How to drive successful social campaigns, according to top brands and influencers
Social media and influencer relations are crowded spaces right now. Many brands leap all in, only to be underwhelmed with their results.
That’s in large part because they’re approaching their audience and their influencer partnerships all wrong.
Influencer campaigns can be rocket fuel for any PR campaign if you start them on the right foot. So when successful brands and influencers themselves share tips on what works and what doesn’t, we’re all ears, as we were at the recent Social Shake-up Conference.
Whether you’re kicking off a new campaign or you’re in the middle of one that’s struggling, here are five takeaways from the conference on how to succeed with social and influencers.
1. Aim for authenticity.
Consumers, especially Gen Z, crave authenticity from the brands they buy into. They want to engage and feel a part of the brands they love.
When you’re looking for partnerships, developing content, and vetting influencers, authenticity should always be top of mind. It’s the top factor we consider when evaluating influencers on behalf of our clients.
What does authenticity look like? It means an influencer or brand stays true to their values, converses with their followers, and doesn’t buy followers or engage in other shady practices.
2. Remember your audience is human beings.
Brands have access to so much data that they sometimes get too wrapped up in the numbers pouring in on Google Analytics, or rely too much on the popularity of topics according to Google Trends.
That data can be a great tool to help find interesting topics or angles, but the story itself still needs to be centered on the end user to be impactful and resonate with your customers.
Other companies approach PR and content to push a product because it is — or maybe isn’t — selling. But by focusing communications so narrowly, the end user is almost completely lost.
The best storytelling remembers the person who is using that product or reacting to a trend or topic.
For example, the series finale of Game of Thrones was all over the news and social media. To piggy-back off that trend, brands left and right tried to jump into the conversation to gain visibility. Those that kept true to “know your audience” tended to be more successful.
A collaboration between top travel influencer Kirsten Alana, the tourism organizations of Ireland and Northern Ireland, and visual storytelling app Steller, did a great job of keeping the audience at the core.
Globe-hopping photographer Kirsten was the perfect partner to show GoT fans how they could re-live the show by visiting set locations and taking part in curated experiences. It also served the organizations’ goal of increasing awareness.
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What did you think of #thefinalepisode of #gameofthrones? 🐺🐉 After my time in Ireland these last few weeks, I felt more invested than ever going into last night. And so grateful for all the experiences I had visiting locations where the show was filmed and meeting people whose lives have been forever changed because of the show. From meeting extras and crew to seeing the props and costumes at the official Exhibition in Belfast next to the Studios and the backlot, standing in the exact spot Bran did in the very first episode when he was learning to shoot a bow and arrow at Winterfell aka Castle Ward; and meeting Will and his family’s pets Thor and Odin. They’re known as the @got_direwolves that played Summer and Grey Wind in the first season. Since they were trained by the show’s trainer, and they are pets not wild animals, they’re more comfortable and friendly with people than any other dogs I’ve ever met. I don’t normally endorse animal tourism but this felt different and I hope (though I admit I don’t know for sure) Will and his family genuinely are treating these dogs well. . So while other countries such as Spain and Croatia also have connections to the show, I don’t think you can beat the experience of visiting Ireland if you love @gameofthrones as much as I do because it’s so much a part of Ireland and Northern Ireland on so many levels from where it’s filmed to who was in front of the camera and more. There’s even an official app to ensure you don’t miss anything when you visit! . I’ll tag every applicable account in this photo so you know where to go if you want to have the same experiences I did. I want to thank @stellerstories @discoverni & @tourismireland for hosting me for one of the most memorable experiences of my life during the Final Season. It’s not lost on me how much I have to be grateful for. I am very grateful. . . #stellerxtourismireland #stellerstories #bestofireland #wheregotstarted #gotdirewolves #gotfans #gameofthronesireland #gotterritory #loveireland #discoverni #northernireland
You even see the push for authenticity spilling into advertising. Just watch any number of Apple’s recent commercials for the iPhone.
The lesson here is if a feature or service is pushed without tying in how it impacts the consumer, it won’t resonate as well.
3. Meet your audience where they are.
Content is most successful when you know who your audience is AND where they get their information.
Some audiences may be more active and better reached through Instagram, while others are always on Twitter, and some would rather read a blog post. Knowing who your audience is on each platform, and the best way to catch their attention, is critical.
Tailor the content to the platform. For example, don’t post a video on Facebook without closed captioning or some form of text overlay. Someone scrolling through their feed who sees a video auto-playing without sound might scroll right past if there are no captions to pique their interest.
Just as important is to vary what you post while maintaining a consistent cadence. Authentic followings and engagements aren’t built overnight, so you’ve got to be in it for the long haul. As with any content, make sure what you’re sharing resonates by tracking engagement.
4. Clearly communicate with influencers.
We heard a variety of approaches to influencer relations and marketing at the conference from brands. But influencers also shared what works – and doesn’t – as well as their tips based on their experience working with companies.
The big takeaway was that clearly communicating what you want and the goals for the partnership upfront are your ticket to getting the most out of a partnership.
A creative brief is a great tool to make sure both sides are on the same page about deliverables, goals, style, messages, hashtags, and anything else important to a campaign. Welcome the influencer’s feedback on whether they think those goals are achievable based on their experience.
5. Start influencer campaigns with a goal.
There’s been a lot of talk about how hard it is to measure ROI in influencer campaigns. But it’s even harder if you don’t have a clear goal for an influencer partnership. Knowing the goal makes it much easier to determine what to measure in terms of ROI.
For an event, you may want to focus on measuring influencer attendance. Or if you’re looking to get more visual content, tracking the number of influencer-generated images and videos would make sense.
Of course sales is a big one. One way to track this is by giving an influencer a specific coupon code so that you can track the number of sales made through their code.
Building better influencer campaigns
Want to tap into the power of influencers or turn a struggling campaign toward success? It starts with your audience, clear goals, and constant communication. Influencers can be your allies, but only if you approach the relationship with authenticity in mind.
Want to learn more? Get in touch:
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