Influencer marketing is going mainstream, with businesses of every size and shape piling in, no doubt because of the diversity of influencers as well as the healthy return on investment. The basic process of influencer marketing comes down to the following:
- Identifying markets and audiences
- Finding established influencers
- Monitoring and adjusting for current and coming trends
- Identifying budding influencers who can become cost-effective marketing channels
- Growing your brand and its message in tandem with your influencers and their audiences
How Trends Play a Role in the Success of Influencer Marketing
Trends are the nerve center of successful influencer marketing campaigns. These present themselves in the form of hashtags that brands can build their campaigns around. Whatever your brand, you need to start monitoring growing trends in the industry to find the trends worth getting in on, whether because they relate directly with your message or because they’re part of a shared discussion relevant to the interests of the audience in question.
It’s worth noting that a trend can either be negative or positive. Positive trends require little or no creativity to make them work — you just find a way to push the good press along and into more marketing funnels. Negative trends, however, can benefit your business if you employ the right mindset.
A good example of positive trends is luxury brands taking advantage of their brand mentions. For instance, Dior was mentioned about 1.1 million times in January 2016 — no doubt an expected surge ahead of fashion week in February. Naturally, the brand has capitalized on the trend and used it to grow their brand visibility and revenue. Sensible, and surely predictable.
But what about negative trends? Think back to Coca-Cola’s introduction of the New Coke back in ‘85. The internet was hardly a help or a hazard in the mind’s eye of marketers of the time, but the backlash from fans of the classic recipe was felt in a big way, and the soda giant quickly came to realize that Coca-Cola Classic was the way to go. In today’s world, there would probably be a swell of creative and trending hashtags to articulate the apparent popular rage. These are just as important to watch as the hashtags that positively promote your brand, and for much the same reason — this is invaluable, direct feedback and engagement from the people you wish to serve. And with a little creativity, it’s even possible to turn these negative trends to your advantage.
What to Look for in Budding Influencers
With its growing popularity, influencer marketing is becoming even pricier. This is not surprising seeing as many big brands are often willing to outbid each other in order to get a popular influencer to promote their brands, just as they might try to outbid each other over traditional celebrity endorsements. However, this doesn’t mean that brands and businesses with limited budgets cannot find influencers who can do the same thing for a fraction of the cost.
Whether the business is large or small, the primary considerations remain audience and engagement. You want to find influencers who are active not only in what they post and how often, but also in how they respond to their audience. You want to see a growing trend in their following, and you want to make sure that their audience is right for your brand (and vice-versa.) Look for rabid engagement. No matter how fast one personality is growing an account, if there’s no consistent engagement, they may not have the sustain necessary to add value in the long run.
As you search, you’ll start to get a feel for the kinds of people you want in your stable. Using a service like NeoReach to find and manage influencers who best appeal to your target markets can make this process much more user-friendly and much less time-consuming. In fact, when you find a great up-and-coming social influencer who is a good fit for your brand, chances are you’ll actually enjoy their posts and interactions with their audience — don’t ignore this, that could be a pretty good indicator that you’ve found someone who fits. If you’ve already got the spend, reach out to them. If you don’t, find the folks who are ready to hit their stride, and develop a relationship that allows both parties to grow together.