According to the study “Influence 2.0: The Future of Influence Marketing” launched in 2017 by Traackr, 83% of marketers of large brands say that building relationships with influencers in their industry is a top priority. Influencer marketing, one of the buzzwords of 2018 ? For large companies, that’s for sure. But what about companies with tighter marketing budgets?
A crucial clarification to start this article: sponsoring one or two publications on Instagram where you are celebrating is not not influence marketing, but rather a one-shot campaign to develop your brand image. Which is not much different, in the end, from traditional TV advertising – except that it is aimed at a wider, precisely segmented audience.
Influencer marketing, it’s primarily a long-term effort that aligns with your content marketing strategy and your other online and offline levers. We can mobilize different types of influencers: celebrities, of course, but also its employees and loyal customers. The goal? Increase the visibility and credibility of your brand on the web, but also increase your conversion rates.
I can see you pale from here: not only must you convince your manager to embark on a new marketing initiative … but it is also a long-term effort. Marketing influence always costs an arm …
Do not panic: take deep breaths, then breathe out slowly: I present to you in this article 4 good influencer marketing practices that you can deploy with a small budget.
Launch a competition
I feel skeptical. I tell you first that influencer marketing is anything but a one-shot campaign, then I offer you as a first lever a contest. Let me explain.
A quiz is a stroke of the sword if you set yourself the goal of achieving almost immediate results in terms of conversion. For example, there are a number of Facebook posts running today, offering the audience to tag a friend in the comments to win the competition. Here is a bad practice to eliminate already from your marketing levers: Facebook decreases the scope of pages that use this kind of practices that encourage clicks, and it is a safe bet that other social networks will quickly follow this trend. In addition, let’s face it: there is little point in recovering email addresses, and then never using them.
However, contests can turn out to be real gold mines if you link them directly to your product or service. Instead of launching a slightly dodgy contest, ask your audience to share their brand experience on social media, or send you ideas to develop your solutions. By creating this authentic content, and by sharing it with their networks, your participants are indirectly ambassadors of your brand. Promote this initiative on your website and in your emails, with a well-thought-out call-to-action. Then thank all your participants by offering them something tangible: content that adds value to the use of your service, or a reduction on their future purchases.
However, for launch successful long-term contests, you will still need to capture the attention of your prospects and customers, which is no small task! To build a successful competition, be sure to:
- Bring real added value to the participants;
- Fine tune your audience : do you promote your game only to your customers, or do you include prospects?
- Set clear objectives for your competition : do you want to increase your brand image on the web? Make your audience want to share your game. Would you rather increase your conversion rates? Instead, ask your customers to share photos that include links to your solutions.
The key to a long-running competition: new customers, attracted by your growing notoriety, and existing loyal customers, delighted that you include them in your marketing plan.
Make your employees a springboard of influence
We often forget how much our own employees can be real levers of visibility, especially in an influencer marketing strategy. Your employees already have a close relationship with your brand, and have every interest in making it known more widely. They are therefore very well placed to share your content on social networks, and make them potentially viral.
But guess what? Just like your prospects and your customers, your employees are also terribly busy (we wish you, in any case)! That’s why you’ll need draw their attention to your influencer marketing approach. To do this, here are some practical levers:
- Organize a memorable kick-off. Basically, it doesn’t matter if you give them cakes, a cold beer, or any other kind of profit, the goal is to start your campaign by offering them a little something that will motivate them to start. In exchange for this little gift, you can ask them to read the regulatory guidelines to share your content, or use your hashtag in their next publication to promote your brand. To give a little taste of competition (good boy, huh!) To your initiative, you can even organize competitions between the different poles of your company.
- Spread their Social Media efforts in offices. Do you have a wall corner available in your premises? Why not install a screen on it that streams content created by your employees? This is what motivates the less active to do the same.
- Distribute stickers. Yes, that sounds silly, said like that. But sharing stickers where your hashtag is printed, which will be stuck on each other’s computers and screens, puts your initiative at the heart of business life.
- Share weekly or monthly reporting. Send an email, weekly or monthly, to congratulate your most active employees on social media. Encourage your employees, by showing them concrete examples of high-performance content, and by explaining the best practices that they can deploy themselves.
Does all this sound a little hollow? Many companies have started their campaign to influence marketing with these little gestures, and today see it as a real success. Valio, champion of dairy producers in Northern Europe, created an employee advocacy program with little onions, and their farmers have become true brand ambassadors.
Summon celebrities as an example
And now, a little higher level good practice. As I told you before, most brands that include celebrities in their Social Media publications see influencer marketing as a one-shot. But would you not rather want to make this approach a source of long-term results?
Some companies have a perfect grasp of the factuse known influencers to regularly attract their audience to their content. A telling example: that of UEFA, the European Union of Football Associations, which launched his #WePlayStrong campaign for a few years already. Their idea? Collaborate with professional footballers from the four corners of the continent, and relay on their Social Wall, on their site, their publications, to inspire and capture the attention of their target. On this dedicated page, there is therefore dynamic content, in real time from social networks, where celebrities lend credibility to the association and promote this popular sport.
What is your goal if you are embarking on a partnership with stars in your sector? Obtain results over time. And to do this, you will need to ask yourself a few questions, in order to choose a celebrity suited to your strategy :
- Does your influencer share the same values and the same type of communication as your brand?
- Is your influencer able to inspire your audience by mirroring?
- Can your influencer enter, in the long term, into your content strategy, given your business objectives and your own constraints?
The best way to get results isestablish a very natural relationship with celebrity in question, making them want to use your products or services. Which brings us to our next good practice…
Create a tribe of influential customers
It’s undeniable : your satisfied customers are your best influencers ! They already use your products, and are probably surrounded by people in your target market, who have the same frame of mind as them.
When you ask people to share your posts on social media, it’s good to put this unique content in one place on your website, like a Social Wall. The interest: analyze all of this content, and get data about your most engaged and influential customers on the web. This data from social networks will give you a big boost to your marketing influence strategy.
Faced with this data, try to determine:
- What themes or trends create the most engagement with your customer community;
- What content formats most arouse their interest;
- What values of your business trigger the most comments or shares in this community.
By surfing on this analysis, you will be able to disseminate content as close as possible to the expectations of these influential customers, and stimulate their engagement. Create a hashtag representing a trend, a flagship value of your business; organize your content creation schedule according to the formats they like most (video series, immersive photos, dynamic podcasts …).
At a time when social networks, especially Facebook, are promoting content created by users, and downgrading that created by companies, your loyal customers are the key to the success of your influencer marketing strategy.
Witness the very concrete example of Planet Fitness, a company offering gyms all over the United States: on their online content platform, Planet Fitness Community, they analyze on a daily basis the trends that most interest their satisfied customers, to make them ambassadors of their web marketing actions.
With these 4 good practices, finally, you don’t need to have the budget of a large group to get started in influencer marketing! So there you go, are you going?
Article written in collaboration with Flockler