When it comes to marketing, authenticity is key. Of course, you want people to buy into the dreams, aspirations and possibilities of a place, service or product but you also need to make sure you do this truthfully. The last thing you want is to overpromise, or worse, undersell.
This is where tapping into social media influencers can be useful. They can help to tell your brand story by sharing their experiences in their own words, images and videos. It’s the classic marketing technique of showing, not telling. As marketers, we could spend hours telling people how fantastic a place or product is but isn’t it better for them to see the reality as told through the eyes of someone else’s experience?
As part of our Find Your True North campaign for Promote Shetland, in partnership with Visit Scotland, we connected with social media influencers and asked them to visit Shetland in winter and share their highlights.
At the time of writing, some of these visits were still taking place, but for a taste of the content produced, check out the Visiting Shetland in Winter blog post by Graeme at the popular Scotland’s Stories blog. As well as writing about his trip to Shetland, Graeme documented his time on the islands on his social media channels, and crafted a blog post for Shetland.org.
Engaging with influencers can be a great way to grow your audience online because they share their content with their followers who, in turn, start following you. Or, at the very least, have their interest piqued by your content.
If you’re thinking about partnering with a social media influencer to grow your brand, here are some top tips:
1. Put your audience first
When it comes to choosing an influencer to connect with, the person with the biggest following isn’t necessarily the best person. A young influencer with over a million followers, for example, might not be relatable to your target demographic. So, think about your audience first – who they are, how old they are, where they’re likely to live and how they spend their free time – and look for similar people who fit that mould. That’s not to say you can’t use influencers to tap into new audiences but if you’re new to social media marketing then target your desired demographic first.
2. Favour authenticity
As we said at the top of this post, authenticity is key when it comes to choosing and working with influencers. Consumers want to see the unfiltered reality of a product or place. That doesn’t mean it can’t look good, but it also needs to be believable. If you’re marketing a destination, for example, consumers want to see real people enjoying real experiences. Don’t be afraid to let your influencers share some of the lows, as well as the highs. It all helps to build a holistic picture.
3. Use their skills
All influencers are digital savvy, it’s how they make their bread and butter. This means you can tap into their skillset and commission them to create great content on your behalf. TikTok videos, Instagram stories, YouTube videos, podcasts… whatever digital channel you’re keen to grow your brand presence on, find the best influencers on those channels for your demographic and get in touch.
4. Get a contract
A lot of influencers do social media as a side hustle to their day jobs, bagging gifts and press trips in return for positive coverage, while others work as influencers full time and expect payment for their efforts. This means before you embark on a new campaign with an influencer, both sides need to be clear what the expectations are from the relationship. This means putting in writing what the brief is, what needs to be delivered, content deadlines and payment or expenses information. This avoids any bumps in the road further down the line.
5. Avoid micro-managing
While having a contract in place is essential, once you’ve agreed the terms of the influencer activity and what you expect from them, let them get on with it. A good influencer knows what they’re doing and should be trusted to go ahead and get the job done. If you try to micro-manage their every post or comment, not only will you undermine and annoy them, you also risk losing the authenticity in the content that you were looking for in the first place.
If you’re interested in finding out how we can help create a digital marketing strategy for your business we’d love to hear from you.