The next chapter of influencer marketing is realizing that the value of influencers is much more than a digital billboard for product placement. Even though many companies have seen the advantages of selling their products through influencers, the next frontier will explore the benefits of building strong, nuanced relationships with influential creators. To be successful in this future, it will be critical for brands to look past short-term product placement and instead prioritize converting influencer partners into brand advocates.
The path to converting influencers into brand advocates requires the ability to value honest feedback, embrace creative intuition, and provide unique value to their audiences (your prospective customers). Here are eight creative and easy ways to add value for your brand while also deepening creator relationships.
Invite Your Influencer Onto Your Social Channels
Influencers are the leading experts in social media content creation. They know how to build their channels across various platforms, growing and connecting with audiences through their stand-out content.
When you find an influencer who shares your brand values and resonates with your audience, consider how they can elevate your brand through your own channels.
- Takeovers - Partner with an influencer to “take over” one of your channels for a day. Seeing a familiar face on your brand’s social accounts builds proximity with your audience, and a trusted influencer’s opinion on your products carries far more weight than your own branded content.
- Live Event or Educational Content - There are a multitude of creative event collaborations that can draw in audiences and bring your products to life. For example, live (virtually, or physically) educational events are great brand-builders which your influencer partners can host, providing both value to audiences and depth to your campaigns. In fact, this type of educational content is even compelling when it isn’t live. Traackr’s latest State of Influence: Beauty 2021 data report, found that educational beauty routines alone saw a 265% increase in engagements from 2019 to 2020.
- Content Series - On a larger scale, you could partner with talented influencers in your industry to produce a consistent series of engaging content for your audience. A podcast, a Twitch channel, or a weekly workout stream are just some of the creative ways an influencer can host on your brand’s behalf, and drive an authentic narrative for your audience. Work collaboratively with your influencers to find the most relevant channel for this content.
These cross-promotional opportunities harness the expertise and reputation of your influencer to unlock growth on your own channels through creative new content, and reaching new audiences.
Get Product Feedback with Influencer Consultation
Influencers have unparalleled access to products in your industry, and they understand their audience (your potential consumer) better than anyone else. This gives them an elevated perspective on product quality, functionality and positioning which few brands are leveraging.
- Consumer Review - Tackle one of your brand’s pain points head-on in a focus group or consumer review setting, by bringing in a mix of nano, micro and mid tier influencers in your category to spill the tea. Collect insights on why your recent launch fell flat, why influencers tend to reach for your competitor’s product over yours, or what you can do to improve your brand’s reputation.
- Product Development - Who better to help you develop an award-winning product than a category expert who is product-obsessed and has tested many of the existing market offerings? If you have a strong relationship with an influencer who has authority in your niche, you should be working with them throughout development to anticipate and react to customer reception of your new launch.
- Marketing Feedback - Ask a trusted influencer for feedback on your marketing campaigns. Influencers have their finger on the pulse. They know what is landing and what is flopping because they hear live feedback from consumers and fellow creators. This can also prevent a marketing disaster by checking the messaging and tone with an influencer you trust.
You should be viewing influencers as a concentration of your consumer. Not only do they have an informed perspective of the product landscape, but they also have a direct line of communication with your consumer. By tapping into that expertise, you can gain insight into how people outside of your brand view you, and arm yourself with the insights you need to upgrade your products and/or marketing efforts.
Soliciting this feedback also shows your influencers that you genuinely care about their expert opinions and improving your products, strengthening your relationships and building brand loyalty and trust.
Outsource Content Production to Influencers
People don’t call them “content creators” for nothing - influencers are experts in creating quality content that is optimised for social media and connecting with audiences. It’s also a more cost-effective avenue than hiring a creative agency!
- Exclusive Content - When working on a campaign with an influencer, include additional deliverables in the contract for exclusive use on your own channels. This will give you more creative control over the content as the influencer won’t be as concerned about it suiting their channel aesthetic. These extra deliverables are also likely to cost less than the influencer’s usual fee as you won’t be paying for access to their audience.
- Freelance Services - A brilliant way to harness this skillset is by working with nano and micro influencers on a freelance basis to produce content for your channels. Find someone in your niche who makes products shine and commission them to shoot an asset bank for you to build into your content calendar.
Identify your brand’s key influencers and take the time and energy to cultivate a true partnership with them. Value their product feedback, their creative intuition, their relationship with their audience (your prospective customers), and their trusted feedback as a partner.
Want more? I offer in depth training videos on topics like this one, including navigating the industry regulations and crafting watertight contracts, on my website happycat.agency/courses