A good first step into marketing with influencers could be a campaign-based approach, but that might not be the best way to get ahead of your competition. It certainly isn’t the best way to optimize influencer ROI. Which is an option, but we’re here to explain to you why an always-on influencer program is a better idea.
People don’t just magically stop talking about your brand or products after the holidays or any other event campaign – which means you need to be on top of your social channels at all times
– Bailey Seitter, Social and Content Coordinator at Insightpool, the Influencer Marketing platform.
What’s so good about an always-on influencer program?
When brands start adopting influencer marketing, they almost always start on a campaign basis. That’s probably a good thing, as it does have some great advantages for organizations:
- a campaign basis teaches you to learn how to match expectations and results through testing campaigns;
- it shows you how to establish criteria that your influencers should meet;
- a campaign basis helps you understand the pain points in the process and think about how to fix them next time;
- it makes you agree on the processes and formulas you will use to measure, compare and evaluate.
Starting off campaign-based is a great way to let influencers know about your general marketing efforts. Think of it as a translation exercise that will make you see the difference between brands telling their story and having your story told by others. It might seem like a small nuance at first, but this exact difference is the reason why influencer marketing is so powerful. You have to be able to let go of having complete control over the messaging style and content style. But once you’ve crossed that bridge, it’s a fun and playful way of making sure your story actually gets out there and that it tells the story you would like consumers to talk about.
Influencer marketing as a continuous approach
After gaining experience and understanding of how to run campaigns successfully, it’s time to tackle the continuous approach. A successful influencer marketing strategy involves longer, ongoing campaigns and campaigns that give you that short-time boost. Influencer marketing is not a one-off, isolated campaign. It’s a process you need to integrate into your brand’s overall social marketing.
Here are five reasons why you need an always-on influencer program:
1. A professional, flexible content lab
Influencer marketing and content creation go hand in hand. It’s what makes influencer marketing especially appealing to the 50 percent of B2C-marketers whose top challenge is creating engaging content. A strategically constructed influencer marketing program can reach millions of targeted consumers through thousands of pieces of user-generated content, all put into market at the same time and then tested for effectiveness. For the cost of one traditional media buy or contracted piece of professionally produced content, brands can activate hundreds of influencers and fill their content lab with thousands of pieces of creative in a matter of days or weeks, instead of months.
2. More than a team effort
The key to success is when influencers are actively involved in the entire organization, and not just posting stuff about the current ongoing campaign. When they engage actively with different departments for different purposes and you achieve a close community like that, you’ll have found the true meaning of influencer marketing. That also means your influencer marketing ROI will skyrocket even further.
Quick example: you’re launching a new product and you don’t know yet how to craft your product messaging. You could hire a specialized agency to do it for you or wing it through trial and error, or you could ask your influencer community how they would talk about your new product. That way, you will learn how your consumers will talk about your product, and that might be the perfect validation or change in your communication plan you need.
3. The time in-between campaigns turns out to be the most valuable
When your influencers are not posting on the campaign briefing you gave them, it might be a perfect time to ask them what they think about the latest campaign or upcoming campaigns. It’s like talking to a consumer who is also a sector expert. If they could tell you what was wrong with the latest briefing or campaign messaging, you would like to know, right? So just ask them, engage in that conversation. That is influencer marketing; more so than the post they made for you. It’s that simple in this human-to-human business.
4. Measurement, evaluation and optimization
If you don’t measure, you don’t know. When you don’t take influencer marketing into account in your yearly reports, you’re bound to see only campaign-based results and not specifically influencer marketing results. Yes, each project, campaign or activity should have its own KPI’s. But digitally savvy organizations should also agree on a higher level formula; a formula that works in the analytics of social media marketing and other forms of marketing or anywhere your influencers can bring value in return for your investments.
Marketing technology might help you to work efficiently and keep track of statistics, management still needs to get behind a way of evaluating, as goes for all kinds of investing. Working with an influencer marketing agency can be very helpful here: it’s a one shop stop but a lifetime reward.
5. Building relationships
Influencer marketing is a people business. A human-to-human business. So it’s all about the relationship you have with your influencers. That doesn’t mean you should be friends with all influencers in your sector. It does mean you should be friends with the influencers who are most important to tell your story and who are actively involved in your company in the roles they perform best: creativity, content creation, sector expertise, … When you have a genuine relationship with your most important influencers, these influencers will help you and your company at the most crucial points your company will experience.
Experimentation can be a good thing – but if you’re looking to make profound impact, you need continuity. You need to build relationships with influencers and you need to make sure your colleagues get to know these people and what they might mean to them.
However you start, measurement methods should be implemented from the get-go. It’s highly similar to advertising on other media platforms: invest long-term and you will notice better results. An always-on influencer program is the way to go.
Want to start your own influencer marketing journey? We’d suggest watching our webinar on how to build an effective influencer marketing strategy. Need some more help? Head over to our Hub to learn more about influencer marketing, or contact us for advice tailored to your brand.