Influencer marketing is on the rise, quickly becoming a staple component of most marketing campaigns. It can, of course, be a great way to leverage the voice of entertainers or thought leaders who've established credibility and trust in any particular area of interest. But how is it done well?
First, it's important to establish just what 'well' means. A recent study found that, on average, influencer marketing campaigns earned $6.85 in earned media value for every $1.00 of paid media. Anywhere up to a 7:1 ratio is pretty impressive ROI and every bit as cost-effective as email campaigns according to the same research.
That suggests launching an influencer marketing campaign is generally going to be worth the effort, but only if done well. So what are some tips for launching better influencer marketing campaigns?
- Cast a wider net. The influencer in the campaign does not have to be a singular voice. Brands often tap multiple influencers for a single campaign. This allows the message to be amplified amongst different circles and networks of followers.
- Aim for authenticity vs. commerciality. This one is the hardest line to walk. You and the influencer in question will inherently know the message being delivered is a commercial but the last thing you want is for the audience to feel that their favorite content has all of sudden become their least favorite commercial. Even though the influencer is being contracted by the brand or advertiser, they often have the best understanding of what will work for their audience -- so give them some (if not complete) control over how they will help you. This leads directly into our next tip...
- It's a partnership, not employment. The influencer is an independent voice with a strong clear message of their own. You don't want them to feel like they've just given up that independence to become your employee. A bit of autonomy is necessary to keep them feeling like they are working with you vs. for you.
- Target the right audience. It's tempting to think about the influencers you want to work with vs. the audiences you want to reach. At the end of the day exposure to the audience is where the return on your spend actually comes from, so spend every bit of time you can qualifying that audience.