How to Unleash the Power of Brand Influencers
Have you ever noticed how people seem to be less embarrassed to admit they met their significant other through a blind date rather than online dating? If you think about it, they are basically the same thing. Someone or something is telling you that you and this person are a good match, yet one is thought of as more “taboo”, generally speaking! Is it because the blind date is often set up by a mutual friend? Someone each person trusts and respects rather than a computer generated match based on a series of questions?
A Good Brand Influencer Is Your Company’s Best Friend
Think of brand influencers as that mutual friend connecting brands with their target consumers. Influencers bring their audience, as well as that audience’s network, to a brand as potential consumers. Did you know most consumers do not even visit a brand’s website when researching their product? Consumers today are independent and would rather search for themselves and take recommendations from a third party than the actual brand.
Influencers, particularly bloggers, have changed the game on how brands can get their product or service to the masses, with the help of the internet and social media. An “opt-in” network, their audience chooses to follow what they have to say, which equals a very loyal and engaged group of potential consumers for you, the brand.
How do brands leverage this network you ask? By partnering with these influential people in hopes that they will bring new eyeballs to your brand, of course!
When looking for the right influencers, there are certain things you should consider.
Be Your Audience
Just like in a traditional marketing plan, you need to know exactly who you are trying to target. When influencers are brought into the mix, you must go one step further and become your “person.” It may even help to create an actual person, name her or him and decide what their interests are, hobbies, career, etc. By making an actual person, you can then get in the mindset and figure out where they would search for influencers.
With that being said, just because someone has a strong presence in the market you are wanting to get into, does not mean they are the fit for your brand. The big picture of what you want the influencer campaign to achieve should be the guiding factor on who you end up choosing to work with.
If you are in the fashion industry, trying to get the word out about your new line of heels, you are going to want women bloggers to promote your product, obviously. While a male blogger with a huge following might be one of the top influencers in the fashion market, their audience is probably not your target and wouldn’t be the strongest influencer for you.
Once you have defined your target persona and located the influencers you wish to work with, the next step is arguably the most crucial to the success of the partnership. Influencers are constantly contacted with opportunities to partner with brands that it can get flooded in the endless email chain. As an influencer myself, (I am the founder of a fashion/lifestyle blog)I can attest to this. The brands that really stand out when I am going through my emails have one major thing in common – They have an actual plan of action before they have pressed send on that first email.
They have taken the time to get to know my brand and have taken a genuine interest in developing a partnership. While the first email should be brief, as influencers do not want to be sold to, it should outline the main objective that brand is trying to achieve and how they wish to do so with the help of the influencer.
I can tell you from personal experience that if a brand is only emailing me to tell me how great their product is and how I should share it with my followers, without any real incentive for me, I will not take it as a serious partnership opportunity. Before the influencer can help spread the word about your product or service, they have to feel a genuine connection with it in order to be comfortable sharing it with their hard-won audience.
When creating the plan of action between you and the influencer(s) you have chosen to work with, time needs to be considered. There are two ways that time is a factor in an influencer campaign. Number one, understanding that the influencer does not have endless amounts of time to dedicate to a specific campaign is crucial. Being respectful of the time taken to achieve your goals will help to build a strong relationship. When presenting the plan in the previous step, the outline of time should be expressed and agreed upon, so there is no confusion.
Number two, depending on the nature of the campaign, you may have to stick to a strict schedule to make deadlines. For example, holiday campaigns to promote your product or service would need to be given enough time to be successful. A blog about a holiday gift guide by your influencer not going live until January 2016 would not yield the same results as one would in the beginning of December, for obvious reasons. Creating a schedule and meeting deadlines will set your campaign for success!
Done Right, Brand Influencer Partnerships Are Powerful
Consumers today are looking for more than just the latest and greatest products. They are looking for ways to incorporate them into their world. Influencers and bloggers can give your brand that real-life feel that consumers crave. There will be ups and downs, and while some influencers may not be a perfect match, you will gain useful knowledge with each and every partnership your try! Happy influencing!