Influencer campaigns are all the rage these days, and will probably stay a hot topic so long as there are new platforms to conquer and new products to evangelize. So, as a brand, which influencers—if any—are right for you and your message/product? Here are a few handy questions to ask yourself before reaching out to influencers (or even considering an influencer campaign in the first place).
What kind of influencers are you looking for?
The term “influencer” can mean a lot of things. Celebrities could be considered influencers, though they usually lack authenticity. The most common influencers these days are power users from social channels—Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, blogs, or the next up-and-coming platform. Be sure you’re looking at the channel that works best for your brand and audience. Translation: If your campaign relies on great visuals, make sure the influencer you’re considering has a rockin’ Instagram feed.
Are influencers even right for your brand, your audience, and your product?
Influencer programs are a popular way for brands to get their message out to the public, but it’s not a method that necessarily works for every brand or product. Think about where your audience is in terms of the digital landscape. Where do they engage? And are the products you’re promoting something that influencers can use in an authentic way? The most successful influencer campaigns have the perfect storm of the right influencers, right messaging, and right audience. If you can master that mix, you’ll likely see results that exceed your expectations.
What is your campaign objective?
Do you want to launch or grow one of your brand’s platforms? Reach a new audience? Drive leads or product sales? Pinpointing your objective is crucial to determining whether influencers are the way to go. Influencers on social platforms are great for driving awareness and, in many cases, helping build the brand’s own community. While influencers can be used more directly to sell products or generate leads, that tactic hinges on a combination of the right influencer in the right space. (YouTube vloggers or blogs may be best for this.)
What is your budget?
First things first: Influencer programs are not cheap. It’s a common misconception in the social media space that this approach is a free (or at least cheap) way to market your brand or product. That might’ve been the case a few years ago, but that’s not true today. Many companies that facilitate relationships between influencers and brands have an asking price of about $20,000 for a program. Sometimes it’s based on the number of influencers, their reach, or the type of program you’re looking for (how many posts, travel requirements, etc). Many factors go into it, but the bottom line is this: Don’t expect that you can just send free product as payment. All this goes to emphasize our second point: Be sure this type of campaign can deliver sufficient bang for your budget.
Congrats! You’ve completed your first crash course in understanding influencer campaigns and determining whether they’re right for your brand. Stay tuned for the next installment of “Under the Influence,” coming to this space later this week!