Consumers today are looking for influencers with a legitimate relationship with the product — a dietitian endorsing a health food or a farmer growing fresh produce. An influencers’ personal experience, educational background or working life builds their credibility, enabling them to speak with authority and build trust with consumers. We call it the cred-influencer.
Employees are also an untapped source of authentic, credible content. Audiences love hearing from people behind the scenes, learning how their favourite products and used in employees everyday lives.
In recent years, influencer engagement has become a key part of integrated marketing campaigns and a powerful channel for health and wellbeing brands to leverage in order to build awareness, credibility and trust. As the influencer market continues to flourish, it is time for brands to tap into this evolving space more actively to reach, connect and resonate with more people unlike ever before.
Understanding the role of macro vs micro vs nano influencers is key to a well planned and successful campaign which delivers an ROI for the brand.
- Macro influencers – usually high profile with reach in the hundreds of thousands up to millions
- Micro influencers – mid-tier influencers with a reach up to 100 000
- Nano influencers – usually through a micro-influencer platform with a reach between 1000 to 20000+
Here are 7 best practice influencer marketing strategies which will help brands drive campaign success:
Finding the right fit
When developing a plan for an influencer engagement campaign, the first and most important step is to target the influencer that is the best fit for the brand – this is certainly easier said than done. With 61% of marketers finding it difficult to secure the right influencers for a campaign, brands must consider the shortlisted influencer’s reach, engagement, audience and their relevance.
Importantly, a health and wellbeing brand must carefully assess the alignment between brand and influencer values, viewed through the style of content (for example is it too sexy for a wellbeing brand?), the tone of voice and narrative (is language of a suitable standard, is the message delivered with credibility and a value exchange?). Does the lifestyle they share through Instagram, reflect a healthy lifestyle or is it filled with late night parties and excessive alcohol use? Remember too to check how many other brands the influencer works with, and are there any competing partnerships?
A good start is to do a deep dive analysis of their platforms to understand their area/s of expertise and how their content is received by their followers. By doing this, you will also be able to get a clearer understanding of the influencer’s personality which will help you decide whether they align with your brand’s values and tone. Listen and track their content over a period of time to ensure that they are the right fit.
For a brand such as Happy Way, whose products promote better overall health and wellbeing, selecting expert influencers with credentials in the nutrition and health space like Marika Day and Sophie Guidolin have helped to effectively communicate their product’s key benefits, establish trust and awareness as well as compliment the brand’s values in the best light.
Authenticity is key
With the global health and fitness market being a $4.2 trillion industry, its growth (especially online) has risen challenges around establishing trust and creditability. Forming a strong sense of creditability and authenticity as a brand through your influencers in the health space is critical, especially as audience scepticism of paid marketing tactics is still prevalent.
Audiences have a trained eye for spotting overly ‘salesy’ or promotional content, so it is vital to let the influencers you work with be as genuine as possible. When an influencer is empowered to be authentic and true themselves in their storytelling, their followers will be more engaged and will listen. More than half of consumers actually prefer displays of authenticity from influencers across their platforms. And, it is important for the influencer to display the content as sponsored.
In order for to your campaign resonate deeper and have greater impact, let your influencers be candid and real in their content creation. Of course, they do need to comply with regulatory guidelines such as the TGA code in Australia.
Wholefood and supplement brand Nutraorganics has applied this authentic mindset throughout their recent influencer engagements. Choosing to work with a range of influencers across the nutrition and health spaces, even venturing seamlessly into the lifestyle and beauty areas has certainly paid off for the brand.
The main reason for their success lies in their flexibility and openness to authentic content, giving the power to the influencer to utilise and present their wide range of products how they truly fit into their actual everyday lives. From Elly Miles’ supercharged green smoothie recipe to mum of 4 Justine’s quick and easy tips to add more superfoods to her children’s meals, we see the real life application of these supplements in these influencer’s lives – thus showing audiences how easy it is to do in theirs in a relatable way.
Setting clear goals from the outset
Developing and outlining well-defined goals in your influencer marketing strategy should be a key priority in the planning phase. Having a clear set of objectives will make it easy to measure and evaluate the campaign’s success and return on investment (ROI).
These goals will also help guide your decision making when it comes to which influencer you ultimately collaborate with and the types of content output you will see. Some standard tried and tested goals include:
- Increasing brand awareness – measured through reach
- Growing audience engagement - measured through likes, comments and shares
- Generating leads/purchases – measured actioning a Call to Action (CTA)
- Build brand trust and connection – measured through nature of comments and shares
The power of micro-influencers
Despite having fewer than 100,000 followers, micro-influencers are a powerful group to utilise for wellbeing brand campaigns. There are many benefits to engaging with micro-influencers over macro-influencers and celebrities like higher levels of relative engagement across their platforms with a budget-friendlier fee attached.
These micro-influencers also usually have a more personal and closer connection with their followers that bigger influencers are unable to establish due to their massive followings. This ‘friendship-like’ connection is based on authenticity and relatable that will no doubt generate more trust and interest in your brand in the long run.
Generally the investment can go a fair way to have continued engagement over multiple posts which enables the building of a more sustained partnership vs a one-hit-wonder post just to access their audiences. This is preferred in order to build authentic trust and credibility.
Working in close partnership with your chosen influencer is key to accommodating all party’s interests. Collaboration is all about striking the right balance between creative control, guidelines and clear objectives with your influencer. Encouraging and having a running open dialogue on these topics as well as setting the right expectations for the campaign outcomes from the beginning will allow this collaboration to flourish in a good way.
Influencers are the experts in this social space, so be open to their ideas and invite their feedback throughout the campaign, having briefed them well prior on regulatory guidelines. After all they know what works for their audiences and platform better than anyone else. Be sure to work together to ensure that your brand’s key messages are delivered through the created content in a way that remains true to the character of your influencer’s persona, tone of voice and platform.
Longer-term engagements over one-off campaigns
One-off campaigns can yield great results by delivering substantial ROI and giving your online presence a nice boost. However, to truly see the benefits and advantages of influencer marketing, to formation of longer-term relationships with your influencers should be considered.
Through these continued and sustained engagements, you will see their transformation from influencer to brand advocate. In this advocate role, the content created by your influencer becomes increasingly more organic, which in turn has the ability to strengthen brand credibility and awareness in an impactful and real way.
Remember to ascertain if the influencer allows reposting of content across the brand channel and if they are open to boosting, with paid spend, the posts. If not, this may restrict the campaign.
Don’t ignore your most dedicated influencers
Take a look at the user generated content (UCG) created by those customers that engage with your brand. Nowadays consumers sharing much information about wellbeing, both mental and physical, so opportunities exist for brands to be included in that narrative. Keep a watch out for # and reward those who post, by commenting, perhaps sharing some product as a gift. Work on building those relationships.
As influencer marketing continues to become a more mainstream method to reach consumers, the key to success lies within developing a strong and robust strategy and execution plan. Develop a content framework, key messaging, creative look and feel and tone of voice that aligns with your brand. See your brand rise and become more integrated into everyday culture as the wellbeing of your influencer campaign delivers results.
Megan Hoole is Account Manager at The 6AM Agency, which specialises in complementary medicines and raw material suppliers globally.