There was a time when just doing influencer marketing at all was seen as innovative, but now, influencer campaigns are mainstream - everyone’s jumping on the influencer marketing bandwagon. But while more people are tapping into the process, the truth is that many influencer marketing campaigns are lacking.
Here's why: In many instances, a brand will discuss its campaign ideas in a corporate conference room. From there, it'll map out a plan of action, and seek out an influencer whom it will instruct on what it wants. In other cases, a brand might ask an influencer to simply post a photo of themselves with a product on Facebook or Instagram with a hashtag or two.
These approaches do not utilize influencers effectively, and will not yield optimal results.
There definitely are some benefits to scalable, simple influencer campaigns like this, but if you want to be innovative and stand out, you need to try different strategies. Because at a certain point, your audience can tell when a promotion has been treated like a transaction, and that’s a turn-off.
The key to really maximizing influencer marketing lies in seeking influencer input from the early stages in planning - here are some reasons why you should consider integrating your influencers into your process at the ground level, rather than dictating what you want them to post on your behalf.
1. Influencers know their audience best
A recent survey by CrowdTap found that 70% of all influencers feel that their honesty, openness and humor are necessary to keep their audience engaged, yet only 14% of those same influencers indicated that their first consideration when accepting a brand campaign is whether they like the brand.
Their main concern, according to 61% of responses, is that the brand they're working with is relevant to their audience, and/or that the campaign provides their audience with a unique experience.
This essentially underlines how influencers value their audience engagement - their main concern isn’t whether or not they personally like your brand, their main concern is their own audience.
Influencers know their audience better than anyone else, and their success depends on their audience’s happiness. Seeking input from your influencers, and giving them a sandbox for creative freedom, can allow them to create content that they know their audience will love, while also showcasing your brand in a more effective way.
2. Influencers are marketers
One of the biggest reasons to seek input from influencers is that influencers know how to create content that doesn’t feel like a sales pitch.
Social media influencers are anything but traditional marketers - they’re not necessarily trained in marketing sales pitches. Many aren’t trained in marketing at all – they’re self-taught.
This can be hugely beneficial, as they’re able to set aside typical marketing jargon, while leveraging their unique marketing skills, and giving their audience an honest, authentic look at your brand.
3. Influencers want to be involved
On top of this, influencers typically prefer to be included in the creative process. In fact, 77% of influencers said that they’d be more willing to work with a brand repeatedly if that brand gave them freedom on their projects.
Seeking influencer input, and involving them in the campaign, will create a better, long-term relationship between brand and influencer. This can give you some serious ROI down the road - plus, it just makes sense, a campaign is simply better if it involves two parties who are working together in partnership.
4. Influencers have great ideas
Most influencers are creatives at their core, which means that they often have pretty great ideas.
Seeking their input on a campaign – working with them before and during the campaign creation process – will give you and your team interesting insights and creative ideas you never would’ve thought of yourself. It also can ease the stress that relinquishing control can cause by making the whole process collaborative, giving you the opportunity to approve the final product.
5. The right influencers are trustworthy
Giving up some control can feel a little scary - your brand, after all, is on the line. But giving your influencers some creative freedom doesn’t mean that you give up all control.
Be clear and direct as a brand about what your goals for the collaboration are. If an influencer understands what you’re looking to get out of a campaign, they can provide ideas on how to execute the project in a way that meets your goals, while still feeling authentic to their audience.
In short, telling influencers what you want to accomplish, without telling them how to do it, will amplify your results.
As long as you’re researching influencers, looking at their past collabs and making sure your values align with theirs, seeking influencer input and relinquishing some control will almost always have better ROI than a copy-and-paste campaign.
Worth considering in your influencer marketing process.