Influencer marketing is a highly effective strategy for increasing brand awareness – when done right. But what works and what doesn’t? How do you ensure that you are working with the right social influencers and what types of campaigns should you work on?
In this blog post, I am going to share my best influencer marketing tips, strategies, and examples to help you generate more awareness for your business.
Look Beyond the Numbers
What makes you think someone is a social influencer?
It is the number of followers/fans, right? It is only natural – if you see someone who has an audience of 200K followers on Twitter, you can easily assume that that also means they are influential simply because they have that many people following them.
But that is not necessarily true. And even if it is true, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are the right option for you, either.
There are a lot of other factors that are ultimately much more important than their reach. Perhaps more importantly, who exactly they are reaching with their updates. Because at the end of the day, to get great results from your campaign, you need to be able to reach the right people – people who would be genuinely interested in your products or your services and who are likely to buy from you.
When researching influencers, use social media analytics tools that allow you to research their audience. For example, Upfluence lets you look for social influencers based not only on keywords, engagement levels, follower numbers, etc., but also based on their actual audience – their locations, their genders, and their ages:
Another very important factor is, of course, their relevancy in terms of the content they usually share on their channels:
- Are they talking about topics relevant to your target audience?
- Are their “voices” in line with your brand identity?
You can use tools like Buzzsumo to research their content or use a web monitoring tool like Brand24 to look up keywords and find social influencers based on these keywords.
Engagement is also one of those factors that mean a lot more than reach – it is much more effective to work with an influencer who has 15K Instagram followers and gets 500 likes on their posts consistently, rather than an influencer who has hundreds of thousands of followers and generates 200 likes per post.
Take a look at:
- Their social media updates – how many likes, comments, and shares do they get on average?
- Their blog – how many shares do their posts get on social media? How many comments do they get on their posts?
Now that you know more about what to look for in the right influencer, below are some tips and examples on how to collaborate with them for maximum results.
Turn Micro-Influencers Into Your Brand Ambassadors
There are some very inspiring examples out there of brands working with influencers successfully.
One such impressive example comes from ASOS, the giant online clothing brand, who uses an entire network of social influencers from all over the world, both men and women.
The influencers, known as ASOS Insiders, all use “asos_their name” as their Instagram handles and regularly post updates helping promote the brand to their audience.
However, what is so great about these insiders is that they are micro-influencers – meaning that, in most cases, they have fewer than 100K followers but have fantastic engagement rates.
For example, asos_lex, an ASOS Menswear Insider on Instagram, has just under 13K followers at the time of writing; yet, even though he might not have that many followers, he gets more engagement than some users who have hundreds of thousands of followers. It is not uncommon for his posts to get in excess of 400-500 likes per image; or, over 1200 views on a video featuring the unboxing of his latest ASOS suit:
And as I mentioned earlier, he is only one of many such ASOS Insiders who is consistently promoting ASOS’s products and seeing fantastic engagement on all of their posts.
This can be an amazing long-term influencer marketing strategy because:
- You are getting the reach. Even if you are not working with a huge influencer who has millions of followers, you are still reaching an impressive audience.
- And you are getting an engaged, highly targeted audience – this is what makes this campaign so successful, more so than the reach. The fact that by using these influencers/brand ambassadors, they are reaching a very engaged audience who is also very interested in fashion and clothing. Which means that they are not just getting the reach and awareness, but also the traffic and sales that result from all this engagement.
Leverage UGC and Regular People
“Regular” people – i.e., regular social media users – can be a highly effective promotional tool for your business. Marketers have always named word-of-mouth as one of the most effective strategies, but when you bring it to social media, its power is even more impressive because the reach is so much bigger.
Before social media brands were striving to get people talking about them with their friends and family; they can now leverage online platforms that can have a worldwide reach, beyond just friends.
Glossier is a brand that has managed to create an authentic and extremely successful UGC-based (user-generated content) influencer strategy that relies mostly on micro-influencers and regular people.
So, how do they do it?
They don’t go after the big names; instead, they send freebies to micro-influencers and regular people who are fans of their products, who then post updates and blog posts featuring their products.
Like beauty blogger Mandy Ferrugia, who posted this update to promote her blog post where she reviews Glossier’s latest mascara:
As you can see in the post, her followers are very excited about this new mascara – and not only that, but she also references the discount you can get when you make your first order of Glossier products.
This is another great tactic that is worth using in your own strategy; create a special discount for the influencers you work with so that you can boost referrals of your products and services.
Another terrific example of a brand successfully leveraging UGC from influencers is Sperry, a boat shoe brand.
Their 2016 micro-influencer marketing campaign generated amazing results for their brand; their strategy was to reach out to micro-influencers who are already posting images with their products and having them create content for the brand, to be posted on their account.
And they are still going strong now – on their Instagram profile, they promote their #SperryMyWay hashtag to get people to take pictures of their products, and the best ones get featured on their profile.
Which then helps them generate posts like this one:
What makes these campaigns so successful is that these brands work with the right influencers; they don’t focus on numbers and reach; instead, they prefer to focus on results. Not only that, but they also encourage authenticity; the posts don’t feel like ads, and because of this, they generate terrific engagement and massive interest from followers.