Creating an influencer marketing strategy? You’re not alone.
According to influencer marketing agency Mediakix, 65% of influencer marketing budgets will increase in 2019.
The apparent advantages of collaborating with a trusted influencer with a ready-made audience are certainly appealing. They can give you a direct channel to connect with potential customers, scope for homing in on your target demographic and the opportunity to create a real buzz around your brand – both online and offline.
Even the most sceptical among us can’t argue with the recent findings that 89% of marketers claim that their return on investment from influencer marketing is comparable to, or better than, other marketing channels.
As social media plays an increasingly indispensable role in our daily lives, it comes as no surprise that influencer marketing has positively exploded in recent years.
But is this brand-new marketing blueprint a good fit for your brand? And most importantly, is it worth investing your time and resources into finding out?
Whether you’re ready to dive head-first into the world of influencer marketing or you’re still sitting firmly on the fence, check out our 5 tips on how to build an influencer marketing strategy that actually works.
Influencer Marketing Strategy 101: What (or who) is an influencer?
So, what exactly is an influencer? Although ‘influencer’ is one of the biggest buzzwords on the Internet right now, there seems to be a lot of confusion about who qualifies as an influencer.
For many, the word ‘influencer’ conjures up images of shiny-haired twenty-somethings with identical blinding smiles and a jet-set Instagram account that could rival a Kardashian’s.
And while many Instagram influencers don’t shy away from portraying a luxe lifestyle, the truth is that there is no cookie-cutter answer to what an influencer looks like.
An influencer can refer to anyone who has a dedicated following, established credibility or a trustworthy image within a particular industry. Usually, they will have a strong online presence and generate plenty of engagement from a large group of people.
This leads us to sharing our first tip for a successful influencer marketing strategy…
Fail to plan? Plan to fail
Before you start scrolling through the ‘Gram in search of your next collab, it’s crucial to first of all define your influencer marketing goals.
It’s a great idea to use the ‘SMART’ framework for goal setting. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.
An example of SMART goal setting in this context would begin with analysing your current engagement on a single platform, such as YouTube. Then, you could research influencers that are suited to your budget and consider a realistic figure for engagement growth resulting from the collaboration.
So, your end goal may look something like: “Increase engagement on brand YouTube channel by x% over the next 2 months.”
Meet your match
The most effective influencer marketing campaigns are born when a brand and an influencer’s values perfectly align.
Check out the ever-growing ‘Study Tubers’ community for a brilliant education in brand-influencer partnerships. Young YouTube creators who produce revision and study content, such as Ibz Mo, UnJaded Jade and Ruby Granger, are often credited for making studying ‘cool’ again and motivating young people to succeed in academia.
Many of the most popular Study Tube creators now collaborate with top brands, like Skillshare (an online learning community), Quizlet (a study app) and the National Citizen Service (a voluntary personal and social development programme for 15-17-year-olds) as sponsors for their videos.
These sponsorships feel incredibly organic because the aforementioned brands share the same values as the Study Tube community and, in turn, the marketing element feels non-invasive and mindful of their younger audience.
This is the perfect reminder that an influencer’s following alone doesn’t guarantee return on investment. Study Tubers may not be able to boast the subscriber counts of other successful YouTube creators, but they have cultivated a close-knit community which is key to driving brand engagement.
Lay down the law
Over the past few years, brands and influencers alike have found out the hard way what happens when you don’t familiarise yourself with the rules surrounding influencer marketing.
The likes of DJ Khaled, Made in Chelsea star Louise Thompson, cleaning queen Mrs Hinch have all found themselves investigated on suspicion of breaching ad disclosure regulations.
In the UK, the influencer marketing regulation bible is the Advertising Standards Agency. It explains:
“When a brand rewards an influencer with a payment, free gift, or other perk, any resulting posts become subject to consumer protection law […]
“Consumers must always be aware when they are being advertised to, and both brands and influencers have a responsibility to ensure the content makes that reality clear upfront.
“Failure to disclose a commercial relationship leaves both parties at risk of action from the ASA.”
In other words, it all boils down to transparency. If you keep this in mind, you won’t go far wrong.
Upgrade your content
If you’re investing valuable resources into sponsored or co-created video content with an influencer, it’s essential that you know how to maximise your viewership and spread your brand message as far and wide as possible.
One of the easiest, most effective, yet totally underutilised ways of upgrading your video content is including subtitles on your videos.
Subtitles are not only a fundamental accessibility requirement and quite nice to have when you’re scrolling through your social media feed on your daily commute, but they can also directly increase engagement and improve SEO.
Not sure where to start with this? Here at VoiceBox agency, we have years of experience providing first-class subtitle services. Why not get in touch and find out how we can help?
Keep it measured
Numbers are a marketer’s best friend, so make it a priority to measure key analytics from your influencer marketing campaign and determine your ROI.
When done right, influencer marketing can be one of the most cost-effective and fastest-growing ways to create brand awareness and translate your marketing budget into sales.
But, as we’ve seen, it’s not as easy as sending a few free gifts to Instagram’s biggest stars.
Remember: the key to a successful influencer marketing strategy is to plan, plan and plan some more.
Article written by Sofia Lewis, VoiceBox contributor