We’ve talked before about the evolution of influencer marketing as some marketers have started to question the authenticity of influencer partnerships. After more than a decade in this ever-changing business, we’re holding fast to the belief that the ride isn’t anywhere near over yet. Influencer is not a swear word. There is still a lot to be gained from running influencer campaigns—but it’s how you approach them that can make all the difference.
It largely has to do with whom you partner with and what that relationship looks like. At Rinck, we sometimes refer to the partners we select as “UNfluencers” because they’re everything that stereotypical influencers are not.
What does an UNfluencer relationship look like? We’ll show you! Here are 7 ways we identify partners and work with them to create impactful influencer campaigns.
1. Know the Value: Understand the value that various levels of influencers bring as compared to your campaign goals. Celebrities and social media superstars with millions of followers (aka mega-influencers) can get you reach if brand awareness is what you’re looking for, and macro-influencers can certainly garner good engagement, but it’s the micro- and nano-influencers who actually use your products, believe in your brand, and want to share it with their friends and family who are more likely to garner the most authentic engagement and conversion.
2. Quality over Quantity: Look for partners who create quality, authentic content with a unique point of view. The content creators who’ve succeeded in a cluttered influencer marketplace are the ones who share ideas in a way that resonates with their audience, a unique perspective, an engaging delivery style. They’re not striving for a perfectly curated “Instagram look”. In fact, many of them are walking away from that concept entirely.
3. Find Meaning: Steer clear of the sponsor-hungry. Look for influencers who limit sponsorships to meaningful relationships with brands they genuinely incorporate into their life. Some influencer discovery tools now disclose the percentage of sponsored posts and influencer shares. While some sponsored posts are good as it indicates experience working with brands, when every other post is a promotion, they all become much less believable. These are some sexy metrics from an influencer we recently partnered with:
4. Look for Love: Seek out relationships, not one-offs. Influencer marketing shouldn’t be the Tinder of your promotional campaign.
Look for partners who are interested in forming connections with value. Sure, they might be able to create great Instagram content for you, but they also can serve as really great sounding boards. If you selected them as a partner, it must mean that you share a common audience—chances are they know that audience from interacting with them every day. Ask for their input on new products, brand strategy, marketing campaign creative. Utilize the resource that you have and are to each other.
“Conversations and a little bit of detective work will help you discover each influencer’s highest engaged form of content,” said recent Rinck influencer partner, Melissa Johnson of Best Friends For Frosting. “A meaningful conversation can trigger off all types of new innovative concepts that have never been done before. For example, Best Friends For Frosting is a lifestyle website that covers Recipes, Parties, Interior Design, DIY, and Motherhood. For the first 2 years of the brand’s 9-year existence it was strictly a dessert website. Our readers go NUTS when we post desserts, receiving twice the amount of engagement than our average Instagram post. However, Best Friends For Frosting’s Pinterest account brings in 7 million monthly viewers on Pinterest, so we paid attention to what was happening there and saw our highest engaged board was motivational quotes. We married these 2 statistics and started a whole new series called cookie quotes where we share a cookie with a humorous pun or quote. Our engagement tripled. These posts get the highest amount of saves and shares, make it to the explore page, and we get hundreds of new followers each time we post. Having a conversation directly with brands can open up so many doors to making your next campaign more successful than ever.”
5. Get Creative: Think outside the standard deliverables box. If there’s one thing our roster of UNfluencers is good at, it’s preparing for what’s coming next. Don’t be afraid to try new platforms, content types, even off-platform activations. Influencers can make for great website content creators, guests at special events, contest judges. Don’t restrict yourself to a standard set of social media deliverables. Finding new ways to engage your shared target audience is something they work on every day.
6. Be Lawful: Follow the law. Unlike some celebs who seemingly think that rules don’t apply to them (we’re looking at you, Shay Mitchell), the UNfluencers follow the rules. It’s important that both you/your agency, as well as the creators you partner with understand the FTC guidelines about influencers and disclosure requirements. That doesn’t mean they can’t sometimes have fun with how they disclose your relationship. We’re particularly partial to this one from a recent collab we did with HowToBeADad.
Disclosure: Thanks to the smart people at Rinck for sponsoring this post. They’re incredible to work with and I’m not just saying that because they’ve worked with me. These opinions are my own, because I’m the boss of me, m’kay.
7. Communication is Key: Finally, set clear expectations, communicate frequently…and have a sense of humor. We always provide a full brief that clearly lays out expectations for our partnership and includes key messaging we want to try to convey, but also provide the influencer with an opportunity to use their own voice. And then we touch base to make sure we’re all on the same page, keeping it personable all the while. It’s not only more effective for us, it makes it so much easier for the influencer you’re partnering with to be successful.
“My favorite kind of partnerships are the ones that I feel like I am working with a friend when emailing back and forth,” says Johnson. “Nurturing relationships all while having fun is the cherry on top to any campaign- which is why I LOVE working with Rinck. Their emails are playful and fun, yet professional. Brands come to influencers because they know their audience best. Guidelines are the bones to a partnership but having creative freedom to use your own voice and organically integrate the brand in a way that feels authentic to you sets you up for ultimate success!”
These are just a few ways we ensure our influencer campaigns are impactful. We’ve got several more tricks up our sleeve, but that’s going to have to wait for what’s coming next.
Are you ready to make an impact with authentic influencer marketing? Let’s talk about what Rinck can do for you.