Influencer marketing is increasingly becoming a mainstay of the modern day marketer’s playbook. For those unfamiliar with the term, influencer marketing is the practice in which brands collaborate with social influencers across social platforms such as YouTube and Instagram to promote their products through branded content. A $240m (£156m) industry as measured by Technorati, and with 92% of people trusting recommendations from people they know, it’s no wonder that it is one of the fastest growing marketing medium in the past five years.
The ability for brands to leverage the engagement that millennials (those born between 1982 and the early 2000s) have with their audiences on social platforms offers great potential for brand advocacy and engagement.
As a millennial and a marketer running influencer campaigns for major brands, I’ve learned a few strategies to create successful influencer campaigns.
1. The hashtag
At the heart of every social campaign is the hashtag, which creates a centre point for your influencers to point to.The main problem with hashtags is that many brands think it’s all about them. It’s not, it’s about the audience. The key to a good hashtag is to create something relatable or funny that everyone can join in. Something like #cheesychatups to launch a line of cheddar crisps is more likely to drive social conversation than something more traditionally on brand. The point of a hashtag is to create a social conversation and is the beginning of the formula for a successful influencer campaign
2. Invite influencers, focusing on the long tail
One of the major unique selling points of influencers is their ability to disseminate content to the people who care. Unfortunately, brands see influencers as merely channels to push their content from the influencer to their audience. This is the wrong way to look at influencers. Too often, brands make the mistake of spending a lot of money on one influencer, whereas there is a value in the long tail of influencers. The variety of content means that collaborating with them results in higher engagement, more YouTube views and varied audiences.
3. Bring in the evangelists and reward them
Influencer marketing provides the mechanism for a two-way dialogue between a brand and its desired audiences. To sustain your social media campaign, it’s important it is designed to include audiences by having influencers ask their followers to join in. It should have a reward system whereby audiences are given discounts and offers. The consequence of influencers including their fanbase and evangelists is the groundswell effect it creates as their fans then ask their friends to join in.
To create a buzz, it’s important that the push from influencers on the hashtag is simultaneous. You will need to send out a message to your influencers and sync with them on the best time to launch the hashtag. If your hashtag is specific to something happening, such as the X Factor final, it makes sense for it to launch on the weekend. An added factor in timing is the level of competition. To get a hashtag trending it’s important to launch it at a time when there is little competition from major sporting events or music launches.
One of the most glossed over things in crafting successful influencer campaigns is the longevity of a hashtag’s promotion. It is the length of the social push that dictates how well your campaign does on social. Short timescales work the best. When it comes to longevity, the key is to start small but ramp up quickly. Hashtags trend according to the number of overall tweets per minute, so the key is to start off with more tweets per minute every five minutes. And by having both influencers and their evangelists take part in a campaign, you are more likely to end up having a trending hashtag.
Although these are some of the rules of running successful social influencer campaigns, we must also adhere to the new rules from the Advertising Standards Authority under which any brand influencer collaboration must be clearly marked as an ad. Whether it is through a disclaimer mentioned by the influencer or the use of #ad or #sp hashtags, it is important that there is a clear distinction between normal content and brand-sponsored content.
Creating a successful social campaign is a science, although not an exact one as it requires experimentation. But by using the above framework you can increase your chances of creating successful social influencer campaigns.
If you'd like to run your own influencer campaigns, start a campaign
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