Influencer marketing is one of the fastest-growing online marketing channels today—for many brands, taking over sponsored content, email marketing, and paid search as a digital marketing priority. A lot of brands have seen major return on investment from influencer campaigns in recent years, and it’s no surprise that more and more businesses are looking to cash in.
Some brands, however, treat influencers as mere billboards, without taking into account the context in which influencers (or key opinion leaders, as some prefer) have established themselves as experts in their fields. The outcome is often a campaign that lacks credibility and heart—and consequently fails to generate ROI.
To make sure you don’t make this mistake, take note of the following points:
The most successful marketers see and treat influencers as multi-dimensional storytellers
Brands who approach influencer marketing this way know that influencers should be granted enough freedom to create content that resonates with their followers, and not just given a strict brief to follow. They understand that influencer marketing is a collaboration with people who are already thought leaders in their respective fields—and are people who have the power to affect consumer decisions not just because of popularity, but because of the strong relationships they have built with their audience through the stories they tell.
It is also important to note that some stories take time to build up, which means you can’t always expect a one-off collaboration with a certain influencer to generate huge returns right away. When you’re lucky enough to find influencers who fit your criteria and are great at promoting your brand, focus on building long-term relationships that allow your brand’s story to unfold alongside theirs.
Influencer marketing is not the same as celebrity endorsements
While celebrities can act as influencers by creating sponsored posts around their niche interests, not all celebrity endorsements pass off as influencer marketing campaigns.
Marketers who go for celebrity endorsements are generally interested in creating awareness by associating their brand to a person, in hopes that this will then entice fans to support their brand as well. On the other hand, marketers who invest in influencer marketing seek to benefit from a highly engaged audience who already share the same interests.
Understanding the difference between the two strategies is crucial in achieving your brand’s goals. If you’re after engagement and conversion, data show that you’ll have better luck with an influencer marketing—as long as you don’t confuse it with celebrity endorsements!
Influence is about trust, and trust is built on credibility
Your message is only as good as the people who share it, and if your chosen influencers aren’t a believable fit, you may be risking the integrity of your campaign. To avoid this, aim to work with influencers who naturally embody the lifestyle of your brand. Take the time to go through the campaigns they’ve already been a part of, and make sure that they aren’t affiliated with brands that are in conflict with yours. This way, you can forge strategic partnerships that recognize their ability to craft sincere stories that don’t contradict their past work.
At GetCRAFT, we recommend identifying all the media and influencer categories that your brand fits into or identifies with. Refer to this Brand Category Map:
From there, you can identify the media personalities and influencers that are a good fit for your brand instead of simply choosing based on popularity/number of followers.
If you want to create meaningful conversations around your brand through influencer marketing, you need to tell a story that their followers would want to take part in. With this in mind, it’s important to treat influencers as the creative individuals that they are, whose unique voices and personalities add color to your brand’s story. The GetCraft Marketplace is a good place to start, with thousands of influencers across categories.