Have local brands and marketers grasped the science and art of influencer marketing? Is there even a blueprint to this? At what point is it just a waste of money and advertising spam? Here are six ways to ensure your influencer marketing strategy will be a success.

1. Strategise and craft the campaign

Social media is a very important platform for brand communications. This means everything we put out on social media has to be strategic. It can’t be a 'nice to have'. If you have no plan for it or don’t know why you’re doing it – leave it, don’t do it.

2. Recruit the right influencers

The number of followers alone isn’t going to give you all the wins. Look for quality, not quantity. The term is 'micro-influencers”, in other words, they don’t have to be celebrities/sportsmen, but need to be engaging on their platforms and actually influential. Recruit influencers that are the right fit for your brand.

A woman or man that’s always at champagne parties or posting bottles of champagne on ice will do nothing for your beer, even if they have 300 000 followers. Make it relatable, authentic, and credible.

3. Credibility and authenticity result in engagement

Authenticity and engagement are staple buzzwords in marketing meetings, but how much of it do we see with influencers? For example, recruiting someone as an influencer with not much facial hair for a male shaver is not going to help – they don’t shave, what do they know? They’re not credible.

Today, consumers are savvy. They can tell when an influencer has been paid to post. Although there is nothing wrong with being paid to post, they need to believe that the influencer would use, and benefit, from the product, thus resulting in credibility. People follow 'social media stars' for specific reasons. When there’s an inconsistency in posts – it sticks out and they disengage.

4. Collaborate with your influencers

Instead of sending them an email with images and hashtags, trust that they understand their followers better. Work with them and let them have the freedom to input and deliver your brand’s message in their own unique way while still making sure the message is true to your brand. This shouldn’t be difficult if you have recruited the right fit.

5. True Experience

Give influencers an experience of your brand that will make it easier (and fun) for them to cascade the message. If they experience it for real, they will share the experience better. An image of a shaver in their hand is not believable if we’re going to see them with their full beard in a selfie the next day – let us see them shaving in order to show us what the shaver has done.

6. Build brand-influencer relationships

No one hit wonder posts. Wherever possible, follow up on your influencer campaigns. For example, if the influencer is talking about a shaver that leaves them with no bumps because of it’s Aloe Vera and vitamin E strip, let us see the journey – let us see them show us they have no bumps four days after the shave. This way, the brand becomes 'part of their lives'.

Social media influencers are an incredible way to support all our other marketing efforts. If done really well, they can yield positive associations for your brand and drive those relationships we all want with consumers. So, take it seriously. Treat it the way you would all your traditional mediums. Do it well and smartly.

For more information, visit www.prism-awards.co.za.