Finding the right influencer for a brand is like searching for the perfect puzzle piece that seamlessly fits into the larger picture of your marketing strategy. Just like marriage, it is about finding the right connection and building a relationship. Did you know that campaigns with the right influencers can deliver up to a 20x return on investment? And if you achieve this success, you can ride high on the investments for months. 

So, how can brands achieve successful influencer relations and ultimately, campaigns? How can brands make influencer relations as part of their overall marketing strategy?

Harnessing The Power Of Influencer Marketing

Oftentimes brands underestimate the power of influencer marketing; many even mistake it for being just about a quasi-celebrity touting their product. But there is so much more to it. The perception that big names guarantee big returns is a common misconception. What’s more important to take into consideration is whether they are a right fit for the product. 

Think of it this way, an influencer with 1.5 million followers might not be a good fit for an affordable beauty brand because they are more likely to have a diverse audience including individuals who may not be the right target audience. Result? Low engagement rates and minimal impact on consumer behaviour. However, what might work better is a micro-influencer on Instagram who specialises in affordable beauty content resulting in greater ROI for the brand. By understanding the influencer's niche, content focus, and audience demographics, brands can go a long way in ensuring alignment with their target market.

Additionally, businesses often encounter challenges in effectively managing their marketing strategies when they fail to incorporate influencer relations as an integral component of their overall marketing strategy. Brands have the opportunity to think creatively and integrate influencer relations into various aspects of their initiatives including social media campaigns, product launches, events, webinars and press engagements. For example, for a launch of a fragrance line, a brand can collaborate with a larger set of influencers on Youtube with similar audiences who can share the same messaging repeatedly. By bringing on board micro and macro influencers a brand can increase visibility and ensure amplified messaging. 

How To Collaborate With Influencers

Define your goals and target audience: It is important to have clarity on the plan and the intended reason behind engaging in influencer marketing. Identify your goals: Is it greater visibility, more followers or better conversion? Influencer marketing can be customisable and flexible — ensuring brands have the option of working across different formats including sponsored content, guest blogging, brand ambassadorship, product gifting, takeovers, etc. 

Research and identify suitable influencers: Research and identify influencers who have a genuine connection with your industry as well as consistently create high-quality content and have an authentic/relatable persona. Brands can take into account follower counts, engagement rates, and demographics to ensure there is an alignment with the target audience.

Bring the influencer on board at the ideation stage: Collaboration is a two-way street; by involving influencers in the content creation process it is possible to leverage their creativity and expertise to generate ideas that align with brand objectives. By enabling influencers to showcase their unique style and voice while incorporating the brand's messaging, a collaboration will result in content that resonates with audiences and effectively promotes the brand. Influencers work best with brands if there is an alignment on values. 

Build long-term relationships and trust: Many brands make the mistake of looking at such engagements as transactional, rather than putting relationship and trust building at the core of it. By including exclusive access to product announcements, social media engagement via comments/ likes, etc. it is possible to build a relationship with a potential ambassador for a brand, rather than hiring a digital creator for a paid gig. 

Clear targeting: At the very start of your campaign, it helps to be clear about why you are collaborating with a specific influencer. For instance, if the reason for a collaboration is because an influencer has a specific niche, such as hair-care tips for dry hair, then it is important to note that they have an identifiable built-in audience. It might not be the best decision for the brand to explore this particular influencer for a product for oily hair. The end goal is to get the product in front of the right audience to ensure higher impact.

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Track & measure results: To gauge the success of influencer collaborations, it is essential to track and measure results. Set key performance indicators (KPIs) such as engagement rates, click-through rates, conversions, or brand mentions. Use tracking tools and analytics to monitor the performance of the influencer's content and evaluate the impact of the collaboration on your marketing goals. This data will help refine future collaborations and optimise the influencer marketing strategy.

Scaling an influencer program takes time, brands might face initial hiccups in the initial days but with each campaign it is possible to gain better insights into building a successful program. Influencer marketing is undoubtedly a dynamic and powerful tool not just for B2C but also B2B brands. Influencers can cover multiple marketing touchpoints such as building awareness, garnering visibility, reaching specific demographics, engaging and building a connection with consumers. 

If your brand hasn’t explored influencer marketing, now might be the time to start.