You’re spending hours and hours researching bloggers and social media connoisseurs. You’re confident they match your target audience and mesh well with the values of you brand. You’ve sent out quite a bit of free products and maybe you’ve even paid for a few features and sponsored posts without seeing much traction in return. Sound familiar? So what gives?
Well, and I mean this in the most loving way possible, it’s not them, Gem, it’s you.
You can’t just do your research, send out your product, and cross your fingers you’ll see some return from the opportunity. The truth is, there’s a lot of work that goes into influencer marketing before and after that 95% of the brands out there are neglecting.
Before: Are you telling your story?
Before you even think about reaching out to bloggers, influencers, press, or any other type of exposure, you need to ask yourself if you have your story ready and implemented in your branding (here’s the first, really easy step to crafting your story). I’m not talking about the standard description of your business or how you create your product. I’m talking about the real, gritty, not always rainbows-and-butterflies steps that had to happen for you to get to where you are today – on this crazy journey through entrepreneurship.
People buy from people, they do not buy from businesses.
If you don’t have your story crafted and publically visible, influencers will not know how to effectively tell it – which leads to unaligned content and ineffective outreach. They use their authentic voice to create content that is compelling to their existing audience based off of the narrative foundation you’ve already set. You might think you’re being open about your story, but take a look at this About page on the back story for the Dayna Lee Collection. This is a phenomenal example of letting your audience in on your story.
We’re flooded with information. The only way to shine through the mess is to utilize the story behind how you got here because people can copy your ideas, they can imitate your products and even steal your words, but no one else can replicate the dynamics of your story.
During: You get one shot…
The goal of any marketing effort should be to get people so engaged with your story that they can’t help but follow you because they need to know what’s coming next.
A great influencer only tells a portion of your story in their content. The goal is for them to build momentum around your brand, get their audience emotionally attached to your story, and then leave them off at a cliff hanger so that the next action their followers take is to head directly to your site or social media and latch on to your brand (via following you on social media, signing up for your email list, heading to your website, etc.). I’d love to show you how this works, so let’s chat about featuring your brand on The Gem!
It is then YOUR responsibility to make sure the content, visuals, and branding of your presence continue to expand on that emotional connection. An adverse reaction is likely to happen if the influencer at hand gets their audience all hyped up about your brand and then you don’t keep them emotionally engaged. You are not The Walking Dead, you haven’t built the relationship up enough yet to trust that they’ll come back the following week to see what happens next. You have one shot to connect with a potential consumer when they leave the influencer’s content to check you out. DO NOT BLOW IT. Reel them in.
The power in influencer marketing isn’t in the ability to drive massive sales or temporarily change the life of your website traffic. Influencers provide a new perspective and supportive voice to the story you’re already telling. They are like mutual friends that introduce new potentially mutually beneficial acquaintances to your brand.
To put this another way, it’s one person authentically telling their existing community about you and inviting them to join your collection of supporters. An influencer is not a sales rep, their job is to influence, not force or sell. Can influencer marketing generate sales? Absolutely. If you are lucky enough to have an immediate success moment like this, bravo. Know that it’s short lived and not a form of sustainable success. Would you rather keep shooting in the dark hoping that you’ll occasionally find things that stick, or do you have enough patience and respect for your long term vision to work on gradually building your loyal tribe of supporters. I highly recommend your go with the later.
After: Utilize the asset that’s been created
Effective press and influencer placements don’t stop once the content is posted on their site or social media site. In fact, this is just the beginning. From there, you’ve got a lot of work to do. It’s your job to then turn that one piece of content into multiple assets for your brand.
Who’s more likely to buy from you? a.) An influencer’s follower that is just now being introduced to your brand for the first time or b.) someone who has been following your brand already? If you selected b.) you’re correct.
You have to take that influencer’s post, images, and wordage and distribute it among your current audience. The influencer’s post not only provides you with fresh content, but it also builds credibility among the eyes of your existing audience. Strategically leveraging the placement to your established supporters is a massive chance for you to validate your vision to your audience.
TIP: Don’t blast the placement everywhere all in one day. For example, share it on Facebook, Instagram a few days later, add it to the press page on your website, share it in a newsletter the following week, and continually share the link on both Twitter and Pinterest. Spreading out the content gives a subtle reminder to your audience of your awesomeness.
I’m challenging you to reframe your mindset on influencer marketing. Start viewing these relationships and opportunities as a way to channel more targeted consumers into your audience. It takes an average of 7 contacts or “touches” before someone will buy from you. Put your focus into how to keep these new eyeballs engaged and interested in your brand long enough to attract them into your sales funnel. Remember, however, that none of this will mean anything if you aren’t connecting people to your story.
Here’s to getting back to being humans in our businesses.