Influencer marketing campaigns – Not the solution for every digital problem – Part 3 of 7

As marketers, we have to be the lifeguards manning the messaging station – standing watch over the forefront of what’s new to stay fresh and relevant. Influencer marketing campaigns are a new shift causing waves across numerous industries. We have put together a training manual of what you should know before getting into Influencer Marketing.

In Part One, we discussed the hidden investment required by influencer marketing – how the cost and time lurk under the surface waiting to snap at unsuspecting marketers who didn’t foresee the investment.

In Part Two, we addressed the misconception that Influencer Marketing campaigns are effective only when targeting Millennials and that marketers should not brush it off if their products appeal to those over the age of 30.

However, marketers have to be careful about selecting which marketing wave to ride.

Part Three: Influencer Marketing campaigns may not make sense for every product or platform, but don’t let the challenge hold you back

You’ve got an allocated budget and set time expectations.

You’ve looked at your customer and determined the social media platforms they prefer, which has led you to the type of influencer you want to associate with your brand.

This is exciting – you’ve scoped out the ocean from the shore and your brand is saying, “YES. Let’s dive in.”

Stop.

Let’s think about this.

On one side of the Venn Diagram, you have knowledge on your customer’s preferred social media platform(s). On the other side, you need to learn which platforms (if any) would work best for your brand and its products.

Does it make sense for us to promote this product on social media?

There is a huge difference between having an influencer promote a tropical resort and having an influencer promote laundry detergent. There is a demand for both products, sure. One, a luxury item built for beautiful photography. The other, something we all buy (or, at least, we should). That does not necessarily mean detergent should be promoted using influencer marketing campaigns. Customers are wicked smart and they will be able to spot phony ad placements. Creativity is key.

What platform would make sense to promote my product?

Let’s say you decide to move forward with marketing your laundry detergent using an influencer. Social media is highly visual and story driven. It’s up to you to find the middle of the Venn Diagram – the overlap of your customer’s platforms and what makes sense for your product.

LinkedIn – while working people do have to do laundry, it’s probably not the right space.

Facebook – pretty split uses of a story, photo, and/or video. There is potential!

Instagram – high focus on visuals. Laundry can be visual. It could work.

Who do I target my product to on social media?

People can smell a fake. When bad product placement happens, it can deter potential customers and potentially even discourage your current customers.

The process of marketing to a working mom is different than marketing to a college kid. They receive messages differently. They have different motivators. Yet, they often have the same needs.

Everyone should have a need for laundry detergent. Working backward, what are their motivators?

The mom is buying detergent for her family. Maybe her kids play sports. She reads a post written by her favorite mommy blogger. That blogger mentions watching her daughter play soccer and the pizza party after the game. She also talks about pizza sauce and grass stains, embedded in her daughter’s soccer uniform. But, Detergent X saves the day. The target mom starts to think – would that work for me? You’ve started the conversation.

The college kid is buying detergent because he has to. Maybe he had never done laundry before moving away. He sees it as an inconvenience. Better things to do, right? He scrolls through his phone between classes and watches a Snapchat story by his favorite musician. That musician talks about life on the road. And ugh! Even he has to wash his clothes while on the road. That kid thinks, even Singer X has to do this. Just maybe, the next time that college kid goes to the store, he will pick up your detergent.

Will the influencer be genuinely interested in promoting my product?

The Venn Diagram is complete with a platform your customer uses and one that makes sense for your product. Then comes in another overlap to complete – the influencer. Pairing a challenging product with a social media campaign may require more investment, whether that be product or money.

If you offered enough money, I’m sure a Kardashian would post on Instagram about laundry detergent. But, there’s not always “enough money.” Influencers are mindful of content on their social media feeds and may not want to post about your product.

For example, my brother is in his mid-20’s and is an outdoor recreation influencer. He too needs to buy laundry detergent.

Imagine. He’s been backpacking for a week. It’s rained. He’s hiked through mud. Dirty clothes is an understatement. His followers have trudged the same journey via YouTube. He finally gets home and has to deal with those awful clothes. But then they’re spotless and ready to go for the next trip.

Is he going to want to post about soap? Not initially. He needs to be painted a picture and incentivized.

How do I know if an influencer’s followers will respond?

Accurately predicting an audience’s reaction every time isn’t realistic. But there should be an expectation of the good and bad. Thinking ahead to how followers may react can prevent damage control later on. Social media provides everyone with a megaphone; you can help guide the reaction, response, and tone.

An influencer’s followers should see your partnering post as seamless – it should trigger their interest while smoothly appearing in their feed.