Written by Corinne Edmiston

Years ago, it was social media that drastically changed the marketing landscape. In 2018, it’s becoming more and more apparent that influencer marketing will have the same effect, if not more so due to the number of influencers and their record-breaking followings on the Internet. In the simplest of terms, influencer marketing is a natural extension of social marketing, matching businesses with social ambassadors all across the globe.

So, how can brands leverage an influencer partnership to benefit their own marketing goals? Before we go into that, it’s best to go back to the basics to review the power and purpose of brand awareness and brand engagement and how an influencer marketing campaign can help enable your brand’s key performance indicators.

What Is Brand Awareness?

At its core, brand awareness is your brand’s familiarity with your consumer base. Though it isn’t rocket science, determining the winning formula to achieve that consumer familiarity can sometimes feel like it is. The simplest way to gain brand awareness is by enlisting a social marketing campaign. We’ll get to that in just a bit.

What’s Brand Engagement?

Brand engagement is about transforming simple consumer familiarity into consumer attachment. Brand engagement cannot exist without brand awareness, and it’s one of the key factors that determine a successful marketing campaign. For most brands, “engagement” doesn’t just mean product purchase — it can be a like, a comment, or a share on social media to encourage organic messaging between your current and future fan base.

That’s where influencer marketing comes in: It serves as an invaluable bridge between brand awareness and brand engagement.

Influencer marketing allows you to reach factions and audiences that your in-house marketing campaign can’t. By enlisting an influencer, you’re ensuring your brand awareness is multiplied to all his or her followers. In turn, that influencer’s engagement with your brand — say, with a dedicated blog post or social media post — adds a new appeal, turning them into a dedicated and trusted brand ambassador. After all, most influencers only talk about brands they really love. With that sort of seal of approval, you’re guaranteed results. Their followers will become your followers and ultimately loyal, engaged brand consumers.

Choosing Goals

When it comes down to an influencer marketing campaign, you have to be realistic about your brand. Key performance indicators, or KPIs, are a great way to structure your influencer marketing campaign and analyze its success. Establishing KPI goals before beginning a campaign will also help you identify what sort of influencer you need to achieve these goals. So, how do you know when you’re KPIs are leaning toward brand awareness or brand engagement? We have three simple examples to help you choose.

Social engagement
This one is a little bit of a giveaway because engagement is in its verbiage. This sort of KPI is about generating a conversation to encourage likes, shares and comments on your preferred channel(s). Let’s say you want to increase your Instagram following within one quarter. That sort of influencer marketing campaign may involve utilizing an influencer with a strong Instagram following to amplify your brand’s message to would create a direct call to action to your Instagram page. This could include: 1) specialized Instagram Stories by one or two influencers to promote your brand’s page, 2) several influencers utilizing your hashtag and tagging your page, or 3) a takeover on the influencer’s page explaining how they utilize your brand in their day-to-day.

Exposure
Exposure of your brand’s message is an example of brand awareness. This goal would be easiest to achieve with a content and social campaign utilizing a set hashtag to promote your brand’s message. The goal with this approach is to make the hashtag synonymous with your brand, creating a community of like-minded brand ambassadors from all over the Internet. An influencer can easily craft a specialized blog post to promote your brand — one that will feel authentic to their brand’s message — spurring interest in their following. Then, once it’s promoted on social media with the hashtag, followers can learn to recognize the hashtag as an extension of your page.

Retention
This one is a little trickier than the other two — because it involves KPIs that target both brand awareness and brand engagement to be successful. In today’s social marketing game, it’s easy to con the system to gain followers quickly. It is not, however, easy to maintain that following. For example, for Goal #1, you’ll want to ensure your page reciprocates the new engagement by liking, commenting and following new accounts to encourage extended reach and continued conversation. Similarly, you may want to utilize a brand hashtag or even link to the influencer’s specialized content to encouraging brand awareness. Including affiliate links within content and utilizing them in social marketing can also ensure you meet both a brand awareness and brand engagement goal.

Ready to get started on your next influencer marketing campaign? Click here to check out Travel Mindset’s free guide to measuring ROI in influencer marketing.