There’s a rush for brands to move their budgets to influencer marketing, and while this may have some merit, you should be able to answer why before you invest. Here are the basic steps to evaluating the appropriateness of adding an influencer partnership to your online marketing strategy.
Let’s look at your business – and your objectives
What type of company are you, who are you trying to reach, and what do you want them to do once you’ve done so?
Influencers tend to work with more B2C brands than B2B, but that’s not to say there might not be someone with suitable influence over the right audience on a platform such as LinkedIn, for example, that could help your B2B brand.
If you’re B2C company with a good idea of who your audience is, what is it that you want to do? Take it back to DRIP basics – are you differentiating your brand, reinforcing your message, informing people about some specific product or service offering, or encouraging people to act? Will your influencer be offering an in-depth review of your product or service, or just saying that they have used it, and asked for fan feedback. Different influencers cultivate communities with different types of ‘rules’ and expectations for interaction.
Now – who are you trying to target?
These expectations of behaviour extend to the channel – you might find two thriving communities interested in home stereo accessories on both YouTube and Reddit, but the community members interact with each other (and the influencer) in vastly different ways. Similarly, they may react very differently to sponsored posts, the disclosure of which is generally required ‘before the fold’ in a blog or social media post. Instagram and Facebook have ‘sponsored content tags’ that make this explicit and change how you can promote these posts.
What are you willing to spend – and how are you measuring success?
Most importantly, if influencer is a key part of your strategy, it’s critical to outline your expectations from the outset. In a world where ROI is critical to justify any element of spend, the key performance metrics need defining. Trackable codes or influencer-specific discount codes are easy ways to track lead-gen, but if your objectives are related to brand awareness or perception, you’ll need to use more qualitative measurement techniques – the time and/or cost associated with doing that deep dive considered, of course. Influencers can help achieve lots of goals i.e. brand awareness, traffic to website, sales, eWOM, community engagement, gain more followers, and more, which will be discussed later in this series.
For now, let’s talk about how to identify and engage with influencers, in Part 3 of our Influencer Series.