Everybody is an influencer these days. We all have our own networks, of ranging sizes, that may look to us for inspiration; recommendations; information; and/or entertainment. Brands have recognized the power of those with particularly large, niche followings. And, as they’ve capitalized there, have also found value in the “micro-influencer.”
Below, we’ll discuss a range of ways in which brand-influencer relationships exist. And hopefully, influence you to explore ways in which you could benefit from such efforts.
Perhaps the easiest way to work with an influencer, is to sponsor a post (#ad). Depending on the influencer, these posts can be quite expensive. They can also have a reverse effect, negatively impacting both your brand, and the influencer.
Sponsored posts can be effective when they’re realistic. The brand and the influencer need to be in the same, or at least an adjacent category. And, the content shouldn’t try to trick people into thinking it isn’t an ad—but it doesn’t need to look overly planned, or forced.
The best sponsored posts are ethical, on both ends. They are natural, make sense, and serve a clear purpose.
These are, in my opinion, the most effective of the influencer-brand relationships. Effective partnerships occur when an influencer is able to genuinely integrate the product or service of a brand into their lives.
These efforts may be cheaper than sponsored posts, as you can develop them by routinely providing your product, brand experiences, bonuses, benefits, and other incentives. These kinds of relationships are often viewed differently by an influencer’s audience. The influencer is able to show the ways in which the product (or service) improves their day-to-day, or some aspect of their life.
Like sponsored posts, the brand and influencer need to be relevant to each other for this to be most effective. Perhaps even more so. Influencers often function as experts in their field, that have the power to make recommendations to, and excite their followings about a certain brands, products, and services. The infamous, “use my code for…”
Influencer Exclusive Events
Instead of working with individual influencers, or in addition to, your brand might consider developing efforts that engage larger quantities of influencers. This type of influencer marketing is effective if your brand is particularly seasonal, or functions on a release basis. You could rent out a house, hotel, or island—and invite top influencers relevant to your industry, to come and share unique experiences with your brand.
Behind the scenes tours of production? Exclusive, first access for them (and subsequently their audiences)? An escape room, or maze themed to your brand? A ‘correspondents dinner’ style black tie, or red carpet event? The options here are endless. The best ones have yet to happen; be unique, creative, and on brand.
What’s Right for My Brand?
That is totally up to you. And your analytics. You can create unique links, codes, numbers, and other marketing collateral to track the success of your influencer efforts.
If you have the budget, try out all three—see which work best for you. It’s likely a mix, with different influencers, with different audiences. Take the time, and make the effort to adapt and expand your efforts in this realm to maximize success. It is not just an easy, set up and go. Influencer marketing requires careful thought, planning, monitoring, and analysis.
How important would you consider influencer marketing to be? Don’t think it would work for your brand? What is it? We can figure out a way for you to work with an influencer, today!