By Rob Ilas
What’s the buzz about influencer campaigns and why is it relevant to your brand? As more and more budgets for advertising are being diverted away from television and radio towards digital it is imperative to understand the proper channels to find and reach your customers. Continually advertisers are searching for ways to reach the masses on social platforms such as Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat and YouTube. Story telling which creates an emotional attachment to the brand has become the most sought after method to reach your customers. The value present on these channels includes highly engaged audiences who want to feel part of the overall community and brand attachment. Marketing campaigns that leverage influencers tend to see six times the number of engagements and twice the number of conversions. Influencer campaigns can yield valuable information about market trends and where to focus your attention for future endeavors for your overall marketing efforts.
As an advertiser it is important to listen to what your customers are talking about and how your brand is perceived. It is key to understand what your customers are talking about and know the methods they use to engage with your brand. Once you have a grasp on this information you will be able to filter out the noise to discover who your influencers are within the various social media channels. Influencers are becoming a vital part to a brand’s success in being able to tap into their organically grown audiences to promote your products and services. When an influencer curates their own video, it comes across as an authentic endorsement for your brand, which cannot be duplicated, on television or radio and other traditional advertising means. More and more consumers are spending their time inside of mobile applications, like Instagram, Pinterest, Vine, and Snapchat and being able to reach them on these channels has become essential to remain competitive. It’s also important to stress how influencers’ use of the medium of photos and videos is paramount on the success of these apps. Video and photo sharing between Snapchat and Instagram has become highly adopted by ages 18-29 year olds that is portrayed in Figure 1.1. The value that an influencer’s audiences’ demographics hold is that you can effectively target the age groups prime for your products and services. These channels have also proven to be a great way launch a new product, such as a new mobile app, Bluetooth headphones or upcoming season for fashion brands. Social media apps and sites have become the most cost effective way to build brand awareness utilizing images and videos, which have become the richest forms of media.
Each platform caters to different age groups, from Pinterest to Facebook to YouTube to Instagram. It is important to be sure that you’re paring the right platforms for your brand depending on your customer’s demographics. Depicted in figure 2.1 is a recent breakdown by platform for age distribution.
Should you fail to use the right platform, which does not align to your customer’s demographics, the influencer campaign can fall flat in performance. Understanding the demographics per platforms is vital to execute an influencer campaign that’s going to drive engagement, conversions, app installs, or whatever metric and you are looking to measure for on these channels. As a trend, retailers and apparel brands tend to see the best engagement and conversions off Pinterest while game developers have been increasingly successful using Vine and YouTube for product demonstration an endorsement. Many of the influencers, which have built audiences on YouTube and Vine, tend to have a carry over on Instagram as well.
Once the right influencers for your brand are identified it is important to determine which metrics and the deliverables that you want measured from the campaign. Some common metrics, which brands are looking to measure, include number of view, likes, shares, link clicks, and app installs. These metrics can then be analyzed to determine how much budget you need for future campaigns to scale growth and engagement. The period of time that the campaign actually runs is also important to consider. The optimal time for campaign is measured over the course of seven days. Another common term is a burst campaign, since it can give you a massive lift in searches and ranking inside the app store or traffic to your site. It is also important to understand that not every influencer will feel your brand’s products and services may be a perfect fit for their audience. Don’t be discouraged if they decline your offer, as there are other influencers that can be a fit. They have developed these audiences based upon their sense of humor, artistic capabilities, being a thought leader on a particular subject and sometimes it just doesn’t align with their viewers.
After you target in on whom the right influencers are, it is a good idea to put together a calendar so you can schedule the necessary steps in preparation for the launch. You will want to try to carve out a 30-day calendar to plan on what the story will be to connect with your audiences. By working with a content marketing agency you can develop a storyline that will connect you with your audiences via influencers. The outline below outlines a well-developed strategy to cover for an effective influencer campaign according to Mark Fidelman of Forbes.com is as follows:
- Develop a theme and a storyline
- Create a cause they believe in
- Find the right journalist or blogger to write the primary story
- Include 25-50 influential people in your campaign to create content and promote each other
- Create a call to action (CTA) and giveaway
- Continue the discussion with a Tweet Chat
While your exact strategy may not match the one described above, it’s important to note that budget will be the factor, which determines the reach and number of influencers.
So who do you partner with to navigate which channels and influencers are right for your brand without testing budgets that will produce low returns? There are a fair amount of agencies which have sprung up that may be able to service you well for one channel like Instagram, though they will underserve on YouTube or Vine. Ideally it is wise to find a partner that can get you audience reach across all of the relevant platforms discussed thus far. There are a handful of agencies, such as Science Growth Labs, which do have reach across the most relevant channels and have established access to the key influencers. It’s also important to keep in mind the engagement metrics for campaigns that have been executed. If a campaign ran and it did not drive engagement, sales or installs perhaps the wrong influencers were chosen or the directives given to the influencers did not resonate with their audience. If you fail to implement a story that doesn’t connect with your customers the audience reach is truly irrelevant. Executing a content marketing campaign using influencers can be a big boost for your brand’s sales and app installs if planned and properly thought out, though if not properly strategized the complete opposite could happen and you could end up with a PR nightmare. What are your experiences using influencers within your content marketing campaigns?