How to Use Next-Gen Influencers

It’s no secret that next-gen influencers are an integral part of many of today’s top event marketing programs. When leveraged properly, they spread a brand’s message with an unmatched level of credibility and authenticity. For brands looking to partner up, the key to unlocking the power of influencers is aligning with the right people on the right platforms at the right time. Here’s a look at how to make it happen.

First, brands should determine which type of influencer makes the most sense to partner with based on their objectives. Micro-influencers generally have about 1,000 to 100,000 followers, are adept at content creation and have more time to engage with their audience. Macro-influencers typically have a few hundred thousand followers, have more reach than their micro counterparts, but, may have less room for engagement. Finally, celebrity influencers with one million or more followers are a good option for brands looking for broad reach, but, offer little in the way of interaction.

Next, determine which level of next-gen influencer best aligns with your program’s overall goals. Distill the wide world of influencers down to a smaller group of candidates. The easiest method is to explore those already posting about the brand, its competitors and/or the industry at large. A simple hashtag or keyword search is often the key to discovering existing brand advocates.

Upon establishing relationships with these tastemakers, some companies fail to realize the brand relinquishes any control over them. It’s paramount to grant influencers complete creative freedom over their content in order to generate the authenticity that makes them so valuable. Influencers make a name for themselves by doing what they do best. Taking marching orders isn’t going to fly.

And while it’s the tastemaker’s job to do the heavy lifting, when it comes to amplifying live experiences, brands do their share by creating inherently shareable moments throughout their events, especially for influencer-only affairs. That’s precisely what The Macallan did to promote the launch of its Double Cask 12 Years Old single malt Scotch whisky. “We didn’t invite influencers for the sake of inviting them,” says Sam Leotta, senior brand manager at The Macallan. “The goal was that the 1,000 [influencers] would amplify their message to their social networks and through word-of-mouth to their friends and people that they know. Just throwing an event won’t do that. We presented moments that were shareable versus asking them to share. Every moment resonated with them.”

Of course, leveraging next-gen influencers is useless if their impact on a campaign isn’t measured. An effective influencer strategy begins with specific goals that are easily and accurately measured with metrics like website hits and social media impressions. And a word to the wise, YouTube influencers are highly effective, but their impact can be difficult to gauge. The best solution is to include links within the video that are specific to that influencer.

Finally, make a concerted effort to stay in touch. Partnerships between brands and influencers extend for as long as both parties see value in the relationship. Brands stay connected by monitoring and mentioning these partners on social channels, and in turn, mentioning and sharing links to the influencers’ own creative content. The approach keeps the brand relevant and top of mind, and paves the way for future collaborations.

Bottom line is, effective next-gen influencers campaigns are fueled by authenticity. So, align with like-minded partners, let them create freely and, whatever you do, don’t repeat the deceptive influencer tactics leveraged during the Fyre Festival fiasco—relocating an island full of angry rich kids duped by their favorite celebrities probably isn’t in the budget anyway.

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Posted by Mark Dante | Request as a Speaker