Influencer marketing has earned an increasing slice of many corporate marketing budgets for 2020. Business Insider reports that brands will spend $15 billion by 2022. Dallas’ own rewardStyle has fueled influencer marketing for retailers, and now becoming an influencer is a viable career. At our agency, we’ve seen client demand for influencer-related services grow 65 percent in the last two years. It makes sense. We gravitate to trusted personalities who can help us navigate the barrage of images and information available online.
Is this just people posting on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn? Well, yes and no. Influencer marketing leverages those with an engaged online following to drive awareness or action for a brand. An influencer might activate your brand through social media posts, a blog, a podcast, or a video. Influencer marketing will surely evolve as social platforms emerge and change, but the underlying premise remains: Advocates for your brand can build trust with your audiences. Here are some tips for effective influencer marketing.
- Choose wisely. When selecting influencers for a brand partnership, think carefully about those with an authentic voice that will work well with your brand. A good fit would likely write about your business even if they weren’t being paid. Last year, we tested meal kits with Chick-fil-A by mailing microinfluencers picnic baskets to try the meal kits for themselves. The mailing generated a response rate of 100 percent, reached nearly 1 million followers, and was entirely unpaid.
- Add micro to the mix. Brands are increasingly seeing greater return and value from engaging with smaller, niche influencers who are able to have more impact on their audiences and are more cost-effective. VStar Entertainment, which has shows like Nick Jr. Live! touring through Texas this year, has a mix of micro- and macroinfluencers helping to build awareness for its shows and drive ticket sales. And Firebird Restaurant Group recently saw a 54 percent uptick in Cinco de Mayo sales at La Ventana after engaging microinfluencers as part of its holiday effort.
- Go experiential. We often send old-school mailers to digital communicators to create a visual branded experience they can share with their audiences. If you don’t have a physical product to sell, you can use influencers to create a unique, socially shareable experience.
- Consider B2B audiences as consumers, too. Many business-to-business companies may think an influencer strategy is not right for their audiences, but business decision-makers are heavy participants of social platforms as consumers. Interstate Batteries might be an unlikely candidate for influencer relations, but its “Shift the Myth” campaign did just that. The company worked with leading automotive technicians and motor sports lifestyle brand Hoonigan to dispel misconceptions about mechanic careers through personal stories.
Guest columnist Joanna Singleton leads the Dallas office of Jackson Spalding and is a co-owner of the agency.