Influencer marketing has become crucial to many brands’ strategies, but choosing the right influencers is not always easy. Danielle Reid, Founder and Executive Director at DR and Associates, shares her insights on how brands should approach influencer marketing campaigns and the common pitfalls they should avoid.
In our exclusive interview with Reid, she shares invaluable insights into influencer marketing for retailers and brands. Drawing from her extensive experience, Reid provides a comprehensive checklist for an effective influencer marketing strategy, emphasizing the importance of defining goals, identifying target audiences, and selecting the right social media platforms.
Join us as we dive into Reid’s views on the current state of the influencer landscape and her advice for emerging brands on navigating the complexities of choosing the right influencers. This interview promises to be a treasure trove of knowledge for anyone interested in leveraging influencer marketing,
Can you provide some insights on how brands should approach influencer marketing campaigns and the common pitfalls they should avoid?
To start, brands should know the ultimate goal of their influencer campaign. Is it for brand awareness, engagement, or consideration? Most brands fail because they look at macro-influencers with large followings and believe they will automatically profit from a relationship with an influencer: vanity metrics do not always equate to dollars.
In the age of vanity, many “influencers” have inflated follower counts, posts, likes and comments, which is why micro-influencers benefit most brands with a higher ROI and engagement. ALWAYS complete your due diligence before hiring influencers and influencer agencies. And yes, influencers and some agencies will inflate results to get paid and secure a winning bid.
My rule of thumb for brands is that for an influencer campaign to have the best impact, look for influencers that don’t act like influencers. More and more, the public and potential customers increasingly want to see a genuine connection, which is often lacking when using influencers with large followings. These influencers, only looking for a paycheck’s followers, have caught on to the fact that they will use and post anyone’s products because they are being compensated.
In addition, know your budget and stick to it. Consider all of the factors in your budget, including influencer fees, shipping costs, product costs, and fees if you hire an external agency or for internal staffing. Influencer campaigns are not necessarily expensive when executed correctly but can become costly if you are not strategic.
Can you elaborate on the various strategies and methods that can be employed to have influencers promote in-store products?
Going back to knowing the strategy and goals behind the influencer campaign, there are many ways to have influencers promote in-store products, and there are many methods depending on the budget. Some companies have influencers’ photos placed in POS advertising for products and promotions for in-store. Some influencers with followings in major cities have also participated in “pop-up shows” to drive in-person sales with meet and greets, which also makes for great content and overall customer experience.
You can also utilize influencers promoting in-store products by ensuring they note where a product can be purchased in their copy or script. For further engagement and to track sales, influencers may ask those consumers who purchase the products to tag them and the brand to be highlighted to drive conversion and engagement further.
How can brands ensure they partner with genuine influencers who align with their values, and what characteristics should they look for to identify these ideal influencers?
Look beyond the posts that influencers make for vanity: is your influencer only nice to their audiences when they want to sell products or do they genuinely care about something that aligns with the brand and retailer? Look at their history to see if they have stated something controversial or if they are considered genuine.
Consumers can tell when influencers are truly genuine and your best influencers will have a passion for the same objectives and values that your brand does. My rule of thumb is that your best influencers are not influencers, they are about community (online and offline) and will be more faithful and loyal to your brand because they are selective in the influencer brand campaigns that they take part in.
How can a business effectively integrate influencer marketing into its overall strategy?
Going back to having influencer marketing as a part of your overall marketing strategy, always consider the outcomes and goals. Do you plan on using influencers only during the holiday season or year-round? If you have a new product/service coming out, utilizing influencers would be great, but don’t forget about rewarding your loyal customers.
Influencers can be a great idea, but sometimes your best influencers are those who already utilize your product and/or service. Reward your loyal customers and have them act as influencers for long-term success. Set up referral/VIP programs, ask them to engage with your brand, complete reviews, etc., to help drive brand awareness and engagement. Word-of-mouth remains one of the highest and best forms of ROI in business!