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How to Get More Out of Your New Influencer Marketing Strategy
July 14, 2020
Over the past few months and with many consumers still at home, consumption of digital content has gained a significant uptick in usage. 29% of online users are spending more time on social media, and 39% are consuming more news online. This uptick in time spent on social and online platforms has made influencers even more enticing for brands, particularly as they look for ways to ease COVID-19 production limitations or maintain social relevance through authentic voices against a backdrop of social change.
If you’ve only just begun working with influencers, you’re probably wondering how you can make the most of your new partnerships or may be curious how to translate them into a long-term strategy. With years of experience connecting brands to influencers for their campaigns, I’ve learned a few universal truths that can help brands get the most out of these valuable partnerships.
Streamline Production with Influencers You Trust
It’s true that influencers are production powerhouses, adept at creating culturally relevant content at home and at speed. And to ensure those benefits don’t become diminished in time spent on rework and clunky approvals, brands must take the time to carefully vet and select influencer partners. Once chosen, they can hand over the creative reins to their influencers without worry.
In addition to checking whether an influencer’s following matches your target audience, go through their content and ensure they exemplify the same values as your brand. Would your campaign’s content fit seamlessly into their feeds?
This is important to consider, because you must remember that influencer content not only has to pass your muster—it has to meet the standards of their audience, too. Recently, IMA helped Dermalex achieve this in just a week’s time by partnering with influencers already focused on wellness and self-care—an ideal fit for the brand.
Build Trust to Encourage Authenticity
Carefully selecting your partners becomes especially important when you consider another key influencer benefit: they inject authenticity into a brand’s messaging. The role of influencers has changed as consumers turn to them for comfort in a pandemic or seek their stance on social issues, like recent Black Lives Matter protests in the US. These trends mean that brands must not only seek out more diverse voices in their influencer partnerships, but should give them the space they need to create authentic content that exemplifies their values and keeps them true to their audience.
IMA worked with the Flower Council of Holland on a campaign that aimed to raise awareness for flowers as a symbol of hope. This offered a much-needed moment of respite for audiences to connect in a tough time, as seen in Carolijn Braeken’s lovely photo caption that she centered around her immediate community.
I’ve found that long-term partnerships go a long way in ensuring authenticity in influencer content. As current events reshape your brand’s role in society and in its messaging, now is an ideal time to focus your influencer strategy away from one-time campaigns and toward long-term partnerships (if you haven’t already), elevating the role of your influencers to true brand ambassadors. Audiences will appreciate your role in investing with their favorite content creators, building brand love in the process.
Let Data Inform Long-Term Learnings
Speaking of the long term, don’t forget that influencer campaigns are a goldmine for data and insights that can inform current and future marketing strategies. Social listening is an important first step to identify influencers who best fit your brand or to gauge current brand sentiment, but it’s equally important to keep an eye on the data that rolls in after content is published.
Influencers drive conversations around a brand, and their followers feel comfortable sharing their honest opinions with the content creators they look up to—they’re willing to share what works and what doesn’t in the content they see. To get the most out of your campaigns, run a social listening analysis to identify who or what is driving conversation peaks, find out what audiences are saying and identify where conversations are the most concentrated.
And as you invest in new and emerging platforms, be open to changing the way that you report results and findings. On TikTok, for example, content has a much longer shelf life than that of other platforms—even an old video can take on new life due to the algorithm serving personalized content on the app’s “For You” page. So, keep your eye on platforms like this, which can continue to drive significant engagement well after a campaign has ended.
With the tips above, brands should have no trouble producing fast, relevant content through their trusted influencer partnerships. While influencer marketing is different in execution compared to other forms of digital marketing, the same rules apply: aim to provide real value for your target audience and community. When brands make careful selection of their partners, place their creative trust in them and plan beyond the scope of a single campaign, they can supercharge their marketing with relevance and resonance.