According to Gartner Research, more than one third of marketers use influencer marketing today. Of those practitioners, 81% found their influencer marketing programs effective. As a result, influencer marketing has become a staple in the overall media mix.
But what does a successful influencer marketing program look like? The most effective influencer marketing programs contain the following five ingredients:
Proven Influencers. 75% of marketers consider identifying the right influencers to be their biggest challenge. Because not all influencers are created equal, knowing the difference between micro, power-middle, and top-tier/celebrity influencers can help determine which type is right for your influencer marketing strategy.
However, in order for influencer marketing to be successful, influencers must be held accountable for driving business results. An effective influencer marketing program activates influencers who have the proven ability to truly engage consumers and inspire people to take action – measured by engagement, clicks, and conversions, not by their follower count or how many pieces of content they create.
Compelling Story. Take the time to develop messaging that can be translated into a larger story, as stories plant deeper seeds than billboards, statistics, or discount offerings. Additionally, information is better retained when it’s consumed in story-form, and influencers are expert storytellers, having amassed their following because of their ability to emotionally connect with their readers. But the message has to be compelling enough to craft a memorable story. In a world where the human attention span has shrunk to less than that of a goldfish, memorability is crucial to a company or brand’s success. After all, consumers can’t purchase a product or service if they don’t remember it exists.
Variety of Quality Content. As consumers become less receptive to traditional advertising methods, marketers are looking for ways to creatively capture audience attention. Within a matter of days or weeks, an influencer marketing program can quickly activate hundreds of influencers, creating an always-on content lab filled with thousands of pieces of content – personal stories, videos, recipes, photos, etc.
Influencer content is valuable because each piece is unique and produced in the same style that made the influencer successful in the first place, while presenting the brand’s core message in a manner that resonates with the audience. The content establishes an emotional connection between influencer and audience and is a powerful tool for inspiring action.
Actionable CTA. The call-to-action (CTA) should be short, direct, and actionable. Offer consumers something they need then drive them to the next step in the process. A strong CTA compels consumers to take further action, whether it’s visiting a landing page to get more product information, signing up for a mailing list, entering a giveaway or sweepstakes, downloading a coupon, or making a purchase.
Omni-channel Strategy. The social media landscape continues to evolve, from Facebook’s algorithm changes to Vine’s demise. As a result, it’s critical for brands to build an omni-channel influencer marketing strategy. A cross-channel presence can protect influencer marketing efforts and ensure results even if one channel experiences massive change.
Additionally, brands should steer clear of working with single-channel creators with large followings. Instead, build the programs around power-middle influencers whose audiences are more balanced and engaged across all platforms. An influencer’s capability to produce compelling content, grow their audience, and inspire engagement and action on all of their social channels determines their worth.
Nearly 30% of marketers plan on starting influencer programs in the next year. The successful ones will ensure their programs include proven influencers, compelling messages, a variety of content, and actionable CTAs across multiple social channels.