As the face of communication changes to a widely digital spectrum, it’s important for businesses and brands to realize the importance and value of influencers in their marketing plan. What is an influencer? An influencer is an individual who has an impact on a niche market, audience or community. Influencers are not just individuals who can help your plan become a reality – they are an asset to success.
But, why do brands need influencers? Simply – to reach target audiences through genuine connections. Think about grassroots campaigning. It’s effective, because it begins at the most basic level, where the large majority of the population sits, and expands from there. The same goes for digital influencers working hard for a business or brand. Influencers talk and create general buzz within their communities in a genuine and natural way, creating an authentic buzz that is nearly impossible to emulate in any form of traditional advertising or marketing.
So, how do we avoid getting turned down by influencers? What do we need to know so that these digital power players will want to work with us? Great questions! Let’s start with a key word in there – work.
What influencers can do for your business or brand is work, and where there is a job to be done, there’s also a payment to be made. You would never ask a plumber or a hairdresser to work for free, so don’t expect that of influencers.
The most important aspect of influencer marketing is creating a budget for your influencers that is both fair and competitive. Ask yourself: Would I, myself, do the given task for this amount of money? If the answer is no, then perhaps you should reconsider your budget.
Aside from compensation, you’ll want to make sure that your relationship with the blogger is mutually beneficial. Sure, you’re giving them monetary compensation, and they’re giving you the marketing reach – but does it end there? It shouldn’t! Brands and companies have the ability to give influencers more than money and they should, because it increases the chances of a great end product. Event invitations, access to unique interview/media opportunities and product are all examples of additional compensation that can sweeten any deal – and relationship!
So, I have my budget and I’ve chosen my influencers. Now what? It’s important to make sure that your chosen group is all on the same page. Make your marketing goals and objectives clear from the beginning. What do you want to accomplish within this specific campaign? There’s nothing worse than having to send out multiple follow-up e-mails, because influencers are all over the place and your goals are not being met. When considering goals, make sure you create easily identifiable action items. Ultimately, “spreading awareness” is great, but means different things to different people. Instead, consider targeted audiences or age groups that would be drawn to a specific aspect of your campaign to create engagement.
On the flip side, it’s important that once your goals are established to give your influencers creative liberty to achieve benchmarks in a way that is relevant and suitable for their specific audiences. Only they will know what tactics need to be employed here. Social media is not a “one size fits all” kind of place, so make sure you aren’t trying to shove a square peg in a round hole.
In the realm of digital communications, influencers have the unique ability to influence consumers in a way that is unprecedented. A study revealed that 92% of people trust recommendations from individuals over brands, so it’s important that your business or brand is familiar with navigating the landscape of influencer marketing. (source) By creating a budget for projects, fostering a mutually beneficial work environment and developing actionable campaign goals, you’ll be on your way to working with today’s top influencers in no time!
About the Author: Kait Hanson is a Hawaii-based writer who focuses on food, travel and lifestyle topics. She is a bar columnist for Metro Honolulu and contributing writer for Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, People Magazine and more. When she’s not writing, she can be found trying a new restaurant with her husband or playing with her two chocolate Labs, Judy and Bill, at the beach.