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The landscape of advertising is evolving, and as a growing number of consumers look to social media platforms like YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat and Vine for information and entertainment, brands are developing social media influencer strategies to target audiences where they work, play, and communicate. Collaborating with top digital influencers is becoming ubiquitous – according to a recent Schlesinger Associates study, 84% of marketers expected to launch at least one influencer marketing campaign in the next 12 months, and 81% of companies already working with digital influencers were pleased with the results – and companies that fail to incorporate this dynamic form of advertising risk being ignored, blocked, or passed over.
In this simple, step-by-step guide, we identify elements common to all effective influencer marketing strategies and give brands advice on how to best implement these tips while avoiding influencer marketing missteps.
If planned and executed well, influencer strategies can help brands expand their reach to new, engaged customers, establish a dialogue with consumers, increase brand awareness, and create a powerful brand identity that users will respect and embrace. To develop and carry out a winning influencer strategy, brands should follow these 7 steps:
Step 1: Identify Where Your Audience “Lives” Online
Knowing where and how your target audience spends their time online – what apps/platforms they use, how much time they spend on each app, what digital stars they follow, etc. – will help brands determine where to invest their resources. While developing consumer personas is helpful, brands must also research how each persona interacts with social media platforms.
Step 2: Set Campaign Goals & Objectives
Setting campaign goals early in the planning process can help brands develop an influencer strategy to meet specific, attainable, and quantifiable goals. Some examples of social media influencer campaign goals include:
Step 3: Determine Your Budget
Influencer marketing campaigns can range from a few thousand dollars to millions. By understanding the relationship between your customer’s lifetime value (CLV) and an influencer’s proven reach, brands can determine how to best allocate campaign resources.
Step 4: Select The Right Influencer And/Or Channel
Trust is the truest metric of influence, and customers are more likely to take advice from a YouTuber, Instagrammer, Viner, Snapchatter, or blogger they’ve developed a connection with. Brands should select an influencer that appeals to or has direct contact with customers, and also look past a digital star’s vanity statistics (followers, subscribers, likes) to determine real follower engagement.
For an in-depth guide to picking the right influencer for your brand, see our article here.
Step 5: Develop An Engaging Campaign
According to SocialBro, 38% of influencers want to have a say in the sponsored content on their channel. Before solidifying a brand sponsorship, companies should communicate their brand message, discuss expectations, and prepare any materials – talking points, images, required links, etc. – that must be included in the campaign.
Step 6: Monitor The Campaign & Track Its Success
While the campaign is happening, companies should monitor the social media posts to ensure the influencer is fulfilling their obligations (staying on-message, hitting your talking points, etc.). After the campaign, compare statistics against Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure success.
Step 7: Engage & Share Throughout Social Media Platforms
Capitalize on the nature of social media by promoting your campaign across all social platforms both before and after the campaign is launched. Don’t forget to document all aspects of the campaign and share this material throughout every brand channel.
There are thousands of ways a brand can partner with a digital influencer, but some companies are particularly adept at maximizing the creativity of social media stars to expand brand reach and engage followers. Some of the most successful influencer strategies include:
Nespresso’s Instagram Influencer Strategy
Like other internationally distributed brands now collaborating with digital influencers, Nespresso’s campaign is an indication that influencer marketing strategies are a vital way to reach new audiences and define brand identity. To promote Nespresso’s “A Cup Above” marketing campaign, the brand used well-known lifestyle/fashion Instagrammers like Sazan Hendrix.
Barkbox Partners With YouTube Influencers
Dr. Pepper’s Influencer Campaign With Popular Viners
Dr. Pepper’s engaging #OneOfAKindLipSync event employed top Vine stars like Liane V. to boost brand recognition and spread the word about the soft drink giant’s campaign. For more information about Dr. Pepper’s influencer strategy, click here.
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