Using influencer marketing to develop meaningful and sustainable relationships with customers is one of the most innovative ways brands can promote their products and services. The most discussed brands are those which are able to connect with their customers in an authentic way. This is a great way for your fans to become voluntary marketers and spread your brand’s message through organic word of mouth.
The following statistics are testament to the efficacy of influencers:
- 46% of US executives believe that influencer marketing is one of the biggest advantages of social media
- Word of mouth sales almost double those from paid advertising
- Customers referred to a brand have a 37% higher retention rate
- Influencers engage with brands two times more than the average customer
- 50% of purchases are influenced by Social Influencers
Below are a few essential guidelines to ensure a successful and sustainable influencer program.
- Define Your Objective
This is the most important step and will lay the foundation for the rest of your program. Creating a sustainable network of influencers requires effort and having a clear idea of what you want to accomplish will greatly assist you in creating a program that lasts.
- Define Who You Invite Into Your Influencer Network
A smart brand puts a lot of emphasis on who they work with. Inviting the wrong people can have a negative affect on your brand’s message. You need to develop a system of recruiting the right people to your influencer program. Begin with your current community of followers that already have an interest in your brand. Having influencers that are knowledgeable about your brand greatly increases the authenticity of the content produced.
- Create Sustainable Engagement
When thinking of how to engage with your community, think creatively. Choose platforms that have engagement tools which allow you to not only interact with them through several channels, but also measure the success of those channels through reliable metrics. Facebook is a great example of this, as it allows you to create regular posts, share videos, and live chat with your influencers and their audience through the same social platform. By working with your influencers to determine the networks they are most effective on and the networks which you are trying to grow. This will allow you to focus your efforts in a more direct fashion and better accomplish your goals.
- Be Open To Feedback
Acting on feedback is essential to any company’s growth. The brands that make it a duty to respond to their influencers’ comments and suggestions are able to actively improve their programs. Being able to respond to an influencer’s needs allows you to make improvements to both your product and program. This is also a great opportunity to grow those relationships with your influencers which have the potential to grow into working partnerships.
Once you’ve created a community of influencers, you can then begin amplifying it to scale. Gratitude can be shown through sharing influencers’ content on your own social media accounts and websites. Highlighting the top performing influencers within a program inspires others to perform at a higher level and shows that you are connected within the community. Public shout-outs go a long way and motivate your influencers to remain engaged with your program as well as encourage new ones to join.
- Offer Exclusivity
A great way of making your influencer program appealing is to create an atmosphere that is rewarding and encourages exclusivity. Influencers enjoy being the first to hear about new products. Exclusive sneak peeks, behind the scenes interviews, access to special events, and swag are great ways to reward influencers for helping spread the word and are great for boosting your brand awareness.
- Measure Your Impact
You can only go so far without metrics to measure how well your program is performing. While running your program, be sure that you’re able to answer the following questions:
- Who are the top advocates that are sharing your content?
- Which advocates are creating content?
- What content is being shared the most?
- What else is being discussed when content is shared?
- What are your top social channels?
- How has your program affected sales?
Do not take these to be the only questions you should be asking though, if your goals are brand specific feel free to add your own. Once your influencer program is up and running it is time to optimize and begin experimenting. Sometimes many brands find that their programs are more successful when they run for a long time while others are more successful in short bursts. Whatever your results are from your influencer program, it is important that you take the time and effort necessary for it to be the highest quality possible.