Social media influencer marketing has become an increasingly popular tactic, with influencer campaigns on Instagram increasing nearly 200 percent last year. If your organization is new to the world of influencer marketing, you might be wondering what kind of results you can expect, especially if you work for a B2C company.
Influencer marketing is a vague term that can mean different things to different people, but for the purpose of this blog post, influencer marketing is the practice of sharing your product with influential individuals on social media (sometimes they have blogs as well) with the intent of having those influential people share about your brand or product. This can be both paid or unpaid (in exchange for free product).
We’ve had great success working with influencers in exchange for free product when the right conditions are met.
Treat influencer marketing like media relations
While influencer marketing via social media is a relatively new marketing tactic, many of the same principles of good media relations outreach apply. Increase your odds of an unpaid brand mention by researching your influencer targets extensively.
- How frequently does the influencer post about products?
- What types of products does he/she share about?
- Does my product fit within the influencer’s brand? Will this person be a good representation of my brand?
- Where does this person share? Which social channels do they use? Do they have a newsletter, podcast or other outreach platform?
Just as with media relations, we do not endorse spray and pray. We have our best results when we’ve taken the time to research our contacts and cater our outreach to each individual influencer.
Don’t expect every influencer to be interested
Even with extensive research, it is unlikely that every influencer you contact will want to sample and/or share your product. Be realistic about your expectations. We wouldn’t expect every media pitch to result in a media placement, and the same concept applies to influencer marketing.
On the more extreme side, be prepared to deal with negative feedback, too. Not every person who uses your product, which includes influencers, will fall in love with it. Be aware of any potential critiques that might exist and be ready to address public criticism when necessary.
Engage, interact and track
The outreach piece is just the beginning of your influencer marketing efforts. You’ll also need to be ready to put in the time to engage, interact and track your results.
When an unpaid influencer raves about your product, engage with them — thank them whether it’s over direct message or commenting on their post. Take things even further by interacting with their followers who might be commenting or asking questions about your product.
Tracking the results of your influencer marketing campaign can be extremely time consuming. Instagram doesn’t make it easy to track results, so if you’re not using a social media management platform that gives you access to analytics, you’ll need to keep a close eye on data points such as your follower count, traffic to your website from Instagram, increased engagement and even profile views.
Pro tip: you might also assign someone on your team to keep “clips” (aka screengrabs) of influencers sharing about your product (friendly reminder, Instagram stories disappear after 24 hours so you’ll need to be on top of your game to capture those).
Lastly, keep the lines of communication open. If an influencer really loves your product, put in the time and effort to grow a mutually beneficial relationship. That might mean working with them on a paid basis to help amplify your future campaigns or continuing to send them free product.