- Consumer attention is fickle, precious, and especially ad resistant
- With the winter holidays fast approaching, brands need to diversify their digital marketing strategy to reach well-engaged audiences
- Renowned industry figure Neal Schaffer helps brands activate their holiday season sales with effective tips
There’s no denying that influencer marketing is a hot topic. And this is unsurprising, given that it goes largely against the grain of traditional advertising techniques. In addition, for most brands with an established influencer program, the use of content creators to reach customers has proven to have an extremely beneficial ROI.
In fact, I also wrote here at ClickZ as to how businesses can and should become influencers themselves.
Unfortunately, influencer marketing can be complex due to the myriad personalities and moving parts. With that said, how can your brand be most effective with influencer marketing, especially as the winter holidays are quickly approaching? And what techniques are most likely to sustain your brand’s growth into next year? Let’s look at some of my top tips for maximum success.
1. Go full in on TikTok
Even a couple of years ago, TikTok was a relatively small force in the American social media scene. In fact, the platform wasn’t even launched until 2016, with its more recent version introduced in 2018. This means that TikTok is a newer platform. Likewise, it has a very young user base: most are under 35. With that said, TikTok’s fashionable reputation and catchy videos make it a great location for influencer marketing. This is especially true if your brand needs to reach younger demographics.
Need more convincing? TikTok is less crowded than most other social networks. One reason for this, of course, is that the platform hasn’t been geared towards advertising or even monetized content like the others. Instead, TikTok is mostly a cool place to hang out.
Finally, TikTok is one of the few places that you can easily find people that hate a lot of advertising. Younger consumers tend to be ad-resistant, and by leveraging the power of influencers, you can bypass a lot of that stigma. Just make sure that your collaborations are compliant with FTC influencer guidelines, and that the content is in line with TikTok trends.
Check out The what, why, and how of TikTok’s advertising gold rush if you are still relatively new to TikTok.
2. Forget images and long-form videos: it’s all about short-form video
Think about this for a minute: how many people actually watch TV infomercials these days? Those advertisements that go on and on aren’t popular anymore. It’s similar to long-form videos. Increasingly, consumers prefer short videos that are attention-grabbing and then quickly move on. For this reason, outside of TikTok, Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts are where the impressions are.
Your choice of platform for short-form videos will depend on who you want to reach. As a rule, using a mixture of platforms is a great way to ensure that most people in your target audience hear about your products. For instance, older consumers have a heavier presence on YouTube and Instagram than they do on TikTok or Snapchat. However, short-form video is proving to be popular with most customer groups.
Likewise, images are on their way out. While they’ll likely continue to be relevant at some level, people love to get more information about a product than you’ll see in a single frame. For instance, hobbies and cooking content are more difficult to portray effectively in still photos, especially if you’re trying to have it not look like an advertisement. Showing someone how to do things in a shortened format is highly effective.
3. Build a brand advocacy program
Next, leverage the power of brand advocacy. This is especially effective when you use customers as your influencers/brand advocates. Look at it this way: if someone has a positive experience with your brand, having them share it is highly influential, believable, and earns trust.
Encourage and incentivize those who talk about your brand on social media and actually reach out to them to develop relationships that are mutually beneficial. Once you feel like you have enough people interested, you can begin to launch a more formal brand advocacy program with regular training, meetings, and even a dedicated platform to further deepen everyone’s brand loyalty.
In other words, take your first baby steps into creating your own influencer network.
4. Tap into the power of your employees as influencers
One of the best ways to promote your business is through employee advocacy. After all, these people are an integral part of your ability to do business and they earn their living in that capacity. Plus, in many cases, your employees are proud of their role in the company. Depending on their position, there’s also a good chance they’re “experts” on your products and services.
Here’s the thing, though: using the power of employee influencers may require a change of thinking with Human Resources. Companies have historically been cautious about employees talking about the company on social media, for a variety of reasons. However, the risks associated with influencer activity by employees can be minimized with proper policy and planning.
Don’t let the risks stop you if you really want to cash in on the benefits of unleashing the power of your employees, many of whom just might be nano influencers on their own social media handles.
5. Explore in-person events (provided you’re comfortable yet)
One of the problems with influencer marketing is that, since it’s a new marketing method, there are few solid meet-and-greets designed for influencers to find clients. For that reason, much of the contact between brands and influencers is done online, and in this context, there’s often a lot of competition for the same person.
However, there are still ways to meet influencers in person. For example, you can find me at many in-person marketing conferences, and this is true with many other B2B influencers. In B2C niches, in-person events can be things like product launches, gaming conventions, and hobby-related shows. Here, you can build relationships that get an influencer to “yes.”
Finally, be sure to check out influencer marketing technology vendors. These types of events often let you see live demonstrations and ask important questions. While going to a tech event takes time away from the office, it also frequently saves time in other ways. Plus, you can be more confident in your tech choices. The only caveat would be to ensure the venue and organizers follow COVID-19 safety measures.
Your quest to be effective at influencer marketing can seem daunting at first. Whether you have an established influencer program or are looking to get your program off on the right foot, it’s easy to get off on the wrong path. Following these tips, your brand will find it easy to boost success this holiday season and into the new year.
Neal Schaffer is an authority on helping innovative businesses digitally transform their sales and marketing. Founder of the digital marketing consultancy PDCA Social, Neal is currently a Fractional CMO for several companies and also teaches executives digital marketing at Rutgers Business School and the Irish Management Institute. He is also the author of four sales and marketing books, including Maximize Your Social (Wiley) and the recently published The Age of Influence (HarperCollins Leadership), a ground-breaking book redefining digital influence. Download a free preview of the Age of Influencer here.
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