The In’s and Out’s of Influencer Marketing

In today’s digital age, influencer marketing has emerged as a powerful tool for brands looking to connect with their target audience in a more authentic and engaging way. However, the success of influencer marketing campaigns doesn’t happen by chance. Recently, we brought together Boston-based brand and influencer marketing leaders to share their expertise on what to consider when planning your next (or first) influencer campaign. Read on for the in’s and out’s of getting the most from these strategic partnerships. 

  1. Define your objectives: Before embarking on an influencer marketing campaign, it’s essential to have clear and specific goals. Whether it’s increasing brand awareness, driving sales, or expanding your social media presence, knowing your objectives will help you choose the right influencers and measure the success of your campaign. 
    • Pro Tip from Laodecia “Lala” Fevrier, Influencer Marketing Manager, Wayfair: Be sure to take a baseline of the metrics you’re working to improve before the start of the engagement to simplify measurement at later stages. I wish someone had told me in the beginning how pivotal data is in determining success!
    • Pro Tip from Lindsay Dougherty, Director of Brand, SimpliSafe: Set clear expectations on deliverables, timelines, execution and messaging in the contract. By keeping outputs specific, but creative briefs high-level, it leaves influencers room to inject their own creativity.
  2. Remember the person on the other end: It’s important to build authentic relationships with influencers. Don’t treat them as mere marketing tools. Instead, engage in meaningful conversations, understand their interests, show appreciation for the hard work that caught your attention in the first place, and collaborate on content that aligns with their personal brand and your key messages. 
    • Pro Tip from Ryan Hathaway, Influencer Marketing Supervisor, 360PR+: Authenticity is a two-way street. The influencers you want to work with have worked hard to build their audiences, so showing respect to their existing work and ongoing creative process will help you achieve the homerun you both want out of a partnership. 
    • Pro Tip from Alex Speir, Director of Marketing and Audience Development, Boston Symphony Orchestra: Consider what your organization can offer to make partnerships less transactional. Using affiliate codes, free widgets and existing partnerships can build favor with influencers while making the most of existing resources. 
  3. Scale at your own pace: For many PR pros, starting your first influencer marketing campaign feels like a daunting task, with high stakes and expectations to get it right amid economic headwinds. If something is not working, don’t be scared to pivot as long as it’s done strategically. The lessons you learn from your first campaigns will ultimately inform future partnerships and what metrics you wish you had implemented to track overall success. 
    • Pro Tip from Lindsay Dougherty, Director of Brand, SimpliSafe: Start your program small, checking your strategy for signs of life before scaling. Aligning your spend with smaller goals and setting clear guardrails on when it’s time to expand campaigns is key to success. 
    • Pro Tip from Julie Dennehy, APR and President of Dennehy PR: Align your definition of an influencer with who your clients and target audiences consider to be influencers. Content creators, affiliate partners, micro influencers, bloggers and celebrities all serve different strategic purposes – so your strategy should not be one-size-fits-all!
  4. Align influencer efforts with broader PR and marketing strokes: Keeping influencer partners in the loop on your latest media coverage, company announcements, and owned content is a strong way to make them feel like a key strategic element. Keep their content alive by leveraging it across other activities, and let them share your content with their followers authentically to keep the symbiotic relationship alive. 
    • Pro Tip from Laodecia “Lala” Fevrier, Influencer Marketing Manager, Wayfair: Our team serves as the internal “influencer center of excellence” – where we coordinate requests for influencer needs from across business functional areas. This makes relationship management easier and brand protection a more coordinated effort when working with influencers. 
    • Pro Tip from Ryan Hathaway, Influencer Marketing Supervisor, 360PR+: Don’t use influencers to communicate during a crisis. Using them as a shield when audiences want to hear directly from brands is a lose-lose relationship ruiner – be specific about what you want to do with influencer comms from the onset. 

Influencer marketing can be a game-changer for your brand if executed correctly. By defining your goals, choosing the right influencers, fostering genuine relationships, and staying transparent, you can tap into the full potential of this strategy. Remember that influencer marketing is not a one-size-fits-all approach, so be prepared to adapt and innovate as you continue to engage your audience in the digital landscape.

This article was written by PR Club Board Member and Senior Media Relations Specialist at Walker Sands, Clay Patrick.