With the option to skip ads and mute the TV, it’s next to impossible to grab Millennials’ attention with old-school tactics. Influencer marketing is now a key strategy to reach this demographic. Influencers are people young folks follow, like, and tweet about. They’re like celebrities, but more accessible. They frequently give their followers an in-depth look at their life, making them less like fans and more like friends. They run blogs and YouTube channels with viewerships that blow some big corporations out of the water.
Many influencers got their start on platforms such as YouTube, Snapchat, and Instagram as well as personal blogs. They talk about their interests or simply provide vlogs (video blogs) of what they do each day.
How these people make money? The answer is simple: corporate partnerships. Many influencers have thousands if not millions of dedicated followers, which provides them an amazing platform to speak about products or brands with whom they’ve partnered.
Companies reach out to them and offer free products, services, or payment in exchange for a shout-out in videos, posts, etc. This gives brands the chance to reach audiences they’d otherwise have a hard time reaching.
If you’re a company that targets millennials, influencer marketing may be your best bet. But before you Google the most influential bloggers, there are a few things to take into consideration.
Know Who You Want to Talk to and Don’t be a Poser
If the influencer you choose to work with doesn’t compliment your brand, their audience will pick up on the insincerity and dismiss the call to action. Authenticity is key and if the viewers don’t trust you, you are wasting both time and money.
Therefore, there are a few things you need to ask yourself when conducting your search for the perfect influencer:
- What audience do you want to target?
- Do your research when it comes to finding influencers who are in your area, budget, etc. Look at everything from blogs to hashtags!
- Does your brand match your influencer’s brand?
- Does this partnership come off as authentic?
Do Your Due Diligence
Once you’ve found your influencer, the questions don’t stop there. Before committing to anything, assess the situation and determine whether or not you can realistically accomplish your goals with this particular influencer.
Use an interaction tracking tool to make sure that their followers are engaged and respond to the influencer’s calls to action.
Do the influencers seem sincere in their relationship with you? Are they doing this recognizing that this will be a mutual relationship, or are they only going along with it for their own benefit?
Are they consistent in their posting? If not how can you trust that they will be reliable?
Value Relationships with Your Influencers
Influencers constantly get requests to partner with brands, and if one has chosen to work with you, remember to appreciate them. Here are a few things to think about when entering into a relationship with an influencer:
- During your campaign: mention them on your brand’s channel like they are doing on theirs. Retweet them, share their blog posts, maybe even have an introduction blog post about who they are and why they are such a great fit for your brand.
- After: go above beyond and keep up with them even after your initial partnership ends. If you see that they have been given a great opportunity or something exciting has happened to them say congratulations. Maintain your relationship with them and they will always look at your company fondly and be open to working with you again in the future!
Bigger Isn’t Always Better
If you are a smaller business, think about going after some local talent that is a natural addition to your brand. Here’s how to find what you’re looking for:
- Search hashtags like #bostonblogger or attach your location to a word related to your company’s product or service such as #bostonfoodie or #bostonrunner.
Once you find an influencer ask yourself:
- What would make them want to work with you?
- Do they love your brand already?
- Are they looking for monetary compensation?
- Could you give them a discount code for their followers to use and in return they would receive a cut of the profits?
Whatever you do decide to offer them make sure that it is a good enough incentive that would make them want to consistently talk about it. If you’re company isn’t ready to move ahead with influencer marketing think about turning to people already on your team. The people working for you are built-in advocates. They know the company inside out, and will hopefully be willing to share content, give ideas about the types of content you should produce and even participate in doing so.
Make a Game Plan
You’re almost there! Once you have your influencer on board there are a few more things to go over.
- How long will the campaign last?
- What types of posts you would like to see from them?
If they are a blogger or YouTuber come up with ideas for blog posts or videos that revolve around the product or service that also makes sense for their platform.
Speak to their audience in their language and they will be much more likely to listen to what you are saying.
As we talked about earlier, people are very aware when you are trying to deceive them. One of the most important things that you need to make sure happens with each piece of content is overtly stating that this in fact an ad. Having this new audience trust both you and the influencer is necessary if you want this campaign to work. Remember: the audience is opting-in and if they don’t trust you they will tune you out.
Get in on this marketing trend ASAP! Influencer marketing is a form of native/organic advertising and it can improve your SEO tremendously – it should definitely not be underestimated. Whatever you do go with, be sure to really get to know your brand’s needs as well as the influencer’s before making any decisions.
Author Bio: Stefanie is the Co-Founder of Pepper Gang, a Digital Marketing Agency and Google Premier Partner with a simple vision to maximize client growth by navigating the complex consumer decision cycle in today’s hyper-connected world. Stefanie is a seasoned entrepreneur and charismatic leader in the online marketing industry.