Icon's Fiona Miller tells us why creating influencer campaigns with purpose makes sense.
For both not-for-profits and commercial brands, finding a genuine connection with your target audience is imperative. In spite of the risks and challenges of pairing with individual ambassadors, one of the best channels to create and nurture these connections is through social media influencers.
While some may think of influencers as illegitimate or a glorified “rent-a-crowd”, we believe in their power.
At Icon, we have witnessed first-hand the domino effect a strategic influencer campaign can have on brand awareness and interactions, and it doesn’t always have to cost the earth. For example, earlier this year we were shortlisted for Mumbrella’s Best Influencer Strategy Award for a consumer campaign that delivered incredible results using only unpaid influencers. The brand was committed to its philosophy and authenticity, in that it didn’t want to look like it was just paying people to say nice things. They wanted them to tell their story for real. By seeding products and giving talent first dibs at new ranges, we were able to create a tribe of micro and top tier influencers who genuinely fell in love with the benefits and were motivated to share their stories because they were true.
So how do we choose our influencers?
While we often engage well-known influencer management platforms to help source talent, our teams also conduct manual research to review and analyse potential targets. This is to ensure that, before even engaging them, there is a deep and proven alignment to the campaign purpose and messaging.
This analysis includes reviewing each potential individual’s social presence and measuring their compatibility with bespoke criteria for the client’s needs. This is done both manually by researching their activity over the previous year and by using platform management tools which measure their engagement rates and audience demographic behaviours.
By investing in qualitative analysis of those we recommend to our clients, we are able to carefully craft multi-faceted teams of brand advocates that deliver real results, because they have a genuine connection and desire to help their followers.
With many of our NFP clients or those working closely with the government, we understand the importance of due diligence.
Over the years many teams have been urged away from engaging influencers to avoid appearing as though they're spending important public funds on convincing people to say nice things about them or the reputational risks that can come when influencer campaigns go wrong.
For each individual client, we design bespoke criteria models to help guide the decision-making process.
Depending on the needs of the project and client, we vary our selections across micro, mid and top-tier influencers. Typically, we would recommend using a range of influencers while ensuring that each category has a dedicated purpose and rationale. This integrated approach allows us to tap into different audiences and leverage those that have great one-to-one engagement, as well as mass awareness.
By investing this time and effort into strategically choosing the right influencers, our campaigns are set up for success from the outset.
Influencer campaigns are a valuable complementary tool to any integrated campaign, and when given due attention, can help drive important brand salience.