"We did Facebook and Twitter in 2014 but don't have anything in the budget for that this year." That from an experienced, forty-something VP of Marketing of a major privately owned home decor brand.
Ugh! Brands know they need to build their social platforms -- like their websites, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, to build awareness and engage consumers. However, they often don't know where to start, and how to invest in the most productive ways.
We sympathize. Being fairly new to social media strategy and tools myself, here is my attempt to demystify the process for our clients and friends. These are the four key elements of influencer marketing:
- Identify your audience
- Identify influencers; they tell us and each other what a brand is
- Find bloggers and other influencers that are committed brand lovers to build trust (This is not a transaction!)
- Put consumers and their stories in the center of your campaign
- Let the bloggers and influencers in your campaign build on your messages and tell real stories of their own personal experiences to engage their networks
- Amplify the blogger/influencer campaign with your own social media tools
- Turn up the volume on your communication to your audience and let them know what they are doing is important
- Use social listening tools to put content into social streams
- Gather analytics on the back end to understand how well you are engaging your audience
- Watch the metrics to find out what is working, and what isn’t. Make adjustments on the fly.
- Track analytics such as: Likes and shares by demographic, follower growth, site traffic, and unique visitors
We recommend that brands use an established agency initially to learn the ropes. A budget of $100,000 will get a medium sized brand started in this arena. Brands should bring some or all of this in-house only if they are willing to invest to increase engagement and commit to being nimble.
Find money for this in 2015, and each year thereafter. There is no turning back!