For us marketers it’s important to understand what TO and what NOT to do when we work with influencers

While we all understand and think that influencer marketing is one of the most cost-effective forms of marketing today, but it only works when it’s done right. Problems with influencer marketing appear when marketers dive straight in without a clear objective and strategy in mind.

While it can be one of the best ways to build brand awareness studies have shown that influencer marketing which is basically highly targeted and strategized word-of-mouth marketing, generates better sales than advertising. Now that a lot of brands are looking at hiring Influencers or doing blogger programs, it’s good to know what mistakes to avoid;

#1: Not Treating Influencers like Real People – Influencers are people—they may be people who’ve created a brand out of themselves well and have created an impressive online or offline image, but they’re still people. We should not approach influencers like another faceless brand or company and neglect to treat them like real human beings.

Let’s always keep in mind that the campaign should not look planted/ unauthentic. Influencer marketing is about establishing and building relationships- real connections with real people. Some guidelines:

  • Approach influencers like we would approach a co-worker or industry professional we admire.
  • Involve ourselves in the discussions, write them a personalized message and avoid anything that sounds automated or cliché.
  • Pay them an authentic compliment.
  • Be transparent with them and let them be honest about their feelings too. Give them a little creative freedom when they do agree to share their feelings about your brand.

#2: Approaching the Wrong Influencer for the Campaign – Think of the organization’s hiring process: When we’re considering a potential employee, we screen them to make sure they fit the company culture, right? We need to hire influencers the same way too;

  • Research into the prospective influencer’s background –
  • These days it’s easy to increase number of followers/ increase likes by just buying them off the shelf. It’s important thus to check the followers and engagement levels. Choosing someone based only on the number of their online friends or followers can misfire. If the person we’ve chosen doesn’t jive with the brand’s personality, marketing through them will never get the response we want. The shortlisted influencers should have a lot in common with the brand – Interests, followers, likes/dislikes, set of brands they work with and aesthetics.
  • Don’t guide them into what to say or how to say it. Share the brief and key message, let them write in their way
  • How do they behave with their friends and followers?
  • Are they engaging with other brands? Which ones?
  • What is their reputation?
  • What material are they sharing
  • Are they active in the same forums the people we hope to reach are?
  • Take a look at the potential influencer’s followers.
  • What are they discussing?
  • What do they like or dislike?
  • What do they share online?
  • Do they resemble any of our customer profiles, or seem like people who might use our product or service or tell others about them?

#3: Being Disorganized – Influencer marketing campaigns should be just as organized as any other campaign. Nothing is worse than agreeing to help out a brand only to find out they don’t even know what they want or need from the program

Figure out how we will answer the following:

  • Start with an outline of how our campaign will work. Keeping with the brand voice, give the influencer a basic outline of what we expect from them but be flexible. Again, keep an open mind, and listen to them. Leave room for feedback and adjustment.
  • Having said that, be open to their suggestions. Give them a a little freedom when it comes to spreading the news about the brand…their way. They’re an influencer – give them the trust they have earned by reaching that status.
  • Disorganization and a lack of communication will kill any relationship—business or otherwise. Chances are, we pour a lot of resources into our other marketing campaigns, so plan to do the same for any influencer marketing campaigns too.
  • Understanding an influencer’s personal brand will help us decide whether they fit our brand culture. It will also help us approach them with a more personal touch a win-win effort.
  • Who will be monitoring and managing the campaign and the influencer’s work?
  • What are the terms of employment or the contract?
  • How will we compensate the influencers?
  • How will we know the campaign has been successful?
  • What happens after the campaign ends?

Give the brand the care it deserves

  • Taking the time to answer these and other questions and to plan thoughtfully will make our (and the influencer’s) life easier in the long run.

We’ve always work hard to build our brands – we should work just as hard to market it well. Whether we’re on the hunt for new employees or pitching a new product, influencers have the ability to help us tremendously, and we should want to approach them in a way that makes them feel excited to lend a hand. Influencer marketing is about fostering a relationship with the influencer, and by extension, his or her followers.

If our heart is in it, the influencer’s will be too.


Author: Ganesh Iyer