Brands are buzzing about influencer marketing. It’s a great way to generate authentic visual content, to see your brand’s story from a new perspective, and to reach a new audience. But where to start?
Fear not! We’ve put together three tips for getting started with influencer marketing based on three real examples. See how the Swiss Tourism Board, Adidas and Visit Greenland found success working with influencers, and get ideas for how you can work influencer marketing into your plans for 2017!
Influencer Marketing Tip #1: Give your influencers creative freedom.
The Swiss Tourism Board’s Epic Basketball Game on a Glacier
A sky’s the limit mindset is a perfect fit for influencer marketing. I know from my own experience as an influencer.
Back in September of 2016, I received an email from the Swiss Tourism board with a description that read, “come watch Tony Parker play basketball on the world’s largest glacier 12,000 feet above sea level.” If you’re a photographer like me, then the only thing you’ll find more alluring than the thought of Tony Parker playing basketball on a glacier is seeing it for yourself.
Let’s take a look at what made this a grade A marketing stunt.
Influencer marketing isn’t just for people who are “instafamous.” Influencers can range from reporters, bloggers, vloggers and journalists. For this particular influencer marketing project, the Swiss Tourism board chose influencers based on their storytelling style.
The Swiss Tourism board let all of the influencers tell their own story. They didn’t micromanage the content we were producing. In the end, the content the influencers produced felt authentic and unique. The influencers’ styles resonated with their own audiences, as well as the brand’s.
By giving influencers a once-in-a-lifetime photo op at one of the most adventurous and stunning places in the world, the Swiss Tourism board and its partners got to generate incredible content and create an authentic ongoing relationship with the viewers of that content.
- Think outside the box and remember the sky’s the limit.
- Rather than only focusing on influencers with massive followings, consider working with “micro-influencers” – up and coming visual creatives who won’t charge your brand a fortune per tweet. Look for influencers with fewer than 20k followers with a consistent following, good engagement and a curated portfolio that fits your brand’s vibe.
- Be upfront and specific with your chosen influencers about the experience you can offer them. Then, let them take it and run with it!
Influencer Tip #2: Think outside the box.
Adidas’ NBA All-Star Photo Shoot
Influencer marketing is broad. You and your team can have fun with it and experiment.
Adidas flipped the tables on this one. Rather than collecting content from their influencers, they turned the camera on them.
During NBA All-Star Week, Adidas hosted a high fashion photo shoot for their influencers – celebrities, athletes and more. Everyone who came through the “Style Suite” could work with a personal stylist to choose their own outfits – not feather boas and funny hats, but premier Adidas gear.
The Adidas team chose photographer Michel LeRoy as their creative partner, because they wanted to replicate the warm and welcoming feeling that he brings to the subjects of his portraits.
The influencers got to pick their favorite photos on the spot. Then, a digital tech sent them the photos instantly so they could post them on social media right away. The photos were delivered with Adidas branding on them, which helped raise brand awareness as guests shared on their own social media channels. But the branding took a backseat to the photos, so the influencers were able to share images they actually wanted to share.
Michel Leroy says the authentic experience the influencers had in the “Style Suite” made it a success.
“They feel that one of the coolest things they got when they visited the ‘Style Suite’ was not the shoes or the jacket but the experience of being here,” he explains. “You can give away all the swag you want to all the people you want, but frankly if you really want to connect with these people, you need to have an actual connection with them.”
- Make it authentic.
- Give your influencers the ingredients they need to make an impact (in this case, it was awesome photos for their social media channels).
- Give them an unforgettable experience that they actually want to share.
Influencer Tip #3: Build a strong influencer marketing strategy.
Visit Greenland’s Influencer Marketing Secrets
Visit Greenland has a well thought out approach to influencer marketing. By understanding their budget, building out an ideal influencer profile, and developing a plan to ensure ROI, the team makes the most out of each influencer opportunity.
Visit Greenland gets a number of inquiries from potential social media influencers about sponsored trips to Greenland (and it’s no wonder, when you see their incredible photos). When selecting influencers to bring to Greenland, Tanny and her team look at a range of criteria, from their storytelling style to a unique angle that could help fuel business development.
“What we look for is collaboration in many different ways – both creatively and financially,” says Visit Greenland’s content manager Tanny Por. “We’re a small organization with a fairly modest budget so we need to be creative with how we spend our money, as well.”
Visit Greenland then works with the influencer to create an agreement. The brand’s financial investment ranges from covering the cost of an excursion to sponsoring flights or accomodations. Sometimes, Visit Greenland partners with another brand like Lonely Planet or an airline.
In return, the influencer agrees to create and share content on their own channels. Often, Visit Greenland also asks influencers to submit content to Visit Greenland’s Libris database so it can be used by the brand in the future. This helps the team ensure a higher ROI on influencer marketing.
The return for Visit Greenland and partners is access to unique professional content with a new perspective.
- Know how to choose the right influencers. Make sure their styles and angles match your brand.
- Take your time to map out a plan. Make it clear what you expect from the influencer from the outset, and think of ways to ensure a higher ROI.
- Get creative with your budget. Partner with another relevant brand to cut the cost of an influencer trip, or cover a portion of an influencer’s experience.
Cover photo by Matthijs van Vuuren.