Why Influencer Marketing Doesn't Have to be "Risky Business"

This day and age, influencer marketing is no longer a party you host when your parents (or bosses) are away. Throw some pants on, Tom Cruise, and we can help you understand the not-so-risky business side of influencer marketing.

This day and age, influencer marketing is no longer a party you host when your parents (or bosses) are away. Throw some pants on, Tom Cruise, and we can help you understand the not-so-risky business side of influencer marketing.

Often, people think that because they are or were successful bloggers or copywriters, they can also run successful influencer campaigns on the other side — the business side. The unglorified side without the fancy social statistics or clout numbers. While understanding quality content is an important piece of influencer marketing, it is not the whole picture. Once you understand all aspects of influencer marketing, you can use it to take your marketing plan to the next level.

First and foremost, let’s get an understanding of WHY influencer marketing works:

  • Influencer marketing was rated as the fastest-growing online customer-acquisition channel, beating organic search, paid search and email marketing (Tomoson).
  • 22% of marketers rank influencer marketing as the most cost-effective customer acquisition channel (TomosonBlog).
  • 53% of marketers say blogging is their top content marketing priority (Hubspot).
  • 65% of marketers planned to increase their use of blogging in 2017 (Social Media Examiner).
  • 47% of customers have reported that they use ad-blocking technology when browsing. (TheLeverageWay).

Influencer marketing campaigns are great opportunities to reach new and existing consumers utilizing the traffic, trust and education that each influencer brings while staying within your brand guidelines. These types of campaigns ensure brands are represented as an extension of their company.

Here are the top five things you need to know before building a successful influencer campaign:

1. Start with goals, as always.

Establish the ultimate goals of your brand. Then determine influencer niche, campaign budget, and timeframe. The influencers you select and factors you’re analyzing during the vetting process must ladder up to the primary goals you establish at the onset of the campaign.

Once you fully understand your goals and how influencers play a part in your overall marketing strategy, then you can communicate your goals and expectations with the internal team and influencers.

2. Who’s your audience?

Before you even start to search for the most effective influencers, you must first determine who your audience is – or whom you’re looking to engage with most. From there, you’ll be able to hone in on the type of influencer who will best represent your brand.

Pro tip: Ask yourself this —what audiences are we already successfully communicating with? Who are we hoping to engage that we currently are not? Do we have room to test a new audience?

The answers to these questions will help you put together a successful influencer campaign. Search influencers who fit each description.

3. Do your research.

The key to your research phase is to understand and accept the world of influencer marketing. Know why you’re using influencers and understand your expectations of this campaign — whether it’s for content, engagement, brand awareness, etc. Your understanding of this will bring you “marketing freedom” to test influencer campaigns. And this marketing “freedom brings opportunity, opportunity makes your future” (Risky Business).

Pro tip: Now, you know what type of influencers you want – but, how do you find them, communicate with them and track your communication? Buzzstream is a fantastic tool to utilize for your search – incredibly effective and will save you tons of time.

Research goes far beyond social follows and traffic for the influencer. Look at the blog, social channels, comments, and editorials. Look for the details in images, sponsorship communications, lead forms, commentary, contact information, language, etc. You may find a risky picture, profanity, other brands they’ve sponsored, or a poor user experience (example, an email subscription pop up before you can read any of the blog). Good thing there are over 2 million blog posts published on the internet every single day (WebHostingRating). Take your time to research the influencer before pitching them on your brand.

Pro tip: Ask yourself this – is there any content that immediately screams unprofessional for my brand? If there’s anything that immediately offends you on the influencers blog, social handles, etc. MOVE ON to the next one. This influencer is not for you.

4. Understand that influencer niches are not one size fits all.

Embrace their uniqueness. Comparing niches apples to apples will not serve you well when working together. A frugal blogger and a fashion blogger live in different worlds. Comparing them will only hurt your ability to see each of their strengths. For example, what may be high traffic for one niche, might be low traffic for another. Use each influencer’s strength to create a successful holistic campaign. One influencer might bring you traffic and another engagement. That’s OK!

5. Trust that Influencers are EXPERTS in their space.

“Just use your best judgment. We trust you.” (Risky Business)

Of course, after doing your own thorough research on each influencer, and you find an influencer who’s perfect for you…now it’s time to understand that the influencer knows their trusted audience better than you ever could at this stage.

Like your brand, influencers will most likely not promote anything (sponsored, or not) if it does not align with their target audience. They know which platforms to engage on and how to do it. Offer brainstorm sessions to the influencer to assist in generating content, but do not tell them how to write their own content.

Pro tip: Make sure you share brand guidelines with the influencer to ensure those are met.

Don’t let a lack of understanding influencers stop you from incorporating influencer marketing into your overall marketing strategy this year. Also, we’re here to help.