How to Maximize Your Influencer Strategy
Words by Thubelihle Nkutha
You are scrolling through your phone on different social media platforms. If you are on Twitter, there is probably a recurring hashtag from what you would assume to be a television show that one of your followers is watching. Shift to Instagram where you are liking and sharing images that have a caption including more than five or more hashtags in it. A connection between yourself and these people has been developed prior to ‘Promo Twitter’ becoming a point of discussion. A relationship has been formed, and that relationship is maintained through still following the person and engaging with their content. Now, if you are a Brand Manager, you have the responsibility of aligning your brand with the most suitable candidates for your campaigns. Your second priority is producing quality work – whether that means meeting certain KPIs to please the client while achieving a level of success for the campaign. The third and last responsibility is making sure you get a distinct message across. That message can be easily and effectively communicated by making use of influencers.
In the space of influencer marketing, the most prominent types would be Macro and Micro influencers. The former refers to when an individual has over 100 000 followers or more whereas the latter sees individuals who range between 2000 – 50 000 followers. Macro influencers are often more favored due to the demand from the client that will equate to increased numbers based on influence or impact. There are also hidden gems that fall under a group called Nano Influencers. These influencers have followers that range between 1000 or less. They also tend to have more authentic and personal relationships with their followers. Ultimately, what needs to happen is that those in a position to hire influencers need to strike a balance through an understanding of these different groups to be able to pick the correct type of influencers for suitable roles.
The current social media landscape is set up in such a way that the intended target market can discern whether or not a message is part of a promotion or not. This creates a problem when it comes to retaining the attention of people, whose only tangible interest comes from them having a relationship with a person - even recently there have been new advertising laws passed, permitting influencers to mention that they are being used by a brand. How this is executed is by the influencer having ‘#AD’ in their posts - making it clear for people to see what they are doing and who they are involved with as well. Knowing all of this, how do brands capture people’s attention and have an effective campaign? Are we in a space where the strategies used a few years ago are extinct and influencers not being influential? Personally, I think not.
Before that is fleshed out, knowing the different types of brands that require different approaches is a contributing factor, if not the biggest simply because there is no point in having a strategy that does not communicate effectively for a brand. The requirements for a television channel (examples being Fox or BET) are totally different from a brand’s approach. One is about communication through the interest in a specific show; taking favorite characters, plots and the likes into consideration where the primary selling point is entertainment. The influencers being used would be those who can convince others that their opinion on the matter of entertainment is important. When you look at would be expected from a brand like Sol or Haig Club for instance, you would be selling a certain appeal or lifestyle - meaning there is a lot more content creation and curation that goes into it. What tends to happen is that an influencer who plays for both sides of the field can create a perception towards the audience that communicates a lack of consistency. Influencers who can find themselves being positioned as lifestyle content creators can be perceived to sell different brands to potential customers while dipping their hands in every jar. This could result in their engagement rates decreasing or on the flip-side, people being supportive of the cause because they understand the dynamic. These are factors any brand manager would need to properly evaluate.
To tie this back into how all the above mentioned can help with strategies, it comes down to the fact that it is easy to say “make sure the type of influencers you use best represent the brand”, but the reality is that it goes beyond that. Agencies could begin with possibly creating the concepts for influencers, with influencers. When bringing in people you would want to create content for the brand, agencies can also involve themselves in the planning process. By putting such structures in place, a more successful campaign might occur. Moreover, it could allow for a longer duration of time to be allocated to campaigns in order to ensure more audience engagement while simultaneously allowing audiences to see the growth and relationship between the brand and the influencer. This kind of model further emphasizes more of a partnership between the two thus creating loyalty and not forcing them to jump from brand to brand.
Let us consider what Bernini did when they first dropped one of their recent campaigns. Not only did they choose the right women to speak for and about the brand; the women also got involved in making a TVC. They still went on to amplify the brand above what was expected because they were involved in a post that went beyond Instagram. Today, Bernini reaps the benefits of such an investment along with increased social media talkability. A final way to make sure that you maximize on a strategy is simply through research. By conducting research, you can tackle many simple but effective aspects like making sure that a specific influencer has not worked with a competing brand, analyzing their relationship with others – particularly their audience. And finally, you can align them to a message that communicates with who they are as a person and what they can do for the brand.