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#Ad: Reaching Your Audience with Social Influencers | Steel Branding
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#Ad: Reaching Your Audience with Social Influencers

Kids around a laptop

#Ad: Reaching Your Audience with Social Influencers

2017 saw a staggering 12.9 million brand-sponsored posts on Instagram. And in 2018 that number is sure to rise with Snapchat on the outs and Instagram stories continuing to take over. Thanks to social influencers or “influencer marketing”, brands are rethinking how they reach their target audiences. The tried and true tactics of display, paid search, TV, radio, and print still exist but in a far smaller capacity. Brands are tapping into the audiences from influencers to amplify their reach in an authentic and believable way.

However, while this new way of advertising is still on the rise, marketers continue to ask the “how” questions to get in the game before it’s too late. How do we find the right influencer? How do we send them the product? How do we make an offer that their followers will want? In this post, we’ll focus on what research you need to do to find the perfect fit, what product to send and how to send it, when it’s relevant, and how to keep the conversation going.

Find influencers that fit your brand

Finding the right influencers to reach out to and possibly work with is crucial. Mess this up and your efforts from this point forward won’t even matter. They must have the same (and large enough) audience that you’re targeting to make the ROI worth it, complement your brand with their values, they can’t already be working with a competitor, and we want them to be authentic. You’ll simply have to do the research to find the right fit. There isn’t a magic button to push on Google and have the best matches sent to you – yet.

And no, just because an influencer reaches out to your brand doesn’t mean it’s a good fit. You need to screen opportunities just as you would a media plan. Not trying to reach new moms? Don’t work with the blogger that has a 1-year old and shifted their focus to baby products and cooking for the family just because they agreed to work with you. 28% of marketers in a survey revealed that influencer marketing has helped them acquire new customers more quickly. But this only works if your brands match.

For example, the partnership between foodie blogger @NoCrumbsLeft and @IcelandicProvisions is a perfect fit. Teri’s following is focused on healthy, delicious eating with a lean-to Whole 30 and Paleo. They’re looking for better alternatives than sour cream in sauces, or sugary yogurt in their smoothies. Match made in heaven.

It should be noted that there are the brands that just get lucky – an influencer receives a beautiful package and shares it with their following. It is also true that influencers will receive your package and reach out about compensation before they share. Expect the latter and then you’ll be pleasantly surprised if you’re only out the gifted product!

Send them the product and a package that’s Instagram worthy

As the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a great first impression. We’ve all seen the unboxing on Instagram stories – it’s captivating to watch someone else open that new box of the 18 new colors of lip gloss from Chanel. What are the colors for spring? Will my Nordstrom have these in stock next week? Recommendations from influencers have been shown to increase purchase intent by 5.2X.

So, make sure your packaging looks good. Simple as that. And not just for the product

– but think through the delivery of your package to the influencer. Can they open it with one hand while they hold their phone in the other? It’s these little things that make it share-worthy.

@DesignLoveFest opening a package of notecards from @ourheiday is seamless. The package looks like it was made for her, fits her aesthetic, wasn’t complicated, and is a product her followers will flock to with a reasonable price-point.

Hone in on your timing

Utilize influencers to help launch a new product, promote a sale, or increase brand awareness. But make sure timing is right. Seasonality is important when it comes to pushing a product. Look ahead and know that relationships with influencers may take time. Looking to sell your new product just in time for the holidays? Start that influencer outreach in August or September. You want to seed the influencer, and in turn, they will seed their audience.

In a study by Business Insider, nearly 40% of influencers believe that overly restrictive content guidelines are one of the biggest mistakes brands make when working with them. So, once you establish the relationship let them run with it. The biggest thing you can do to hurt it is micro-manage their voice on their own page. Let them speak to their audience in the same tone and manner that their followers have come to expect…and trust.

@TheBucketListFamily worked with Target to seed the #HunterXTarget collection before it launched. The brands just fit – they make sense. And the timing was perfect. The collection sold out pieces on launch day. Granted, they weren’t the only partnership – but their 1.3M followers certainly didn’t hurt!

Keep the conversation going

Did you find an influencer that works well with you and fits your brand? Don’t let it die. Continue to send the product. Keep them as an insider. Find other influencers through them that may also fit and continue to own and expand on that audience.

And don’t let the #ad bother you or think it makes it not as authentic for followers. Consumers are used to this – in fact, they have come to expect it. They know that bloggers and influencers today are doing their best to gain and keep a following so they won’t push products they don’t stand behind. Trust is already there.

So, if you’re not already pursuing an influencer strategy it’s time to start. Don’t get left in the dust with your competitors scooping up the best bloggers before you can establish a relationship. And know it will take work and time but authenticity wins. You’ll see your leads and engagement increase exponentially once you dive in!

Sources

https://medium.com/crobox/under-the-influence-the-power-of-social-media-influencers-5192571083c3
https://medium.com/swlh/how-to-identify-the-best-social-media-influencers-for-your-brand-cb222a92ceb0
https://www.businessinsider.com/the-influencer-marketing-report-2018-1
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/pau-sabria/the-art-of-unboxing-packa_b_13184510.html