Social media users are quick to spot if a celebrity or top-tier influencer is only hired for a one-off, short-term marketing campaign. As a result, these recommendations seldom carry much weight among audiences. Add to that an expanse of media channels, advances in technology, and 24/7 access to information, and it is clear that a “single promotion running for a limited time” often fails to deliver the same value as a long-term, “Always-On” campaign with the right influencers across multiple channels.
Over the past few years, brands and marketers have started seeking relationships with a mix of different types of influencers (celebrities, top-tier, and micro-influencers). This integrated approach allows brands to reach target audiences at multiple levels and drive more engagement on an ongoing basis.
As the industry shifts to embrace a more holistic approach to influencer campaigns, here are five considerations for going from single, one-off campaigns to strategic, Always-On influencer programs:
- Lead Influencer Strategies with Data and Clear Objectives
A successful influencer program is supported by clear business objective and metrics. There are a number of tracking tools and tech platforms that can connect brands to strong influencers, but without understanding who to reach, where, when, and why, it’s difficult to determine the success of a program. It also makes it difficult to quickly respond to opportunities or map content to the customer journey.
An Always-On program is built on ongoing relationships between influencers and brands. It is meant to generate a flow of leads over time and requires multiple strategies to be pursued as the partnership evolves. Breaking out of the cycle of short-lived, campaign-led programs allows businesses to experiment with different types of content, learn from the findings, and shape what is needed moving forward while maintaining trust and consistency.
- Demand High-Quality Content
“Always-On” does not mean pushing volumes upon volumes of posts to every social media outlet, email list, and website you own. It means reliably publishing high-quality content that keeps your brand top of mind for the people you want to reach.
A mix of good storytelling and interactive materials – whether it’s in the form of a Snapchat Story post, Facebook Live broadcast, or Instagram poll – will draw audiences to your company and keep them engaged long-term. While an eye-catching image or sharable video can interest people in your brand, being delivered by the right influencers makes it accessible, relevant, and compelling. So it makes sense to seek partnerships with creators who can endorse and recommend your product in an interesting, familiar, and creative way.
- Capitalize on Micro-Influencer Relationships
Research from both Activate from Bloglovin’ and #Hashoff reveals that micro-influences foster more genuine messaging and organic content sharing than celebrity sponsorships. The research also revealed that micro-influencers tend to be a valuable source for real-time product feedback and insights on trends, views/reach, and overall engagement.
The key components are authenticity, sincerity, and relatability. Having spent years nurturing their audiences and growing their niche, micro-influencers are familiar with the products and content that resonates best with their fans and followers. They are usually looking to represent brands they already use and love.
Whether your company is looking to work with an A-list celebrity or a local phenomenon, ask influencers how they plan to maintain the relationship beyond the campaign and be prepared to answer the same question.
- Look Beyond Your Niche
When looking for influencers, focus on channels where your ideal customers tend to be and seek the experts who have a professional catalog of work. Also look for personalities that have a mix of both organic and paid posts or come highly recommended to you.
Among the many parameters to consider, choosing individuals who align with your company culture and brand personality. They will be a natural fit for representing your products and services. It may even be worthwhile to explore influencers who may seem outside of your industry, but can help you expand into a new market.
- Align Your Influencer Relationships with Your Entire Business
An ongoing influencer program requires sustained collaboration from all levels of your company — from sales and customer service to product development and beyond.
Not only can each department provide valuable insights into the company’s various product lines, share customer feedback, and alert marketers about potential leads, it offers a support system for developing the right kind content and delivering it to the right audiences. This collaborative approach also makes it easier to track the overall ROI and success of a far-reaching influencer marketing program.