Influencer Marketing Essentials
3 Easy Ways Brands Can Improve Their Influencer Marketing
Earlier this Summer I joined the Global Social Media Awards in Prague and the Spark.me in Montenegro, I met with a lot of the hottest Influencers at the moment, handed over an award to Ross Smith @smoothsmith8 and had a great duo panel with Bethany Mota on Influencer Marketing and how influencers and brands can collaborate better.
Bethany was one of the first big YouTubers. She started her YouTube channel in 2009 and reached 10 million subs in 2015. She has built a huge business on YouTube and worked with a lot of the biggest brands and developed her own product line as well.
It was a really interesting discussion, as we come from two different worlds, Bethany from the Influencer/Creator space and myself from the brand and marketing industry. I think there are three things that stood out as easy ways brands can improve their Influencer Marketing approach:
1. Define Your Objective and Connect With the Right Influencer(s)
First and foremost, brands need to define their objective and really consider if that challenge is one that can be solved with an influencer collaboration.
Influencers are often approached by brands that just consider influencer channels as one-way publishing channels where they can place their commercial assets as if it was TV regardless of the programming and flow on the channel. I have way too often heard the excuse that brand managers do not have the time to find the right influencer and instead are just looking at the potential reach numbers and then it’s fire and forget. But you need to find the right influencer who has the right audience for your brand objectives and are communicating with the right tone of voice.
2. Be Nice. It’s Not your Agency you are Talking To
Often, I have experienced that brands treat Influencers as though they were a paper vendor or a media agency (who you should also treat nicely btw).
In some industries it seems to be the norm that you can treat vendors and agencies like dirt and besides it being top tier assholery to misuse your position to be degrading towards other people, it is simply not professional and even worse… it’s not cool.
You will never get the best out of people by treating them badly and it will create even more negative impact if you do this towards Influencers as you want them to be your promoter and fan.
The difference between most agency employees and Influencers is that Influencers are so deeply personally involved in their content creation and in the engagement with their audience. In contrast to agencies, they cannot just move on to another project or another campaign. The value they bring is their personal commitment and personal engagement and everything they have will live or die with their personal authenticity. Therefore, it’s necessary to recognize the feedback on content and postings as more than just a follow up on views, watch time and CTRs.
A good piece of advice came from Brooke Saward (@worldwanderlust on Instagram), who I spoke to in Montenegro during Spark.me. She gave some very basic advice to brands: “Before we start talking about the performance of the campaign, can you please just recognize the amount of work that went into the creation and just let me know that the pictures and videos look really great!”.
3. Move From a Transactional to a Transformational relationships
One of the most important points that we discussed at GLOSA was that by understanding and treating Influencers as more than just advertising channels you can move from a purely transactional relationship to a transformational one. A lot of influencers do want to work long term with brands and also want to deliver more value than a short one of campaign can deliver.
Think COLLABORATION instead of AMPLIFICATION!
But to do that you need to invest more than just your money, you will also personally need to spend time on understanding the influencer landscape, what challenges and opportunities there is and what challenges the Influencer is facing. That requires that you to develop a really strong and honest communication between the influencers and the brands, and you will need to allocate time to help the influencer understand the brand DNA and thereby empower the influencer to be able to create content that is within that sometimes small space between Brand DNA, Influencer brand, audience interest.
The sweet spot for influencer marketing is where the influencer's brand and audience aligns with the brand identity and objectives.