You beat the odds stacked against startups, and bootstrapped or VC’d an awesome brand or product into existence? Congrats, that’s really exciting. Now it’s time to really amplify your greatness, build some buzz and grow your customer base with a great influencer campaign.
The beauty of influencer-led social media is that there are almost no limits as to how you can style your brand’s image and deliver key insights. Want to be cutesy and niche? Easy. Go big and brash? Sure. Project earnest and helpful? Absolutely. In fact, social media has a virtually limitless palette, so go ahead and choose your own adventure. There’s just one golden rule to follow.
Make sure your brand is authentic
I’ve been working for over a decade at the coalface of influencer marketing – as a model, an influencer, and also an ambassador with brands such as Lamborghini, La Prairie and Max Factor. But I’m also the founder and director of WINK Models and theright.fit, the latter an influencer marketplace tool that puts me in contact every day with influencers, brands and content makers.
I’ve seen more influencer-led brand campaigns than I can count, and to me, authenticity is the key to creating genuine engagement. Put a light spin on things, by all means – marketing is always about making everything a bit shinier – but always come back to what’s real and good about your business.
That means asking yourself and your team some big questions. Why do we do what we do? What’s our USP? What do we want to be known for? Why should customers care about us? The honest answers to such searching questions should form the basis for how you present yourself.
You don’t have to be serious all the time
Sometimes there’s a lot of power and authenticity in admitting your brand isn’t perfect or mainstream, and having fun with that. Look at Celeste Barber as an example. The comedian and parody queen has built a commoditisable brand off accentuating her flaws and imperfections. She presents herself as the antithesis of the glamorous, preening influencers she imitates. She’s what we would call a ‘thumb stopper’. The sort of person or brand whose authenticity (and sheer audacity) cuts through. She stops people from scrolling long enough to see what’s going on and make a valuable connection.
As I’ve grown older (and wiser) I’ve become more comfortable in my own skin and come to understand that while style counts, it’s substance that really sells a message. I’m the first to admit it’s a tricky balancing act.
Look for brand alignment and shared values
As a former model, I’ve worked on the glamour side of the industry where outward appearance is everything. The camera can’t capture what it doesn’t see. Yet my business career has been very much about substance. I’ve created two successful businesses that endeavour to ensure that models, influencers and creatives get fair outcomes and enhanced connectivity. So I look for ambassadorial roles and alignments that speak to my core values.
For brands, this is about finding an influencer who will resonate with your audience. Someone who can speak to them with authenticity, and has runs on the board to prove it. The best influencers in this regard are more than just hired talent to sell a scripted message, they are collaborators who bring something of themselves to the table and add value with their insights and understanding of talking to an audience like yours.
Sure, everyone wants to hook up with the influencer who has 100,000+ followers and some of them are gonna like your product, right? But a potentially smarter play is to think about who has genuine expertise and star power in the market you’re in. If it’s a parenting product, that might be a mum or a teacher. Or if you’re in tech, it might be a gamer or a coder. These micro-influencers might have a smaller following, but their audience is your audience. If you can make that audience feel something, want something, then that’s the connection.
Choose the right channel
Another thing I’ve learned is that there is far more to influencing than just posting pictures to Instagram or videos to YouTube/TikTok. Maybe your influencer-led message has more cut-through on LinkedIn. Or that person could be right for an ongoing ambassadorial role, or to host a live stream event.
The possibilities to amplify your brand and create those meaningful connections with influencer-led messaging are virtually unlimited. It just needs to be authentic and genuine.
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