If you don’t have an influencer program, it’s time to start working on one. The world’s top brands are harnessing the power of influencers, and the secret is, you don’t need to be a multi-billion-dollar brand like Amazon to do the same.
When I talk to brands about influencer marketing, most of them tell me they don’t have the money for it. I ask them if they’d be willing to give away a few products and services for a long-term pay-off for their brands, and then the conversation shifts.
Two Types of Influencer Programs
There are two types of influencer programs. First, there’s the kind of program where you pay well-known influencers to share your products in a non-selling environment. They connect their audience of thousands or millions of people with your products or brand. With this kind of program, you’re typically expecting some form of instant return on investment because you’re making a significant payment to a popular creator.
The second type of influencer program is highly underused and misunderstood. In this type of program, you’re harnessing the power of less popular creators to share your brand. They could have followers in the hundreds or low thousands. You typically offer them free products and services, and in return, they share your brand with their followers. Not only is this cheaper than hiring a more popular creator, but you can get a lot more long-term pay-off from these types of relationships.
I broke down the math on this to see how much impact just one influencer with a modest following could have:
Let’s say you take your brand to one creator who posts an Insta story about your products once a week. Each post gets about 200 impressions (which I refer to as subconscious touchpoints) from people in their core sphere. Over the course of one year, you’ll have gotten a total of 10,000 touchpoints with that audience.
You probably won’t be converting many people through this one modest influencer. However, you’re almost guaranteed to gain long-term value for your brand. Some of them will follow you. Some of them will tell their friends about your brand. Let’s say three of them signed up for your products or services. That’s great ROI on just a few free products or services in a year. But it’s likely that after seeing your brand, other people will continue to follow you and may convert over a longer period of time.
Lake Louise — Helping People Find the Emerald Waters
Lake Louise, AB, is one of my favourite examples of a unique marketing strategy that brings in millions of people each year. There are certain locations in Lake Louise with emerald waters that make for the perfect photo, and these have become an iconic part of the Lake Louise brand. People travel across the world to take pictures in these locations. Then they share them with others on social media, which encourages others to head out to enjoy the peaceful setting. For example, there are these breathtaking photos of people skating on Lake Louise.
So, let’s say your brand has “emerald waters,” but no one knows about it. The easiest way to get more eyes on it is to find other people who will create and share content for you (especially on Instagram, where influencer marketing is most successful and popular). When you find those people, they’ll be the ones to make sure everyone in their contact spheres sees your most valuable brand assets. Again, this might not convert instantly, but it will bring you compounding interest over time.
Build an Influencer Army Wherever You Are
The bottom line is an influencer program of the second type has the potential to earn your brand endless value in the long-term. And you don’t just have to harness it once. You can compound those effects by finding ten times the number of influencers.
If you sell homes, you can build a real estate army to share pictures of the homes you’re selling. If you have a restaurant, invite every local food blogger out to try your dishes. If you run a gym, help the trainers who work there become part of the brand story by sharing their successes at your location.
No matter what industry you’re in or what you sell, start building your influencer program now so you can compound the interest later. Build up the army of people who can create content for you and spread the word about your brand.