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What You Ought to Know about Influencer Marketing in 2017

A report from the frontlines of influencer marketing
May 2, 2017

2016 was the year communications and marketing leaders acquainted themselves with influencer marketing. Today, they’re investing.

A recent report from Pardot, a marketing automation platform provider, showed that 86 percent of marketers used influencer marketing in some capacity last year. Ninety percent of them found it effective.

Investments in influencer marketing continue to rise because organizations see a solid return on investment. (We’re generating returns between 200 and 700 percent for clients on recent influencer marketing campaigns!)

It is not just Fortune 500 brands that are using influencer marketing.

Our issue-focused clients are increasingly interested and investing in influencer marketing campaigns.

If your organization wants to move the meter on mission-driven marketing, behavior change and public policy initiatives, there is a place for influencer marketing in your communications and marketing strategy.

Here are a few new trends we’ve observed that are worth considering for your campaigns:

1 | Influencers are increasingly using video for brand journalism.

The democratization of live video streaming on sites like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat over the past year expanded opportunities for influencers’ participation in brand journalism efforts.

We’ve just delved into this world of live video through our anti-tobacco work on behalf of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). This May, we’re launching a statewide campaign to educate LGBTQ Coloradans about the impact of tobacco in our community.

We engaged several influential drag queens to participate, who told their stories through live videos on Facebook while they were on set shooting for the campaign. They told their followers about the campaign, why they chose to participate (including facts and figures from our messages) and encouraged them to get involved.

Engaging influencers to produce live content might require some creativity on your part. Even if your organization is out in the world doing good work, you may not have super dynamic stories constantly crossing your desk.

If you’re in that boat, you’ll need to create opportunities for your influencers to participate in your brand in real time. Photoshoots, events, tours and site visits are good, safe entry points. If you’ve already established a trusting relationship with your influencers, consider asking them to file video “reports” on breaking local, state or national news that has a nexus to your issue or campaign.

2 | Influencers use the slow build to intrigue and engage.

Hiring influencers to disseminate your messages works. But influencer campaigns that really move the meter tell a story over time.

An example: We’re currently working with real smokers and following them along on their quit journeys Their stories that illustrate the power of addiction and their daily struggles to quit or stay quit makes the issue incredibly personal and breaks through the noise.

Telling a story over time – whether it be about quitting smoking or changing a community to make it more accessible to families that want to get active (as we did with LiveWell Colorado) – builds investment, interest and intrigue. Followers can’t wait to see what happens next and that’s hard to do with paid advertising.

For more on using influencers to tell a story over time, check out the story of Louise Delage (link below). While she may be fictional, the execution illustrates the point and power of telling a story over time.

3 | Influencers provide bonus value for organizations in business to do good.

The unique thing about the work you do – whether it’s mission-driven marketing, behavior change or public policy – is that, unlike selling hamburgers, the issues you work on are meaty (pun intended) and they matter.

It’s often hard for influencers to get excited about a product or service. Yet, when they work on your behalf to tell stories about how an issue affects them, the people they know, or their larger community, we’ve seen them become incredibly invested. That investment often results in influencers going above and beyond what you’ve hired them to do.

It’s not a guarantee that influencers will always produce extra content for free. But in our experience, if you can get the influencer invested in the issue – either through treating them like a partner (not a vendor) or by giving them opportunities to experience the work you do firsthand – they deliver much more than they’re being paid for.

So, there are three latest happenings in the world of influencer marketing. Intrigued or don’t know where to start? Or wanting to brainstorm how to apply this to your work?

Download our influencer marketing guide below to learn more.

And for more on Louise Delage, follow the link.

Tip Sheet

Influencer Marketing for Nonprofit Organizations

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