Obvious marketing blunders are easy to come by these days. Mangled social media situations and tone-deaf advertisements are just a search away.
Mismatched influencers-to-brands are a more difficult to detect. Anyone with an Instagram following can get a product in front of eyeballs. But if you’re looking to entice 2 million potential guests to stay at a Ritz Carlton hotel, offering a room to a 20-something influencer with a tribe of teenage fans isn’t going to do it.
An estimated 85% of marketing professionals will launch an influencer campaign this year. Endorsements come with a hefty price tag (an estimated $570 million on Instagram alone) yet 75% of marketers cite that finding the right influencer is their biggest challenge.
With precious marketing budget going towards influencers, brands can’t afford to reach the wrong audience. With that in mind, here are some tips on how to do influencer marketing right.
Know thy audience
The faceless customer profile is dead. “Mothers between the ages of 30 and 45 with $20,000 in disposable income” is not an accurate audience description.
The life of this woman will vary depending on where she lives, if she works or stays at home, the ages of her kids and what she enjoys in her free time. If you can describe an audience segment in one sentence, your description is too broad. When selecting influencers, marketers must move toward highly specific audience personas rather than customer profiles. Cultural shifts in entertainment platforms have created the canyons that separate audiences that were once part of the same landscape.
Consider media consumption today vs. 20 years ago. In 1987, people looking for entertainment had a handful options. Today, entertainment can take the form of Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Youtube, websites, blogs, email newsletters, apps, podcasts and more. As options expand, new preferences emerge. Preferences create aggregates, and aggregates create audience segments.
At your leisure
The latest findings from the US Department of Labor reveal that Americans working full-time on weekdays spend about 3 and a half hours per day participating in leisure activities, including exercise, socializing and watching TV.
With so many shows streaming on a variety of platforms, understanding your audience’s TV preferences could offer clues to a perfect influencer match.
Social media is an underutilized resource for this type of audience research. An estimated 81 percent of the US population has a social media presence and by the end of 2017, Facebook will eclipse 2 billion monthly active users.
Each day, these users offer candid information about what is important to them and how they spend their leisure hours. Mining this information is the first step to selecting an influencer that will resonate with your audience segments.
Where are they watching?
Today, “watching TV” has many definitions. It could mean streaming a show on Netflix, catching up on a DVR’d episode, watching a live network show or browsing clips on Youtube. Knowing your audience’s preferred method will aid in picking the perfect influencer.
You wouldn’t want to put a network TV star in front of an audience that only watches Amazon originals. According to social media research, faith-based individuals, parents, self-identified conservatives and those aged 50+ are the most likely to discuss network television shows. African Americans are highly likely to discuss cable shows, and self-identified gamers and LGBTQ audiences are the most likely to discuss OTT shows.
Yet for some brands that market to multiple audiences like family retailer Old Navy, choosing to focus on one could quickly alienate the others.
Old Navy’s audience is made up of parents and high school audiences. These audiences watch reality competition shows like America’s Next Top Model, The Bachelor, Dancing With The Stars and The Voice. Old Navy could benefit from a gender-neutral spokesperson that appeals to their wide audience like Erin Andrews, sportscaster and host of Dancing with the Stars.
What are they watching?
Turning to Twitter can unearth trending shows for your audience. For instance, Netflix shows tend to get teens talking. The new Netflix series ‘13 Reasons Why’ aimed at young adults saw more social volume one week post-premier than any other Netflix show in history. Chasing Cameron, a show about a young Youtube star with a cult-like following, came in second place.
For a brand like struggling clothing retailer PacSun, teaming up with Dallas could be the secret ingredient to getting teen shoppers back on board. Research revealed that PacSun shoppers had a unique interest in Chasing Cameron. Since PacSun shoppers are already fans, Dallas could bring the attention of his 10 million Twitter fans and nearly 19 million Instagram followers to the brand and recruit new converts as well.
Conservative and liberal audiences have differing TV preferences as well. The most buzzed about shows among conservative audiences include Dancing With the Stars, MacGyver, Blue Bloods, Lethal Weapon, The Blacklist, Blindspot, Timeless, The Great Indoors, Pure Genius and NCIS. Liberal audiences talk about The Real O’Neals, Transparent, Grace and Frankie, Speechless, Fresh Off the Boat, Black-Ish, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, The Affair and Insecure.
Several shows cross party lines, appealing to a broader audience. These shows are often successful action or family-themed shows, including Bull, Designated Survivor, Elementary, Secrets and Lies, Survivor and This Is Us.
Mind your KPIs
The ideal influencer partnership should be mutually beneficial. Awareness and engagement should increase for both parties involved. Influencer campaigns are not always easy to measure, so creating specific, measurable KPIs is essential to proving success or failure.
Are you hoping to reach a new audience? Sell a new product? Increase brand engagement? The approach should differ depending on the objective. Spend some time getting to know your own audience and what they’re watching. The search for the perfect influencer ends there.
About the Author: As co-founder and co-CEO of Fizziology, Jen Handley works with film, TV, talent and brand clients to help them understand audience reactions to marketing and products, and devise new strategies for them based on research. Handley leads ongoing technology innovation efforts and the company’s focus on new product development.