that more and more influencers are becoming more prolific when it comes to working with brands. When deciding on new partnerships, they find the next things to be important:
- 44% stated they wanted to work with brands whose products or services relate to their followers
- 17% stated they liked the idea of a new experience for themselves and their followers
- 14% would work with a brand they like
Clearly, to sign on a true brand ambassador, rather than a one-time endorser, you will need to put in some work as well. When messaging the influencer about a partnership for your product or service, clearly state that meeting needs or wants of their audience is especially important to your brand, and you are open to their ideas on how to introduce your products.
2. Ensure that your brand and the influencer are a good fit
It’s not just about an influencer whose posts and publications relate to the product or service you offer. It’s about much more. While research will certainly provide you with potential influencers, you will need to reflect on what your needs are:
- You need to set your goals. What do you expect an influencer campaign to accomplish for you? And what are your KPIs of success?
- What type of messaging do you want an influencer to generate?
- What is the style and tone that most reflects your brand? (Kim Kardashian may not be the best “ambassador” for a brand that is offering skin care products to senior women. Jamie Lee Curtis might be).
3. Prepare your back-end systems
To find the optimal “match”, keep careful tracking of how many influencers, how and when they post, and, of course, the total cost as a part of your marketing budget. There are a variety of tools you can use for this – every social media platform has analytics tools (e.g. Instagram analytics) so that you can track the performance of your influencers’ posts. And you can track where new followers are coming from.
4. Design your contract with care
You and a potential influencer should already have had some initial discussion about your expectations, including the type of content you are looking for, the style and tone. And there should be a definite window of time during which a post will be published (it needs to coincide with your larger campaign).
One word of caution here: Your influencer knows their audience, and they know what will appeal to them. Do not put too many restrictions in terms of the type of post created. Allowing an influencer to develop their own content will “endear” that influencer to you and will help to achieve the longer-term relationship you may want.
You want more than just a transactional relationship with a good influencer – you want one that is longer-term, especially if the results are bringing in more customers. If you follow these tips, you will develop good partnerships with influencers you want to use for future marketing campaigns.