By Lauren Jung
According to recent studies, 74 percent of global marketers will use influencer marketing as part of their marketing strategy in the next 12 months.
As this form of marketing continues to pick up steam though, brands and PR professionals need to get creative with their campaigns or run the risk of blending in with the crowd.
Here’s how to stand out from the crowd with your influencer marketing campaigns.
Standout Influencer Marketing: Giveaways
Giveaways are one of the most inexpensive ways to gain exposure for your brand.
By working with an influencer within your industry, you can get your name and product in front a brand new audience—and ideally into their hands as well.
If you want to up the ante on your influencer marketing campaign, consider doing a group giveaway where several influencers are required to promote it through their own channels.
A great example is Forever 21, that worked through a large group of bloggers during the holidays to promote $150 gift cards.
They each put their own unique take on the giveaway and created timely buzz around the holidays, when their readers were seeking outfit advice and gift ideas.
Another influencer marketing is it to hand over the Instagram reins to an influencer or two who can get your customers mega excited and increase your clout with them too.
His insider look and stunning imagery won the hearts of the Vogue Instagram followers as they followed the feed with great anticipation.
Instagram is widely used by influencers and brands as an influential channel in its own right, and with so many changes in the social media landscape, we should see an even larger shift toward this in 2015.
Getting in good with your existing customer base is great, but leveraging your influencer’s network is equally important.
You’ll want to ensure the influencer is on board with driving traffic from their Instagram channel over to yours, as well as producing enough content to support the takeover.
After all, the execution of any influencer marketing campaign is just as important as the planning and strategizing.
If you want to leverage your influencer in real life, invite that person to represent your brand as an ambassador or be the host of your event.
It also exposed the brand to loyal supporters who trusted recommendations from Cara and therefore made the effort to show up.
This gave Gap the opportunity to share their brand story with a captive audience and potentially turn these people into loyal advocates of their own.
While sponsored posts can be incredibly influential, your brand can also benefit from featuring influencers on your own platform.
It’s a great way to create a lifestyle around your brand, especially if the program is executed in an authentic way.
Case in point: The Well Travelled series from Herschel Supply showcases the work of photographers traveling the world with their bags.
Their product isn’t overly promoted—focusing more on landscapes—and the series is so engaging, customers are actually adding it to their blog roll.
Clearly Contacts also does an amazing job of highlighting the customers who wear their glasses through their blog, The Look.
These ambassadors add credibility to their brand and build top-of-mind awareness when it comes to buying a new pair of frames.
Tweet chats are simple, inexpensive additions to any influencer marketing campaign.
Throw a Twitter party for your customers and invite your influencer, or a group of them, to weigh in as specialists on the topic at hand.
Your customers will be overjoyed to get a peak into this person’s life. Carefully plan your over-arching Twitter chat theme and burning questions your customers will most want answered.
Offer prizes to one or two lucky winners, offering further value to your customers and a reason for them to attend the chat.
Target does a phenomenal job of hosting regular Twitter chats.
In one of their most recent campaigns, they invited brand advocates and influencers to tweet along with Target about Black Friday.
To get customers excited in advance, they partnered with designer and influencer, Nate Berkus, to host the pre-party.
Wrapping Things Up
More and more customers are looking to influencers before they make a purchase decision.
Don’t underestimate the value they can bring to your brand, and how you can leverage them in your influencer marketing strategies to grab the attention of your audience.
There are many platforms available now that help you identify the right influencers for your business, such as Inky Bee, Topsy, and The Shelf. The latter, helps you narrow down influencers by keyword, audience size, social following, aesthetic, price range, location, gender and even names of brands they are already talking about.
The best investment is to find influencers who are powerful not just because of their fame, but also because of their capacity to connect with individuals.
Those individuals just happen to be your customers.
photo credit: Shutterstock