Marketing and social media have experienced a dominant shift in recent years. Thanks to smartphone saturation and content consumption habits, content creators play a crucial part in this.
Social media creators are trusted communicators for the modern audience. This has made creator marketing an increasingly booming trend.
From top brands to start-ups, businesses are lining up to partner with influencers for better visibility around their brand. It’s a powerful way to establish a connection and trust with your target market and stand out.
But creator marketing can only make a visible difference when marketers take a unique approach.
In today’s article, we will discuss tips and tricks to craft a creator marketing strategy that works.
How to use creator marketing to make your brand stand out
1. Understanding your audience
The foundation of any brand’s success depends on how well it understands its target audience. So, to take up the creator marketing route, you must create a comprehensive image of your core market.
However, figuring out what your audience wants is not a destination but a journey. It needs regular review to catch even the most minor changes in customer behavior. Predicting customer behavior can enable a brand to design branding campaigns that are highly tailored and effective. Based on the findings, constant improvements and adjustments are necessary.
To do that, find answers to the following questions:
- Who is my ideal customer?
- What type of content interests them?
- How does my existing content strategy benefit them?
- Which of my competitors are popular among my target audience?
If you are a B2B business, you need to figure out the following points
- Company size
For the B2C audience, some important factors you need to consider are:
- Hobbies and interests
Every brand is unique. So, their marketing approach needs to be unique as well. Understanding these points will help you create a roadmap to accurate influencer marketing. It will help you identify creators your target audience will resonate with.
For example, Nike’s audience base is not limited to athletes and dedicated fitness enthusiasts. Before starting their fitness journey, it’s the brand that regular people look up to for inspiration.
The brand considers this audience demographic while choosing creators to collaborate with. Nike regularly partners with athletes like Serena Williams and Michael Jordan. But the brand’s Instagram also features body positivity influencers and creators.
In the above video, Nike Women collaborated with Yuina, popular for her content around fitness and activism.
2. Establishing your brand
Every notable influencer has their brand. They will only partner with you when your brand carries some value other than monetary compensation.
So, before approaching the creator of your choice, you must establish a consistent brand image on social media.
To establish a consistent brand image on social media,
- Start by identifying your unique value proposition and creating content that aligns with it.
- Use a consistent visual style and tone of voice to reinforce your brand identity.
- Engage with your audience and build a community around your brand.
Once you have a strong brand presence, you can approach influencers wih a mutually beneficial partnership proposal that aligns with your brand values and boosts social media ROI.
3. Identifying your brand’s values and mission
The purpose of your business will decide the tone of your creator marketing. So, identify the gap in the market where your brand fits seamlessly.
Create a mission statement that is specific and timeless. For many, this is uncovered when coming up with business ideas. The aim is to give your team proper direction and tell your audience what to expect from your brand. This will decide your values as a business and help you promote an aligned brand personality.
Red Bull has invested heavily in TikTok marketing by partnering with popular content creators to create engaging content that aligns with their messaging. By leveraging their audience and the events hosted, Red Bull has reached millions of users on TikTok and built a loyal following. This strategy helped them create unique content that resonates with the platform’s younger audience.
4. Creating a unique brand identity
The market is heavily competitive across industries. Your creator marketing strategy will only work when you have a unique brand identity to promote.
Brand identity is much more than a quirky logo and catchy tagline. It should reflect your values as a business and represent your target audience’s needs.
You can’t find the right creators to collaborate with without figuring out your brand identity. You need influencers who compliment your USP, not counter it.
As a brand, Glossier believes the beauty industry can only add value when the brand is part of the process. For them, it’s “skin first, makeup second.” The brand has stayed true to its identity and created a space enabling conversations around beauty.
The uniqueness of Glossier lies in its simple approach to marketing. Even their high-end products don’t hide behind gimmicks and represent a clean and sustainable image of the industry.
Apart from posting experiences of real customers, the brand regularly partners with Dermatologists and skincare experts. For example, Glossier partnered with Dr. Howard-Verović to market the expert’s approval of its deodorant range.
5. Developing a consistent brand voice across all channels
A messy social media profile is not a good look for a brand and will make it difficult for you to partner with notable influencers. Once you determine what makes your brand unique, maintain that distinctive quality across all your social media channels.
Sephora is one of the pioneering brands hopping on the digital marketing trend and is still garnering massive success. The brand’s expertise is in inclusive beauty and personalized experience — and that’s what its social media channels reflect.
On its Instagram and YouTube, Sephora regularly posts make-up tutorials and skin care routines to educate the audience. Sephora collaborates with influencers on TikTok as well. On every channel, the tone and the aesthetic are uniform and on-brand.
6. Collaborating with creators
Collaboration with a particular creator may have worked out for your competitor. But the same influencer doesn’t guarantee your campaign’s success.
Neal Taparia, who runs Cribbage-Online, explains, “Given the popularity of TikTok, we started working with influencers to talk about our cribbage game early on. However, we soon realized these influences reached a younger audience not interested in classic games.”
So, choosing the right influencers and effectively collaborating with creators is the most crucial aspect of the entire strategy.
Now that your brand’s foundation is ready, it is time to research influencers. If you are a beginner in creator marketing, choose one social platform that suits you the best and stick to it. You can expand on other channels later. But focusing on one at the beginning will ensure the best results.
Conduct competitor analysis and see which influencers your competitors are partnering with. This will give you a general direction to look into. Monitor your target audience’s online activity and identify influencers they engage with.
Review the influencer’s profile and see if their image suits your brand identity. Make a list of workable options.
Figure out your budget and creator marketing goals. Consider an approx required time for all the activities involved in the campaign. This should include planning, execution, and review of the influencer initiative.
Based on that, you can choose
- Creators with huge followings
- Mid-range creators with 10,000–100,000 followers.
- Smaller creators with around 5,000 followers
Nationally and internationally popular creators are a little difficult to reach out to and may require larger compensation. Audit your resources before you settle on your choice of creators.
Once you figure out your plan, it is time to reach out to your chosen creator. Midrange, smaller, and local creators are more likely to respond to your direct message request. To reach out to the more popular ones, email works best. Carefully search their profiles. Most influencers add their contact information for potential collaborators and brand partnerships.
One of the recent best instances of influencer collaboration has come from Dior. The brand celebrated its Forever Foundation’s launch, a range of 67 unique foundation shades with a distinctive take on creator marketing. Dior’s 67 Shades of Skin Campaign represented a stellar take on inclusivity by showcasing 67 influencers matching the brand’s 67 unique foundation shades.
Identifying and reaching out to this wide range of influencers was a massive marketing undertaking and posed some serious logistical problems. To avoid endless emails, Dior’s marketing team simplified communication. They created a dedicated campaign landing page and centralized the information-gathering process.
They scheduled the campaign to one post per day over 67 consecutive days. This maximized the impact and kept the audience hooked.
The campaign became a massive success. Moreover, Buttermilk Agency, the marketing agency behind this genius campaign, won Gold at the 2020 Influencer Marketing Awards.
7. Leveraging social media
Collaborating with creators, and producing and posting the content, is not the end of the road. You need to optimize social media’s reach to promote the partnership and increase visibility around your campaign.
Make sure both you and the creator post the content on your profiles. Ask them to post it on their stories to increase engagement.
Make sure you optimize the created content for each social media channel. Use relevant but memorable captions. Tag the influencer properly, i.e., on your posts and your stories.
Make sure the endorsement looks authentic. Ask the influencer to put in their own thoughts while posting the content on their profile. However, don’t forget to review it.
One way to make the customer’s shopping experience even more seamless is by implementing social login on your store’s website. Social login allows customers to easily and quickly log in using their social media accounts, eliminating the need to remember another username and password.
Use relevant hashtags. If the partnership is part of a bigger marketing project, start your hashtag and ask your partner influencers to use it. This will help your posts trend on social media platforms and reach more audiences.
Gillette partnered with YouTuber Matthew Meagher to promote their product range. Here, the creator has used relevant hashtags and tagged the brand to maximize engagement.
However, attaching a popular face to your brand is insufficient to stand out in this market. For that, you need to promote a relatable narrative. Storytelling is the key ingredient behind going viral on social media. So, make sure your influencer marketing initiatives don’t seem too salesy. Instead, create content pillars around the uniqueness of the creator and how it relates to your brand.
Gillette realized this necessity and took a unique approach to influencer marketing. They partnered with Shaquem Griffin, a linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks who is missing his left hand because of amniotic band syndrome.
Instead of getting Griffin to endorse their product directly, the brand used the athlete’s story of overcoming challenges. Their collaboration reflected the narrative of becoming the very best version of oneself.
This partnership was far more realistic and inspiring than traditional and direct influencer endorsements. The brand leveraged it across different social media channels to drive visibility and awareness among the audience.
8. Measuring success
Creators bring authenticity and trust that other marketing methods can’t.
But how do you know whether your influencer partnership brings you the desired ROI? By identifying relevant metrics and measuring them regularly.
In traditional marketing initiatives, the metrics are quite common and the results are easy to quantify. However, creator marketing is more fluid and difficult to measure.
The best way to measure influencer marketing success is by using affiliate links. Whenever a visitor clicks on the creator’s advertisement or post and goes to that business’s site to make a purchase, you can track it. This will help you uniquely monitor every click and purchase and see the analytics specific to each influencer.
Observe impressions to measure how many people have viewed a piece of content. Monitor the reactions, shares, comments, etc., to track engagement as an initial metric.
Set goals like having a particular number of followers within a specific period. This will give you a result-oriented view of your creator’s marketing strategy.
Examine your site and social media traffic before launching a creator marketing initiative. Note the daily and weekly ups and downs in traffic. When the campaign ends, record the changes again.
Compare the numbers with engagement and follower count and benchmark them against your goals.
Use AI-powered tools to have real-time insights. Some sentiment analysis tools, for example, use AI and machine learning to analyze customer sentiments in their feedback, reviews, comments, or social media posts.
Lastly, analyze the findings and change the strategy accordingly.
Top-notch influencer marketing is all about creativity and relatability. To ensure alignment with your brand, examine the creator’s previous collaborations. This will give you ideas on how to stand out from your competitors.
Influencers know their audience the best. So, always ask for their creative expertise and try to merge the inputs into your content ideas.
Be sure about your budget and leverage social media to its fullest. With the right approach, creator marketing can bring you effective brand awareness and boost revenue quickly.