Big and small businesses alike work hard to find (and implement) creative influencer strategies for their top products. A lot of planned elements go into a creator marketing strategy.
There are unboxings, reviews, paid posts, events, activations, social media takeovers, and more depending on what the brand requires.
It’s not surprising that even small businesses engage influencers, considering that around 85 percent of consumers trust user-generated content over branded content, and 61 percent of consumers trust word-of-mouth marketing and social media reviews when making important purchases.
It’s clear that if you want your business to do well and keep you top of mind with your audience, you need a solid influencer marketing game plan, and that often means you’ll want to work with brand advocates.
Know Thy Influencer Tiers
Before we get into converting your influencers into genuine brand ambassadors, let’s grab a quick refresher on the different types of influencers. We’re dropping this in here because it’s just as important to understand when to use different types of influencers as it is to actually know the difference between them.
Mega-influencers are the big kahunas of the influencer world. They are usually global brands themselves who have parlayed their offline celebrity into online influence and can command (and get) six and seven figures for their sponsored content.
Macro-influencers have between 300,000 and 1,000,000 single-platform followers. Most macro-influencers are well-known internet stars, most of whom earned their fame online first, and gained their following by creating enticing content, usually across multiple social channels.
Mid-tier influencers have between 50,000 and 300,000 single-platform followers. Weirdly, they aren’t always thought of when brands are doing influencer selection, even though they have sway with tens of thousands of social media users.
Micro-influencers have single-platform audiences that range from 5,000 to 50,000 followers. Micros are the cool, up-and-coming social media stars that everyone wants to know and be friends with. Why? ‘Cause they’re cheap dates and know all the trivia.
Nano-influencers have between 1,000 and 5,000 followers on a single platform, with one caveat: nano-influencers are only classified as such if they actually have intentions of being one. In this day and age, anyone can rack up 1,000 followers pretty easily, so a nano-influencer is one who is intentionally communicating with their audience with the understanding that they have influence with their followers.
Annnnnd… What Are Brand Advocates?
Influencer marketing aside, brand advocates are people who love your product, brand, or both and they have no problem telling other people about it. These are loyalists that brands love to retain because they swear by the products they use, and their circle of influence attracts new loyalists, too.
Now, within the context of what we’re talking about here, brand advocates are influential social media creators who partner with brands to extol the virtues of the brand’s products. Their goal is usually to increase awareness and keep brands top of mind.
Often, brand advocates will promote all sorts of programs and ways for consumers to buy the brand’s products.
These can include things like discount coupons, sales info, member benefits, or vouchers. For influencer campaigns. The Shelf uses its proprietary SaaS platform to organize any challenges, contests, and incentive programs. But outside the capable walls of The Shelf Influencer Marketing Agency, a brand could also use data warehouse software to keep the records of these types of programs sorted. Super useful if you’re doing email blasts and cold calls.
So, how can you get the best of both worlds and marry these two concepts? How can a brand hit the sweet spot, i.e., convert their panel of influencers into genuine brand advocates who will earnestly push their products, going above and beyond the line of duty?
How to Convert Influencers into Brand Advocates
Here’s how you can turn influencers into dedicated brand ambassadors and increase engagement for your brand.
1. Pick the right influencer
Seems like a no-brainer, but influencer selection is tricky. Like, really tricky. Historically, it’s been one of the toughest things for in-house marketing teams to master about influencer marketing. Makes sense. There are a lot of important variables to consider when it comes time to identify potential influencer partners:
- Audience sentiment
- Fraud and bots
- Brand safety issues
- Brand-to-influencer alignment
- Creativity and vibe
The good news is if you have the right tools, you can find influencers for even the toughest influencer selection efforts. The right influencer can fall in love with your brand, turning them into brand advocates.
2. Account takeovers
A great way to warm influencers to your brand is to invite them to take over your social channels, which is essentially just having a set period of time when an influencer is in charge of and posting to (and through) a brand’s account directly.
You may remember the now iconic takeover of Sephora’s Instagram account by the reclusive Olsen Twins back in 2016. The event got tons of press as the famous duo posted their first selfie EVER to Sephora’s account.
Brands like Glossier and Calvin Klein will bring on influencers and allow them to take over (which is a fancy name for this frequently. In fact, Calvin Klein has made brand advocates out of the Kardashians after repeated campaigns.
Well, you don’t have to be Calvin Klein or bring in a Kardashian. When you find the right creator (or creators) and have them go live or post to your account for a few hours, or even for a day.
Fans get a fun surprise when they come to your social channel, plus they’ll get the chance to engage with the influencer. Piggybacking on the influencers’ audience will get you eyeballs, and more importantly, engagement. Ultimately, the goal is to get those all-important conversions.
3. Use two-way communication
One of the things that can make an influencer marketing campaign look and smell like an ad is when brands present creators with scripts that don’t jibe with a creator’s normal content.
That’s a no-no. And the best way to get your sponsored content totally ignored. Banner blindness is real.
Instead of sending an inflexible script, an influencer brief would be a better option. An influencer brief is a document that the brand/agency provides to influencers/content creators which outlines the creative and logistical details of an influencer marketing campaign.
The value of working with influencers is that they know exactly what to say to engage and influence your target audience. So, choose the best creators for your campaign, provide them with a framework, and let them do what they do best.
Just a quick note here… By law, creators own what they create. So, be sure to sign a formal contract with the influencer that details what is expected of them, but also what rights you have to the content they creat for your campaign. Shameless plug… look for DocuSign competitors (free) to seal the deal electronically and roll out your campaign without a content rights hassle later on.
Final Note: Prioritize ROI
We didn’t mention this earlier, but it’s important to identify your campaign goals long before an influencer brief or selection process ever kicks off. That way you know which metrics are important to monitor during your campaign.
It’s important to monitor your ROI as your influencer campaign progresses. Monitoring the metrics will help you determine if you’re on track to meet your goals. Plus, it’ll help you determine how to tweak your campaign in real-time to get your campaign on track.
About the Author
Yauhen Zaremba – Director of Demand Generation
Yauhen is the Director of Demand Generation at PandaDoc, all-in-one document management tool for almost all types of document including this California bill of sale template. He’s been a marketer for 10+ years, and for the last five years, he’s been entirely focused on the electronic signature, proposal, and document management markets. Yauhen has experience speaking at niche conferences where he enjoys sharing his expertise with other curious marketers. And in his spare time, he is an avid fisherman and takes nearly 20 fishing trips every year. He has also written for other domains such as Landbot.io and DivvyHQ.