Should Your Mental Attitude Be ‘Go Big or Go Home’ With Influencers?
The rise of social media has changed a lot of things, not least among them marketing. Once social media marketing experts realized the popularity of certain internet personalities and the power they have to sway opinion, influencer marketing was born, and since then, it’s taken off like a rocket. One report states 75% of marketers are using influencers in some fashion, with more planning to make use of it in the coming year.
Its effectiveness cannot be denied. Influencers have a much closer connection to their fans than the typical Hollywood celebrity, music talent, or athlete. Many of them respond directly to their followers on a regular basis. People feel like they know their favorite social media celebrities and tend to feel like they can trust them. The endorsement of the right influencer can be a big deal to a company trying to establish a name for itself.
Now, for the downsides. It’s not always easy to find the right influencer. You need to find one that’s willing to endorse your brand, one that has influence in the right audience. You’ll also need to find someone who makes you feel comfortable to basically be a spokesperson for what you have to offer. The uncensored nature of the internet can sometimes cause backlash when someone attached to your brand says something you wish they hadn’t said.
Most influencers also have their own agenda, their own brand. That is the image they want to promote above and beyond all else. An alliance with a given brand that speaks to their audience allows them to enhance their reach, shape their image, and strengthen their ties to their followers. They’re not necessarily interested so much in money as in creative freedom, which can cause clashes with representatives of a brand when there are opposing creative visions.
The Creative Issue
Out of all the factors that might get a social influencer to work for a given brand, creative freedom is one of the big ones. If your brand is willing to give a given influencer a lot of leeway, they’re much more likely to accept an offer to work with you. That means that, for good or for ill, your brand will be represented by their unique personality and any views they espouse might be connected to your brand.
Compensation is important to most influencers, but for the most part they established themselves online to make their own unique impression. To that end, influencers expect to be treated just like any other content provider, sponsor, or publisher. This is a major issue for some, who find they do not get the same consideration from brands seeking to work with them as other personalities.
Take it for granted that creative freedom for any influencers working with your brand is a must. It then comes down to you and your company to thoroughly examine any social media personality before reaching out to them. Read or watch their work extensively, including how they respond to comments, and interact with their followers. If you can live with their means of communication, then they may be a good fit for you and your brand.
The One Vs. the Many
Much of the influencer marketing business is focused upon making a deal with one (or a few). There are more than a few internet personalities out there with fans in the hundreds of thousands, or even more, who can go a long way toward getting a brand’s name out there and talked about. Yet, with big popularity comes big expectations. That influencer who can bring 750,000 sets of eyes to your brand undoubtedly realizes their success and will want commensurate compensation and control.
Of course, you don’t have to automatically go big. There’s something to be said for the benefits of the lesser known influencer, as well. The smaller influencer might be just starting out, or might have a niche audience that is one you wish to reach out toward as a brand. Whatever the case, they are more likely to either project the message you wish them to give or already have a message very compatible with the image you wish to have your brand present.
One small influencer does not, by definition, have a large influence. So, if you’re going to go small, you can still go big. The smaller influencers require less compensation, so you can fit more of them into your marketing budget. If one of them starts to go somewhat off message, it can be a lot easier to part ways with them than if you had one major influencer upon whom much of your internet present relied.
If you find that one major influencer who works well with your brand, and you have a good relationship, it can be a big boon to making a big name. But if you’re starting out small, or if you have a very specific audience you want to reach, consider a number of smaller names. Do the research, collect a few names, balance their pros and cons and see what works best for you and your brand.
Laura O’Donnell writes smart content on behalf of the digital marketing gurus at The Marketing Zen Group. As an avid writer and learner, she loves to use her skills for engaging others in important topics in creative and effective ways. When she is not working, she loves meeting new people, traveling, and bringing her Pinterest dreams to life. Find her on LinkedIn and Twitter @LauraLjo11.