3 ways to leverage Influencers beyond content creation

Influencer marketing has long since established its role in the wider marketing matrix; the sector has grown by 282% since 2016. Now, the Covid-19 pandemic has further transformed influencer marketing, and it's opening up an opportunity for marketers to bring influencers into the creative conversation earlier.

When photo shoots and brand events were abruptly cancelled as contact was restricted in the earliest days of the pandemic, marketers relied on influencers for the content needed to effectively engage with their target audiences. Not only did the influencers bring agility and greater authenticity to these programs, but they could also provide insights into what they believed would resonate with their audiences. Thanks to their networks and honed social listening skills, influencers have much more to offer marketers and can be a useful strategic piece in designing successful campaigns. 

1. Learn From Influencers 

Influencers bring insights to the table that can inform broader marketing initiatives. Historically, marketers have relied on months-long focus groups and market research. Unfortunately, in a post-pandemic landscape, that laborious process could produce intelligence that is already outdated. As early as March 2020, 51% of marketing leaders noted they turn to social listening platforms to keep up with consumers' changing desires. While many marketers were already doing social listening in some form, the COVID-19 pandemic simultaneously triggered greater interest and willingness to act based on the data obtained there. 

Influencers are your best source of real-time, interactive social listening insights. Before starting your campaign, you can tap into influencers to learn what messages will resonate with a specific audience or the best timing based on previous activations. This invaluable information can be accessed by connecting with influencers not as content creators but as community experts.

2. Testing Campaign Storytelling

Influencers can also provide insights around which messaging will resonate to drive the goals of a given campaign. You can focus on a brand and test narratives to see what might produce the desired outcome. For example, you might want to examine what story would prompt consumers to add the most products to the cart.

You might do this by testing the results from an influencer advocating the long-term benefits of a product versus an influencer focusing the narrative on the immediate need for the product. One creative arc might achieve the goal more efficiently than the other — or you may find both are effective. You can build in different storytelling paths to test and learn at the beginning of your influencer campaign — before implementing your paid media channels at scale.

3. Maximise the impact of creator-led content!

Once the influencer starts posting your content, there are some additional things you can do to amplify your impact:

✔️Share their content on your brand social channels to give it an additional boost and show solidarity.

✔️Ask them if they have any future ideas such as doing an interview/podcast, a co-authored blog post, getting their input on your next design, etc. The more invested the creator, the more enthusiastically they’ll promote you. Remember, these people are professional content creators, and their ideas are often invaluable as well as innovative.

✔️Prioritise innovative engagement. Add gamification challenges to your brand. TikTok & Instagram Reels challenges also gain a lot of traction at the moment, and YouTube Shorts is on the horizon. Many consumers have a lot more time on their hands just now — make sure it’s engaged with your brand!

Influencers are no longer just post-and-go implementation tools — they can be one of the campaigns greatest assets. Their interactions with brands take on a new form as their involvement begins early in the campaign window. By putting influencers at the start of campaign developments, brands can see near real-time intelligence, resulting in more flexible campaigns, deeper resonance and better results.