Launching products is fun but creating a movement, as I learned, is an exhilarating and invaluable experience. In 2015 I played a prominent role in introducing the world to the hoverboard giving me the opportunity to work alongside a range of celebrities, athletes, and musicians. I also had the chance to work with an emerging breed of social media influencers who are easily just as effective at producing results for companies. In fact it was predominantly a result of these different influencer promotional campaigns why our company and our Hoverboard became the number one selling holiday gift of 2015.
Influencer marketing has become a hot button topic in the world of how to conduct viral marketing campaigns. Not only does everyone want to work with influencers but the market has become flooded with people trying to become their own influencer in the space or craft they specialize in. Considering how crowded the the influencer landscape has gotten can make things quite confusing to navigate.
In my experience working with celebrities & influencers there were plenty of lessons to be learned. Below I’ll share a few tips on how your company can work with influencers effectively and gain some traction with their help.
Plan ahead: You and your team should have a allocation of how much product you are willing to gift to influencers. This number varies depending on a variety of factors but ultimately it comes down to how much you’re able to produce and invest in this type of marketing. It is imperative that you create an allocation plan and stick to it. Otherwise you could run the risk of running out of inventory quicker than you expected. All of a sudden Bieber’s asking you for not one hoverboard but five. And you’re retrofitting the entire Kardashian family with hoverboards.
Expect the unexpected: Going somewhat in tandem with number one would be making sure your company has enough inventory on hand prior to working with celebrities. Since many of the celebrities live, party, and co-exist within the same circles it's very easy to have one celebrity endorsement of your product lead to multiple others. As a result if your company isn't prepared to handle that rush of influencers asking for your product, while simultaneously fulfilling all the orders that are coming from average customers who are purchasing your device, you are doomed!
Negotiate your engagement: We found that one post from a celebrity with a large following is not likely going to generate a huge sales spike for your business. Of course there are exceptions to this statement such as your product being perfectly in line with this celebrities audience. Therefore establishing a partnership with depth that requires multiple posts from this celebrity will help you obtain awareness, as opposed to just one. Consistency can lead to authenticity which makes an audience more likely to become interested in the product.
Free product goes a long way: When you have a hot “NEED TO HAVE” product simply gifting to celebrities can oftentimes get you whatever kind of promotion you desire. With the Hoverboard it was a must have item for every celebrity. Therefore we were able to go a long way simply gifting away product in exchange for promotion as opposed to having to pay them thousands of dollars while also gifting them product.
Treat them like people: Although Kendall Jenner and Justin Bieber are superstars believe it or not they are more down to earth than you could imagine. They are normal humans just like you and I. They like the same activities and things that ordinary people enjoy, they just have millions more people watching them do these activities. The quicker you realize this when trying to work with influencers and as a result communicate with them in the same manner you would communicate with your own business partners and friends the more authentic you will look in their eyes and the more willing they will be to work with you.
Ultimately I'm a big proponent of working with influencers and, if it makes sense for your company, you’ll want to make it a part of your marketing plan. Hopefully some of these tips can allow your company to conduct influencer marketing in the most mutually beneficial manner for you and the influencer.