Whether you were aware of it or not, influencer marketing has always existed in some form. Perhaps it was a famous actor pictured at your new favourite restaurant, or maybe it was that athlete that just happens to drink your favourite sports drink while they’re working out. Influencer marketing is when you get certain individuals who have a large circle of influence (AKA people listen to everything they say) to endorse your brand. The goal is to market to them with the hope that they will tell their followers about you.
While influencer marketing has existed for a long time, it has evolved significantly with the introduction of the internet and social media. While an influencer used to be an individual such as a trusted newscaster, actor, or musician, an influencer now can be a blogger, a YouTube star, a popular Instagrammer, and others who use social platforms to build up a celebrity status.
While influencer marketing presents certain challenges such as potential costs (nothing is ever free!) and contractual demands, if used wisely, it can extend your brand’s reach further than you initially thought possible. Most consumers look to people they know for reviews and opinions before they make decisions, which means that having someone else talk about how great you are could have a greater impact than if you market to them directly.
If you are considering an influencer marketing strategy, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Set clear strategic goals: You need to know what your goals are for your influencer campaign. Are you looking to sell product? Are you looking to generate some buzz? Or perhaps you are looking to build an army of consumer brand ambassadors. Whatever your goal, you will approach the strategy differently. It also helps if you can be extremely clear when interacting with influencers so you can identify exactly what it is you want from them.
- Be realistic about your budget: In most cases, influencer endorsement will cost you. Certain celebrities command up to $280,000 per branded Instagram post! Influencers will all work within different price points, so you need to define your budget ahead of time to see what influencers you will be able to work with and what the scope of work might look like.
- Relevancy is key: Make sure the influencers you are working with target the same audience you do, otherwise your message will be lost. It has to be a good fit for the brand because the influencer is meant to act as an extension of you.
- Proper etiquette: When reaching out to influencers, you would approach most of them using the same outreach etiquette as you would the media. However, certain influencers may work with talent management companies that you would contact.
- Track your results: Once you reach out to an influencer, the onus is on you to track when they talk about your brand on social media and when they write about you. How many times was the post shared? Are you joining in the ensuing conversation? What is the reach of each influencer that wrote about you?
Candace Huntly is the Founder and Principal at SongBird Marketing Communications, an award-winning agency working to take organizational and individual brands to the next level. With a passion for all things related to creativity and strategy, she specializes in business intelligence, marketing & branding, content strategy & development, media & influencer relations, and social media. Basically, if you need to put your brand, product, or cause in the public eye, she will find a way to do it, while making the approach unique to you.
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