A Beginner’s Guide to Influencer Marketing
With influencer marketing estimated to be worth $10 Billion by 2020, it’s safe to say that this industry, once considered a fad by many businesses, is all grown up and ready to dominate the market. An incredible 67% of marketeers believe that influencer marketing has helped them to reach a wider and more targeted audience, positively impacting results. Even the most reluctant of brands look ready to concede to the fact that working with influencers is a crucial part of a successful digital marketing strategy and are putting aside the budget to facilitate its success.
Working with influencers not only provides a brand with the tools with which to bridge the gap between themselves and potential customers, but it also provides foundations upon which to grow authentic and lasting relationships with the influencers themselves. The content created by influencers can be re purposed onto your own channels, and often used on websites.
Whilst the wine industry has dabbled in influencer marketing, it is certainly falling behind in the area in comparison to the food and restaurant industry, fashion and consumer brands. There’s no reason why wine industry brands should be shying away from working with influencers. Despite the clear successes of influencer marketing, many brands are still nervous to delve into the unknown and find themselves at a loss when it comes to implementing their own campaign. We have created a beginner’s guide to influencer marketing, touching upon the basics of getting a campaign running, choosing the correct influencer, and highlighting our tips and tricks to achieve optimum results and strong ongoing relationships.
Planning A Campaign
Laying strong foundations is key to building a successful influencer campaign. Many brands contact influencers without having a clear idea of their vision beforehand, which can lead to a watered-down version of an idea they didn’t even want in the first place. To avoid this, make sure that your team is focused on these elements:
· Story: This is absolutely fundamental and will be the running theme throughout your entire campaign. Having a campaign vision which outlines the message behind your campaign will be critical when it comes to briefing your influencers. Are you promoting your Rose ahead of summer, or perhaps it’s gift collections in the run up to Christmas? It’s at this stage that you’ll want to decide on a hashtag that will be used on your own channels, and by your chosen influencers, throughout your campaign. Not only does this provide continuity between posts, but more importantly, you will be able to track your campaign using a hashtag tracker to see how much reach the campaign has achieved.
· Objectives: Just like any marketing campaign, your objectives are key. Whether it’s brand awareness, follower growth or traffic to website. By ensuring that your team are all in agreement with your objectives, you can provide a clearer message to the influencers you’ll approach, all of which feeds into better, more cohesive content.
· Budget: Budgeting can be tricky when it comes to influencer Marketing, not least because this varies so much depending on an influencer’s following, reach and personal preference. Many influencers will work on a gifting only basis, although don’t expect to have much control when it comes to creative input, deadlines and the visibility of your product. Whilst you can be savvy, building positive relationships and providing influencers with a product they are genuinely passionate about, this type of marketing is no different to traditional forms in the sense that most of the time, you get what you pay for.
Choosing the Right Influencer(s)
Now that you’ve got the basics of your campaign sorted, it’s time to start searching for the best influencers to execute your vision. This process requires time to research thoroughly, as not doing your due diligence can result in less than ideal content.
Reaching out to wine industry specific influencers can be beneficial when it comes to reaching other industry insiders, however beware of alienating yourself from the consumer market. Many lifestyle influencers work with food and drink brands to create consumer friendly campaigns which target potential customers and give your brand a digital authority.
Bear in mind the following aspects of an Influencer’s portfolio:
· Demographics - Will they appeal to your audience, and will their audience find your product appealing?
· Creative Alignment - Remember that the content they create should sit in line with your own brand’s creative vision enough that you would be happy to cross promote their content on your brand’s channels.
· Authenticity – An influencer may have hundreds of thousands of followers, but are these authentic? Check to see how much engagement their posts receive. Do people comment, and does the influencer respond?
One of the most important points we discuss with our clients is the importance of not being swayed by follower numbers. Micro-influencers (with a following of less than 20K) can be an ideal choice for most brands as these influencers tend to have a far higher engagement rate, are less bogged down with other collaborations, and are extremely creative and committed to their content as they grow their own personal brand. Additionally, connecting with a fledgling influencer gives you the opportunity to grow with them and form a lasting business relationship as their own audience grows too.
Working with Influencers
Many brands make the mistake of treating influencers with little respect. It is so important to remember that these individuals are content creators making a living, and as such, deserve space and trust to do their work. Give a clear idea of your vision and open the dialogue to discuss options on what their post(s) might look like. If you have chosen an influencer based on their existing portfolio and audience demographic, trust that they know what they are doing and how to best reach their own audiences. Micro-managing an influencer not only runs the risk of your brand coming off as controlling but may end up sucking the campaign of any creativity and authenticity, resulting in a poor performing campaign for both you and your chosen influencer. Remember that collaborative campaigns are likely something that an influencer has tried and tested many times before, and they know their audience better than you do.
Think outside the Insta-grid
Get creative with the type of content you create with your influencer. Traditionally, brand collaborations entail a post within an Instagram feed, and potentially some Instagram stories to support, however there is a plethora of creative ideas for you to make the most of.
Instead of a post on an Instagrammer’s feed, why not suggest an Instagram takeover, where the influencer literally takes control of your Instagram channel for a specific period of time. This will drive their own followers to your channel, as well as giving your existing followers some eye-catching content to enjoy. Supporting a campaign with an influencer specific offer code can be a great way to drive more people to your website and buy your product.
Alternatively, you could organise a blogger event, and invite influencers to a product launch, wine tasting, or even on a trip to your vineyard. This multi-pronged approach can have a much stronger impact than a singular influencer collaboration, and result in a range of high quality content for you to re purpose.
Tracking Your Success
Finally, keeping an eye on your results is crucial to improving on your campaigns over time. When in the initial contact stages with an influencer, ask them how they track the success of their campaigns, and request that they send you the analytical results from their channel on all posts relating to your product.
Results are often seen over time, so it’s worth remembering that this type of marketing is a long-term project. Building long standing relationships with influencers in the form of brand ambassadorships will give more weight to your campaigns and will be more likely to pull in stronger results.
Remember that influencer marketing should be a fun addition to your strategy and encourage your brand to move beyond strict branding guidelines. This should enable you to reach brand new audiences and connect with the digital sphere, propelling you into conversations and facilitating new relationships. If you’d like to know how we can help with your next influencer campaign, get in touch!