The digital space – and by extension, the world of influencer marketing – is constantly evolving; yet one thing is certain: the value of influencers has never been stronger, and the appetite for reaching their coveted audiences has never been more competitive. According to Influencer Marketing Hub, in just over half a decade the $1.7 billion industry expanded to a $16.4 billion industry as of 2022.
With the space becoming more crowded and brands looking to engage increasingly discerning consumers, a strategic and nuanced approach to influencer marketing must be taken to generate a strong ROI. Long gone are the days of a ‘one size fits all’ approach.
At RF|Binder, as an integrated communications firm, we see the most value and engagement in influencer marketing campaigns that are elevated beyond transactional relationships to authentic brand ambassadorships. This real brand love translates to impactful content – and high engagement – for both the brand and the influencer.
Here are five tips to transform paid influencers into impactful brand ambassadors:
1. Clarity matters
Think strategically about your goals, and be clear with your influencer partner from the onset. The more time spent in the upfront aligning on objectives and diligently vetting potential partners will pay off in the long-term. We work closely with clients to build out comprehensive guidelines prior to vetting, taking a mix of quantitative (video views, engagement rates) and qualitative (values, audience psychographics) data into account. Setting clear parameters allows for better results and continued optimization for all.
2. Engage organically
Before approaching an influencer for a potential partnership, we like to first see if the brand authentically fits into their lifestyle. We follow potential partners, monitor their content, and look for opportune moments to send them a creative sampling prompt – for example, a “back-to-school” unboxing experience to encourage influencers to put a healthy twist on their favorite childhood snacks using a sugar-free sweetener brand. Influencers who organically engage with the product are probably good fits for a paid partnership – especially if their audience is on board too.
3. Forge relationships
We apply the same principles that we use for media relationships to influencer relationships, emphasizing the importance of building meaningful connections. We make sure that the brand is showing up for these influencers in every facet of their lives, from sending them fun branded onesies to celebrate the birth of a child or gifting them swag to wear at conferences.
4. Integrate seamlessly
Audiences love authenticity. And, that authenticity only happens when influencers genuinely invest themselves and wants to share the brand with their audiences. Depending on the brand goals and audience, this could come to life through user-generated-style content, which by nature tends to be less polished and requires being less precious with the aesthetic. When you act as an extension of the influencers’ teams and advocate for their creativity, you will see higher engagement rates. This team mentality can include giving them trending music suggestions to pair with their video creative and proofing their copy mindfully to ensure text is still in their voice.
5. Be open
Like all relationships, it should never be a one-way street. Both parties are working towards a common goal and should stay open to feedback and recommendations. Influencers should not be treated like ad units and approached with a “just do what we say” angle. Putting the emphasis on the relationship and listening to their point-of-view makes not just them – but everyone involved – feel valued, appreciated, and respected for what they bring to the table. And the branded content is all the better for it.
If your brand is looking to influence, RF|Binder delivers industry-leading influencer campaigns that help brands achieve their communications and business objectives. Feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.