If you've ever tried to execute an influencer marketing campaign, you know that the hardest part is often connecting with the right influencers in the first place.
Since your relationship with the influencers can impact the authenticity and effectiveness of your campaign, you need to build genuine connections with them. But how can you do it?
Here are four key tips.
1. Get to Know Your Influencers
The main reason influencer marketing works is because it feels more authentic, and personal, than regular advertising. Just like when your friend or colleague recommends a product to you, it gives brands an opportunity to tell their story in a more authentic manner and helps them instill a sense of trust in their customers towards their brand.
It's this same sense of trust that you should also instill in influencers if you want to influence them. The best way to do that is by getting to know them, then building a connection based on that knowledge. Find influencers who are relevant to your brand, and check out their social media activity to see if their views align with yours.
See what kind of interests they have, and what kind of content they normally share. And if they seem to be similar to yours, try commenting on their posts. Share your own views, and express your opinions to begin your initial interactions. In other words, try to make friends with them so they'll have an affinity towards your brand.
Rovio, for example, wanted to drive downloads of their Angry Birds 2 video game while raising awareness for World AIDS Day. They chose to work with influencers who could influence their target audience - Millennial, socially aware individuals.
They worked with influencers like Lewis Hilsenteger of Unbox Therapy, and Alex MacLean of East Coast Lifestyle. These influencers created content across all popular social media channels. The video Lewis created got nearly 2 million views.
Overall, the content created by the six influencers was viewed almost 6 million times, driving hundreds of thousands of engagements. The influencers' content has generated more than 6.4 million interactions in total.
2. Give Them a Good Reason to Help You
A TapInfluence and Altimeter study found that the biggest mistake you can make with influencer marketing is failing to offer sufficient compensation. Some brands don't offer financial compensation at all.
This can be harmful because the study also found that the main motivation for influencers to become influencers is so that they can earn revenue from their presence. Even if you don't offer monetary compensation, the free products or experiences you offer should be valuable enough to win over influencers.
If you want to effectively influence influencers, you need to acknowledge the fact that they're individuals with needs and desires. You shouldn't expect them to promote your brand for free, you should offer something significant in order to sway them. In other words, you should give them a good reason to talk about your brand.
For this, it's important to come up with a proper compensation model that fits your goals and budget. You could either pay for each post, or pay based on performance - engagement, traffic, conversions, etc. But if you absolutely cannot afford to offer financial payment, you still need to provide something valuable in return.
For example, Samsung provided Ascia AKF, (who has 2.1 million followers), with their brand new Galaxy S8. In this case, even if they didn't provide financial compensation, the influencer would likely still be keen to promote the brand.
3. Minimize the Hassle for Them
If you want influencers to share your content, or talk about your brand with their followers, make sure it's not a hassle for them.
Try to keep things as effortless as possible so they'll be more open to helping you out - provide them with all the information they'll need without them having to ask you.
For example, when you initially approach an influencer with a partnership offer, let them know whether or not you'll be providing them with financial compensation. If not, what can you offer them? And if you are, what kind of compensation model will you follow?
And you should make it clear what you expect from them in return. Do you want them to just mention your brand name, or review your product in detail? Maybe you want them to attend an event, or even create unique content featuring your product. Whatever the case may be, make all of this clear when you approach influencers.
If you simply want them to share your content, maybe you could send them a short line they could use as a caption - but make sure this line sounds natural, and is unique to each influencer.
According to the previously-cited TapInfluence and Altimeter study, influencers hate it when brands require drafts for every post, and they also find it inconvenient to share to every social media channel. It'd be wise to consider these opinions when you approach influencers.
4. Give Them Creative Control
The only thing influencers hate as much as brands that don't pay enough is brands that are far too controlling of what the influencer posts. The TapInfluence and Altimeter study listed it as the second biggest mistake brands make with influencer marketing - the study also found that the most important and effective method for influencers to engage their audience is to maintain their authenticity and honesty.
And according to a Julius study, 63% of influencers wouldn't work with a brand more than once if the brand was too restrictive with their content guidelines. This suggests that it's crucial for brands to provide creative control to the influencers they work with, otherwise, it could frustrate the influencers and make them feel less inclined to portray your brand in a good light.
Plus, dictating every aspect of the content your influencer should create could harm the quality of the content itself. Remember, you chose to work with influencers because they can engage their audience through their original and creative content. They have a unique voice, which their audience already recognizes.
If the content they produce for you strays too far from the influencer's usual voice, it could impact how people feel about the content. They might not find it as interesting, or authentic as their usual posts. This could see your campaign falling flat.
On the other hand, if you want influencers to fall in love with your brand, you need to trust them with content creation. They can showcase their appreciation for your brand in their own unique way to resonate with their usual audience.
See, for instance, how DOVE Chocolate allowed influencer Sam Ushiro to create a post that aligned with her usual content. The photo she posted for the brand is in-tune with the bright, pastel-hued photos she regularly posts.
These are the most crucial steps to influence influencers. Depending on which influencers you plan to work with, you may need to make further adjustments.
Got any questions about these points? Leave a comment below and let me know.