Influencer marketing works incredibly well — until consumers catch on.
People still trust and enjoy content from their favorite influencers, but many are wary of paid endorsements. Most influencer content standbys, such as fashion hauls and travel shots, are now seen as little more than branded advertisements.
Brands still need influencers to connect with consumers on social media. But before you shell out a few grand to send strangers free products or place a simple post, consider these influencer marketing tactics.
1. Turn your audience into the influencers.
Despite how jaded consumers have become, they still trust their peers. Social media gives everyone a voice; in the right context, anyone can be an influencer for 15 minutes.
That’s what Surkus believes. Surkus connects brands and events to audiences by providing special access and offers as incentives for users to engage on social and in-person. Leveraging user data and algorithms, it matches highly interested members with events and brand activations, facilitating authentic social amplification and organic user-generated content along the way.
Almost everyone has some level of social presence these days. Before your next big campaign, build relationships with nano-influencers or get the word-of-mouth ball rolling through other online content.
2. Start with the content, and work your way backward.
Many brands that contract an influencer marketing agency forget that their new partner is constantly reading content. Influencer marketers can tell you what content is trending, which influencers are creating it, and what might be the next hot topic.
If you don’t work with an influencer marketing group, try BuzzSumo. With an easy-to-use dashboard, you can find popular content, track down the influencers sharing it, and discover potential partners based on your keywords. You can even filter influencers by category to get closer to your target audience.
Remember that one popular piece of content does not an influencer make. Plenty of people have created a popular tweet or Instagram post, only to fade into obscurity when the buzz died down. You’ll generally have better luck with smaller influencers who consistently reach niche audiences than you will with one-hit wonders.
3. Measure before, during, and after your partnership.
An influencer with 100,000 followers shared your post — but did anyone read it? Use measurement tools like Kred to identify the reach and engagement of your influencer marketing campaigns.
Kred, a Twitter-specific tool, helps brands evaluate whether influencers’ posts are as popular as they claim. Though it lacks the sophistication of more expensive options, Kred also provides insight into how actively influencers engage with specific online communities. If your influencer claims to be popular with gamers, Kred can confirm whether that’s true.
Without real metrics, you’ll never know whether your influencer campaigns deliver great ROI or just look pretty on paper. Likes and shares are nice, but to get the real story, use third-party tools.
4. Build relationships that go beyond transactions.
No matter how viral, no one post is going to double your customer base or order volume. Rather than make post-by-post transactions, building relationships is key to realizing the true value of influencer marketing.
Instead of negotiating through an email chain and cutting off communication after your post goes live, ask for an even stronger second post. Because the success of a social post depends on so many factors, give a promising partner at least a couple of opportunities to show he or she can deliver.
How can you scale those interactions? Look to an all-in-one influencer tool like NinjaOutreach. Not only does NinjaOutreach let you find well-suited influencers in new niches, but you can also automate your follow-ups to ensure everything goes smoothly. With a built-in CRM, you can draw a direct line between your influencer campaigns and sales.
Authentic influencers may be a little harder to find and engage these days, but you don’t have to base your influencer marketing on costly traditional methods with diminishing returns. The tools outlined here will give you a head start to more efficiently and effectively produce long-term partnerships with a range of influencers who have the ear of your target audience. Continue to evolve your influencer strategy, and you’ll connect with your fans for years to come.