Don’t make the mistake of treating influencer marketing like hiring one-time salespeople for your company.
What do I mean by one-time salespeople?
Say you hire someone to work in sales, but they come in and sell your stuff for a day and then disappear.
Do you believe that this is a viable strategy for growing a company? Obviously not.
However, brands use influencer marketing in this manner. Influencers are hired for one-time promotions, and they are not given any opportunity to adjust to the product or determine whether they like it.
Brands often overlook the power of storytelling. Brands that excel in this area don't just see influencers as product promoters; they view them as storytellers who can tell a story about their brand.
Encourage your influencers to share their stories, highlight unique experiences, and let them authentically engage with your brand. This approach goes beyond the normal nature of influencer marketing and creates a genuine connection with the audience.
Imagine your influencers as partners invested in the growth and success of your brand. Instead of boxing them to one-off promotions, involve them in the brand's journey. Encourage them to participate in product development discussions, ask for their feedback, and try to incorporate their insights into future campaigns. This kind of collaborative approach transforms influencers into genuine advocates for your brand, contributing not only to short-term sales but also to the long-term and growing of a dedicated and engaged customer base.
When it comes to influencer marketing, there are proper and incorrect methods.
To understand what to do, let's first examine the actions of a brand that is acting improperly.
Normie brand’s influencer marketing workflow
Reach out to creators solely based on hashtags or demographics. Send them a creative brief in the first email. Not caring if the creator aligns with your brand or likes your products. Paying them a flat fee to post based on “talking points”.Getting some sales, not breaking even, and claiming “Influencer marketing just doesn’t work!”
This approach will kill your influencer marketing campaigns.
Now that you know what a bad approach to influencer marketing looks like, let’s flip it on its head.
A more effective influencer marketing approach involves a meticulous creator selection process. Brands should prioritize influencers whose content aligns with their values and products.
Engaging in conversations with the influencer and understanding their content style is effective for a good partnership. The key is to choose influencers who genuinely appreciate the brand to have more authentic endorsements.
Adopting a performance-based compensation model will result in a fair and transparent collaboration. Consider assessing your influencer campaigns based on metrics and feedback and acknowledge that influencer marketing is an ever-changing approach, highlighting the significance of continuous learning and long-term success.
Superstar brand’s influencer marketing workflow
Here are the best practices you must follow to not sabotage your influencer marketing campaigns:
Social media platforms are still the main battleground for influencer marketing but don't limit into this arena only. Explore unconventional platforms where influencers can shine. Try podcasts, where influencers can dig deeper into their experiences with your product. There are also sponsorship deals, guest appearances, and even creating a branded podcast series. All these can increase your brand's voice.
YouTube is still a powerhouse for influencer marketing, but consider interactive platforms like Twitch. Gaming influencers can provide a unique angle and allow audiences to see your product in action during live streams or gaming sessions.
Different influencer marketing platforms ensure a wider audience reach. This kind of strategy strengthens your brand presence and showcases adaptability in the ever-changing digital era.
I’ve written about this before: How to vet creators for your brand.
The main idea is to consider qualitative elements like charisma, connection, interaction quality, content creation capacity, etc. rather than relying just on the hashtag or demographics.
What's wrong with doing things, and then turning them around to find out what to do in reality.
Do not send them a wall of text with a “creative brief” of what you want them to post.
Nobody cares what you want.
They care about what you have to offer. So lead with a give.
Offer to send them a free product and get their thoughts. Here are all the influencer email best practices you need to know.
Never request a post from them in advance. Take it from there by trying to establish a friendship based on shared values or a mutual affection for your goods. You need powerful champions, not influencers who tweet about you on social media.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of paying per post. That’s what most popular thought leaders and blogs written by nefarious influencer software companies recommend.
However, if you're looking for a risk-free and profitable approach to test the waters with influencers, this is counterintuitive. You should only pay them for outcomes when you first start. Micro and nano influencers are crucial to have in your early connections because it can be difficult to accomplish this with well-known influencers.
Regardless of the agreed deal, prioritize transparency and open communication. Outline clear expectations, discuss key performance indicators, and be open to feedback. A collaborative and communicative approach builds trust and sets the foundation for a successful long-term partnership.
Consider other alternatives beyond pay-per-post. Think about offering influencers exclusive access to upcoming products, limited edition releases, or personalized experiences. This not only serves as a unique incentive but also creates a sense of exclusivity that can resonate with the influencer's audience. Learn more about How to Win Over Influencers with an Irresistible Creator Offer.
You can also explore educational opportunities or resources related to your influencer’s niche. This could include access to workshops, courses, or industry events. By investing in the influencer's growth, you create a sense of partnership and long-term partnerships.
This is how to negotiate with influencers without having to pay them upfront. You should read this blog since your program will succeed or fail based on the incentive structure you choose with influencers.
You never want to be a one-pump chump when it comes to influencer marketing. You want to build long, everlasting relationships with influential creators who love your brand (they will, if you give them reasons to).
Strive for longer-term commitments, don’t do contracts to start (unnecessary bureaucracy) but make decisions with the mindset of being able to work with them for years as opposed to working with them for one single post or video.
Encourage influencers to create genuine connections with their audience. This might involve responding to comments, having conversations, and being an active part of the community. When influencers genuinely believe in your brand, their advocacy becomes a powerful force.
This mindset is key and will make you do things like sending them gifts, making special offers for their audience, sharing internal news with them, doing equity deals, etc.
While sales and conversion rates are essential, the success of influencer marketing should be measured beyond financial gains. Building brand advocacy should be the top goal.
Metrics like brand sentiment, share of voice, and audience engagement are the real indicators of brand advocacy. Track conversations around your brand beyond the influencer's post—monitor mentions, hashtags, and user-generated content. These will provide insights into how well your brand resonates with the audience and the lasting impact of your influencer marketing campaigns.
Use Saral to track and manage all of this.
Find untapped influencers on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube with detailed metrics like follower count, engagement rate, authenticity, email, and more!
SARAL has a search engine (not a database) so you can find the exact type of influencers you want.
You can send spam-proof outreach to creators. Brands on average see 85%+ open rates and 30%+ response rates with campaigns sent through SARAL.
SARAL comes with a built-in CRM so you can track your influencer relationships. Connect your Shopify store and ship free products, generate affiliate links, and build great relationships with creators.
SARAL offers a robust performance tracking dashboard that allows you to see top performers, splice data by campaign, and make better decisions about your marketing investments.
That's it; go over the incorrect strategy at the top of this article again to help you remember the correct one.
Resist the urge to treat influencers as salespeople; but instead envision them as long-term partners invested in the growth and success of your brand, because at the end of the day, you can never deny that the difference between success and failure in this area lies in accepting the fact that influencers are intricately woven into the fabric of your brand's journey.
The goal is not just short-term sales but the cultivation of an enduring and engaged customer base. By prioritizing authenticity, transparency, and collaboration, you can transform influencers into powerful champions, ensuring not only financial gains but also the invaluable currency of brand advocacy.
Remember that successful influencer marketing is not a transaction; it's a relationship. Quality over quantity should guide your influencer selection, focusing on shared values and genuine appreciation.
Be inventive, foster genuine partnerships, and watch your brand soar to new heights. There are plenty of acceptable methods to go about it. Your brand will be immediately recognizable as long as you stay away from the normie approach. It will lead to increased advocacy, promotion, and the interest of other creators in collaborating with you. Ultimately, this translates to having more money in your bank. Win-Win 💰
Guest post by Yash Chavan
Yash Chavan is the founder of SARAL. Yash ran successful influencer programs at his agency before and saw what it takes to partner with creators. Now, he’s building SARAL to enable other brands to do the same thing. They’re on a mission to build the world’s first InfluencerOS - a one-stop shop for all types of influencer collabs.