We, as people, have learned to ignore traditional advertising. When we want recommendations, we turn to our peers. Essentially, we went back to word-of-mouth marketing. The difference is that now it all happens online, giving birth to the power of influencers.
But time brought with it change. It left the original form of influencer marketing in shambles. Paying celebrities or mega influencers to support brands stopped working.
For one, they merely endorsed for money, and that shined through their ersatz content. The result? Savvy consumers could spot these paid #ads in half a second. For two, they added no long-term value to either the brand or their community.
Bank on advocacy marketing
The very value of influencer marketing lies in authentic content and that comes when the partnership is genuine. So, the very first tip for brands is to rely on advocacy marketing.
When we say advocacy, we don’t use it as a buzzword. We mean finding happy, loyal customers or fans who aspire to own it to be your advocates. Reward them for supporting, promoting and defending your brand.
Brand advocates create exceptionally effective content, on which their followers have unadulterated trust. So, unlike paid celebrity endorsements, advocacy comes with long-term brand benefits, such as actual sales.
Rely on niche creators
When brands plan an influencer marketing campaign, they automatically reach out to big names. It’s a reflex action because we equate reach to a higher follower number. And we presume their work will be of better quality.
Both are inaccurate assumptions. Real impact occurs when a creator has authority over a subject, irrespective of how many people follow them. And since they have subject expertise, their content is absolutely professional.
So, a better practice is to work with smaller creators who are experts in their field. Their relationship with the audience is one-on-one and their content is relatable. They may have fewer followers, but the community is highly engaged, making it easier for you to target the right audience.
Nano or micro creators inspire users to take action and move further along the sales funnel. Besides, they are lighter on the pocket. The budget for one big name is sufficient to work with a group of smaller creators.
Plan on collaborating, not hiring
If working with smaller content creators sets the foundation, long term collaboration with them builds the scaffolding for a successful campaign. Stop looking at creators as people you hire to promote your brand just one time. Make them real partners.
First, by leveraging their knowledge instead of laying down the law on how and which content to create. Second, by converting it into an ongoing partnership. When you campaign with the same creator repeatedly, their image as a brand advocate is underscored and any content they produce starts to hold more weight and value.
Match campaign goals with creators
Choosing a creator to be your brand advocate should be effortless. It should feel like a good match (which we’ll get to in a moment). However, more important is the synergy between the creator and your campaign goals.
What happens when the two don’t align? It makes both you and the creator look insincere, severely damaging the brand’s reputation. So, for an audience-building campaign, work with some with a hefty follower number.
But if you want engagement and actual online chatter, collaborate with a creator who has more saves, shares, and comments. On the other hand, a sales or lead-generating campaign will require someone with high opt-ins and sign-ins.
Discover the right content creator
As we said, the match between you and the creator should feel right. And that doesn’t happen when you focus solely on essential statistics like reach. Resonance occurs when you dive deep into the content the creator has previously published.
When you browse through past work, you’ll spot any red flags. Think about it: what is the use of spreading your eco-friendly message to an audience that doesn’t think twice about plastic or waste?
Now we know it takes time and effort to manually analyze all the work done by all the creators. An easier and more accurate way is to use an influencer marketing platform that offers personality-based matching. Discovering creators based on attributes such as personality, work, and ethics guarantees that their values match yours.
It makes them relevant to the campaign, delivering real results. The additional benefit is that such platforms perform background checks, ensuring there are no fake followers or bots.
Distil these influencer marketing tips for brands, and it comes down to this — find a regular person with a genuine love for your brand and not someone who has been incentivized to promote it. Once you have a brand advocate, the rest will fall into place automatically.