How to Create a Sustainable Influencer Strategy
Influencers have become a cornerstone of marketing strategy for every industry on the planet.
With the explosive growth of social media in the 2010s, many consumers quickly diverted their attention from distant, unattainable celebrity personalities to accessible, genuine people looking out at them from social media feeds.
Now, influencers rule the roost – they build audiences that are thousands or even millions of people strong, and their input can greatly affect people’s purchase intent and opinions about the brands that they work with. Influencers unlock incredible value for brands over time, and many companies spend big bucks creating comprehensive, long-term influencer marketing campaigns.
However, some influencer campaigns tend to flop after a relatively short period of time – after a product launches or a short-term goal is reached, some companies opt to start an entirely new campaign from scratch. But it doesn’t have to be that way – you can build sustainable, long-term influencer marketing strategies that help you holistically build your brand and establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry. Here are our best tips for creating a sustainable influencer strategy.
1. Choose Your Influencers Wisely.
Selecting your influencers is the first step in any influencer marketing campaign, and it’s also the most important. Many brands select influencers based on criteria that reflects short-term goals – the launch of a new product, the amount of engagement that can be reaped in a short period of time, or other data that is typically measured over a period of weeks to months.
However, choosing influencers that you can partner with for the long run can offer you a much higher overall return on your investment. Ideally, you want to choose influencers that mirror your brand’s image in a more holistic way and can be established as closely affiliated partners in your marketing strategy.
The main thing to consider when choosing influencers, especially for long-term campaigns, is what potential they bring to the table. Look at the gaps in your current marketing strategy – are the influencers you’re choosing capable of filling some of those gaps? Are they popular on platforms that you haven’t made progress with yet, or do they have access to an audience that you’re finding difficult to reach? If the answer is no, you may want to reconsider your roster. Influencers that offer new potential to marketing campaigns are holistically more valuable than influencers that simply offer a boost in views or clicks.
The second part of this point is to make sure that you’re adjusting your influencer roster for changes in their personal ranking and in overarching trends. While you definitely want to seek influencers that will craft longer-term relationships with your brand, you can’t ignore shifting trends.
Individual influencers experience natural peaks and valleys in their careers – as people in your roster ebb and flow, you may want to introduce new talent or replace them with people who are better connected to your brand or simply new faces to keep things interesting.
By the same token, platforms are changing all the time – while some fall out of favor, others may explode in unpredictable ways. Being able to shift your influencer marketing strategy to account for these macro shifts is vital to creating a sustainable influencer strategy.
2. Authenticity = Sustainability
Influencers are authentic as part and parcel of their role in the digital ecosystem – the presentation of themselves as a real person living a life that’s no different from yours or mine is the reason that influencers became so popular so quickly.
Some brands, however, find influencers’ authenticity antithetical to their normal mode of brand messaging – they attempt to force influencers to impart a particular message using particular words, while dressing in a particular way, and so on and so forth.
We can tell you right now: this strategy does not work. There are no situations where forcing an influencer to perform the same way that you would instruct an actor in a commercial to perform will create a successful influencer campaign, let alone a sustainable one.
The main trick for working with influencers effectively is allowing an influencer’s authenticity to shine through at all times. Let them interact with your brand’s message and products in the way that they feel the most comfortable. This hands-off approach to influencers may feel counterintuitive if your company isn’t very experienced with this type of marketing, but it’s vital to creating a sustainable influencer strategy.
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3. Consistency Counts
As with most other types of marketing campaigns, consistency is the key to sustainability and unlocking real results. Every algorithm that determines the success or failure of content – whether it’s Google’s search algorithm or algorithms that determine what users see on social media platforms such as YouTube – accounts for the consistency of the poster.
Influencers and brands that commit to consistent uploads can greatly increase the chances of success for a campaign, so it’s important to weigh an influencer’s natural schedule while selecting them.
Consistency isn’t just important in terms of posting – it’s important in terms of brand messaging, too. While you shouldn’t micromanage influencers in your campaigns, it is important to lay out a plan for cohesive brand messaging. Try creating a list of points or features that you want influencers to include in their interactions with your brand.
For example, the coffee brand Javy is currently running an influencer marketing campaign related to their unique coffee concentrate. While the posts and videos about the product vary widely in format amongst influencers, several points are consistent amongst the content – the amount of concentrate needed to mix a drink, for example, appears in most content generated by the campaign. This dedication to consistency ensures that the most important points of your campaign land with all of your audience, despite the wide variety of content that will be produced.
Harness The Power Of Influencers For Your Next Campaign
Influencers are an incredibly powerful resource for marketers, and their potential only grows as social media shifts and changes. With the right approaches and a concrete strategy, you can create valuable long-term relationships with influencers that take your brand to new heights.
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