There is no doubt about the benefits brands have from working with influencers who can promote them elegantly and seamlessly to their followers. The question is how to make the most of it so you get the best ROI. Here are some tips we can offer from our own experience of running influencer campaigns:
Ensure the style of the blogger matches your brand
This is crucial because if the audiences of your brand and of the blogger match, your campaign is effective and pays off. If you follow a certain blogger, that does not qualify her automatically for working with your brand. Does the blog feature the same type of products in the same style you are selling? There is no use contracting the blogger who writes about your favorite gadgets to write about the vintage furniture you are selling.
Verify the demographic of the blogger
It is important to ensure that most of the blog readers have access to your store, if you have a brick-and-mortar one, or live in the areas you ship to if you have an online store. Getting American followers when you only ship to Canada does not help getting more sales.
Be specific about what you want
Think strategically about your campaign and decide what is important for you to get out of it, both in terms of content and goals. Communicate them clearly to the blogger so she understands how best to put them into practice. That will also help with the blogger selection: for example, if you would like a full description of your products, a blog whose style is mainly visual will not accomplish that.
Allow the blogger to generate the content
Once you have selected your blogger, you have to let her do her job, because otherwise it will not work. Her loyal readers love her style and that is why they follow her. If you want to transfer that influence over to your brand, you will have to allow her to do her magic.
Go beyond a simple blog post
A basic influencer campaign starts with a blog post and social media shares, but it does not need to stop there. Sky is the limit with how you can collaborate with influencers, from organizing events to social media takeovers, creative hashtags, or contests. The more unusual the collaboration, the more media attention you can garner, and if your campaign goes viral, you hit the jackpot.
Do not focus on sales
What influencer marketing does best is brand awareness, social influence and credibility. This is priceless, because once a customer is converted to your brand, you can count on them visiting your store and website again and again, and telling their friends about it.
Rome was not built in a day, nor will your brand. To maximize your work with influencers think of a longer or broader campaign. Obviously, ten social mentions are better than one and fifty are better than ten. Continuing to work with influencers for longer periods with multiply your ROI.
Use a variety of bloggers to ensure a large coverage
You may decide to target different audiences, so you can choose your bloggers accordingly. Or you may opt for an intensive campaign with similar bloggers for more sustained results. If a reader sees your products featured on one blog is great, but if she sees it on a second blog she follows you can bet on an in-store visit the following week.
Whenever possible, provide samples to the bloggers
This can be one more incentive for the blogger to write about your brand, while her blog post will become more authentic if she tries the product. For some products, such as shoes or clothes, the followers are used to seeing the products worn by the blogger. Do not think this is a waste. If the blogger really likes the product will continue promoting it for free on- and off-line.
Blogger rates vary all across the board
The fees for influencers are not standardized, although obviously the more followers, the higher the price. Bloggers who have been featured in well-known publications or worked with big brands will charge even more. But it is all worth it: think of the price of an ad in a glossy magazine, when you do not know if a bored, ad-blind browser has even noticed it, and compare this to how blog followers devour content. We found that a reader spends an average of 5.6 minutes on a post.
Influence marketing, like marketing in general, is not an exact science. Brands need to continually measure results, assess their strategies, and adjust accordingly in order to get the most benefits. Use these tips for a headstart, then apply what you have learned from your own campaigns to your future game plan.