Three experienced panelists shared diverse perspectives on the benefits of influencer marketing, from content generation to consumer engagement, to possible sales lift; as well as how brands should incorporate it into their strategy, and a few best practices. Jessy Grossman founded the influencer practice at Don Buchwald & Associates. Daniel Chung is both an influencer, and digital strategist who has consulted with brands such as Diane von Furstenberg and John Hardy. James Reid is the senior manager of brand partnerships at Collectively, Inc.
There are multiple paths to success
James laid out three types of effective influencer strategies that brands can deploy:
- Longer-term engagements that are less transactional and where engagement increases over time
- Seasonal content that is effective for staying top of mind from a reach standpoint
- Product sampling, product seeding, and building out an advocate network or micro-influencers--highest engagement is in the micro-influencer space
Jessy emphasized that cost is related to scope, ie, "the more dedicated the post, the greater the cost will be." For brands with less budget she suggested that "gift guides (with multiple products) are a great way to dip your toes in for a lower cost."
Working with influencers is not the answer to every question
Working with influencers isn't necessarily a solution you can apply to every problem. James noted that "the reality is that word-of-mouth marketing is mid and top of funnel, so trying to wedge it into direct response can complicate and frustrate the process."
There are specific goals and KPIs that influencer marketing can impact. Daniel added his advice to brands, "as a brand, you should know what you want. Posts don’t drive follows or conversions."
Whatever your strategy and KPIs, long-term planning will have a positive effect on your brand's bottom line. Jessy observed that "in regards with actually driving sales, it works much better to have longer-term campaigns. This shows brand loyalty and allows for continued engagement from an audience." We see the same impact on outcomes for the brands who use the Tidal platform to form ongoing relationships with their influencers.
Long-term thinking was the key to success a campaign Daniel worked on for DVF. He explained that they "had an objective to drive conversions through a year-long ambassador program – once monthly engagements for a year [for the wrap dress]. It was successful because there was a full brand story that was authentic, and there weren’t click-to-purchase CTAs on every post."
Once again, make like Elsa, and let it go!
This came up during our last panel discussion and we can't say it enough! When brands micro-manage their influencer partners it limits the influencer's creativity and weakens the authenticity of the post.
Jessy echoed this sentiment, explaining, "unsuccessful engagements are overly branded and clearly not in the voice of the influencer. There’s a fine line between influencers being able to express themselves authentically and the brand being able to have a say in the content creation."
Brands are used to having full creative control, but trust us on this one - take a backseat and let the influencer shine.
Thanks again to our panels for sharing their insights. Influencer marketing can benefit all types of brands with different goals. The important thing is to understand what working with influencers can do for your business, and to align your influencer program with your budget and KPIs.
Photo by Michael Z