Influencer marketing is not really a new thing. Companies were doing it way before they started using this term.
Back in 1984, the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan, signed a $2.5 million contract with Nike. As part of the deal, Nike created a custom-designed sneaker line called ‘Air Jordans’, which sold an impressive $70 million in the first year. While watching the new Netflix series ‘The Last Dance’, we learned that Nike wasn’t Jordan’s first choice, but other brands simply refused to make him an offer. Their loss though, as Nike really scored a bull’s eye in picking up Jordan — a fitting analogy for the young Chicago Bulls player, still in his first year in the NBA. Despite his great talent, not everyone expected that he’d become the best basketball player in history. Who knows where Nike would be today if the company hadn’t invested in the basketball world back then?
This is an excellent example of how a business can benefit from working with a well-known individual. Still, the decision to choose Jordan and focus the company’s marketing efforts on basketball wasn’t just a coincidence. It required a lot of research, market analysis, planning, and hard work to run a good promotional campaign and to cultivate a strong relationship with Michael as the face of the brand.
Those are just a few aspects of building an influencer marketing strategy, so let’s take a look at what else is essential to succeed in this fast-growing marketing field.
5 things to remember before starting an influencer marketing campaign
First and foremost, start with research. Come up with a list of influencers that fit your brand and the goal of your campaign (bloggers, vloggers, and Instagram, Twitter and TikTok personalities) and check their profiles for:
- Number of followers (make sure at least most of them are real people!),
- Engagement (How do people react to their posts? Do they comment, like, is there any negative feedback, etc.?)
- Frequency of posting (How often do they post, and what’s the quality of their posts? Do they fit your brand?)
- Active platforms (Are they only active on one social media platform, e.g., Are they only on Instagram, or do they also have a YouTube channel or run a podcast?)
- Other brands they’re working with (Are they your competitors? Do they carefully select brands to work with?)
To make sure you find all the information you need, use platforms that allows you to do detailed research, such as Upfluence or NinjaOutreach.
#2 Relatable & authentic
Choose a person, brand or organization that somehow relates to your product. If your main product is, for example, an audiobook app, make sure your influencer actually listens to audiobooks, or at least has shown interest in them and has a positive attitude toward the technology. Ideally, the person should already have a group of followers interested in the topic, e.g. book lovers. You need to find some kind of natural connection with your influencer, otherwise working together will seem inauthentic and dishonest towards your target group.
#3 Tone of voice & values
Make sure your influencer fits your brand personality and uses similar language to promote your product. It’s also crucial that you both share the same values and vision on how to run a business. If your company cares about the environment and promotes sustainability, the person you decide to work with needs to agree with your attitude, or at least not publicly contradict it.
#4 The right format
It’s essential to choose the right format for promoting your product. It could be a product review, product placement, simple recommendation, etc. It all depends on the goal of your campaign and the type of content you agree on. Some possibilities to consider are a video, blog post, TV spot or even a long-term collaboration where the person becomes the face of your brand, with you using their image on your website, for example.
#5 Measure the impact
Last but not least, make sure to measure the results of your collaboration. Working with an influencer means you have twice as many social media platforms to monitor and track. Obviously, there are the numbers you’ll see publicly on your partner’s channels, such as social media engagement (likes, comments, shares). Still, you shouldn’t forget to verify the traffic to calculate the engagement rate and other KPIs important for the campaign. There needs to be an agreement between two parties on sharing the results of the campaign.
To summarize, influencers are forceful content creators, shapers of opinion and are frequently knowledgeable about a particular topic. Their voices and judgment can often carry much more weight than a regular brand. Choose the connection carefully and nurture your relationship, not only during the campaign, and you will see great results. If you pick the right person to work with, you can increase the visibility of your product within your target group, make your brand more authentic or even gain a brand ambassador.
Your product will be used by a real person who already has a group of trusted followers, so their fans can become your fans. Work with your influencers to improve your product, ask for their feedback and use their knowledge and passion to possibly develop a new product together.
Remember that influencer marketing is a powerful force, and it’s getting stronger every year. The word ‘influencer’ was only added to the English dictionary in 2019, so we think it could just be the beginning of how important this field will be for marketing strategies going forward.