How to Leverage Digital Influencers to Grow Your Business
Entrepreneur's New Year’s Guide
Influencers can be an effective spokesperson for your business and a great way to reach a target audience and improve brand awareness. Productive and profitable campaigns can be achieved if entrepreneurs employ the R.I.S.E. technique when using influencers: R=Results; I=Integrity; S=Strategy; E=Engagement.
Here’s how you can grow your business through digital influencers:
Be specific about the outcomes that you want to achieve. Where possible, quantify the results you are expecting (e.g. number of new clients, increase the percentage of sales revenue, growth of social media followers). Use influencer marketing platforms to find influencers and track results. Have clear communication with influencers about the specific results you expect. Do you believe the approach taken by the influencer will deliver the results expected? For example, an influencer may post one picture of your product on Instagram, however, you may be expecting him or her to create multiple posts across different social media platforms. Always request to see results achieved from an influencer’s previous campaigns.
Integrity is critical. Consumers will find out if influencers are being paid to endorse your business. Influencers should clearly label paid endorsements of your brand. Ideally, influencers should genuinely use your product or service. Offer influencers opportunities to experience your brand with trial opportunities or by hosting events attended by influencers to use your product or service. Also always ask your influencers how they have built their following. Select influencers that have a following that they have grown organically because they are likely to have a loyal following that will buy products and services endorsed.
Think strategically when selecting influencers. Influencers should align with your brand. Having a strategy means you have a vision and a well-defined plan to execute your vision. Be sure to consider brand alignment, conflict of interests, content development and content ownership when defining your strategy:
Does the influencer represent your brand? For example, if you have a high-end luxury brand, does the influencer’s image align with your brand?
Will your existing audience relate to the influencer?
Does the influencer’s following align with the audience you want to target?
Does the influencer have a loyal following? Review the comments. Is there a significant number of comments for each post.
Conflict of Interests:
What other brands does the influencer currently endorse? Are there competitors or conflicts of interests?
How does the influencer decide which brands to work with?
Are there certain competitors or conflicts of interest that you want to ensure that influencer has no plan to engage in the future?
What type of content will be created?
How much original content can be created?
What is the specific offer, service or product being pitched?
It’s not just about social media: What are the different platforms that the influencer will use to engage the audience? For example, will they attend promotional events, use the product in public, write a blog post, or host an event featuring the product?
Who will own the image rights for the content?
Don’t make the mistake of working with influencers solely because they have a high number of followers. You want a high level of engagement for your product or service. Does the influencer have good engagement with their followers (e.g. the number of likes, comments, retweets, views, shares on posts)? Micro Influencers can be a great option for smaller businesses since they usually have a smaller audience and a very niche, loyal following. Another option is to diversify the types of influencers used based on the (a) type of following and (b) type of platforms used to engage audiences.
Today, influencers can be an effective form of advertising and a more authentic way to engage with audiences. Employing the R.I.S.E technique will help to ensure profitable campaigns that deliver results.