Influencers spend a lot of time building an authentic voice that followers can connect with and relate to. The public views them as trustworthy sources of information. These influencers have built reputations for honesty and accuracy in reviewing products and services. It’s very “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” – so to speak.
Partnering with people who are considered influencers is a sure-fire way to generate interest in your own brand. That said, it’s time to review your own influencer outreach strategy and make some changes that will propel it to the next level in 2019.
Having Loose Guidelines
Gone are the days where you should choose an influencer simply because they work in your niche (or even a closely-related niche). You need to take some time to find influencers who have values and voices that closely match your brand. A good influencer isn’t going to do a one-and-done review of your product or service, they’re going to get involved with your brand because they like it.
If you have a strong plan, your influencers will become brand ambassadors that people recognize as related to your brand. Those influencers can’t be just anybody; you need to build relationships with them, as you would with any other business partner or customer.
Caring About Follower Counts
The influencer’s follower count isn’t the end-all-be-all test of their marketing power. In some cases, it’s not even the right measuring tool. What matters is how much engagement your potential influencer gets on their posts, especially in terms of likes and comments, because that’s what drives conversion.
When you take that number and compare it to the total number of followers they have, what percentage of people are engaging? That percentage is the number you should be looking for. Anywhere around five to 10 percent is usually decent.
As for larger followings – sure, they’re awesome. But those smaller micro-influencers are worth investing in, too.
That said, make sure you are taking a close look at the type of engagement. If you see a bunch of responses that are just emojis, or a lot of accounts posting very similar comments, you may be looking at an account that has purchased followers.
Not Researching Your Influencer’s Followers
Yes, you do need to spend a little bit of time analyzing your potential influencer’s followers. It doesn’t matter if they identify with your brand if they’re not old enough to buy your products. Worse yet, imagine setting up an entire influencer campaign only to find that most of their audience is in foreign market- and you don’t even ship there.
Don’t assume a female beauty blogger has a primarily female audience. Don’t assume that all of an influencer’s followers are real (hence, checking engagement rates). Go deeper and tuck in to create a firm persona of who’s following.
Using Cold Outreach Strategies
Cold outreach is like cold calling or cold emailing. It’s likely to get your inquiry tossed in the trash. And can you blame them? Good influencers get several emails per day and they can’t deal with them all. You need to warm your potential influencers up by following their pages, engaging with them, and showing interest in what they do. By getting involved, you become less of a “stranger” when you ultimately do try to pitch your company strategy.
Giving Influencers Exact Instructions
Ok, yeah — you should still give your influencer instructions, but they need to be needs-based in a way that addresses both your preferences and how your influencer gets results. You can’t just send out an influencer kit, give them strict instructions for what they have to do, and hope for results. Even if they agree, the attempt will come off fake and make it seem like they’re reading from a script.
What to do instead? Build better relationships and create marketing plans tailored to each influencer. We guarantee you’ll see a better ROI if your influencer is given some flexibility in choosing how they showcase your product into their own brand’s voice.
It’s time to stop flying by the seat of your pants with influencer marketing. Yes, it’s cool to have influencers promote your products, but what’s your actual plan? Are you having them promote your product and run a contest to give a few away for free? Are you giving samples in phase two and then a coupon code in phase three? How are you going to roll out your product in a way that generates interest and creates a trackable end goal for sales and marketing?
Focusing on Instagram Only
Zzzzzz. Instagram is great, but you’re limiting your audience by only focusing on a single platform. It’s time to branch out. You don’t necessarily need to work with influencers who are popular on multiple platforms. You can focus some on Instagram and find others who are strong on Facebook, Twitter, or wherever else you feel is appropriate.
Lacking a Solid Compensation Model
How are you paying your influencers? Are you giving away free product or are you paying them for each post they create? Maybe you’re paying for each click your links receive or commission per sale. You have options!
Paying per post may mean you have a lot of upfront costs but little ROI. Paying per click, on the other hand, may land you with a lot of leads, but few real sales (and a big bill due to the influencer). Each of these payment methods can be effective depending on the situation. Experiment to figure out what type of compensation is fair for both of you.
Hiding Your Relationship
Knock it off. Knock it off right now. Not only is it shady, it’s straight-up illegal to not disclose that an influencer has received your product for free or has been paid to review your product. We care about you and don’t want to see anyone go down this path (plus, we know there’s a better way).
FTC endorsement rules (or failing to comply, in this case) could get both you and your influencer into trouble. Your influencers have worked hard to maintain decent relationships with their audiences, which includes not reviewing products they don’t appreciate or want to support. An influencer is more likely to refuse a relationship with you than s/he is to lie to his/her audience or break the law.
Influencer outreach is here to stay for the long haul. Focus your 2019 outreach efforts on building stronger relationships and creating tailored plans for each influencer you partner with. You’ll be surprised at how well these relationships work when it comes to strengthening your brand’s awareness and sales.