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Just as you can’t create an amazing meal without great ingredients, you can’t pull off an effective influencer marketing campaign without the right influencers.
They are the fundamental basis of your campaign, the ambassadors for your brand and the people communicating your message to prospective customers. Finding the right influencers can be tricky and time-consuming. It can also be – if recent headlines are to be believed – a near impossible task due to the number of influencers fraudulently inflating their followings. However, having seen first-hand the impact it can have on campaigns, I know that it is well worth the effort.
Cut through the noise
But what do I mean by ‘right’? Well, there are some general good practice rules to follow. These are the must-haves I’ve made mandatory for content creators joining our influencer platform: a genuine following, with no sudden spikes in numbers; a professional manner; strong engagement, consistent with their follower count, and a genuine connection with their audience, including replies to comments on their posts.
They should also, above all, produce high-quality content that is creative and inspiring with a distinctive, individual aesthetic. While it may be tempting to think that the ‘right’ influencer for your campaign is the celebrity with the most amount of followers, that may not be the case. Modern consumers are bombarded with content. The best way to cut through the noise is by prioritising awe-inspiring content to stop them in their tracks.
Influencers with smaller audiences also, on average, have more engaged audiences. They are more relatable and trusted, meaning their recommendations are taken more seriously. Combine this with the fact that they are more cost-effective option so you can run numerous micro-influencer campaigns for the price of one hyper-influencer campaign, and you might find the ‘right’ one for you is a micro influencer, rather than celebrity.
Authenticity is essential
Then there are more detailed requirements, based on the specifics of a campaign. Authenticity has become somewhat of a buzzword but is truly an essential part of a successful influencer marketing campaign. The product placement needs to be believable and in context for it to trusted and hold merit. Influencers taking part in your campaign should be people who truly would use your product.
Not only will savvy audiences spot inauthentic collaborations a mile off, but they also won’t resonate with the audience because it doesn’t fit their interests either. For example, when Adobe promotes their latest editing software, they use photography and videographer professionals and enthusiasts who will use it in their day-to-day lives because they are the best people to showcase it. Often, this will result in some bonus content or engagement. Driven by their passion for the product, the influencer is only too happy to go above and beyond to answer their follower’s queries.
Getting the brief right
However, once a brand has found the right influencer to collaborate with they can all too easily throw it all away. Issuing a tight, prescriptive brief that puts marketing jargon into the mouth of the influencer and stipulating they shoot the product in a certain way, rendering their imaginative content creation talents worthless.
Clients should allow influencers to be the experts they are by handing over creative control. Yes, it sounds scary but remember, these influencers know their audiences better than anyone. They have spent years cultivating that following and honing a distinctive tone of voice which, if altered, is a tell-tale sign that the collaborative posts are yet another ad to be dismissed.
Of course, the essential messages and hashtags should be communicated but resist suffocating the sense of creativity that attracted you to the influencer in the first place. More often than not, as the true users of your product, they’ll be able to communicate its merits and your messages in a way you hadn’t even imagined.
The reality is, you could have a fantastic product, a healthy budget and killer campaign idea but if you fail to select the right influencers, or fail to use them to their full potential, you could be massively limiting the effectiveness of your campaign. The right influencers, used in the right way, are the make or break ingredient so select them with care.