The 3 Levels for Influencer Marketing
As influencer marketing continues to grow and evolve we're finding that there are nuances that simply weren't there before. And like any marketing strategy, there are levels to it.
To help explain this we've developed our own 'Maslow's Hierarchy' but for Influencer Marketing. There are three levels in our concept: Influencer Sampling, Influencer Partnerships, and Ambassador Programs. Depending on your budget, you'll be using one or all of these strategies with the ultimate goal generally being to be utilizing all three.
Level One: Influencer Sampling
This is the most basic and easiest influencer strategy there is; send samples to a large amount of influencers and hope for the best. They can review them or not even thank you for them. It's the cheapest form of influencer marketing but the most unreliable. You can't control the message, the timing, or even proper recognition.
That being said, we usually start off a campaign with this strategy first. It gives us an idea of who we can work with on other influencer strategies, who would make a good ambassador candidate, and see which people are eager to talk about a product.
Even once budgets get bigger and campaigns grow larger we continue execute this strategy for the insights, goodwill, and engagement it provides.
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Level Two: Influencer Partnerships
This the next level up from Influencer Sampling is partnerships. This includes paid takeovers, sponsorships, or trade agreements. Your budget can be as small as $100 a month to a million, but here you control the message, the timing, and the branding.
Once we get a feel for who works great for the brand from the sampling, we start officially partnering with influencers with paid takeovers, sponsored posts, and more. That way we can time the messages to align with campaign goals, our own marketing efforts, and help us generate new content for our own channels regularly.
We usually mix up new Influencers with regulars so our target audience sees fresh content but reliable recommendations from their favourite faces.
Level 3: Ambassadorships
This is the highest level of Influencer Marketing because you commit the most budget for the longest time frame (generally). These are contracted partnerships with Influencers who agree to deliverables like web content, social posts, event appearances, or anything else for marketing for a monthly, quarterly, or annual fee. They are publicly aligned with your company and vice versa, they're not so much a guest on your channels or a public supporter but are seen as part of your brand.
The benefits of this type of relationships include message repetition for your target audience, a long-term relationship that allows you to analyze results and experiment, and also get creative. This relationship is the biggest investment but carries the most weight.
A Fully Integrated Influencer Marketing Campaign
We always remind people that you don't need all 3 levels but it makes sense to start at Level One rather then to immediately jump into Level 3. These strategies are long-term, so expect to start seeing results 3-6 months after consistently executing them (just like social media pages). Although there are exceptions to every rule, you can use influencer marketing to promote events or short promotions, in which case you should have results more immediately.
We know Influencer Marketing because we use it every day! Want to save yourself that work? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how we can put our knowledge to work for you.