Old-school word-of-mouth marketing has a new face in today’s world. It’s called influencer marketing, and it has some serious horsepower behind it. Engage the right influencers to talk about your brand through their social channels, and your message has the potential to reach brand new audiences, generally with a higher level of credibility behind the message than sheer self-promotion.
Today’s consumers have a healthy skepticism about corporate messaging, and rightfully so, given the litany of brands which have failed them from BP to Equifax to Wells Fargo. They are often more likely to believe messaging from an individual they trust.
Influencer marketing has evolved significantly over the past year. Here are five ways to generate a measurable return on your influencer marketing investment.
Remember less is more. When most people think of influencer marketing, they think of celebrity macro-influencers like Chrissy Teigen with millions of followers who casually mention products and brands in their everyday social-media posts. These big players come with big risk. The cost to engage with them is high, and you may find average consumers actually relate more to influencers who are better aligned with their own reality. Instead, consider micro-influencers with 2,000 to 100,000 followers. They’re more affordable, more dependable and often generate a stronger ROI.
Pay for performance. There are several ways you can structure your payment model with targeted influencers. Many brands simply offer free products or services or a flat payment in exchange for reviews. Instead, consider paying for performance—meaning you’re paying for purchases made as a direct result of your influencer’s post. Talk with your marketing partner about how to set up this tracking. This model helps ensure you’re paying for quality reviews that generate meaningful ROI.
Forge a relationship. The best influencer partnerships are rooted in strong relationships. Consider inviting select influencers to your offices so they can gain insight into your company culture, including them in focus groups, or having your CEO invite them to coffee to share valuable first-hand product/service insights. Investing in these relationships generally results in more meaningful, heart-felt, personal reviews, which drive greater engagement.
Provide high-quality brand assets. While you always want to encourage influencers to develop their own assets, why not make their jobs easier by providing high-quality, engaging photography and videography, which they can use if they choose?
Insist on transparency. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines require influencers to disclose the relationship if they have received consideration. Consider this a good thing. This disclosure builds brand trust. Ask your influencers to reference the partnership in their post by tagging your brand and including a #sponsored hashtag. Instagram even offers influencers a quick and easy “Paid partnership with (brand)” tag option for clarity.
Leverage these five best practices when crafting your brand’s influencer strategy, and you are on the way to generating a measurable ROI.
Lori Turner-Wilson is the CEO/Founder at RedRover Sales & Marketing Strategy. She can be reached at redrovercompany.com.