Guest Post by Val Razo
For a few years already, influencer marketing is firmly embedded in the marketing strategies of SMBs and enterprises. Today, brands of all sizes and shapes realize the power of influencer marketing and want to collaborate with opinion leaders to drive better business results. But with everyone doing it, can brands still execute successful influencer marketing campaigns and build brand trust using influencer marketing in 2020?
Since Instagram is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms with the most engaged user base, it’s no wonder that this platform has become the most powerful influencer marketing channel. And a recent InfluencerDB report proves it:
- Instagram counts around 558,462 active influencers on the platform
- The number of declared Instagram sponsored posts has grown significantly over the last years
- Instagram influencer marketing will grow to $8.08 billion by 2020
With the rise of influencer marketing campaigns on the platform, sponsored posts bombard Instagram users from all sides, so people lack confidence in what they see and read online and user’s trust in influencers is declining.
To stay successful in influencer marketing and build brand trust with the help of content creators, brands need to find new creative and sustainable ways to collaborate with opinion leaders. Today, we’re going to analyze best practices from some of the most successful brands in influencer marketing and learn from them how to utilize influencers to build brand trust and execute successful influencer marketing campaigns.
4 Strategies for Building Brand Trust Using Influencer Marketing
1. Make Use of Nano Influencers
Modern customers are savvy, so they realize that Instagram influencers get paid for product endorsement. Since people crave authenticity, brands need to be selective about the influencers they work with. The rise of nano influencers in recent times highlights the users’ longing for authentic and trustworthy content creators.
Nano influencers – those common users with fewer than 1,000 followers – have in-person connections with their followings which means closer relationships and therefore a higher trust level. It also helps that nano influencers spend time in one-on-one communication with their followers, so they increase loyalty and brand trust when promoting products or services.
Although big brands can secure a collaboration opportunity with mega influencers and celebrities, they often turn to nano influencers to increase brand trust.
Let’s take Dunkin’, for example. To spread the word about its new handcrafted espresso, the company reached out to common espresso lovers. These nano influencers helped Dunkin’ produce high engagement rates and reach a committed audience.
Not only do nano influencers have higher engagement rates than other influencers, but they usually also don’t charge much for the partnership which means they are cost-effective for small and medium businesses, too.
Key takeaway: Consider integrating nano influencers into your influencer marketing strategy for higher engagement rates and increased brand trust, and also to get better results without spending much budget.
2. Involve Influencers in the Product Creation Process
To run a successful influencer marketing campaign, you can go beyond asking an influencer for a product review. Think about inviting a relevant influencer to work with your company on a product launch to create a product that appeals to the target audience. It also helps to build hype around it since the influencer will take the followers with them over the course of the co-creation process, and build brand trust at the same time.
What is more, when you involve influencers in the product creation process, it creates a sense of belonging that encourages opinion leaders to promote your product. Why? They feel a strong connection to your brand, so they want to tell their followers about their achievements.
Here’s this strategy in action from Douchebags, a company that manufactures travel gear for journeys. Douchebags collaborates with social media star Jay Alvarrez to launch a new PU leather edition. Check out how Alvarrez promotes this collaboration on his profile:
Alvarrez is a perfect candidate for the collaboration: Not only does he travel around the globe and loves active sports, but he also takes beautiful product photos and spreads the word about the product on his profile where Jay has over 6.3 million followers.
Key takeaway: Team up with influencers for the co-creation of a new product to increase both brand trust and brand awareness.
3. Promote Your Product Through a Sponsored Giveaway
No matter how many followers influencers have, it’s more likely they want to attract more followers and increase user engagement as it helps to get more partnership offers from brands. Thus, many influencers run giveaways and they seek sponsors to offer valuable prizes. For brands, this means an opportunity to establish a connection with an influencer and get wonderful results.
Sponsoring a giveaway is a proven way to ensure that the contest will attract the right audience, people who can buy your products or services. Why? When you offer your product as a prize, a giveaway attracts participants who want to give it a try. It helps to build brand awareness and drive e-commerce sales.
Check out how Portia Smith did it in the partnership with Taos Footwear:
And wouldn’t it be great if influencers could help you sell on Instagram? Just go the extra mile and offer a discount to all participants. Time-limited offers encourage customers to take action faster, so it’s a great way to increase sales.
However, be aware that giveaways also attract users that might only want to participate in the giveaway and are not interested in your brand beyond that. Prepare giveaways that fit into the influencer’s content strategy and provide value to the influencer’s audience to increase authenticity and brand trust.
Key takeaway: Send your products (or gift cards) as prizes for influencers’ giveaways to reach the right audience and promote your products.
4. Combine Online and Offline Marketing
If you use offline marketing strategies to promote your company, that’s great. If you combine online and offline marketing, that’s even better.
Planning your offline event, reach out to industry experts and niche influencers to invite them to visit your event. Why? It’s a great way to spread the word about your event and prove Instagram followers that you have truthful connections with influencers.
Since most companies invite photographers to take photos during the event, it helps to produce eye-catching brand content to publish on Instagram. When you take photos of influencers who attend your event, you increase brand trust and give these opinion leaders a reason to share photos on their profiles, like how Calvin Klein did below.
The company used a photo of Faith Jaggernauth, a local model, to take followers behind-the-scenes and tell more about the event in New York. Jaggernauth, not surprisingly, also shared this photo on her profile and uploaded a short video, made during the event:
Good events create good memories, and influencers want to share their experiences with followers, so inviting opinion leaders to your event is a great way to promote your brand without a paid partnership.
Key takeaway: Invite local influencers to attend your offline events to get trustworthy content for Instagram and promote your brand on their profiles.
Influencer marketing is not going to disappear anytime soon. However, companies need to keep up with developments and trends to stay one step ahead of their competitors and generate great business results in this fast-paced industry. Building brand trust with influencer marketing works when you have a highly valuable influencer community and refrain from one-time product placements.
Don’t worry, there are social media tools and influencer relationship management software out there that support you in building strong and sustainable relationships with influencers and facilitate your campaign management. When you own a powerful influencer network and collaborate with loyal brand ambassadors, influencer marketing lets you cut through the noise in an oversaturated market and helps you solve the challenges that lie ahead in 2020.
Val Razo is a freelance SMM consultant with over five years of digital marketing experience who has worked with big brands like Royal Canin, UNIQA and HiPP. Today, she helps small and medium businesses to promote their products on Instagram as she believes that this network has great sales potential. In her spare time, she writes for marketing blogs or she can often be found visiting art exhibitions or learning Spanish. Get in touch with her on Twitter.