Brands are continuously turning to influencer activations to reach out to and target the right audiences. Influencers have the power to get the message across passionately, authentically, and creatively.
From celebrities to nano-influencers, they have become critical marketing tools. They not only create brand awareness but are also driving sales.
Rakuten found that 80% of consumers make purchases after a recommendation from an influencer. Additionally, three in four consumers were willing to spend between $1 – $629 on a product recommended by an influencer.
According to a survey, influencer marketing also has a higher ROI compared to other marketing strategies.
Image Source SocialPubli
Influencer activation involves finding the right influencer to share your brand message organically with your target audience. These activations can add credibility to your content.
Consumers rely on content and recommendations from influencers because they trust them. So influencer content will feel authentic since it’s from real authority figures. This kind of content drives engagement.
Understanding the Power of Influencer Activations
Influencer content not only creates brand awareness but leads to a positive brand reputation. If an influencer posts about a positive experience they had with your brand, their followers are more likely to trust your brand.
If the influencer’s followers like your brand and products, they may also share them with their friends and family, and that will further increase your reach. When your content spreads to a larger audience, it can lead to higher conversions.
Partnering with an influencer can also improve your search rankings. This can happen if they direct a lot of traffic to your website or provide you with a high-quality backlink from their website.
Let’s take a look at some examples of the best influencer activations:
This watch brand chose to focus on influencer activations instead of traditional marketing. They give influencers watches and encourage them to post photos of themselves wearing the watches on their profiles.
The influencers also get a custom promo code to offer discounts from the brand to their followers. This helps Daniel Wellington to track the sales generated by the influencers as well. When the influencers post on Instagram, they include the #DanielWellington hashtag.
Image via Instagram
Currently, there are over 2 million Instagram posts with the Daniel Wellington hashtag. Their Instagram account has also amassed over 4.8 million followers. The brand has grown through the power of a well-executed influencer activation campaign.
Tom’s of Maine
Tom’s of Maine activated their micro-influencer community to post content related to their brand. They amplified their organic reviews and ratings from some of their most influential customers.
Additionally, they recruited community members who were genuinely interested in their products. Instead of paying them, they offered some of their products and brand-related rewards.
The campaign resulted in over 400 reviews and a sales lift of 30% for each of their products in four weeks. They also got a 4.64 average product rating.
Image via Instagram
Pepsi worked with over 40 influencers to target previously untapped audiences. They started with user-generated content from the influencers.
The campaign celebrated the #SayItWithPepsi hashtag and Pepsi emoji bottles on Twitter. On Instagram, they held a #SayItWithPepsiToWin challenge. This contest had over 1300 participants posting photos with Pepsi’s emoji bottles.
Through the influencer activation, Pepsi garnered over 46 million impressions. The influencer content got them over 50k measurable engagements.
Image via YouTube
Influencer Activation Tips
Now that you understand how influencer activations can help your brand, let’s take a look at how you can activate an influencer to work for your brand.
Fullscreen found that the right influencer activation leads consumers down the purchase funnel. Nearly 26% of consumers interviewed said that they had purchased a product on seeing the recommendation of an influencer.
Image via Fullscreen
Clearly, we can define influencer marketing as a way to create brand awareness, acquire new customers, and increase conversions. However, successful influencer activations take meticulous planning.
You need to find an influencer who is right for your brand. One whose values are similar to those of your brand. The content they create must also engage and influence their audiences to try your brand and its products.
For successful influencer activation you need to:
1. Define Your Goals
Every smart marketing plan starts by defining your goals. For your influencer activation, describe what you want to achieve from the campaign. Defining goals also helps you outline metrics to track the progress of your campaign.
Some goals to consider include:
- Build an audience: Getting people to subscribe or follow.
- Build brand awareness: Getting more audiences to recognize or know about your brand.
- Build an identity: Increase the audience that knows about your brand's values and personality.
- Generate leads: Increase the number of leads.
- Increase engagement: Improving the interaction that your audience has with your content through likes, shares, and comments.
- Build links: Get high-quality backlinks for your website.
- Increase customer loyalty: Ensuring that more customers keep returning to your brand.
- Increase sales: Increasing your revenue through more sales of your products and services.
2. Know Your Audience
Once you’ve set your goals, find out who your customers are.
Before you can start looking for influencers, you need to understand your target audience. If you choose an influencer whose audience isn’t similar to yours, you might not get your desired results.
If you’ve run previous campaigns, look at your data. Who was more responsive to your content? What age group did you sell more to?
If you don’t have previous data, create a buyer persona for your target audience. Find out where your customers spend most of their time.
What is their channel of choice? What channel surprised you with new customers from previous campaigns?
By finding out who your exact customer is, you’ll be better placed to find the right influencers to reach them.
3. Find the Right Influencer
Once you’ve set your goals and got your ideal buyer figured out, set your influencer activation plan into motion.
You should try to find an influencer who can successfully help you fulfill your campaign goals.
Some of the things to look out for include:
- Reach: Do they reach enough people?
- Relevance: Does their content style and tone match those of your brand?
- Audience: Are the influencer's followers the people you want to reach?
- Engagement: Does their audience interact with their content? What percentage of their audience comments and shares their posts? Do they interact with their audience?
- Experience: Have they worked on similar projects before? Are they influential in your niche?
- Platform: Are the influencers successful on a platform your audience frequents?
This information will help you personalize your message when reaching out. Remember that when activating the influencer, it should not all be about your brand. You need to provide value.
To truly benefit from the partnership, activate the influencer early on. Build a relationship by engaging with the influencer’s content before making your pitch.
You can use influencer marketing tools to discover, reach out, and engage with influencers. During the search, consider your budget and the kind of engagement you want as well.
4. Consider Micro-Influencers
Micro-influencers are those influencers who have several thousand followers. These influencers may not have as much reach as macro-influencers, but their audiences are generally very engaged.
In fact, micro-influencers have engagement rates up to 2.5%. On the other hand, influencers with more than 1 million followers have engagement rates less than 0.5%. Additionally, they charge significantly lower fees compared to macro-influencers and would thus be a great option if you have a tight budget.
Image via TapInfluence
5. Create Great Content
Great content is crucial for your campaign to succeed. It will provide value to the readers and help the influencer get desired results.
Give the influencer complete creative control. They know and understand their audience better than you do. You can, however, give them some tips and guidelines.
Some of the ways through which you can partner with your influencers include:
- Free products/services: Provide these in exchange for a mention or review.
- Sponsored content: Pay the influencer to feature your brand on their social media page, blog, or website.
- Guest post: Contribute content to the influencer’s blog.
- Social media mentions: Have an influencer post about your brand, share your content, or mention your brand on their social media accounts.
- Co-create content: Partner to create content that the influencer can feature on their website. You can also feature the content on a third-party website or your website.
- Brand ambassador: Grow relationships with your influencers and eventually make them long-term ambassadors of your brand.
- Influencer takeover: For a given period of time, the influencer takes full control of your brand's social media account.
- Contests and giveaways: Let the influencer share a giveaway with their followers.
- Discount codes: Provide a unique code to the influencer to share with the audience for discounts.
- Affiliates: Provide a unique code to the influencer. For every sale they drive, they get a percentage of the amount.
Measurement Metrics for Influencer Marketing
Proving the return on investment from influencer activation campaigns is still a problem for most marketers.
Image via Linqia
Finding your ROI not only helps you improve your campaign but also makes it easier to figure out if your campaign was successful.
It’s no longer enough to measure clicks and visitors. That is why defining goals when planning for the campaign is important.
The best influencer activations measure the following metrics:
1. Impressions and Reach
If your influencer activation goal is brand awareness, then reach, social media followers, and impressions should be your metrics.
Reach is the number of people who see the post during the campaign. Impressions are the number of times the post is displayed even when it did not get clicks.
Track impressions and reach on the different channels you use for your campaign since some may drive more reach than others. If you find that your brand has little to no increase in reach after an influencer activation, then the influencer is not bringing in enough value. Find an influencer who drives attention to the brand by providing value to the new audience.
How much interaction is your content getting from your target audience? Monitor shares, likes, comments, brand mentions, and reactions. To calculate your engagement rate, divide the sum of comments and likes by the number of followers, then multiply by 100.
Track the cost per engagement to understand the cost of each engagement driven by the influencer. It will help you figure out which influencer is able to drive more engagement for you in a lower budget.
3. Lead Generation
If your goal is to get more prospective customers for your brand, you should track the lead generation from the influencer activation. Track the channels and influencers that generate the most leads. Use those results to adjust the campaign to improve your results.
If your influencer activation goal was to increase sales, find out the number of sales driven by the influencer. For this, you can use UTM parameters, trackable links, and unique coupon codes.
Consumers have become more aware of the marketing tactics employed by brands. Thus, it’s important to leverage influencer activations to achieve your marketing goals.
It’s an authentic way of promoting your brand through an influential third-party to catch the attention of your target audience.
Make sure you define your goals and target audience before proceeding with influencer activations. It’s also essential to find influencers who have similar values and tone as that of your brand. Lastly, you should create high-quality content with them to make the most out of your campaigns.
What strategies do you use for your influencer activation? Let me know in the comments.