5 Steps to Maximize Your Influencer Marketing Program

By Sherry Heyl Founder & Consultant , Amplified Concepts | October 29, 2017

Despite all the recent hype around influencer marketing, it is really nothing new. In fact, I ran my first influencer marketing campaign for a large brand in 2006. We did not call it influencer marketing, it was called blogger outreach, but the premise was the same. We developed relationships with bloggers who had a large following and wrote about our niche. In this particular case, it was about cars. At the time the goal was to increase awareness. Our efforts were similar to a traditional media pitch and blogs were seen as “new media.”

As the social web evolved so did our outreach campaigns. A content creator no longer needs a blog to be influential. Today many influencers are focused on platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

What also has evolved are the expectations of an influencer campaign. Through well-design campaigns and knowledge of how to use targeted advertising and lead gen tools on social platforms, Influencer Marketing campaigns can offer so much more than just brand awareness. Many brands have reported impressive results which has led to an increase in the hype about influencer marketing.

With great hype comes great expectations and more and more brands are reaching out to influencers to talk about a product or service and expecting a windfall of sales leads. The results are almost always disappointing. The reason is typically influencer campaigns are often executed without planning or a strategy. More often than not I see influencers randomly posting about a brand with the hashtag #ad. That is not an influencer marketing campaign. That is an ad buy and the whole reason brands should be investing more in influencer marketing than in advertising is ads don’t work as well.

A successful influencer marketing program takes just as much planning as any other marketing program to be successful. Through the story-telling capabilities of the influencers that you are working with an audience is able to experience your brand and develop an affinity for it. Because your brand is being introduced by a trusted influencer you should see an increase in followers on your brand platforms. If your campaign is designed to generate sales you should see a sustained increase in revenue.

Here are 5 steps that you can include in your planning to maximize your influencer marketing program:

Coming up in February 2018...

Social Media: Engagement is Key

There are currently 2.3 billion active users of social media networks and savvy hotel operators have incorporated social media into their marketing mix. There are a few Goliath channels on which one must have a presence (Facebook & Twitter) but there are also several newer upstart channels (Instagram, Snapchat &WeChat, for example) that merit consideration. With its 1.86 billion users, Facebook is a dominant platform where operators can drive brand awareness, facilitate bookings, offer incentives and collect sought-after reviews. Twitter's 284 million users generate 500 million tweets per day, and operators can use its platform for lead generation, building loyalty, and guest interaction. Instagram was originally a small photo-sharing site but it has blown up into a massive photo and video channel. The site can be used to post photos of the hotel property, as well as creating Instagram Stories - personal videos that disappear from the channel after 24 hours. In this regard, Instagram and Snapchat are now in direct competition. WeChat is a Chinese company whose aim is to be the App for Everything - instant messaging, social media, shopping and payment services - all in a single platform. In addition to these channels, blogging continues to be a popular method to establish leadership, enhance reputations, and engage with customers in a direct and personal way. The key to effective use of all social media is to find out where your customers are and then, to the fullest extent possible, engage with them on a personal level. This engagement is what creates a personal connection and sustains brand loyalty. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.