Traditionally influencers have been used for their ability to build communities and engage consumers in a more personal way than brands can do on their own. While this is still true, the value of influencers for companies has evolved. The best influencers are able to generate high-quality content that’s on brand without appearing over produced or unauthentic. Creating high-quality content without the support of a full in-house team is more valuable now than ever before.
Read our follow-up article “How to Make Influencer Marketing Work for You”
With many offices shut down and personnel working from home, content creators are in a unique position. Their autonomy has allowed them to transition seamlessly to a remote-work model while others are still catching up. Influencers are still creating content, even when you can’t. During the current crisis, teams can’t work in the same ways as before work. Without an alternative way to produce content, some brands are struggling to stay engaged with their customers and fans.
Skilled influencers and creators are specialists in their fields, creating customized, curated content that resonates with audiences. The benefits of working with influencers are many and can be customized to your particular goals:
- Influencers understand their target audience on a personal level. They have built communities and trust them and are fully engaged, creating close connections with consumers. The best influencers understand the line between what’s authentic and what’s fake, and they use it to their – and your brand’s – advantage.
- You can broaden your brand’s reach. Working with influencers allows you to reach thousands, even millions, of consumers whom you couldn’t reach on your own. Regardless of the platform, influencers can help you add new potential customers to your basket as customers today consider influencers as people they can trust.
- You can repurpose content that influencers produce. Using influencers to create brand content can save you time and money, but it also can be used for more than a social media presence. Content can be repurposed for a variety of opportunities such as digital marketing, website content and advertising, and it’s already been field tested for success.
- It can be comparatively less expensive than traditional marketing. A majority of influencers being used for influencer marketing are considered “micro-influencers”. While there are many opinions on who qualifies for that category, many experts agree “micro-influencers” have between 10,000 and 200,000 followers. Working with creators in this category can be cost effective and in some cases newer influencers might agree to payment via free products or services.
Companies of all sizes are utilizing influencers. For example, health food company RXBar recently launched new protein bar flavors exclusively via influencers. While it can be risky to throw all your eggs in one basket, for RXBar the risk paid off. This approach allowed the individual content creators to customize their message, style and imagery to connect with their particular audience. Add up all of those audiences and the result was engagement and exposure among a large, diverse group of consumers.
If you do it right, leveraging the authenticity and reach of influencers can have an enormous impact on your brand and your bottom line.
Another successful authentic influencer marketing campaign in recent months has been the partnership between TikTok superstar Charli D’Amelio and Dunkin’ Donuts. D’Amelio, a 15-year-old from New England and the largest creator on the platform, was brought to Dunkin’ Donuts attention after she released a string of videos in support of the brand. Her most recent posts about the brand has generated 294 million video views, over 41,000 likes and 439,117 shares for Dunkin’, which at the time had no paid deal with the star. Recognizing the talent of D’Amelio and the significance a partnership with her could have for their brand recognition with a younger audience, Dunkin’ signed a deal. For Dunkin’ the cost is minimal and the return on investment is immediate, what more could you want?
The most important thing when determining what influencers you want to work with is to first define your goal. Without a goal, influencer marketing efforts can be in vain and not produce the results desired by your company. When Lance Camper based in XX, California came to the team at Kahn Media they had two goals for their social media strategy: to work with influencers and to gain more brand recognition with a younger demographic.
From these goals the idea for the “Night at the SEMA Museum” campaign was born. We reached out to the SEMA Show and asked them if they would like to participate in our campaign and presented them with the potential benefits to their organization ultimately resulting in a partnership. From there, the next important piece was finding the right influencer to carry out their vision. Through research and experience we made a deal with David Patterson, a popular automotive YouTube with over 1 million subscribers whose demographics align with the target audience for Lance Camper. After the video of his experience was published on his YouTube channel, Lance Camper saw an immediate spike in younger followers across their social media platforms. In the long-term, the campaign not only met Lance Camper’s goal of reaching a younger demographic but provided them with content to repurpose in the future and a partnership with a top influencer which can be powerful for brand recognition and authority.
While working with influencers can be incredibly rewarding for your brand, there are several pitfalls and challenges that come with influencer marketing to consider.
- Working with the wrong Influencer. It takes a lot of time, energy and research to find the right influencer to work with for your campaigns. Its more than searching google, influencers past content creation and statements must be thoroughly vetted, going back years. In addition, its important to consider their past work history. Are they an experience veteran with multiple brand deals under their belt or are they fresh to the game looking to make their first deal? There is no right and wrong answer, but you need to consider the amount of energy you want to put into your influencer campaigns. If you don’t collaborate with the right influencer, you risk causing damage to the reputation of your brand.
- Influencer Marketing can cost your brand if you aren’t prepared. There is no success handbook on how to successfully use influencers for marketing. However, there are several key things you need to know before you jump headfirst. If an influencer makes a mistake while representing your brand, you could be liable. In 2017, the FTC filed their first case against an individual influencer after it was discovered that over 93% of top influencers on Instagram did not follow FTC guidelines on disclosure. Here are some common mistakes that can affect your brand:
- Not disclosing the post is sponsored or an ad
- Ignoring the FTC endorsement guidelines
- Inflating data by using bots or fake followers
- Violating the terms & agreements of the social media platform
- It can be difficult to measure results. Sometimes social media campaigns can be difficult to measure results and sometimes it can be really straight forward. But if you can’t track your results, then your work and money spent will be in vain. It is best to clearly define what the results will be before you enter into an agreement with an influencer. Clearly define what results you want and how you would like them delivered to avoid any issues on the back end.
Working with influencers and creators can be a really rewarding experience for both your brand and the influencer and lead to a long and successful relationship. However, doing it the right way takes time and energy to make sure you are working with the right people to represent your brand. If not approached in the correct way, influencers could potentially do more damage than good.
While there is no standard, at Kahn Media we pride ourselves on not only our vetting process of influencers but on the individual relationships we make with our influencers. One of the most valuable things you can do for your brand is to personally connect with your influencer off-line and build a relationship. Once trust and friendship are added to the mix, you become more than just a big company to the influencer, you become an ally. For our influencers and clients, we strive to achieve a fair balance through guidelines that safeguard the brand while providing space and freedom for creators to execute their vision.
Need help with an influencer marketing campaign? Email us at Help@KahnMedia.com.
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