Ever feel like you want to get started with, or ramp up your influencer marketing efforts, but you're not sure how to get started? You’re not alone, and that’s where this post comes in - by the time you’re done reading this, you’ll have a much clearer vision of how to power your influencer marketing.
With consumers putting less trust into information being communicated from brands themselves, influencer marketing has quickly become a key consideration. Additionally, the blogosphere and social media universe is cluttered with a ton of content, which means that brands can’t just decide to implement influencer marketing. They need to know who to partner with, and how to implement it well.
Research shows that 51% of marketers believe that influencer marketing generates higher quality customers, and there are three different approaches brands can tackle influencer marketing to boost their campaign performance
Run it in-house
When brands run influencer marketing in-house, they usually have a dedicated person to handle the process, or have someone in the company who doesn’t have a super full plate to take it over.
When influencer marketing is run in-house, brands can keep a tight grip on the strategy, which enables them to tweak what’s working and what’s not. They also have the luxury of owning their relationships, which allows for the best type of influencer marketing: on-going relationships.
Running influencer marketing in-house takes a lot of time and resources, and for brands who don’t have influencer relationships built out yet, it can be a slow build. This strategy, to do it right, can be quite time consuming and not all brands have the man-hours available to effectively execute.
How to get started
Depending on your budget, there are a heap of tools out there which enable brands to identify influencers and run their strategies, including GroupHigh and Traackr. If you’re just getting your feet wet and don’t have a budget, Googling for influencer lists and searching for people on social using relevant hashtags is viable as well.
Hire an Agency
Influencer marketing falls in an overlap area between PR and marketing, so both PR and marketing agencies often offer influencer marketing services that include ideation to reporting.
Agencies are generally well organized, and can bring a lot of great relationships to the table for their clients. This is a great option when employees are already spread thin, as the agency will handle every step of the campaign. Agencies can also bring a lot of years of experience to your influencer marketing campaigns and take care of the creative angles and ways that your brand should be working with creators.
Agencies can be pricey, so brands need to have a good budget to take this route. Also, they own the relationships and will be doing the influencer communication - and as such, establishing ongoing relationships with influencers for your brand can sometimes be problematic.
How to get started
Make sure the agency you choose will give you access to contact information for the influencers so that you can nurture and grow these relationships. You also don’t need to go with a huge agency - there are plenty of affordable ones out there like Versa Marketing.
Partner with Networks
There are many influencer networks available which specialize in certain verticals and execute influencer marketing campaigns.
Networks often have a really engaged pool of influencers who they can immediately activate to say great things about your brand. They also often specialize in a certain vertical of influence, enabling brands to work with a few networks at a time to see what works.
The network route is still pricier than running influencer marketing in-house. And while you’ll obviously have access to the content your brand earns, the network is still doing the influencer communication, so establishing a personal relationship with influencers for ongoing campaigns can prove difficult.
How to get started
Decide which verticals you want your network partners to represent and start running searches for these networks. FitApproach and Moms Meet are great ones to start with (if, of course, they align with your brand).
Influencer Marketing Examples to Note
Whether you’re going to team up with a network or an agency, or if you’re taking your influencer marketing program in-house, it’s a great idea to find influencer marketing examples that you like so that you can steer your campaign in the right direction.
Here are just a few to get the creative juices flowing.
- prAna: This activewear company runs influencer marketing campaigns for each of their season launches. They partner with travel, active lifestyle, parenting and eco-conscious influencers to have them wear the brand’s newest clothes and write blogs, and take pictures of how they authentically incorporate prAna into their lives and content. A recent campaign they ran was called #MindfulprAna, in which they challenged influencers to write about the different areas of their lives that they can be more mindful about, such as buying ethically made clothing.
. Mindful. Sustainable. They seem like buzz words, and maybe they are, but they are applicable across the board when it comes to running, nutrition, family and pretty much every aspect of our daily lives. . I’ve partnered with @prana to share how I try to incorporate sustainable and mindful practices into my daily life. Spoiler alert: wearing sustainably made comfortable clothing is part of it. (Pictured wearing @prana’s Pillar Legging and Constellation Tee). . You can shop @prana’s new spring line at 15% off using code MPSCS18. #ad #prAna #mindfulprAna #prAnaspring18 #bluesign #sustainablefashion #sustainability #mindfulliving #createmargin
- TUNG Brush: This industry leader in tongue brushes recently partnered with influencers to help them make a business decision on which new brush colors they should release. They challenged the influencers to post creative Instagram photos displaying all the brush colors, and the influencers also sent their readers to a landing page where they could vote on their favorite brush color and be entered to win a $250 gift card by voting.
- Coyuchi: This brand, which sells bedding, used influencer marketing as part of their strategy when they launched their “littles” line (organic bedding for babies). They reached out to new and expecting mothers and gave them access to the products before they were launched creating a feel of exclusivity - and thus really engaging posts from the influencers.
Having utilized all three of these approaches to influencer marketing, I can say that they all have enormous pros.
Based on your budget and influencer marketing needs, how do you plan to ramp up awesome earned media for 2018?