Influencer marketing's phenomenal rise is showing no signs of slowing; 2017 saw a 325 per cent increase in searches for the phrase "influencer marketing" on Google alone, according to the Influencer Marketing Hub.
This rapid increase is hardly surprising when we look at how much can be earned through the medium. The same source reports that businesses are receiving $7.65 on average for each $1 they spend on influencer marketing.
The communication strategy involves teaming up with influencers (people with significant followings and engagements on social media), who will then promote your product or service. It's not the same as simply being popular, however – influencers need to be able to persuade people to take action.
While it's a great way to increase your customer base and sales, there are five unique features to influencer marketing that communication professionals need to be aware of to really make the most of their campaigns.
1) Do your research
We know research is essential to any communication campaign, but when it comes to influencer marketing, it's even more vital. You need to go through your potential influencer's social media history and check that they aren't promoting any questionable views. Make sure you're happy for your brand to be associated with any and all of the posts they upload.
2) Engagement trumps followers every time
It's easy to fall into the trap of believing that more followers equals greater influence. But this isn't always the case. While some influencers might have hundreds of thousands or even millions of followers, if their audience isn't properly engaged with them, you won't be getting much in the way of results from your campaign. Look instead for influencers who have a small number of followers, but ones who are constantly commenting, sharing and reposting what the influencer has to say.
3) Give your influencers freedom
Remember that your influencers have gotten to where they are because of their personality. They've put in the hard graft themselves, and they know what works well with their audience. This means it's important to let them have creative control over how they promote your product or service.
Influencer posts need to appear organic. While everyone knows that most influencers are paid to promote a certain product, the trick is making it seem like they genuinely use and enjoy it. You'll only achieve this by giving influencers the freedom to post things the way they want to.
4) Create a story
One of the best ways to keep influencer marketing campaigns organic is by creating a story. How did using your product or service change a customer's life, make them happier, or make their things easier?
5) Build a relationship with your influencer
Influencers will do a better job of promoting your brand if they know you well and like you. So make sure you build a genuine relationship with your influencer. Think about how you can help them too – this is a two-way deal, and they often are in this for more than just money. Share their content and promote their blogs on your own page – the influencer will be more likely to want to work with you in the future, and may give you a better deal with it comes to payment for their services.
Communication is changing every day, and influencer marketing is just one new trend to take off. For more, visit our Insights page.