As a Los Angeles PR agency and digital company that represents global brands as well as startups looking to break through – our influencer marketing work aligns clients with the right talent to tell their story in an authentic way while targeting very specific audiences.
Not all campaigns deliver the goods when it comes to client expectations, and depending on the scope of the partnership and size of the influencer’s audience, influencer marketing campaigns can be extremely costly. That’s why it’s critical to make sure you’re checking off all of the boxes when it comes to getting the most out of an influencer engagement.
Several years ago I wrote a piece for Adweek offering up eight tips for getting the most out of leveraging celebrities for PR. Today, I’m revising these tips to fit the evolving influencer marketing landscape, because there are lots of similarities.
If you’re thinking of engaging influencers on Instagram, YouTube or any other platform that makes sense for your brand, follows these eight strategies to get the most out of the partnership.
- Know your audience
If your target customer is male between the ages of 35-50, listens to country music and spends discretionary income on fishing gear, you’re probably not going to want to engage a 23-year-old female whose primary content focuses on beauty tips. This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many businesses miss the mark on engaging the right personalities based on their consumer profile.
- Aim for authenticity
One of the most important factors in determining a successful influencer relationship is authenticity. Whether you’re engaging someone to create content over the course of a year, post once on their YouTube channel, or do an Instagram takeover, the campaign will work best when it’s organic. If the partnership lacks authenticity, even if the influencer speaks directly to your target demo, it will come across as forced and ultimately fall flat.
- Be realistic
Once you define your audience, research influencers that not only speak directly to your core consumer, but also fit within your budget. If you’ve allocated $5,000 to secure an influencer for a social media campaign, don’t expect someone who has 80 million followers. As powerful or influential as the brand may be, by entering a paid arrangement to promote a product, influencers instantly limit the work they can do for other brands in the same category. It may even make sense, given the nature and objectives of the campaign, to engage ‘micro-influencers’ who have higher percentages of follower engagement from a much smaller f0llowing.
- Establish an influencer filter
The shotgun approach to influencer marketing typically produces an underwhelming campaign that leaves PR and marketing teams scratching their heads as to why their strategy tanked when it works so well for other companies. When you’ve defined your audience, budget and a list of influencers you believe are the right fit for the campaign, establish a filter based on important criteria that aligns with your brand and message. Run each influencer on your list through the filter and if he or she meets every attribute, you’ve found yourself someone you’ll want to pursue.
- Do your due diligence
Before reaching out, do the necessary research to make sure there are no conflicts of interest or recent public faux pas among your top choices. If your goal is to engage an influencer to scale up for media coverage, make sure that person is relevant to media in your category. Also, stay clear from influencers who are overexposed or have their hands in a number of campaigns.
- Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket
When you begin outreaching to influencers, it may take days, if not weeks, to get a firm answer on the availability of your top choice, so don’t be afraid to impose deadlines and be persistent. Often times, brands end up settling for a personality that wasn’t an original choice because they spent too much time targeting one person who ultimately declined their offer. Place between five to seven ranked names on your hit list and be prepared to move swiftly should you get a firm ‘no’.
- Define your ask
Know exactly what you’re asking of an influencer and be as specific as possible when approaching them (or their reps) with a formal offer. The more specific you are regarding scope and budget, the faster you’ll get feedback to move forward or move on.
There is no exact science to this process, but if you follow these seven strategies you’ll make your investment work for you by aligning with the right influencer to communicate with targeted consumer groups in an authentic way.