Brands started to heavily invest in influencers about five years ago. At that time, it was all about the mega-influencer, the creator like Huda Kattan or Aimee Song who had millions of followers and could launch - and sell out - a product on Instagram in a matter of minutes. But, as influencer marketing has evolved, brands have learned that bigger isn’t always better. In the years that have followed, micro- and nano-influencers have played a key role in generating buzz for brands.
While mega-influencers require a significant investment, micro- and nano-influencers would often work in-kind, offering a review for free product, or at much more affordable rates. This opened up influencer marketing to smaller and emerging brands, many of which were built using this technique.
However, things are changing yet again.
How to ensure influencer success in 2020
At a time when many brands are creating their 2020 marketing plans, some are reconsidering their influencer spend. There’s been a of chatter about influencer fraud, the sustainability of influencers, and whether or not to continue to heavily invest in them. While influencers have been instrumental in driving awareness for emerging brands and new products, many marketers question influencers’ ability to drive sales. So, are marketers pulling the plug? No, they’re just changing their approach.
7 tips for successful influencer campaigns
Influencer marketing is about to get a lot more strategic in 2020. Thanks to tools that give marketers insight into the demographics and psychographics of an influencer’s followers, brands have the ability to select partners who are the best fit for the brand and more apt to get the kind of engagement that ensures success. How do we do it? Here, we outline the tactics we use to select the right influencers for a brand’s campaign.
1. Look for influencers who are already brand fans
Your current consumers are your most valuable asset. The most authentic content will naturally come from those influencers who already love your brand. Do your research and discover what they’ve said about your brand and how the influencer’s community engages in the conversation around it.
2. Identify micro-communities who have an affinity for your brand
Drive long-term growth by getting involved in niche audiences. Get specific and do your hashtag research to narrow down those creators who are influential in your fan communities.
3. Vet influencers for fake followers
We utilize a series of tools that allow us to identify and score an influencer to ensure that their followers are real (not bots or fake accounts) and estimate engagement based on past performance. This allows brands to feel good about their investment and confident that the content the influencer creates will be delivered to - and viewed by - the right audience.
4. Replace perfect with real
While there will always be those influencers whose feed looks like it could have been ripped from the pages of Vogue, consumers are increasingly looking to influencers who are offering an unapologetically real worldview. When reviewing an influencer’s portfolio, consider how authentic the photos appear. This is also important when thinking about paid content boosting as part of your campaign. Due to Facebook’s ad targeting practices, there has been some anti-targeting backlash and consumers don’t want to see content in their feed that resembles an advertisement.
5. Check out the company they keep
There are influencers out there whose feeds look like a jumble of #ads and #sponsored posts for any number of products. If an influencer works with any brand that approaches them, the content appears inauthentic and the influencer’s engagement rate will rapidly drop. Look at the brands the influencer has worked with in the past; if the feed is too brand-heavy, pass.
6. Consider up-and-coming platforms
Although Instagram and YouTube reign for now, it’s not surprising to see new video platforms like Twitch and TikTok attracting younger audiences and, therefore, the brands that wish to reach them. While brands might overlook them as platforms that are heavily influenced by gamers, consider that almost half (44%) of TikTok’s users are female. This could be an opportunity to partner with a niche influencer and tap into her audience.
7. Measure what matters
Likes have been a standard metric for measuring engagement on Facebook and Instagram, but now that the platforms are experimenting with hiding those numbers from public view, marketers will have to re-evaluate how they measure success. Don’t worry, this is actually really good news for brands! Although marketers will still be able to measure engagement through comments, saves, shares, and ultimately, sales, with likes hidden, influencers are going to have to find better ways to get - and keep - their audience’s attention which will, in turn, lead to better and more creative content.
There’s no doubt that influencer marketing will evolve in 2020, but with smart strategies in place, marketers should still see the benefits they offer. At Inspira, we incorporate influencer strategies into our experiential marketing campaigns to amplify our partners’ investments well beyond the activation footprint. Contact us today to learn how you can create authentic experiences that engage consumers and influencers to build lasting brand love.