It’s often clients (you!) come to us inquiring about how to work with digital influencers. And like any thoughtful agency partner, our first question is:

Why?

And not condescendingly. We genuinely need to understand why you feel this strategy is the best approach to reaching your goals.

Oh, and hey, what are your goals?

Hopefully you see what I’m getting at… It’s nearly impossible and fruitless to pull together a strong external communications approach involving these brand advocates, without getting a full picture of what you’re trying to achieve. That one little nugget of information changes our recommendation dramatically for how to activate these brand-building folks.

Over the last couple years, I’ve heard a number of different motives clients give for bringing these individuals into the marketing fold. Below are those I think are the *right* reasons for doing so and how to achieve them.

Sales: The crème de la crème and most challenging to guarantee. Driving sales is often the most sought after end-goal. The problem? Most companies aren’t willing to put the right investment (budget, measurement and 360 integrations) into making sales possible.

According to a recent WWD interview with Influencer Chriselle Lim of thechrisellefactor.com, she said she can personally predict if a product will get the click or sell-through, due to her connection with her audience. She also attributes high CTRs to including “similar” items across posts.

What does this tell us? It’s important to involve a heavy referral strategy and don’t expect just one blog post to blow out your sales. Consider the influencer’s past recommendations, their potential role in-store or online and build in strong promotional incentives, promo codes and trackable links to measure sales lifts.

Awareness: Although it’s the most common rationale for bringing in a well-known digital star, awareness (in my opinion) is the easiest to achieve but the hardest to measure.

Awareness is only valuable when it’s coming from someone who can authentically speak about your company without sounding… paid. We’re uber-critical about who we choose to partner with and whether their audience will trust their message. We also advise that you build in the proper budget for awareness surveys.

Awareness (in my opinion) is the easiest to achieve but the hardest to measure.Click To Tweet

Product Trial: Connecting online to offline is no easy feat, but influencers are strong catalysts for putting your product into the hands of consumers as a pre-purchase sampling experience. That is, as long as you have the right person to do it.

We treat our influencer research like your consumer researchClick To Tweet

We treat our influencer research like your consumer research to make sure they fit your consumer “personality” and that history shows they’re actual trial drivers. It’s also important that we build in incentive based sampling efforts for their followers that focus on word-of-mouth and further friend-to-friend pass-along.

Website Traffic/Opt-Ins and Sign-Ups: Campaigns that involve flooding your site with visits or applications are well-suited for digital influencers known for their referral traffic.

According to that WWD article, Adidas saw its highest conversions come from influencer referrals, more so than direct website traffic and organic search. For Revolve.com, Influencer Chriselle Lim happens to be the fourth highest traffic driver and regularly sends 15K-20K clicks per link to its prestige beauty products.

To be successful, consider the strength of your call-to-action, incentives, promotional codes and of course, the strength of that individual’s referral traffic.

Event Attendance: We’ve all been there… (sweating) waiting for guests to arrive. Wouldn’t an approach with paid influencer attendees get the sweat off your back? Perhaps, but if they’re just there to fill seats, you’re wasting your time.

Influencers should only attend events if they have a larger role (i.e. spokesperson) in person, or are in attendance to create a series of content for later usage and amplification.

Content Creation: Ah, this one. It shockingly rarely comes up from the client’s side. If you’re struggling to fill your social edcal with authentic content, don’t underestimate tapping someone known for their creative style.

Conduct heavy audience and content audits among your select influencers to align on the type of content their followers and your consumers (should be one in the same!) are looking for. It’s critical that you let them create your content in their own style. Don’t back-seat creative direct.

It’s critical that you let influencers create your content in their own style. Don’t back-seat creative direct.Click To Tweet

Community Building: If you’re interested in building out your communities’ reach, there’s no shame in asking for a little help.

Expanding your communities through influencers directing users your way only works if you have existing, quality content to delight them. If your channel is new and bare, start with content creation or build in page take-overs to drive both content and community growth.

We would love to have a conversation with you about your business goals and how a digital influencer program could (or couldn’t!) help you achieve them. Email me at [email protected] to start the conversation.