We’ve all been there as marketers.
You have a new product or event that needs big buzz and you’re not sure how to connect-the-dots on this one. It’s got “legs” to soar but you’ve exhausted all traditional paths. How about an influencer marketing campaign? According to Forbes, 84% of marketers plan on executing at least one influencer marketing campaign in 2017.
What is influencer marketing?
Say you’re sitting in your doctor’s office waiting room and notice a weekly magazine cover that features a celebrity wearing a new hat. But it’s not just any hat: this one is a specific brand and wow, they look amazing! Mental note-to-self, “find and buy that super-adorable hat after my appointment.”
Or, you spy your favorite foodie on Instagram giving a big two thumbs up while eating at a new restaurant in town and yes you agree – you can taste the freshly, grilled miso-flavored salmon too just by looking at the photo. You look up, find and plug in the restaurant’s phone number to your iPhone contacts and call to make dinner reservations.
This is influencer marketing: getting the right people talking about your brand in order to sway others to think positively about the brand and ultimately make a purchase.
Who are influencers?
Influencers aren’t just your typical pop celebrities (e.g., actors, singers). But influencers are “celebrities” in their own niche sphere (e.g., chef, trainer, financial guru, blogger, social media star) with a dedicated community of followers. An influencer can endorse a product subtly and, more importantly, they can put their own unique stamp on it. Influencers are everywhere on social media and engage with their fans each day – in essence, social media acts as today’s paparazzi for them, complete with retweets, shares, likes, comments and more follows which all nets in a longer influencer lifespan. And more than likely, it also nets them campaign dollars and endorsements from marketers.
Most influencers can be found on multiple channels to reach their fans, including Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. Even Musical.ly has its own influencers for tweens, so do your homework when researching. Knowing this, connecting your brand to the right influencer is essential. Be sure to budget for your influencer as well; fees will vary, some may even be negotiable depending on scope of work.
Working with Influencers.
Cronin recently worked with YouTube star and self-proclaimed “Food Titan” Daym Drops to launch McDonald’s Signature Crafted Sandwich line-up. The result? The Rachel Ray Show regular created a 12-minute video endorsement posted on his YouTube channel with nearly 800,000 subscribers. To date, this YouTube video has nearly 80,000 views and fans comments were overwhelmingly positive about the new sandwiches. In addition, Daym posted 21 times over multiple social channels. He even created his own McDonald’s sandwich while filming — the “Sweet BBQ Daym.”
So, can influencer marketing work for every brand? I would say yes if thought out and executed correctly. Consider the following steps when planning your campaign:
- Is the influencer the right fit? Think about their personality, level of social engagement and community of followers with regards to your campaign needs – all of these factors need to be considered. Best place to start in identifying influencers is with your target audience. From there, follow the influencer paying attention to their social tone and if there are authentic conversations happening on their social properties with daily engagement. Watch for any red flags that could affect your campaign and/or negatively impact your brand (political opinions, controversial language, etc.).
- Does working with this influencer fit into your overall marketing strategy? It doesn’t matter if your targeted influencer has 1 million followers online – if they are off brand or not engaged with your targeted audience, your campaign efforts will fall flat. Find an influencer who fits the mold of your product/campaign strategy.
- Do you have a set tactical plan and budget to support an influencer campaign? Do you have a vision for your influencer? What is it exactly that they’ll be doing and for how long? Think through your proposed tactics before you contact an influencer. Know what you want and be flexible – remember, you will most likely have to negotiate the tactical fine points with a manager or publicist. Your tactics should be clear and aligned with your budget.
Be sure to consider these three steps when partnering with a niche influencer. Who knows, maybe your next influencer campaign will skyrocket and achieve a completely different level of engagement than your brand has ever seen before. Trust us, we know folks have tried to order the “Sweet BBQ Daym” sandwich in their local McDonald’s drive-thrus.