In our ever more connected world of Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and so many other social platforms, it is important to pay attention to how advertisers leverage social media influencers. Some influencers, like Michelle Phan of the famed monthly beauty sample box company, IPSY, created an entire career from social fame. Her empire has now passed the $100 million mark.
Using social media is nothing new in online advertising. However, influencer marketing is no longer an experiment, and it is becoming such a huge part of the marketing and advertising strategies for some of the world’s biggest companies. According to Tomoson, influencer marketing is the fastest growing online customer acquisition method right now. The basic premise of influencer marketing is:
“When someone you know is recommending something, it goes miles further than just seeing an ad on a site.”
Social media influencer marketing has continued to gain traction, and is now among the most profitable ways to share products, services and content. Let’s explore some best practices for how advertisers leverage social media influencers.
Create Genuine Relationships with Influencers
A great influencer/brand relationship is one that is mutually beneficial and that creates authenticity that followers can rely on. Using a platform that will enhance experiences by connecting related stories and brands in a genuine way will foster this symbiotic relationship. A brand will experience success with open communication and feedback from their influencers. Helping each other cultivate the branding is a cornerstone of this relationship, but as Forbes details, “all of it ultimately hinges on the relationship between the influencer and the consumer.”
Choosing an influencer whose followers are not just great in numbers, but for whom the brand is relevant is incredibly important. Sarah Jones of Luxury Daily points out that “…picking the right persona to uphold the brand image is more important” than reaching a large number of people via one partner. If followers of a wildly popular influencer cannot afford a posh new jewelry collection, it doesn’t make sense to use that personality for the brand. Consumers have the remarkable ability to sniff out the absence of authenticity, and they may unfollow the influencer when there is a disconnect. The worst thing an advertiser can do is prompt the followers of an influencer to leave. The key to avoiding this outcome is to align strategically and create genuine relationships with the right influencers.
Use Social Media Monitoring to Figure Out Appropriate Offers That Provide Value
A smart approach for advertisers who are trying to create offers that will resonate with consumers is to tune into social media. Researching hashtags, digging into mentions of the brand, and setting up Google Alerts are all part of social media monitoring, which can open up a world of possibility. Perhaps there is a niche blogger who documents his exciting fishing expeditions, but just can’t find the right spinner bait lure. A maker of custom fishing lures could seize the opportunity to engage with the influencer and potentially provide a valuable solution for the personality and his followers. By paying close attention to the dynamic world of social media, brands can identify the needs and wants of potential consumers and create relevant offers that make a real impact on ROI.
Social media and influencer advertising should be as consistent with the branding as the brand message itself. Remaining true to the brand voice, even through changes in products, services or offers, ensures continued relevance. When honest feedback is part of the relationship, influencers can be a powerful tool in keeping a brand on track .
In addition, successful brands are easily recognized on different social media platforms because of consistency in branding. Every advertisement or offer on social should be consistent with the brand as well. A recent Pew Research Center study on social media use found that “More than half of online adults (52%) use more than one…social media platform…” These high levels of reciprocity indicate that the same users will encounter your brand on different platforms. The key is to present users with uniformity, and avoid brand schizophrenia with too many different offers or approaches.
Influencer marketing is a powerful tool, and when leveraged effectively, it can take online advertising to the next level. Partnering with relevant influencers to provide valuable offers to targeted consumers allows brands to take advantage of the power of the personal recommendation and improve ROI.