Influencer marketing is in a constant state of evolution.
Market researchers are tracking trends and insights in the influencer marketing industry to uncover the tactics that are not only driving the most engagement across influencer and company collaborations, but also generating the most conversions.
Here are five key insights into how to ensure your next influencer partnership is a successful one:
1. Work with new and different influencers.
While many organizations still have a certain amount of hesitation when it comes to working with smaller, up-and-coming influencers, we have found that brands are increasingly placing their trust in influencers other than the top one percen—and finding success with quality content and substantially moreengagement.
However, it’s not just about looking to work with fresh faces. Another way organizations can drive engagement with influencer campaigns is to look beyond their traditional vertical. For example, beauty brands don’t need to work with strictly beauty influencer. Beauty brands can have success working with pet influencers. Urban Decay, NYX and The Body Shop all had success sharing their cruelty-free brand values by working with some of Instagram’s most beloved dogs.
As long as organizations are thoughtfully considering the audiences of those influencers and whether the branded content makes sense for the demographic, out-of-the box influencer collaborations can really make a big splash.
2. Build a deeper brand/influencer relationship.
For companies that may be just starting to test influencer marketing, instances where they call on an influencer are typically one-offs. They might call on influencers for specific events or product launches, but in today’s marketplace, it can be beneficial to double down and build out influencer/brand collaborations that span longer periods of time.
With this type of relationship, however, marketers must be more thoughtful when selecting influencers, be more strategic in finding ways to collaborate and be even more measured in calculating results over the longer time period.
In return, these longer relationships will result in more exclusive partnerships with influencers. Both marketers and influencers can spend more time developing the content itself, driving more key messages home to your desired audiences.
3. Test new formats and channels.
While the focus should be around testing and innovating content strategy, savvy communicators will also test across formats, particularly within Instagram. Largely driven by new features released by the social platform giant, Instagram Stories and the whole host of new features that have come out (e.g. Polls, Stickers, Swipe Up) are continually being included in more and more influencer-brand collaborations.
4. Scale top influencer content with paid social media marketing.
Now that you have all this great influencer content, don’t just leave it be. Especially for integrated communications plans, content from influencers is extremely useful.
When evaluating influencer campaigns, identify which pieces of content performed the best and consider paying to boost those posts behind it—either by boosting or re-targeting with clear audiences in mind.
This not only provides scale, but also effectively connects an influencer’s inspirational content to performance strategy, like lead generation.
5. Measure “conversion” beyond affiliate tracking.
Most marketers or PR professionals are looking at “click throughs”, promo codes or affiliate link conversions to define conversion rates—and, usually, overall campaign success. This, however, can oftentimes be at odds with using influencers to tell a story about your company to raise awareness, not necessarily seeking to drive consumers to immediately buy a product or use a service.
Proper tracking can drive a deeper understanding of exactly the types of conversions your influencer campaigns bring about. For example, strategies to push brand values can drive other consumer activities, like search, that may eventually lead to sales conversion, but the purpose of the campaign at-large was brand awareness.
Overall, it’s important to approach an influencer campaign with creativity. Working with influencers on a long-term basis and consistently using their content for additional integrated communications channels like social and advertising is how you can ensure optimal engagement and return-on-investment.
Kamiu Lee is the VP of Strategy & Business Development for Activate by Bloglovin.’