I am an experienced Social Media practitioner with a strong passion for connecting with customers of brands. As part of a team, I presently work on the social media account of a leading European auto company. On this job, I have brought my vast experiences in journalism, marketing, search engine optimisation and branding to play.
Kick your influencer campaign up a notch. Marketing Land Columnist Caitlin Jeansonne explains how to use influencer marketing as an effective tool to support your other marketing initiatives.
By all accounts, influencer marketing will continue to be a hot topic in 2017. One of the most common ways to approach influencer marketing is as a standalone product endorsement campaign — but it shouldn’t stand alone in a silo. When planned and executed strategically, influencer marketing can be a powerful tool to amplify all types of real-time marketing initiatives, including live television.
With a well-timed campaign, content creators can call attention to your newest campaign or share a branded message or hashtag at the exact moment your audience is most likely to be paying attention.
For example, Avocados From Mexico amplified its 2017 Super Bowl ad by recruiting thousands of brand ambassadors to share its campaign content in the week leading up to the big game, in exchange for points and the chance to win awards.
Tide amplified its #BradshawStain Super Bowl stunt and corresponding commercial with tweets from influencers that included not only the ad’s stars Terry Bradshaw and Jeffrey Tamboor, but also NBA player Joel Embiid, and even Grumpy Cat.
A layer of influencer amplification could support any number of marketing initiatives, for example:
Participation in live TV broadcasts (an ad spot, sponsorship, product placement, press coverage, etc.)
Activation at a trade show or large event
Event promotion or coverage
Earned media coverage
Launch of a new website, app or social channel
Facebook Live broadcasts
When does it work? As a rule of thumb, any time you as a brand are creating shareable moments for your consumer, think about how those moments could also be shared by the content creators who influence them.
First things first: Know your audience
To determine if influencer amplification makes sense for your next campaign, start with your audience. Where do they spend their time on the internet? Which influencers do they trust? Does that combination of platform + influencer make sense as a place to amplify your campaign?
For instance, Twitter tends to lend itself to live coverage, particularly with appointment television like sporting events and award shows, while Instagram works well with highly visual content that can be organized by hashtag. Pinterest is best to support evergreen inspiration and how-to content, and Snapchat provides highly authentic real-time content with loyal digital natives.
Timing is key for getting the most impact out of your amplification efforts. If, for instance, your influencers are amplifying your brand’s appearance on live television, there may be a one- to two-minute window where their tweet makes the most impact on your potential consumer. (No pressure.)
You’ll want to carefully coordinate so influencers know exactly what, when and where to post content, including proper FTC disclosures. Make sure any needed guidelines and brand approvals are communicated well ahead of the go-live date.
If the influencers’ content will change based on the outcome of a live event, have your influencers create backup versions for every outcome (and compensate them accordingly for the additional content).
Paid vs. unpaid influencers
Unpaid brand ambassadors don’t require monetary payment, but it does take considerable time to recruit and nurture relationships with them. In the Avocados From Mexico example above, the brand invested a year-long campaign and $100,000 in ad dollars to build their initial ambassador program.
Also keep in mind that you’ll get more traction recruiting loyal customers to serve as unpaid brand ambassadors if you’re offering something in return for their efforts — whether that’s amplification on the brand’s social channels, brand rewards, free products or branded swag. (Note that giving away free product still necessitates an FTC disclosure.)
Paid influencers can often be recruited with quicker timelines, but keep in mind that building brand trust is key to authentic endorsement. Even on a tight timeline, don’t compromise your creative brief; this can be the best tool possible for efficiently communicating the brand voice and goals to your influencers in order to build authentic buy-in.
For particularly quick turnarounds, consider going back to content creators you’ve worked with in the past whom you trust and who understand your brand.
Make sure your internal teams and agencies are communicating across silos so everyone is informed on the latest developments.
What SEO keywords should you be incorporating? How is the social team sharing on organic channels? What are the latest developments that may affect content timing?
Take your influencer campaigns to the next level by looking for ways influencers can be an amplification layer for other marketing initiatives. With careful planning, even real-time events can benefit from influencer amplification.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Caitlin Jeansonne is Social Media Director at MMI Agency in Houston, Texas. Caitlin specializes in strategic planning and implementation of robust organic and paid social media programs for clients in a variety of B2B and B2C industries. With more than 10 years of focus on digital strategy, Caitlin’s past experience includes SEO/SEM project and team management, social media management, and user experience roles. In 2008, Caitlin served as the strategy lead on the relaunch of Southwest Airlines’ blog, “Nuts About Southwest,” which was named Best Corporate Blog in the Platinum PR Awards for 2008 and 2009. Caitlin has been published in The Public Relations Strategist on the topics of mobile and digital public relations and has spoken to groups that have included the NTEN Nonproﬁt Technology Conference, Pubcon Social Media and Optimization Summit, and to students as a guest lecturer at her alma mater Texas A&M University.