For brands and marketers, identifying, reaching, and "wowing" potential marketing influencers is predicted to gain importance in 2017. Done right, targeting marketing influencers for your brand can produce tangible results in reach, sales, and overall brand exposure. Not sure influencer marketing is right for your brand? Know this: recent studies have shown that up to 19% of the average consumer's total media consumption is now made up of influencer content! So...what is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer Marketing is a type of marketing that focuses on using key leaders to drive your brand's message to the larger market. Rather than marketing directly to a large group of consumers, you instead inspire / hire / pay influencers to get out the word for you.
Identifying and gaining contact information for influencer(s) that fit your brand's story is step one. Sites like TapInfluence, Julius, TrendSpottr, Followerwonk, and Right Relevance Pro can help you target influencers. Additionally, do your homework on social media including Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, and Facebook to find where your ideal audience is spending their time online and who they are listening to. From local to international, there are marketing influencers for every niche imaginable!
What comes next? Once you've established a coordinated marketing effort for your brand's product launch it's time to wow the influencers with your products via a PR Package! Many influencers receive complimentary PR Packages to their PO Box on a regular basis from brands hoping to get a few moments of "camera time" whether that be a YouTube video featuring your brand, a Snapchat unboxing, a designated blog post, or even an Instagram post. Brands using influencer marketing campaigns benefit from the influencers who speak to the brand's potential customers daily. In other words: influencers directly increase your brand's reach, exposure, and potential sales!
So, how can you "wow" an influencer and increase your likelihood for influencer engagement, organic influencer reactions, and ultimately increased brand exposure? Read on for 5 Ways to Wow Influencers!
#1. Customize, Customize, Customize
So you've identified the influencer(s) perfect for your brand's new product line launch? Excellent! When sending your branded PR Package remember that customization is key. An influencer receives multiple branded packages a day so how will yours stand out?
Start with a personalized note to the influencer. Include a hand-written or typed note with the package including the influencer's name and/or social media handle, details about his/her channel(s) or social media pages where possible, or even include an inside joke or observation based on content the influencer has shared to show you're paying attention to their channel(s).
Whatever your brand's product may be, influencers will want to have access to customize their personal promotion of your brand's products to their specific audience. The more options the better when it comes to encouraging influencers to create unique, branded content on behalf of your brand. This is especially important when sending the same products to many influencers simultaneously.
Extra touch: Does the influencer have a pet? Send along a note with a toy or breed-appropriate treats to show you've taken the extra time to get to know the influencer's lifestyle and personal brand.
#2. Don't Skimp
Recently, in reference to receiving complimentary beauty products in the mail, beauty influencer, YouTube star, and Maybelline's first male Beauty Ambassador Manny MUA asked on his Snapchat: "Why do brands sometimes send an entire new product line while other times they don't?" In this particular case, a beauty brand launched a new line of makeup but only sent a sampling of the new line leaving some new products out. His question was met with some mild kickback from his followers claiming he was being "ungrateful" but it's a valid question that Manny, and more than likely, other influencers have considered. My recommendation to brands? If you can help it, don't skimp!
Each brand and product roll-out is unique, but it is always encouraged to think BIG when it comes to wowing your influencers. New liquid lipstick line? Great! Send every shade. New headphone line? Awesome! Send both the ear buds and the on-ear products and applicable accessories! Brand generosity won't go unnoticed by influencers.
Extra Touch: Send a custom product to the influencer(s). Can his/her name be embroidered or engraved on the packaging or product itself? Do it! Can the color of the product(s) be customized to fit the influencer's aesthetic? Do it! Yes, this takes some research but the payoff is gaining an organic, genuine excitement from the influencer upon opening your branded package which, in turn, leads to additional promotion across social channels.
#3. Be Bold
Understandably, brands have specific product launch parameters including targeted market segments and strict budgets. Knowing this, take the time to ensure your product packaging tells your brand's story and catches the eye of the influencer you're working with. As mentioned above, many influencers receive multiple packages a week to their PO Box and you want your brand to stand out! Customization, again, is key but keep in mind that bigger isn't necessarily better when it comes to product PR Package size.
Extra Step: Some brands embed video or audio capabilities into their PR packaging that play when a box is opened and some brands create themed sets based on the new product line including outside products.
Example: You're a new sunscreen line looking to launch in the Miami market. You seek out area influencers with followings on Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat. Your brand sends each chosen influencer a branded beach bag filled with a custom beach towel (think: influencer's name, monogram, and/or social media handle), assorted beach accessories, and...you guessed it...your new sunscreen! Just imagine the statement that PR Package will make vs. simply sending a generic box including one new tube of sunscreen. Which do YOU think an influencer is more likely to share with their audience(s)?
#4. Pay Attention
Once brands tap in to their ideal influencer partnerships, it is imperative to continue a strong relationship with said influencer(s). Has the marketing influencer recently moved into a new home? Send flowers on behalf of the brand! Have they recently reached a milestone in their subscriber count on YouTube or Instagram? Send them a branded congratulatory note and gift! Stay top of mind with your top influencers and they'll show the love back tenfold by not only being a loyal customer but also a tangible marketing asset for your brand.
Extra Step: Bring on the Brand Ambassadors! Have you found an influencer who speaks directly to your potential audience? Have you established a strong relationship with each other and perhaps even your shared audiences? If so, ask the influencer(s) to be a Brand Ambassador! Brand Ambassadors should be equipped with free products to promote on their channel(s) along with a unique-to-them online discount code that their followers can use at check out when purchasing your brand's products. This allows not only for the influencer to build upon their audience and credibility by partnering directly with your brand, but also allows your brand to have access to e-commerce analytics including which influencer's code is used most often, which platforms produce the most referral traffic to your website, and which demographics your brand should focus on for future campaigns. In turn, the brand gains insight into the success or potential weaknesses of specific influencer audiences and product launches and thus can adjust marketing focus where needed.
#5. Host an Event or Getaway
If your brand is ready to go to the next level consider hosting in-person events such as dinner parties, grand openings, or meet and greets featuring your chosen marketing influencers! Note: at this level of participation, there may be compensation involved depending on the size and scope of your chosen influencer's audience in exchange for the work that goes in to the influencer's promotion of your brand. Remember, marketing influencers have a direct impact on your brand's reach and exposure and thus influencers should be compensated on mutually beneficial terms. Compensation to be determined on a case by case basis depending on the size and scope of both the in-person event and the influencer's audience size and potential for cross promotion.
Brands should recognize and appreciate that writing sponsored blog posts, taking photos for Instagram, recording and editing sponsored vlogs for YouTube, and the like are all time consuming for the influencer to create on behalf of your brand. At the end of the day, your brand should be left with high quality promotional materials created by your chosen influencers and this should be recognized and reciprocated by your brand through targeted social media shares of influencer-created content, influencer shout-outs, and, as discussed above, the potential for additional influencer compensation to be determined on a case by case basis.
Extra Step: Take a small group of high performing marketing influencers on a trip sponsored by your brand! Send a customized invitation to each influencer including clothes and/or goods related to the destination.
Example: You're a luxury coat brand inviting fashion influencers on a sponsored trip to Aspen to introduce your new line of ski essentials. Send chosen influencers a custom invitation along with a ski jacket, goggles, and accessories from your new product line requesting that they accompany your brand on the trip. Coordinate all travel and lodging and, as best practice, allow each influencer to bring one guest. In exchange for the trip, organic branded content is to be created and shared by influencers across their social media channels highlighting your brand and the trip including, but not limited to, blog posts, YouTube vlogs, Snapchat coverage, and Instagram shares. Note: at this level of influence, compensation above and beyond the complimentary trip may be negotiated on a case by case basis.
Final Thoughts: According to TapInfluence, it is reported that just over half of brands require influencers to properly disclose sponsored content, with another third asking for them to be included sometimes, but not consistently. Before rolling out ANY influencer marketing campaign, ensure your brand is following the guidelines put in place by the Federal Trade Commission.
Done right, tapping in to the right influencer(s) through a strategic influencer marketing campaign for your brand produces tangible results in reach, sales, and overall brand exposure.
Is your brand ready to get started?!