Have you ever wanted something just because someone you looked up to was using it? When I saw this coat on Alexa Chung, I knew I had to get something similar. It was not solely because I liked its look, but it was also because Alexa was wearing it. Just like that one comment puts it: “Already ordered and will forever order anything AC approved.” This example illustrates the basis of influencer marketing: Our buying behaviour has been influenced by someone we look up to or whose recommendations we trust.
Influencer marketing is no longer just a fringe strategy; it has become a core marketing tactic for many consumer-facing brands. Furthermore, with Instagram’s recent launch of Instagram Shopping and later Checkout, influencer marketing will only grow in importance in 2020.
But running an influencer marketing campaign does not come cheap. Brands are pouring thousands of ad dollars to run a successful campaign. To get the most out of your influencer marketing campaign, it is essential that you consider these things:
Nailing your influencer marketing campaign objectives
This is the bread and butter of every campaign. Having a clear set of campaign objectives will guide your preparation and help you measure your success later on. Some common examples of influencer campaign objectives are brand awareness, brand loyalty, website traffic and sales.
Perhaps your brand is new to the market, or you are about to launch a new product, but whatever it is, you want your audience to know about it. If that is the case, the primary objective of your campaign should be brand awareness. You would want to work with influencers who would reach a large number of people.
Garmin worked with several top Singaporean fitness influencers like @elaineruimin, who has a large follower base of over 100K, to raise awareness about the launch of their new smartwatch, Garmin Venu.
Think about your favourite brand. More often than not, you become a fan because the brand values and personality resonate with you. Influencer marketing is a great vehicle for brands to communicate their values. Brand values are not only communicated via content but is signalled by their choice of influencers they work with.
One prime example would be Lululemon’s ambassador program. They identified local influencers in the fitness scene who embodied their brand values, exposed these influencers to Lululemon’s products and gave them high-quality activewear for free. In exchange, these influencers have to promote the Lululemon brand on their social platforms and run classes at Lululemon’s studios. The brand eventually went beyond being positioned as an activewear retailer to become a lively, engaged community of fitness fans.
Website traffic and sales
This is one of the most common goals of influencer marketing campaigns. Influencer marketing is well-known for being able to generate website traffic and sales within a short amount of time. Based on the principle of word of mouth, consumers are more likely to trust the recommendation of someone they personally know. Hence, having influencers talk about the benefits of your product has been proven effective in driving sales.
Once you have nailed down your campaign objectives, the next step is to think about which influencers to partner with.
Selecting the most relevant influencers for your brand
The most difficult step of your influencer marketing campaign is selecting the right influencer to partner. Your influencer will affect who your message is going out to, and how your brand will be perceived.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to selecting your influencer – the right fit often depends on your campaign objectives and brand personality. The first thing to think about is what kind of influencers you would like to work with:
a. Celebrity Influencers
Celebrity influencers are often the go-to choice for big multinational brands who have a large pool of resources and existing relationships with these celebrities. While it is expensive to engage them, it will put your brand in front of millions of people. This is especially effective in establishing top-of-mind awareness.
Celebrity Influencer: @imjennim, 2,279,545 followers
b. Power Users
While not of celebrity status, power users still have a substantial following. Your content will reach a wide audience who loosely share similar interests. Power users are great for mass-market brands who are trying to reach as many people as they can. Huge clothing brands often engage power users to raise awareness about their new collections and launches.
Power influencer: @ganeganii, 234,553 followers on Instagram
Micro-influencers are a less costly but equally (if not, more) effective alternative. Studies have shown that followers of micro-influencers tend to trust their recommendations more than that of celebrity influencers. Perceived as more authentic, micro-influencers command a greater influencer and higher engagement with each post they push out. A stronger connection is forged between brands and consumers when a micro-influencer is engaged.
Micro-influencer: @itsmariahazel, 16.5k followers
This graph below illustrates which type of influencers to work with based on your campaign objectives.
Searching for influencers beyond your own knowledge of the influencer landscape
Once you have decided on the type of influencer to work with, you need to search for influencers who embody your brand values and personality. As the search functions on Instagram is limited, marketers would rely on their own knowledge of the influencer landscape and risk selecting a partner that is not the best fit.
List of influencers under the search topic “Fitness”, filtered by Networks, Influence, Location and Gender.
Common pitfalls when selecting your influencers
a. Selecting influencers based on follower and engagement numbers
One common pitfall among marketers is selecting their partners based on surface figures like followers and engagement numbers. The existence of fake bots, spam and inactive accounts can drive up these numbers. In fact, aspiring influencers often head to influencer pods, which are public and private forums, to exchange likes, follows and comments to increase their social media presence. As a result, many brands waste their resources on influencers with high reach and engagement, but with little influence.
Finally, many marketers fail to understand how Instagram’s ranks posts on our feeds and how this impacts an influencer marketing campaign. Posts are no longer ranked chronologically, but rather, by relevance to the specific user. How is the relevance of a post determined? Two things matter: The user’s historical interactions with the poster’s content and the user’s interaction with similar posts from other influential creators.
Meltwater’s Social Media Influencer Discovery platform tags an influence score to each user and this represents how influential an account is in their social network. It takes into account; (1) the frequency that active users interact with the content and (2) how influential these active users are. Furthermore, if an influencer is an expert in their field (i.e fashion), their influence score will increase. The influencer score is a great indicator of how much action and impact that influencer will drive for your brand.
b. Selecting influencers whose followers do not align with a brand’s target audience
But what if an influencer has a high number of active, engaged followers? It is easy to conclude that the influencer would be an ideal partner for your brand. However, many brands fail to consider who exactly these followers are and if they would be reaching their target audience. This is the second pitfall – assuming that an influencer’s followers all share the same interests and preferences. As more brands understand the complexity of influencer marketing, they start investing in influencer management tools that provide them with rich audience data.
Selecting the right influencer whose content reaches the right audience is already half the battle won.
Managing your influencers
As influencer marketing continues to grow, influencer marketing strategies begin to evolve as well. No longer should influencers be perceived as a mouthpiece to amplify your brand’s latest promotions. Your relationship with your partnered influencers will go beyond a transactional one when you treat them as your most important consumers. In other words, your brand ambassadors.
a. Reaching out to influencers
Building a relationship should begin even before a contract is signed. In most cases, influencers would only choose to work with brands they believe in, regardless of the cash incentives. Once you have identified the influencers that you believe embodies your brand personality, you need to get them excited about working with you.
A common strategy that brands employ to get the attention of influencers is to mail them free samples of their products, without asking for anything in return.
b. Communicating your expectations
Some brands fall into the opposite ends of the spectrum where they pander too much to their partners demands such that they lose control of the partnership. It is important that brands clearly spell out their expectations about the campaign and ensure that their partners understand them. From the type of content to the frequency of posts and down to style and tone, these expectations should be communicated from the start in a campaign brief. Check out this useful template created by Klear.
c. Turning influencers into ambassadors
After expectations have been communicated and the contract signed, many brands make the mistake of neglecting their partners until they need something from them. While there is nothing inherently wrong with that, influencers, like people, would appreciate brands who go the extra mile to build a relationship with them. Keep them updated about the latest happenings, invite them to exclusive brand events, or simply send them a token of appreciation every now and then. The key here is to be genuine and authentic in maintaining a good relationship with them.
When influencers enjoy the experience in this partnership, they will develop trust and a connection with your brand. Now avid fans of your product, they will continue to give exposure to your brand even after their work commitment is over. And that is when you know your influencer has transformed into a powerful brand advocate.
Measuring your influencer campaign
The two most common metrics marketers often use to measure the success of their campaigns are reach and engagement. While they are important metrics to measure, using these numbers as your be-all and end-all would limit the potential of your efforts. Furthermore, with the recent announcement of Instagram hiding the number of likes, marketers have to start thinking of a more holistic framework to measure their success.
Here are some other quantifiable metrics that can give a comprehensive picture of your campaign’s performance:
a. Earned Media
It would be more impactful if users go beyond engagement to talk about the brand on their own channels. For example, a user can share an influencer’s post on his or her own Instagram Stories. Alternatively, if your hashtag catches on and users begin to use it in their content, it would lead to greater reach than what you originally paid for.
b. Instagram Story Views
Since its launch, the growth of Instagram Stories has been astounding. Many influencers have adopted this new format to talk about a brand, product or service. It offers a real-time authenticity which makes users feel that the influencer is letting them into their lives. However, one challenge marketers face is tracking engagement and views of Instagram Stories – given its perishable nature. The good thing is that the Meltwater’s Social Media Influencer Discovery platform can track and store Instagram Stories even after 24 hours!
c. Link clicks
If your objective is to drive web traffic, the number of link clicks is the most relevant metric to measure the success of your campaigns. Developments within the Instagram app has facilitated the ease of inserting links into posts, such as the swipe-up function on Instagram stories. If you tag UTM (urchin tracking module) parameters in the URL used, you can easily track how much traffic is generated from that particular piece of content.
With so many numbers to stay on top of, we understand the challenges that marketers face in creating timely and insightful reports. As a result, it is much easier to fall back on simple metrics such as the number of likes and engagement.
Influencer marketing role models
So there you have it! You are now one step closer to running a successful Influencing marketing campaign. But before you go, you might want to take a look at these exciting influencer campaigns for some inspiration:
1. #ImWithCHARLESKEITH by Charles and Keith
The Charles and Keith team employed several influencers to promote the launch of their new collection. A search of the hashtag #IMWITHCHARLESANDKEITH on Instagram will take you to over 20,000 Instagram posts. While it raised awareness for the launch, Charles and Keith wanted influencers to drive traffic to their own Instagram page.
Once on Charles and Keith’s page, users will see a link to shop their Instagram feed in their bio. But instead of bringing users to their e-commerce website, the link brings them to a completely new platform that resembles their Instagram feed. Users can click on the items featured in the photos and they will be shown more information about the products. Clicking again would bring them to the product page where they can purchase it.
Charles and Keith’s smart move to create a seamless, fluid customer journey is something we can all learn from.
2. #danielwellington by Daniel Wellington
Boasting 4.7 million followers on Instagram, @danielwellington has perfected their influencer marketing strategy. Entering the market in 2011, they did not have the resources for huge ad campaigns to boost their branding. As such, they engaged the help of micro-influencers. The DW team sent samples of their watches to selected micro-influencers. As long as they posted a photo of themselves sporting the Daniel Wellington watch, they would get to keep it for free.
Many micro-influencers were happy to take up the offer, and combined with the use of the targeted hashtag: “#danielwellington”, the campaign exploded. Soon, Daniel Wellington consumers started sharing photos themselves, giving the brand a sustainable stream of social media publicity at a low cost.
Are you ready to launch your influencer marketing campaign?
The giant influencer market will only continue to expand – by 12.3% up till 2027 to be exact. The benefits of influencer marketing are there for your brand to enjoy if done well. With Meltwater’s Social Media Influencer Discovery platform, influencer marketing management has never been made easier.