With influencer marketing becoming increasingly popular, brands are having to get super creative with the ways they work with influencers to stand out amidst all the digital clutter. It’s not enough to just send an influencer product and cross your fingers that they write about your brand or post a cute selfie. Influencer marketing needs to be inspired, passionate and innovative in order to earn a good ROI.
Here at eAccountable, we make it our business to stay up to date with all things influencer marketing. What we’re noticing a lot lately is that brands need to tap into a deep well of creativity to effectively get desirable results from influencer marketing strategies.
To get your wheels turning, here are 5 innovative ways that your brand can work with influencers complete with examples to help you visualize how you can apply these strategies to your own influencer program.
Capitalize on an Experience
Influencer marketing is all about authenticity. So, you need your influencers to showcase their experience with your brand as opposed to just information about your brand. Consider these questions:
- How does an influencer use your brand in their day-to-day lives?
- What pain points does your brand solve for your target consumer?
- How can an influencer showcase what makes your brand unique?
When partnering with and instructing influencers on what you need out of your earned posts, be sure to allow them to have enough creative freedom so that they can showcase their experience with your brand in an authentic and engaging way. This is the type of content that your target consumer craves and will be sure to lead to a strong ROI.
Example: Mountain Hardwear knew that they wanted to showcase their outdoor apparel through influencers who were doing certain activities like climbing or skiing. So, I reached out to outdoors enthusiasts and asked them to go about their daily active routines and photograph themselves doing these hobbies while wearing Mountain Hardwear apparel. Here and here are some examples of their earned media from this campaign.
Run a Contest
Running a contest in addition to the influencers’ fees is a great way to create some healthy competition and raise the level of earned media for your brand. And, the prize doesn’t have to be huge, a $250 Amazon gift card is enough to get your influencers to be more mindful about the content they’re posting in hopes of winning.
Spend some time with your brand goals and decide what makes sense. Are you trying to gather images for your website or social media? Then an Instagram contest is a great place to start. Are you wanting to improve your SEO and get found by more consumers? Then focus on running a contest for the best blog post. You get the point.
Example: Tung Brush came to me and among many goals, they wanted to increase the amount of quality content available for them to post on Instagram. So, I challenged the 30 influencers in the campaign to come up with the most creative Instagram post, post it and tag the brand. The reward was a $250 Amazon gift card. The quality of the earned Instagram posts went up way more than average and for not that much extra budget. If you’re curious, here is the link to the Instagram photo that won the contest.
Implement a Multi-Channel Approach
Don’t let your brand become too narrow and be sure to work with influencers on all their channels so that you can reach your target consumer where they want to be reached. I recommend starting with an influencer who is a blogger and examining their entire digital footprint to find influencers who have a reach on their blog as well as on social. The blog posts can show up in search results for years to come and the social media posts create a quick spark for brand awareness. Together, blog and social can appeal to a variety of audiences as well as gain your brand some dynamic earned media.
When implementing a multi-channel approach, it’s important to seed the influencers with everything they need to post on all of their channels. Such as hashtags, images, brand logo, informational material, creative direction, links, etc.
Example: Sconza wanted to power their ecommerce presence and came to me wanting to work with influencers as part of their strategy. So, I lined up bloggers with a social media presence and instructed them to post on all of their channels. You can see an example of a blog post here, an Instagram post here and a Facebook post here—all from the same influencer. This allowed Sconza to work with a handful of influencers but still reach a large variety of target consumers.
Utilize Thematic Elements
Earlier I discussed the delicate balance between direction and creative freedom when instructing influencers on how to post. To keep this balance, consider providing your influencers with campaign themes so they have something to go off of but can still make their posts their own and resonate with their audience.
Take a look at the products and goals that your brand has, and shape some influencer marketing themes around these goals. Be up front with the influencers in your outreach email with what the theme is so that you can identify the ones who are willing to coincide with your theme.
In order to help influencers adhere to these themes make sure you give them the right assets and educational material so that they can create great thought leadership posts.
Example: prAna wanted to work with influencers to promote their new Fall line launch. Instead of aimlessly reaching out to influencers, I looked at which products they were trying to promote and came up with campaign themes that aligned with their goals. One theme was wearing organic cotton and I seeded the influencers with videos and information about organic cotton so they could write thought leadership pieces. You can see examples of some of the earned blog posts here and here.
Gift Guide Inclusion
Gift guides are a powerful and affordable way to get your brand feature in influencer content. Many influencers put out gift guides highlighting their favorite brands and recommend them as good gift giving ideas. Gift guides are very popular, they are the most sought-after type of influencer content. So, they get in front of an influencer’s followers, but also show up in search results giving your brand some added SEO value. And the best part is that consumers come to gift guides with the intention to purchase making the conversion rates high.
Many influencers do gift guides for more than just Christmas. Think Valentines Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day etc. A lot of influencers include the brands they love in their gift guide for product only. And the ones who do charge a placement fee, it’s much lower than a sponsored post making gift guides a really affordable way to get your brand leveraged throughout the year.
Example: Popular blog, Setting for Four does a ton of gift guides throughout the year. She includes a variety of brands in them and gets a lot of traffic. You can check out gift guides that she has done in the past here so you can get a feel for what gift guide placement looks with influencers.