The influencer marketing landscape is ever-evolving, but one thing is for certain — it’s a two-way street.
In order to drive results, whether it be brand awareness or sales, the responsibility doesn’t lie directly on the influencer a brand hires. Companies also need to do their part. During the Sole Commerce and Coterie trade show this week in New York, three influencers, including We Wore What’s Danielle Bernstein, stylist William Graper and The Stripe’s Grace Atwood, spoke about the importance of partnership.
Here are six key ways companies can get the most out of working with influencers, according to influencers themselves. Take a look.
Avoid One-Off Postings
When the ball is in an influencer’s court and he or she is considering what brands to work with, creating long-term alliances are always top of mind.
Berstein, who has 2 million followers on her We Wore What Instagram account, told brands to avoid hiring influencers for one post. She said, “I’m looking for marriage-type partnerships that are ambassador programs where I’m signed to a three-month, six-month to one-year contract.”
Being committed to posting weekly and/or monthly, on top of event appearances, for example, helps create authenticity.
Atwood, who has 108,000 followers on Instagram, agreed that the best partnerships last more than one month and span across more than one platform.
Use Multiple Platforms
Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, Twitter. The list of social media platforms goes on and on; however, they can be gone in one day. The rapidly changing landscape has both benefits and negatives. For instance, the addition of Instagram Stories has proved to be a profitable feature for brands and influencer partners.
Berstein said that Instagram Stories have been extremely successful for the brands she works with, noting that they allow for video content, which resonates with followers. However, using a combination of platforms is key for companies to create a voice.
Graper, who has approximately 15,000 followers on Instagram, explained that in order to connect to your audience, whether you are on the brand or influencer side, you need to have diverse content. From podcasts to blogs, or even a book, brands need to look outside social media to create customer loyalty and retention.
“Focus on things you can control,” said Atwood, who said that she’s not looking to grow her follower count on Instagram but instead engagement with her style blog.
Know Your Voice
Alex Dickerson, founder of influencer strategy firm Le Brain, was also on the panel, giving advice from the brand perspective. She advised, “You need to look closely at the influencer to see if they fit with your brand. Think about what you really want and who has the right voice to tell your story.”
Companies looking to work with influencers need to know their purpose for the campaigns. Without a clear idea to begin with, the partnership is already doomed. Said Atwood, “My strategy as an influencer will change based on our objectives. Give examples from my feed and from others so I can understand the vision.”
Draper added,”Your influencer content will get lost if you don’t have your own brand creative direction.”
Loosen Creative Control
While influencers welcome direction, micromanaging is an issue.
“It’s a fine balance,” said Bernstein. “Yes, I love to hear suggested content and verbiage, [but] when I work with a brand, you’re hiring me because I am my own creative director.”
Draper explained that when a brand tries to control the content, it affects the creativity.
He said, “If you’re hiring us, you like our point of view, so let us do that.”
Finding the Right Partner
In the world of influencers, there are many to choose from. There are the traditional celebrities, microinfluencers and even nanoinfluencers, who have as few as 1,000 followers.
Knowing your own objective as a brand will help you choose the right person. Said Bernstein, “At my level, it’s convincing brands to not use a traditional celebrity and use me. The reason is, my 2 million followers are a specific demographic of consumers. They are actually purchasing. That power enables me to do larger contracts. The conversion is there.”
She suggested reaching out to other brands as well to see who converts the most sales per post.
Use Tools and Technology
To fully capitalize on your influencer partnerships, keep track of your campaigns and understand your audience with marketing platforms.
For instance, Fohr offers a self-serve platform for companies to find more than 50,000 influencers to work with, provides demographic information analytics and more.
HYPR is another influencer marketing platform that contains profiles and audience demographic information for over 10 million influencers across major social channels. And then there’s Viralsweep, a tool that creates sweepstakes, contests and giveaways.
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