Never has there been a better time to promote a brand purpose though KOLs (key opinion leaders) or influencers. Why? Because having brand advocates convey your message in an authentic manner often resonates better with your target audience than the brand itself. Only a staggering 1% of millennials trust traditional advertising and are more likely to trust those online with authentic voices.
However, influencer marketing works best when the values of the brand and the influencer are totally aligned. More and more consumers want to understand what a brand stands for before they purchase something. In other words – how they treat their staff, what their vision is, how they manage diversity, how their products are made and how they convey their sustainable credentials – are all key for winning over today’s customers.
Influencer marketing can deliver amazing value for brands not just for short-term campaigns but as part of a long-term ambassador approach too. The first step in succeeding with this, is to create an influencer marketing strategy. This will need to set out clear measurable goals of what results you want from your content creators. For example, do you want to extend your reach by building brand awareness? Do you want to track sales or click through rates or is your priority to create engagement and feedback on your brand?
Creating a purposeful brief that you can then communicate with your chosen influencers will be an essential part of the process, to ensure the influencers convey your message in the best way, while adhering to the tone of voice expected by their already-engaged audience. Therefore, finding the right influencers for your brand is crucial and can be a challenge at times, which is where specialist influencer talent agencies and platforms come in.
However, that shouldn’t stop you doing your own research too. Take time to do your due diligence and make sure there is no inauthentic engagement. A rule of thumb is to look at the last 10 posts on any of the influencer’s channels and observe the level of engagement and sentiment from their followers.
Remember, influencers shouldn’t be treated as media assets but as partners to your brand communication. Reach out to them with well-crafted communication that immediately promotes value to them and a potential business relationship opportunity, demonstrating how your values resonate with theirs. Influencers often like to be involved in the creative process and idea generation, rather than just the social amplification. So, I always suggest if you have targeted people you want to work with, start engaging with their posts yourself to show that you are interested in what they are doing.
If you have a range of influencers working with you with a common purpose, but told in slightly different way, you will start to see your brand message being conveyed to all sorts of audiences extending your reach and perhaps even into completely new markets. Yet, making sure you understand the numbers to measure this, is super important too. How many shares, likes, comments and views were achieved and how did you do against the goals you set? What posts did best at what time and on what channel? Whatever you find from this process will help you cement the blueprint for future activation.
When it comes to building longer term relationships with influencers, then think about creating brand ambassadors. Setting up these programmes isn’t difficult, but you’ll need to have dedicated staff to manage the relationships, dependent on how many ambassadors you have.
Lastly, but by no means least, remember – some of the best influencers you have are the internal advocates right inside your company, so don’t forget them.
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