How to work with influencers to acquire new customers

- September 12, 2016 3 MIN READ

As a small business with a limited marketing budget, it can be difficult to know what channel to use to create buzz around your brand or product and most importantly, actually get people to see what it’s all about.

Influencer marketing has been rated as the fastest growing online method to acquire new customers, and it’s also on par with email as being the most cost effective. A study by McKinsey & Company found that word of mouth is behind 20 to 50 percent of all purchasing decisions. Marketing inspired word-of-mouth, in particular, generates twice the sale of paid advertising.

I’ve seen the space evolve rapidly in the three years Hypetap has been connecting influencers with brands, and it continues to change everyday. Here are four tips to keep in mind when working with influencers to get customers through the door.

#1. Focus on building relationships and ambassadors

An iconic Melbourne based cafe invited a group of influencers on Hypetap to have Sunday brunch at the venue every four weeks over a six month period. The influencers shared images of their experiences on Instagram and hundreds of people began to show interest, asking about the dishes they’d seen, the setting and turning up to try the food for themselves.

We are drawn to people who are like minded, inspiring and authentic and ultimately this is the kind of content that we find ourselves interacting with on social media. It’s important not to look at influencer content as a transaction, but rather provide the flexibility for influencers to advocate for you in an authentic way, because they want to.

If you work with influencers over an extended period of time and build genuine ambassadors for your business, you will get far better results than one off product placement. One off posts are great for sparking interest, but they don’t lead to purchasing decisions.

#2. Don’t just look for celebrities

A popular shoe brand engaged a celebrity influencer as well as a range of mid-tier influencers on Hypetap to promote one of their new season styles. The celebrity cost them the same amount as all the other influencers. However, the results of the campaign showed a much higher level of engagement for the group of mid tier influencers than for the celebrity alone.

Celebrities who have social media accounts may seem appealing but they are often far more expensive and aren’t as relatable as other social media personalities. If you can find influencers who fit with your brand values and aesthetic, then the way they incorporate your business into their content will be more seamless and relevant to their audience. It’s not the volume of followers that counts, but the quality of the audience.

#3. Involve your influencer’s followers

Once you’ve worked with an influencer a few times, a useful way to see if the trust they have built up for your brand over time is going to drive action, is by working with them to create a special offer for their followers.

An online beauty brand used the ambassadors they had developed using Hypetap to run a discount with their followers for a new product. The discount code attached to influencers achieved in over 65 percent of sales for the product in the first month.

It’s important not to do this too early on in the journey, because it can take time to build trust and understanding, and offers and discounts need to be used at a point in time when there is a good level of awareness of your brand first to reap the most benefits.

#4. Trust the influencer

The most successful influencer campaigns are the ones where brands provide guidelines and information, but are not overly prescriptive about what they want.

By letting influencers use their creativity and style, you’re ensuring the content they deliver is natural and consistent and will position your business in a favourable way.

Organising one off posts with an influencer won’t send thousands of customers through your door. But a long term plan or program, tailored in consultation with the influencer so it’s in line with their interests and audience, will create a bigger impact for your brand and ultimately deliver new customers.

Detch Singh is the co-founder and CEO of Hypetap, the first influencer marketing technology platform in the Asia Pacific region.  

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